Move to Amend 'Citizens United' and Abolish Corporate Personhood


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The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United is here:

Read the opinions, and you will see why Justice Stevens, in his dissent, was compelled to state the obvious:

. . . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

Like to learn more? Here are some good places to begin . . .

~ History of the Corporation ~
~ The Need for Constitutional Reform ~
~ Building a Democracy Movement ~

History of the Corporation

Sourcewatch: Corporate Rights
This special SourceWatch page has links to the real story about the Supreme Court's revolutionary and unconstitutional decision to asserting that federal laws cannot limit corporate "speech."

Abolish Corporate Personhood
This speech, given by Molly Morgan of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, follows the history of corporate power from the American Revolution to the present, detailing the ways in which the powerful elite have used the Constitution, the Courts and the corporation to quash the rights of We the People.

The Democracy Crisis
In this PowerPoint presentation, Riki Ott--a marine biologist and toxicologist from Alaska who fought Exxon for twenty years after the Valdez oil spill--shows that the spill was not just an ecological crisis, but a manifestation of a democracy crisis.

Corporatization: An Internal Clash of Civilizations
The authors write that, "Within the framework of U.S. constitutional law, in which personhood conveys fundamental protections against state action, the dubious doctrine of corporate personhood has allowed corporations to gain constitutional insulation from democratic control of corporate investment in key activities, including electioneering, lobbying, advertising, resource extraction, and manufacturing."

The "Right" to Harm the Environment
Jan Edwards and Alis Valencia use this article to make the connection between corporate personhood and the destruction of the environment, going through the Bill of Rights and citing specific instances in which corporations used these rights to devastate the planet and local

Taking Care of Business
Richard Grossman explains the history of corporate rule, contrasting it with the power of state legislators to control corporations and offering specific stories of states exercising their power to reign in corporate power. Explains the relationship between the Supreme Court and corporate constitutional rights, and explains how to use the state charter power to abolish those rights.

The Essence of the Corporation
Ben Manski follows the legal history of the corporation from the ancient world to the early days of the Republic in order to understand its essence.

The Need for Constitutional Reform

Significant Cases in the Evolution of Corporate "Rights"
Reclaim Democracy has developed an excellent compendium of 20th century federal court decisions that have expanded federal protections for corporations against the public good.

This timeline by Jan Edwards lays out the cases that gave corporations the
rights of persons and compares it to the struggles for rights for actual

Voting Rights Amendment
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., is the lead sponsor of the Right to Vote Amendment, knows that, "In a democracy there is nothing more fundamental than having the right to vote."

Voter Bill of Rights
The Voter Bill of Rights is a document embraced by hundreds of voting rights organizations. It was originally a product of the 2001 Democracy Summer program, following the election debacle of 2000. It was amended for the 2004 No Stolen Elections! campaign, and amended again for the No More Stolen Elections! campaign in 2008.

Why So Many Good State Laws Are "Unconstitutional"
Corporate anthropologist Jane Anne Morris writes that, "Using the commerce clause, the "free trade" mantra of the time, they decided that states could not ban the manufacture, import, and sale of a substance that obviously many states wanted to ban. In other words [the] . . . . Supreme Court acted as a legislature."

Municipal Government and Local Democracy
As provided by CELDF, J. Allen Smith informed us in 1907 that, "The powerful corporate interests engaged in the exploitation of municipal franchises are securely entrenched behind a series of constitutional and legal checks on the majority which makes it extremely difficult for public opinion to exercise any effective control over them."

Why Regulation Alone Won't Work
Regulatory agencies are often controlled by the industries they were formed to regulate. There is even a term for the phenomenon-- "regulatory capture." And a captured regulatory agency that serves the interests of the corporations that are supposed to regulate--with the power of the government behind them-- is very often worse than no regulation whatsoever. Corporate anthropologist Jane Anne Morris describes the history, and suggests what to do about it.

Building a Democracy Movement

Extending Democracy
In this video, Ben Manski, Diane Farsetta and Kevin Alexander Gray join the Progressive Magazine in addressing the challenge of extending democracy in the United States:

How and Why the People of Humboldt County Defended Local Democracy
Katilin Sopoci-Belknap, co-campaign manager the Measure T initiative banning
corporate money in local elections, speaks at a community forum about the
history of corporate power. She describes how corporations seized our First
Amendment right to free speech, equated speech with money and hijacked the
ability of communities to govern and defend themselves against abuse.

SCOTUS: Corporate Purchase of Elections = 'Free Speech'


Freespeech for

"On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations are entitled to spend unlimited funds in our elections. The First Amendment was never intended to protect corporations.

This cannot stand. Join our campaign to protest this decision. Protect our democracy! Free speech is for people — not corporations." is a campaign sponsored by Voter Action (, Public Citizen (, the Center for Corporate Policy (  and American Independent Business Alliance ( to restore the First Amendment's free speech guarantees for the people, and to preserve and promote democracy and self-government.  We are joined by a growing wave of people around the country.

Responses to the  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission  Supreme Court Ruling

Read the Freespeech for  press release responding to the Supreme Court decision issued January 21, 2010.

Read the Freespeech for People constitutional  draft amendment.

Read the Supreme Court ruling.

Listen to press call on Supreme Court decision.

Read background articles  . . . Resources continue @ Read More

Georgia Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to DRE Machines

Source: AJC
Court Upholds Touchscreen Voting

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    10:51 a.m. Monday, September 28, 2009

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld the use of touch-screen voting, rejecting claims the machines violate the right to vote.
GA-DRE In a unanimous ruling, the court turned back a challenge by a group of citizens who filed suit three years ago in Fulton County Superior Court. A judge had previously dismissed the suit, ruling in favor of state officials.

The group claimed their fundamental right to vote is harmed because the recording, counting and retention of their votes, unlike paper ballots, are not being properly protected, which can prevent fraudulent manipulation of the results.

But the state high court, in a ruling written by Justice George Carley, found the use of touchscreen voting systems does not severely restrict the right to vote. 

Download the Court Ruling
photocredit: eyspahn
Georgia's Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling
affirming state's right to use electronic voting machines

VoterGA Response to Today's Ruling

VoterGa Supporters,

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that our current form of un-auditable voting does not infringe upon the fundamental right to vote and to have our vote counted. This ruling essentially gives the state a license to pretend to conduct elections.

Not one of the 100+ million votes that have been cast on the machines since 2002 can be audited for accuracy and correctness of vote recording. Georgia  law in 2001 and 2002 required that any new machines have an independent audit trail of each vote cast.

The state’s own witnesses have acknowledged that the specific type of electronic voting machines we purchased and use do not have such an independent audit trail. The machines can only internally recreate selections that may or may not have been shown to voter. Without an independent audit trail, it is impossible to determine whether the actual ballots cast on Election Day were recorded correctly. Auditable electronic voting machines were available for purchase in 2002 as they are today.

When one or two officials can commit the state of Georgia to a $ 54 million purchase of voting equipment that was illegal at the moment of purchase, there must be some mechanism of accountability. Otherwise, public officials can operate above the law.

In this particular case, the previous boss of former Secretary of State Cox, who signed the purchase agreement, was the lobbyist for Diebold, the voting machine vendor. When the people have no recourse even for a standard trial of evidence , they become slaves to their government rather than the masters of it.

The Georgia Supreme Court also upheld the remarkable lower court decision that no trial is warranted on any count of the 13-count legal suit. The Georgia Supreme Court declined to overturn that lower court decision in spite of 17 disputes of facts cited in lower court conclusions and 41 disputes of facts cited against claims made by the state to Georgia Supreme Court.

Several of these disputes involved claims that were directly contradicted by the evidence in the record and clearly cited. Summary judgment dismissals, such as the one that the Georgia Supreme Court has just upheld, are rare in this type of case because standard procedures for any court in America require the court to hear the evidence in order to determine the facts before reaching a conclusion.

Now that the state has proven not to  be unable to rule against itself on any count, some Constitutional parts of the case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. While offering a more substantive decision than the lower court, the Georgia Supreme Court did not cite U.S. Supreme Court rulings related to ballot counting and recounting to corroborate its decision. All such U.S. Supreme Court rulings confirm that ballot counting and recounting requires strict scrutiny.

On the contrary, the Georgia Supreme Court decided that the state need only have a rational basis for implementing the voting systems. Even so, there is no rational basis for implementing a voting system that violates the law.

--Garland Favorito

P.S. I will send a follow-up e-mail on possible  next steps once we have had time to analyze the decision.

Download the Court Ruling


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