26 May 2003

Where does it say Corporation in the Constituiton?

Unsurprising, the Arizona Republic today chimes in on the Nike "free speech" Supreme Court case, siding with Nike (a large corporation just like Gannett, parent company of the AZ Republic) in arguing that commercial speech and corporations, an artificial non human entity, should be afforded the same rights as people. Playing the corporate shill, the editorial spins this issue about Nike's right to "defend itself" instead of what the gist of the case is - the sanctioning of a corporation to supercede consumer protection laws that require them to truthfully disclose how products are made.

In the past, the Supreme Court has extended all manner of constitutional protections to corporations. This despite the fact that the Constitution nowhere mentions the word "corporation." In an astounding act of legal prestidigitation, the Justices simply decreed that corporations are "persons" and thus entitled to all the safeguards of living, breathing humans. There has never been such a breathtaking fiction in American law since the legal system justified slavery in the nineteenth century by employing the myth that persons are property. For the Supreme Court to rule that property - i.e. corporations - are persons is equally extraordinary.

The true agenda of Nike and the legions of corporations supporting its Supreme Court case is to use the Constitution, especially the First Amendment, to subvert any attempts by the people and government to control corporate behavior. Corporate lawyers have already argued that the securities laws - the ones that require companies to report numbers truthfully to investors - also violate corporate First Amendment rights. Could there be a worse time in American history to argue that the Constitution protects corporations' ability to deceive workers, investors and consumers?

Sorry, but constitutionally protected human rights should be reserved for human beings -- and not the legal phantoms we call corporations...

More rights for corporations? How about more rights for human beings instead?
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