Nancy Pelosi and some House Dems have proposed the following Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Section 1. We the people who ordain and establish this Constitution intend the rights protected by this Constitution to be the rights of natural persons.
Section 2. People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected state and federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.
Section 3. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, and such other rights of the people, which rights are inalienable.
(N.B. Yes, this proposed Amendment is real.)
Personally, I don't think this will get anywhere. It's fanciful thinking but it will be too impractical to actually implement.
Though I did have a question about Section 3. Conservatives are calling Section 3 a scam (along with the entire Amendment, which I agree with) but here's my question: if Congress did abridge the rights listen in Sec. 3, couldn't suits still be brought against the laws, just like they are today? (an example being Obamacare). After all, such laws that abridge the aforementioned rights would still be violating the Constitution and would therefore be unconstitutional. So what's the hullabaloo about Section 3?
Thoughts on my question and thoughts on the Amendment as a whole?
I think this political tactic depends on a public opinion which is basically hostile to the principles of the Declaration & Constitution & ignorant, too. Breitbart was right about this: first change the culture, then the politics. -- That's how the Progressives did it. That's how the New Left reacted to the massive defeat incurred by McGovern, their favorite: They took over the universities...
Public opinion hostile to the Constitution? You always manage to surprise me.
America has changed a lot. When Americans saw war-time Progressivism, they threw the lot out the first chance they got, & Progressives were shocked at a dozen years in opposition. -- I read something, a reporter once asked Wilson, Is there anything you don't want to change? -- The man said, Nothing that doesn't need changing. -- Reassuring, eh? Apparently, some men of the press were taken aback at the forwardness...
But when FDR brought the Progressives back, & in peacetime, he managed to become a president-for-life, as it were. He was a great politician because he understood that Americans do not hate change & do not share the old-school conservative's pessimism & grumpiness -- far from it, Americans like to be flattered in a democratic way. This is why Democratic patricians, whether Roosevelts or Kennedys or what have you, are never anything but men of the people, whereas fatcat bankers whose only crime seems to be the stupidity of not understanding the consequences of being less wealthy but more ostentatious than said Roosevelts & Kennedys -- well, FDR pioneered that denunciation of the fatcat capitalist. He was no mere populist; he had serious transformations on his mind.
As for the Constitution, it has no life but life in the public opinion, at least politically. It waxes & wanes. In the nineteenth century, only twice did presidents ignore the Constitution in their Inaugural Addresses, both on their second, which is explainable (then again, John Quincy Adams took the occasion - with patented Adams pedantic manners - to explain & theorize on the Constitution).
In the twentieth, rarely ever was it mentioned, & usually in passing. The only FDR mentions, in his latter inaugurals, comprised his fabled criticism of its imperfections - Wilson started that one, too - & his promise to remake American liberties & rights. FDR's admirers urged him on to dictatorship in the press (a no smaller figure than Lipmmann), as if that was no problem - like some Obama admirers farcically have urged in our days (Mrs. Woody Allen, Tom Friedman, &c.). Because Americans hate the name of king, so to speak, but might just live with the fact, if properly concealed.
Let me close before I go on for too long. Americans want to be promised new things & hate to be restrained. All the constitutional changes that have transformed America in the last century have been for more democracy, less Constitution. If you tried today to explain to people the necessity of Constitutional formality & restrictions on popular will - well, you might as well call democracy a suicide pact, like the Founders did. -- I do not pretend to be original here. Tocqueville first said that democracy has great need of forms & despises them greatly. Americans want to get things done, not to have their whims restricted. The Progressive strategy is always to pit the people against the reactionaries (like Truman campaigned - & won - against the 'do-nothing' GOP Congress that finally put America on the path to prosperity).
Heh. You may have beaten your previous record for question-to-answer word count ratio.
I read about this Amendment on NR today, including some annoying comments by some Dem pol, & it hit home. I am wrapping up another too-long period of reading about American politics & political thought. I think I should soon be done. It gets to me. I'll get back to my older haunts & I'll be less inclined to dabble. -- But as for my record, I have done much better, when talking over war & tragedy & the Western. But Armchair Generals, that kind of group, has dried up, testifying to American practicality, no doubt...
No worries. Just yanking your chain.
Hey, I need it more than the next guy-
Give a man enough chain & he will yank it himself...
Except if this guy is the next guy-
Election year posturing.
"Corporate personhood" as a legal concept has been upheld the Supreme Court since the question first came up in the early 19th century. Corporate personhood is what allows regulation, taxation, and legal sanctions to apply to corporations. Corporate personhood is what allows corporations to function as business, religious, or educational entities. And the very first item in the US Code includes corporations in the legal definition of person, unless otherwise specified in law.
What's going on is that the majority of "corporate persons" spending money on political advocacy haven't been spending their cash in support of Democrats.
Works for me, and I'm a thoroughgoing hardcore Libertarian capitalist. Liberty and rights are founded upon INDIVIDUAL humans, not upon collectivist organizations. Corporations are 100% as collectivist as any commune. As for section 3, it's too limited. It should state "Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the rights of natural persons." Listing specific rights only opens the door to government interference in the other rights, even if the 9th Amendment tells them not to do that.
Unfortunately, I agree it will get nowhere. There is no way on earth the Republocrat uniparty will let this pass. Even if Congress were 100% composed of Democrats and every state legislature likewise 100% Democrat, the Democrats (since they are merely the left wing of the Republocrats) will never actually damage the power of their corporation masters. Democrats are owned by corporations every bit as much as Republicans are.
Corporations are founded upon contract. Contracts are binding, but voluntary agreements between several parties who are legally allowed to enter into contracts. It follows with necessity that corporations are at least formally & legally derivative from an understanding of rights as inherent in individuals. You might want to check up on libertarianism again - libertarians worship contract!