Who's Rights?

YES! Magazine - Yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission-giving corporations the ability to spend money directly to influence federal elections under the Constitution's First Amendment-was inevitable. It represents a logical expansion of corporate constitutional "rights"-which include the rights of persons which have been judicially conferred upon corporations. "Personhood" rights mean that corporations possess First Amendment rights to free speech, along with a litany of other rights that are secured to persons under the federal Bill of Rights.

The expansion of corporate rights and privileges under the law has been deliberate, beginning nearly two hundred years ago with the Dartmouth decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that private corporations had rights that municipal corporations-governments composed of "we the people"-did not.

For the past two centuries, new court decisions have only expanded corporate rights and privileges. For those who think that the way to stem this tide is to find the perfect lawsuit, stop looking. It doesn't exist, for there is no magic bullet.

Rather, in order to reverse decisions like Citizens United, the whole concept of corporate "rights"-and the way they interfere with the exercise of rights by people, communities, and nature-must be examined. And, it's not simply that corporations have "personhood" rights. It goes well beyond that. Read more.


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