Sunday, January 24, 2010

Constitutional right doesn't apply here

Original Link:

By Matt Davis

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling that essentially changes the Constitution. In its 5-4 decision, it was stated that limiting corporate election contributions was unconstitutional due to the First Amendment, which prohibits "abridging the freedom of speech." While this amendment talks about the rights of citizens of our nation, the Supreme Court, in its ruling, declared that corporations are in essence "people," with all the rights afforded by our founding fathers and two centuries of nationally ratified changes to the Constitution.

What does this mean? It means that corporations, with financial reserves and power far eclipsing any grassroots movement (either progressive or conservative), are now free to influence the laws governing our nation. It means that corporations, many of which are primarily controlled by foreign entities, are now considered "citizens" as far as lobbying and campaign contributions are concerned.

What does this mean for us? In 2009, the top 10 corporations were comprised of eight oil companies, an international bank and Wal-Mart. These 10 corporations have more political influence, through contributions, than all the actual citizens of our nation combined.

Regardless of your political affiliation, this is clearly wrong. The law that was in question was the McCain-Feingold Act, probably the most bipartisan legislation ever passed, severely limiting corporate finance contributions. Throughout our Constitution and its amendments, many rights are given solely to "people" or "citizens." These include the right to bear arms, vote and become a presidential candidate. Declaring that corporations have the same rights, even if starting only with the First Amendment, is ludicrous. I urge all citizens, left, right, apolitical or otherwise to immediately, clearly and forcefully petition Congress, or in event of that failing, amend our Constitution to ensure "corporations" are not granted the same rights as "citizens" or "people."

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