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View Diary: Corporations are NOT People: Support my Constitutional Amendment to Repeal Citizens United (196 comments)

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  •  The Amendment does NOT do what you intend (16+ / 0-)

    It's badly drafted on a couple of points. What is a "corporate entity" and how does that differ from a corporation? You want it to cover business forms created by operation of law. "Corporate entity," to my mind, does not expand the definition beyond corporation.

    Secondly, while it allows for regulation of corporations it does not get to the fundamental language of the First Amendment and the powers of Congress at issue in Citizens United. The relevant language of the First Amendment is this:

    "Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom of speech..."

    Your Amendment presumes that freedom of speech is a right given to persons, and thus one that can be restricted to natural persons. The First Amendment does not presume this. It is written differently than other Amendments. It goes only to the power of Congress, without even attempting to provide a right. The presumption of the First Amendment is that the right is a natural right, and the Amendment simply confirms that the Congress will have no power to restrict that right, whatever the natural boundaries of that natural right might be.

    You might disagree with my interpretation, but I assure you that  Scalia and anyone who shares his legal vision will make this argument. While the intent to regulate corporate speech is clear in the effort, I do not  believe the courts would agree that this language achieves that result. The only way to do that would be to change the First Amendment to give Congress the power to regulate corporate speech.

    Congressman, you need better lawyers. If you want one, I'm available for the job.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 12:18:50 PM PST

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    •  I agree with your analysis here (3+ / 0-)

      although I am not a lawyer myself, but there seems to be this misperception out there that the First Amendment only protects free speech for persons, when of course this is not true. It protects free speech, period, and this is a good thing -- don't a lot of us support incorporated entitites that rely on freedom of speech to make their case, like activist organizations like the ACLU, or even private platforms like Daily Kos?

      To me, Citizens United needs to be overcome by making it specifically clear that campaign spending should not be regarded as a form of protected speech. Period. So it can be regulated. Even if that does take a constitutional amendment. Otherwise, I think that corporations should, in fact, have their freedom of speech protected.

      "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

      by Lost Left Coaster on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 03:12:48 PM PST

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    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FischFry

      It would not cover partnerships, mutual insurance companies and  trusts...

      Further, it would allow states to invent new forms of entity, so long as they were neither "corporate entities" or limited liability companies, that would be beyond the reach of the amendment

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 05:26:01 PM PST

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    •  Interesting take. IANAL so lemme ask a few (0+ / 0-)

      questions:

      *If this Amendment specifies that no Constitutional rights apply to corporations, how does that fail?  Doesn't the text of this Amendment exclude corporations from claiming any protection under The Bill Of Rights?  

      This is really important because corporations must be stripped of all claims to such rights, such as 2nd Amendment rights to bear weapons, 4th Amendment privacy claims, 5th Amendment protections against self-incrimination, etc.  I understand that the way the First is worded presents opportunity for bypass, so here's my follow-up:

      *Can't we specify that only natural persons can speak, and the equivalent action of any legal construct is not speech but advertising, subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause?   Does this Amendment need to specify that Money Is Not Speech in order to achieve this?

      The rich are eating the world. The Republicans are their teeth. The Democrats are dentists who refuse to pull those teeth because they are so beautiful and sharp.

      by Leftcandid on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 06:42:59 PM PST

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      •  This is a religious nation. (0+ / 0-)

        You'll never, ever, pass anything that gives Congress the power to prevent churches from buying bibles, which is exactly what this amendment would do.

        It's such a far-fetched, zany amendment that anyone w/ a modicum of intelligence - or shame - would have dismissed it on a minute of reading.

      •  Specify that only natural persons can speak? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not sure what you mean by that, but we surely don't want to prevent businesses and charities and such from "speaking". Commercial speech has always been treated differently from public issues -- an entirely different line of caselaw -- but businesses ought to be able to to make both kinds of speech.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 03:40:07 PM PST

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