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.”

Corporations are not Persons: Stating the Obvious

 A New Civil Rights Movement:
Liberating Our Communities from Corporate Control A Pennsylvania Judge Holds That Corporations Are Not “Persons” Under the Pennsylvania Constitution
B y Thomas Alan Linzey, Esq., Executive Director
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Last week, a Pennsylvania county court gave this new movement a boost – declaring that corporations are not “persons” under the Pennsylvania Constitution, and therefore, that corporations cannot elevate their “private rights” above the rights of people.

[ . . . ]

In a landmark ruling, President Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas denied the corporation’s request on the basis that the Pennsylvania Constitution only protects the rights of people, not business entities.

In the ruling, Judge O’Dell-Seneca declared that “in the absence of state law, business entities are nothing.” If corporations could claim rights independent from people, she asserted, then “the chattel would become the co-equal to its owners, the servant on par with its masters, the agent the peer of its principals, and the legal fabrication superior to the law that created and sustains it.”

She further found that “the constitution vests in business entities no special rights that the laws of this Commonwealth cannot extinguish. In sum, [corporations] cannot assert [constitutional privacy] protections because they are not mentioned in its text.”

Judge O’Dell-Seneca cited sections of the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution in support of her contention that corporations were never intended to be constitutionally protected “persons.” She declared that “an even more dubious proposition is that the framers of the Constitution of 1776, given their egalitarian sympathies, would have concerned themselves with vesting, for the first time in history, indefeasible rights in such entities. . . that language extends only to natural persons.”

Finally, she tackled the very nature of corporations by declaring that “it is axiomatic that corporations, companies, and partnerships have no ‘spiritual nature,’ ‘feelings,’ ‘intellect,’ ‘beliefs,’ ‘thoughts,’ ‘emotions,’ or ‘sensations,’ because they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists. . . They cannot be ‘let alone’ by government, because businesses are but grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of this Commonwealth raise, tend, and prune at their pleasure and need.”

Judge rules in newspapers’ favor in Hallowich-Range case
By Barbara Miller
observer-reporter.com

The natural gas companies “have failed to oppose (the) press’ motion to unseal the record under” case law,” O’Dell Seneca wrote.

Corporations, companies and partnership have no  spiritual nature, feelings,  intellect, beliefs, thoughts, emotions or
sensations because they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists … They cannot be ‘let alone’ by government because businesses are but  grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of this  Commonwealth raise, tend and prune at their pleasure and need.

“Therefore, this court must grant those motions  and reverse (Pozonsky’s) Aug. 23, 2011, order, unless a higher authority forestalls the common law’s application.”

The decision became the responsibility of O’Dell Seneca after the state Superior Court said Pozonsky erred in ordering  that the Hallowich case “be sealed indefinitely in its entirety” without first holding a hearing. The appellate court sent the case back to  Washington County court in December, nearly six months after Pozonsky  resigned from the bench amid reports of a state grand jury  investigation.

“It was a scholarly opinion that weighed the  constitutional issues and came down on the side of the public’s right to know,” Fitch said of O’Dell Seneca’s 32-page opinion and order.

“After all, this is a taxpayer-funded court that exists to serve the public. Unless there is a serious privacy issue,  the presumption of openness applies and the record should be open to  both the public and the press,”  he continued.

O’Dell Seneca discussed the press’ and the  public’s right of access: “The press’ investigative role is itself a
constitutional and common law bulwark, safeguarding the courts from  lapsing into the clandestine abuse found in PA Childcare LLC, known as  the  Luzerne County Cash for Kids scandal,” Judge O’Dell Seneca wrote.

“It is not ‘mere curiosity’ as (the natural gas firms) contend.”