Ending Corporate Constitutional Rights (“Corporate Personhood”) is a Conservative Issue – 10 Reasons

  1. Corporations aren’t mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights and other Amendments were intended to apply solely to human beings. Governments originally created corporate entities (i.e. business corporations, unions, non-profits) through charters, which defined the extent of actions of corporate entities. Excluded were any form of political activities. Corporations do and should have “statutory” rights/protections (i.e. the ability to sue/be sued, to establish contracts, etc.).


  1. Constitutional rights were granted to corporate entities exclusively by courts. No law, no regulation or decree enacted by any elected representative at any level of government representing any political party, or citizen initiative granted these rights. Since corporations aren’t mentioned in the Constitution, all these decisions were examples of judicial activism as courts anointed “corporate personhood” out of thin air. 


  1. The People are concerned. Polling makes it clear that the public across the political spectrum believe large business corporations are too powerful (economically and politically) and that there is too much concentration by too few corporations in virtually every business sector. This makes it virtually impossible for medium or small businesses to compete.


  1. Prominent conservatives take this stance. Conservatives have spoken out against not only the political power of labor union corporations but also the political power of business corporations. These include:

President Abraham Lincoln

“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood… It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”


President Teddy Roosevelt in his "New Nationalism" Speech, 1910

"The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces, which they have called into being… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done."


  1. The “Community Rights Movement” is growing. This movement across the country – disproportionately present in rural areas –opposes the reduction of their Home Rule powers and/or the preemption of the “police powers” of local public officials to protect the health, safety, welfare and morals of their communities by oftentimes out-of-state corporate interests. These interests appeal to courts or to a “higher” level of government (state or federal) claiming their interests or “constitutional rights” have been violated. Courts and state laws have overturned laws and regulations that prevent the local “right to decide” on numerous issues protecting people, places and/or the local environment.


  1. Family farms support our amendment. Several Midwestern states (i.e. Nebraska, the Dakotas and others) have seen ballot measures supported by family farmers pass banning non family farm-owned agribusiness only to see those grassroots initiatives overturned by courts who agreed with agribusinesses that the initiatives “discriminated” against them based on the 14th Amendment (which was intended to apply exclusively to freed slaves).


  1. Small businesses support getting big money out of elections. Small business coalitions like the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and others oppose the increasing ability of corporations to spend money in elections since it distorts the political playing field. Many/most small businesses can’t compete with major national or transnational corporations in terms of political campaign contributions and the influence that those contributions produce. Political money spent on elections directly by corporate entities has been affirmed as a form of First Amendment-protected “free speech” right by the Supreme Court. 


  1. Labor unions should be restricted in political spending. Labor unions (a type of corporate entity) spend considerable sums in political elections seeking to influence public officials at the federal, state and local levels. As with political spending by business corporations, such political spending drowns out the political voices of individuals without money and not represented by unions who can’t have their voices heard, needs met and communities helped.


  1. Food safety is an issue. Individuals across the country have never been more concerned about the food they and their families consume. An important element in ensuring safe food is the consumer’s “right to know” the ingredients of food products. Corporate entities have resisted in some instances food labeling, claiming their First Amendment right “not to speak.” Courts agreed. Thus, corporate rights have been deemed superior over individual rights to safe food.


  1. Citizens are speaking out. The nation-wide effort to end all forms of corporate constitutional rights has led to the passage of hundreds of citizen-driven ballot measures and votes in town hall meetings across the country. These have been passed in politically and ideologically diverse communities – based on the realization that corporate entities have abused/misused the U.S. Constitution to hijack democracy/sovereignty/self-determination/the right to decide.


BONUS: The proposed Constitutional Amendment (the We the People Amendment) that would end all forms of corporate personhood of all corporate entities is conservative since it calls for shifting back from the judicial to the legislative arena the power and authority of We the People to define the proper role of corporate entities and money in elections – where originally it once was and was originally meant to be.

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