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View Diary: Justice Scalia says Revolution may be necessary (185 comments)

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  •  fTo - The term "persons" in all of our legal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew, coffeetalk, nextstep

    statutes has always meant more than just "human persons" and the First Amendment gives broad rights to the "press" which is certainly not a "human person". The notion that the term "the people" can only refer to "human persons" is something that few judges or Justices would agree with you, regardless of their political ideology.

    There is little debate that corporations have many of the same rights as "human persons" (to own real and personal property, to sue and be sued, to pay taxes, to engage in commerce, etc)the only real debate is what political rights they have. However, when legislatures at the local, state, and federal level have such control over corporations, including the ability to end them with the stroke of a pen through changes in statute or tax law, there is certainly an argument that corporations are in the political mix and should be able to engage in the political process.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 11:59:19 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Prove it! nt (7+ / 0-)

      Show me the chain of law that allows 'we the people' to express anything other than human beings.

      Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

      by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 12:01:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fto, move on, corps are only 11% of contributions, (4+ / 0-)

        the issue effectively handled during the New Deal- it's the human plutocrats, after McCutcheon about 636 billionaires are invited to bid on ownership of the two parties. With McCutcheon- the Court has moved past corporate speech, even past free speech except as a slogan. Roberts is going after Congress's Art. 1 Sec 4 and 5 power, says Congress regulating elections is a conflict of interest. So if Congress wanted to abandon the criminal conspiracy the Court won't let it, e.g. Durbin's bill would be struck down under Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

        Scalia advocates a tax revolt. On April 2, Roberts pretty much said bring it (revolution) on, by saying our new metastasized party-based wholesale systemic corruption is constitutional free speech, Armerican as apple pie and motherhood. That is, it would take an anticorruption revolution to revive Congress's regulatory power, Roberts having amended the Constitution to make money synonymous with sovereignty.  

        Roberts made a strategic decision. He avoided deligitimization of the Court by switching in time on ACA in order to get a pass on McCutcheon. But Robertsgate just got hotter as McCutcheon is a cover up of CU. Roberts lost credibility with Arizona Free Enterprise Club and now no con law prof could teach McCutcheon without mentioning the attack on textually committed Congressional powers. The revolution to guarantee a republican form of government (Art. 4 Sec. 4,)  will come from disenfranchised voters as Breyer described us, against the Court, by legislation dismantling Roberts' Ponzi sceme, ending the Court's veto over anticorruption legislation. Pretty straight forward politics as with the New Deal and civil rights, or Reconstruction Ex Parte McCardle. Roberts' defenders are the guns and money crowd, Scalia campaigning for his recent legislation in Shelby County and other new laws signals his support for their alliance on the issue of taxes, even though the guns crowd says they hate plutocrats. That the Roberts 5, war consigliere for plutocracy, are not political is like saying Nixon was not a crook.

    •  Licensed premise and then some (8+ / 0-)

      The press is actually spelled out, first.

      Second, any rights of corporations derive from commerce of the individuals within them, and not from their existence as a person. It's the 19th century, and not any "originalist" garbage, that first granted incorporated businesses the right of personhood, and that was by hijacking the rights of freed slaves to not be taxed in two states.

      It started with the robber barons of the railroads, and it's reaching its non plus ultra of absurdity with the robber barons of MNC's.

      "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

      by The Geogre on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 12:24:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  U disprove your argument: 1st specifically says 'p (9+ / 0-)

      ress' bc it is not a separate entity but bc it is something people do.  Exactly as 'speech', which is immediately follows.  

      The fact that the Founders meant people to mean corporeal persons is then supported by the very next part of the 1st A: 'the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government...'  These are both activities that corporations can engage in.  If the Founders intended the Constitution to treat them as 'people', there would have been no need to insert 'people' and thus limit it.

      As for the Civil War amendment's 'person', the Congression record is clear: that term was specifically meant to refer to corporeal people, which special emphasis on former slaves.  No corporation has ever been a slave.

      The entire genis of the 'corporations are people' doctrine is a letter by the Chief Justice who was a railroad lawyer on a court dominated by railroad lawyers.  Their primary aim was to protect railroad corporations and their ruling reflect that.  Yet even they did not go so far as to rule - or indeed even write in their opinions - that 'corporations are people'.  That was left to a century long project by the legal and political scions of Carnegie, Morgan and Rockefeller - who btw basically owned most the media and used it ruthlessly to prevent William Jennings Bryan's election in 1896 bc he proposed a very modest progressive agenda with such horrors as limiting child labor and work weeks.

      •  chris - the SCOTUS has never declared that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, nextstep

        corporations are people, not in 1886 or 2010, but the concept that, in the United States, associations of people have constitutional rights is centuries old.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 02:25:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, not centuries,old. The first case is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob

          probably Buttons v. NAACP,  right of association and privacy of membership lists.  That was a political association case, not a corporate case.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:39:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  'People' as in persons for the 14th, 1st etc. The (0+ / 0-)

          only way to strike down a state statute limiting corporate contributions on 1st A grounds was to hold the corporation, as an entity separate from the individual members, is a 'person' for 14th A purposes and thus the 14th A 'incorporation' doctrine applies to pass thru 1st A protection. (Since the 1st expressly limits itself to Congress.)  Which is one thing Citizens United and the one striking down the irrc Montana statute did.  

          (Another was the ludicrous minimization of corruption and public good interests in this context, until we have Roberts saying essentially only a quid pro quo is corrupt influence.)

    •  The phrase "Freedom of the press" doesn't (9+ / 0-)

      refer to the machine having freedom, it refers to the freedom of operating the press. The use of the preposition "of" in this case is linguistically subtle, which is problematic given the extent we have nowadays mostly abandoned consideration of the subtleties of our extraordinary language. A contemporary Native American might similarly talk about "Freedom of the Land", were any to have been consulted at the time.

      You are correct that, especially over the last 125 years, the courts have established a clear pattern of extending to corporate entities the rights originally granted only to people -- but that pattern, which ensued in the aftermath of one truly horrible legal decision, one of the 4 or 5 worst in the history of American jurisprudence, is not supported by originalist ideology.

      And yes, corporations enjoy many of the same rights as "human persons" -- because corporations exist entirely and precisely in order to exercise those rights: In particular the right to own property, real or otherwise, which is, in fact the original purpose for the invention of "incorporation" -- which is, after all, the act of creating a synthetic legal "body". The word is not an accident.

      Nonetheless, it must be understood that corporations are synthetic -- that without a legal structure that creates them, they do not exist at all, and that the legal structure that creates them can be whatever we want it to be. Again: Incorporation was invented in order to simplify the otherwise legally-fraught difficulties of a shared enterprise holding property. Society had to agree that such an entity would be allowed -- that property would be something that could be held, not by people, but by this other thing. Thus, libertarian blather about fundamental rights simply do not apply. Nothing in the Constitution limits the ability or right of the government to constrain corporations, as for example: To assert that the first consideration of a corporation, taking priority over the fiduciary interests of the stockholder, is the social benefit which accrues as a result of the corporation's existence.

      It must similarly be understood that the government could explicitly place, by statute, whatever constraints it might want upon the "rights" of the non-persons that are corporations. After all, nobody is ever forced to incorporate something -- it is a choice people make in order to obtain various advantages. The Supreme Court might not like it -- and indeed, I'd expect them to, fairly reasonably, argue that any such legislation would represent a meaningful taking from current shareholders of current corporations, at least with respect to the current operations and holdings of those corporations.

      Nonetheless, everything is on the table, and nothing is promised by Constitution. Your remark about the "only real debate" may reflect the current American reality, but it doesn't represent some fundamental truth about the nature of the corporation. There are many qualities of property and enterprise about which most Americans have given almost no thought, rather accepting the "way it is" as the obvious and natural way for it to be -- thus, for example, typical American astonishment to learn of the extensive history of "squatter's rights" in other countries, a concept that to the American mind seems directly antithetical to the very concept of property.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 02:10:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  UR - as I noted in my comment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, nextstep, artmartin

        Corporations can be put out of business by Congress with the stroke of a pen, I know it happened to me. So yes, everything is on the table.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 02:28:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What part of state and not federal do you.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO

          not understand. Corps are legal constructs founded at the state level. There is nothing Federal about a Corporation except SC overreach.

          Your sincerity is questionable...

          Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

          by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 04:22:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  fTo - corporations are highly regulated, and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk

            taxed, by the federal government. So while they are state formed and governed under state law, the federal government plays a big role in their success or failure.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 04:35:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Highly taxed or regulated my ass nt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NonnyO

              Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

              by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 04:53:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  fTo - well they put me out of business in 1986 (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coffeetalk

                with the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 05:13:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  To be honest I believe very little you say... (0+ / 0-)

                  because over and over you have been shown to not know wtf you are talking about, even though you act like you really do. You never step back and admit wrong, you just keep pushing more wrong.

                  Save it for someone more gullible.

                  Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

                  by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 05:47:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  On a few topics that we discuss here (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coffeetalk

                    I actually do know what I am talking about and that is recognized by people who actually know those topics as well.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:26:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Interesting that why every time someone states (0+ / 0-)

                      case law you back off and look for a new person to talk to. The people who know what they are talking about are the same ones showing you don't.

                      Wrong on top of wrong on top of wrong with never any intent to admit it.

                      Have a good evening

                      Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

                      by fToRrEeEsSt on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:35:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I am retired, don't practice, and have no legal (0+ / 0-)

                        research tools at my fingertips. It's hard to search case law without them.

                        I continue to be an investor in startups, mentor to entrepreneurs, and member of public and private boards of directors. I have a lot of experience in corporate governance, executive compensation, and investing in pre-public companies.

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 09:58:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  Those rights of corporations are statutory rights (3+ / 0-)

      Set out in each states corporate law.  If corporations had constitutional rights as you claim, modern corporate law would have been completely unnecessary. The persons mentioned in the Constitution refer to people, the difference being that some such references apply to all people, and others apply to citizens only, depending on the context and subject matter.  There is no mention of corporate rights as personal and constitutional until the phones case note, not even the decision and opinion in the Santa Rosa case.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:36:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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