Stop Corporate Personhood

The First Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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Unlimited corporate spending on campaigns means the government is up for sale and that the law itself will be bought and sold. It would be political bribery on the largest scale imaginable.

This issue transcends partisan political arguments. We cannot have a government that is bought and paid for by huge multinational corporations. You must stop this.

Slave or Master

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Free Speech for People

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Read the case
Citizens United v FEC

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Supreme Court rejects limits on corporate spending in electoral campaigns
A divided Supreme Court on Thursday swept away decades of legislative efforts to limit the role of corporations in election campaigns, ruling that severe restrictions on corporate spending are inconsistent with the First Amendment’s protection of political speech.

The court split 5 to 4 over the ruling, with its conservative members in the majority.

The decision upends the court’s precedent that corporations may not use their profits to support or oppose candidates, and it rejects a large portion of the so-called McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act that the justices had declared constitutional just six years ago. It seems likely to apply to the political role of labor unions as well.

“When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought,” the court said in a decision written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. “This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

President Obama sharply criticized the decision, saying it gives “a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics” and represents “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

In a statement released by the White House, Obama said the ruling “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington — while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.” He said he was instructing his administration “to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue” and coordinate with Democratic and Republican leaders on a “forceful response.”

The case arose from a conservative group’s production of a scathing look at Hillary Rodham Clinton, a documentary produced during her run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The case is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The decision does not address the restriction on direct contributions to candidates, and it upholds disclosure requirements for groups that mount advertising campaigns for and against candidates.

The far-reaching ruling marks a triumph for groups that have fought the McCain-Feingold provisions, formally known as the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002.

It also is a telling reminder of how quickly a court can change. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor supported the constitutionality of the act in 2003. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and O’Connor’s replacement, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., have supported each challenge to the law since they have joined the court. They supported Kennedy’s opinion, along with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

The court’s liberal bloc, which included new Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the case, dissented. Justice John Paul Stevens took more than 20 minutes to read a dissent from the bench, a move justices reserve for emphasizing their disagreement.

“A radical change in the law,” Stevens called the decision. He said Thursday’s majority rejects the decisions of Congress dating from 1907 and “the overwhelming majority of justices who have served on this court.”

He said the five-member majority are the only ones who believe corporate money in electoral politics should be increased, rather than controlled. Sotomayor and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer joined his 90-page dissent.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who co-wrote the 2002 campaign reform law with Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), said he was “disappointed” by the decision. But Feingold went further, calling it “a terrible mistake” and saying it ignored “important principles of judicial restraint and respect for precedent.”

“Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president,” Feingold added

Both senators noted, though, that the court had retained the law’s ban on so-called soft money contributions.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business group, said the ruling provides “clarity and predictability” for corporations, unions and nonprofit groups seeking to take part in the political process.

“Today’s ruling protects the First Amendment rights of organizations across the political spectrum, and is a positive for the political process and free enterprise,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the chamber’s litigation center.

But Fred Wertheimer, a veteran campaign reform activist who heads Democracy 21, called the ruling “a disaster for the American people and a dark day for the Supreme Court.”

“In a stark choice between the right of American citizens to a government free from ‘influence-buying’ corruption and the economic and political interests of American corporations, five Supreme Court Justices today came down in favor of American corporations,” Wertheimer said. “With a stroke of the pen, five Justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy.”

A lower court said the Clinton film ran afoul of a McCain-Feingold provision that forbids corporations, unions and special interest groups from using money from their general treasuries for “any broadcast, cable or satellite communications” that refer to a candidate for federal office during election season.

In the past, that has meant 30-second to one-minute campaign ads. But the lower court said the same rule applied to Citizens United’s 90-minute film about Clinton, which it proposed to broadcast on demand on cable channels.

But during oral arguments in March, conservative justices were more interested in the larger questions of how far government could go to corral corporate spending. Even though the law is specifically about broadcasts, justices asked the government’s lawyer whether the ban could include books that endorsed a candidate.

Instead of deciding the case at the end of the term in June, the court set a special hearing for Sept. 9 to decide whether to overturn the court’s 5 to 4 decision in 2003 declaring McCain-Feingold constitutional.

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Judge Stevens
Stevens Accuses Supreme Court Conservatives of Judicial Activism

Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters.

The financial resources, legal structure,and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.

The majority’s approach to corporate electioneering marks a dramatic break from our past. Congress has placed special limitations on campaign spending by corporations ever since the passage of the Tillman Act in 1907…. We have unanimously concluded [in 1982] that this “reflects a permissible assessment of the dangers posed by those entities to the electoral process”…and have accepted the “legislative judgment that the special characteristics of the corporate structure require particularly careful regulation… The Court today rejects a century of history when it treats the distinction between corporate and individual campaign spending as an invidious novelty born [in a 1990 opinion].

The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution

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Judge Kennedy
Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy — it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people — political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence,”

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Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) warned last week that if the court found unconstitutional all efforts to ban corporations and unions from financing political ads, it would take the country “not just back to a pre-McCain-Feingold era, but back to the era of the robber barons in the 19th century.”

“It is important to note that the decision does not affect McCain-Feingold’s soft money ban, which will continue to prevent corporate contributions to the political parties from corrupting the political process.  But this decision was a terrible mistake.  Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.  Ignoring important principles of judicial restraint and respect for precedent, the Court has given corporate money a breathtaking new role in federal campaigns. Just six years ago, the Court said that the prohibition on corporations and unions dipping into their treasuries to influence campaigns was ‘firmly embedded in our law.’  Yet this Court has just upended that prohibition, and a century’s worth of campaign finance law designed to stem corruption in government.  The American people will pay dearly for this decision when, more than ever, their voices are drowned out by corporate spending in our federal elections. In the coming weeks, I will work with my colleagues to pass legislation restoring as many of the critical restraints on corporate control of our elections as possible.”

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Senator John McCain (R-AZ) nothing on his website about this decision
“The Court’s ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation.” He notes that the, Framers of our Constitution “had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.”

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Murder Of Democracy

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What can you do?
2009 Fair Elections Now Act Bill Summary
The Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752 and H.R. 1826) was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Walter Jones, Jr. (R-N.C.). The bill would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would be freed from the constant fund-raising in order to focus on what people in their communities want. more

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Time to Reign in Out-of-Control Corporate Influences on Our Democracy
Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission shreds the fabric of our already weakened democracy by allowing corporations to more completely dominate our corrupted electoral process. It is outrageous that corporations already attempt to influence or bribe our political candidates through their political action committees (PACs), which solicit employees and shareholders for donations. With this decision, corporations can now also draw on their corporate treasuries and pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.

This corporatist, anti-voter decision is so extreme that it should galvanize a grassroots effort to enact a Constitutional Amendment to once and for all end corporate personhood and curtail the corrosive impact of big money on politics. It is indeed time for a Constitutional amendment to prevent corporate campaign contributions from commercializing our elections and drowning out the civic and political voices and values of citizens and voters. It is way overdue to overthrow “King Corporation” and restore the sovereignty of “We the People”! -Ralph Nader
Full release

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Citizen.Org

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Freespeech for People

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A Call For the Arrest of 5 Supreme Court Justices For Treason
Five members of the Supreme Court declared that a “corporation” is a person, not a “regular person” but one above all natural laws, subject to no God, no moral code but one with unlimited power over our lives, a power awarded by judges who seem themselves as grand inquisitors in an meant to hunt down all hertics who fail to serve their god, the god of money.

Their ruling has made it legal for foreign controlled corporations to flush unlimited money into our bloated political system to further corrupt something none of us trust and most of us fear. The “corporation/person” that the 5 judges, the “neocon” purists, have turned the United States over to isn’t even American. Our corporations, especially since our economic meltdown are owned by China, Russia and the oil sheiks along with a few foreign banks. They don’t vote, pay taxes, fight in wars, need dental care, breathe air, drive cars or send children to school. Anyone who thinks these things are people is insane. Anyone who would sell our government to them is a criminal and belongs in prison. There is nothing in the Constitution that makes this “gang of five” bribe sucking clowns above the law. There is nothing in the Constitution that even mentions corporations much less gives them status equal to or greater than the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government.
more

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Wall Street Immunity

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Keeps getting worse – this is like an underground coup
EFF: Court ruling means ’surveillance of Americans immune from review
Nine plaintiffs — five customers of telecom companies from California and four others from Brooklyn — had sued the NSA arguing that their rights had been infringed by the wiretapping program, which potentially could have spied on anyone in the United States.

“This ruling robs innocent telecom customers of their privacy rights without due process of law,” EFF legal director Cindy Cohn said in a statement. “Setting limits on executive power is one of the most important elements of America’s system of government, and judicial oversight is a critical part of that.”
full

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save democracy.net

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The Supreme Court Renders Voting Obsolete
Davis Fleetwood
Corporations have been running the country for decades, now. The recent Supreme Court ruling just makes it easier, more transparent. Now that voting is- temporarily anyway – obsolete, we can focus on more constructive activities. more

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Professor Lawrence Lessig’s Essay on the Need for a Constitutional Amendment
Our single common purpose must be to end this corruption. No side in this debate has the right to demand rules that benefit them against the other. But all sides need to recognize that this corruption is destroying American democracy. We need a system that the people trust — that gives the people a reason to participate, and convinces them that their participation is rewarded by the substantive policies that they have pursued. more

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State Of the Union
Justice Alito’s ‘You lie’ moment?
POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt, who’s in the House chamber, reports that Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words “not true” when Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision.

“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said. “Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

The shot of the black-robed Supreme Court justices, stone faced, was priceless.

Chuck Schumer stood up behind the justices and clapped vigorously while Alito shook his head and quietly mouthed his discontent.

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Alito – Up Close and Personal
“simply untrue”

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Clickables

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7 Comments

Filed under bad democrats, business, congress, history, justice

7 responses to “Stop Corporate Personhood

  1. synergythris786

    Hi Webmaster,

    I liked your content in your post and I felt that i is the great source of knowledge.I am very impress with your post.

    thanks

  2. theothergardener

    First we need to stop corporate godhead. The corporation has gone from being a production machine, to a person in law, to an essence in branding, to a god. This is the new threat.
    TOG

  3. arconame01

    Thank you a lot for the work!

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  7. Great Post. The group at the planetpov.com is working on this as well. In the last week or so I have seen dozens of new websites crop up wanting to fight this and discovered some old websites as well. http://www.MrSchneiderGoesToWashington.com

    This was a documentary made a couple of years ago.

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