End of Corporate Personhood and Citizenship

Awkward! The idea of ‘corporate personhood’ relies on the same Amendment that gives birthright citizenship
by Mark Ames
(from REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 27 – September 2)

“[M]ost of the GOP candidates want to change the 14th Amendment to deny birthright citizenship to children born here to foreign parents…

“But beyond the twisted racist dementia fueling this, there’s another problem for these GOP candidates: Section One of the 14th Amendment, granting birthright citizenship to anyone born in the US, is also the same section of the same amendment interpreted by our courts to grant corporations “personhood”…

“So to repeat: GOP candidates from Trump and Bush down the line to Silicon Valley’s boy-disrupter Rand Paul want to revoke citizenship to living humans born in the US to foreign parents; but they support granting citizenship rights and guarantees to artificial persons –corporations – which are really legal fictions granted by the states, allowing a pool of investors legal liability and tax advantages in order to profit more than they otherwise would as mere living humans”…

“And here we are today—where we have an Amendment meant to protect vulnerable and abused minorities now under attack from Lincoln’s party, who at the same time want to use the same section in the same amendment to protect fictitious artificial persons and allow them greater rights and powers than even those of us born here to American parents.”

Now That We’re Talking About Citizenship, Let’s Revoke Corporate Personhood
by C. Robert Gibson
(from REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 20 – 26)

“Thanks to Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, the media is now entertaining discussion on the idea of revoking citizenship for human beings, to the point where the media is calculating the cost of these insane and unconstitutional proposals. If Trump wants to revoke the citizenship of people who are using up all of our resources and not paying taxes, and if the media really wants to have the conversation, let’s start with multinational corporations…

“A constitutional amendment that explicitly states that corporations aren’t people, and that money is not speech would do the trick. The organization Move to Amend is doing just that, and have roughly 535 resolutions that have either been passed at the local/state level or are currently in progress. State legislatures in Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, and West Virginia have already passed such resolutions.

“Donald Trump has been able to shift the Overton Window of acceptable political discourse far to the right in just a matter of weeks, to where the media is now entertaining discussion on the idea of revoking citizenship for human beings. The left must be just as willing to push the discussion toward revoking corporate citizenship due to the harm they’ve caused to our political process, as well as our public programs that have been slashed to the bone due to corporations avoiding billions in taxes.”

6 thoughts on “End of Corporate Personhood and Citizenship

  1. The added irony being that the courts ruling that corporations are “people” is a clear example of “judicial activism” which of course the reactionaries claim to loath – except when it’s to their obvious advantage.

    • I read a quote from some right-wing document, maybe the Powell memo. The wording explicitly stated an intention to promote “activist judges” or maybe it said “judicial activism”, same difference either way.

      It’s the same pattern seen with right-wingers pushing political correctness and silencing free speech, while pretending to oppose such actions. As research has shown, hypocrisy is standard operating procedure for authoritarians and dominators.

      If the Democrats weren’t hypocritical as well, they would be in a better position to point out the hypocrisy of the other side. Instead, hypocrisy is the norm among the party establishment and ruling elite.

      Drowning in cynicism, it’s hard to feel surprised and shocked by any of it.

  2. The 14th does not “grant” birthright citizenship; it reiterates common law of citizenship of the time specifically and only to overrule Dred Scott.

    • https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-24/ignore-fake-arguments-over-birthright-citizenship

      But the claim that the authors of the 14th Amendment meant to exclude the children of foreign citizens in the U.S. from its birthright-citizenship guarantee is, to anyone who takes the time to read a few pages of congressional debate, obviously false.


      Those who attack birthright citizenship, as did former Trump official Michael Anton in a recent Post op-ed, often go out of their way not only to misrepresent the plain meaning of the words of the 14th Amendment and those who drafted and ratified it, but also to ignore the racist and bloody history that required it in the first place. Sen. Lyman Trumbull, for example, a leading advocate in Congress for the citizenship clause, was quoted by Anton as somehow supporting his twisted reading of the clause.

      Except it was Trumbull who answered the racists of his own time who worried about “naturalizing the children of the Chinese and Gypsies born in this country.” Trumbull said the citizenship clause “undoubtedly” would do that, and that a child of such immigrants “is just as much a citizen as the child of a European.” In other remarks, Trumbull made it even clearer, saying, “Birth entitles a person to citizenship, that every freeborn person in this land, is, by virtue of being born here, a citizen of the United States.”

      Those who, like Anton, deny the plain meaning of the citizenship clause and its powerful history love to focus on the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction,” as if somehow they can make the clause say the opposite of what it actually says. They have even added to Trumbull’s statements — it’s amazing what slipping in an extra “[or]” will do — in ham-handed attempts to distort their meaning (which have been criticized across the ideological spectrum).

      They’re wrong, of course. The Supreme Court has long defined “subject to the jurisdiction” to carve out from the birthright citizenship guarantee only the children of diplomats who are immune from prosecution under U.S. laws. Meanwhile, if undocumented immigrants or their children commit a crime in the United States, they can be and are punished under U.S. law. In other words, they are — obviously! — subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. If born on American soil, they are also citizens of the United States.


      Current U.S. law
      Citizenship in the United States is a matter of federal law, governed by the United States Constitution.
      Since the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on July 9, 1868, the citizenship of persons born in the United States has been controlled by its Citizenship Clause, which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”[8] […]

      Statute, by birth within U.S.
      United States Federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1401) defines who is a United States citizen from birth. The following are among those listed there as persons who shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:

      “a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” or
      “a person born in the United States to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe” (see Indian Citizenship Act of 1924).
      “a person of unknown parentage found in the United States while under the age of five years, until shown, prior to his attaining the age of twenty-one years, not to have been born in the United States”
      “a person born in an outlying possession of the United States of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person”[…]

      English common law
      Birthright citizenship, as with much United States law, has its roots in English common law.[27] Calvin’s Case, 77 Eng. Rep. 377 (1608),[29] was particularly important as it established that, under English common law, “a person’s status was vested at birth, and based upon place of birth—a person born within the king’s dominion owed allegiance to the sovereign, and in turn, was entitled to the king’s protection.”[30] This same principle was adopted by the newly formed United States, as stated by Supreme Court Justice Noah Haynes Swayne: “All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country as well as of England…since as before the Revolution.[31]”

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