Corporations Are Not People

We support a constitutional amendment making it clear that corporations are not people, do not enjoy the same rights as people, and can (and should) be prohibited from using corporate funds for political purposes, especially for political advertising designed to influence elections.

Legislation that has been introduced in Congress:

Resolutions calling for a “Corporations are not People Amendment” to the Constitution of the United States have been introduced in both the Senate [S. J. Res 20] and the House [H. J. Res 48].

Major party platforms on this issue:

The Democratic Party platform:

“Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo.”

“We believe that we must protect Americans’ right to vote, while stopping corporations’ outsized influence in elections.”

The Republican Party platform makes no reference to this issue.

Polling on this issue:

• When asked about solutions, voters overwhelmingly support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and increased disclosure requirements.

• Seventy-five percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Citizens United decision.

• When asked who a voter would support in a hypothetical match up of a Democratic candidate who opposed Citizens United versus a Republican candidate who supports Citizens United, voters prefer the Democratic candidate by a two-to-one margin. Among Independent voters, the margin is three-to-one.

From a nationwide telephone poll released 2/1/2018.

A Gallup poll from 2017 found that 73 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Rationale

Although five Supreme Court justices, ruling in the Citizens United case, decided that corporations are “people” and are entitled to the same rights as people, four other Supreme Court justices and nearly three-fourths of voters disagree. The primary function of the Supreme Court is to determine the meaning of the U. S. Constitution. The word “corporation” does not appear anywhere that document.

Corporations are a form of business organization. They enjoy several distinct advantages over mere mortals: unlimited life, limited liability, and the ability to raise unlimited amounts of money. Multi-national corporations dominate the global economy. And their domination is growing as they merge and grow and drive smaller businesses out of business. In the wake of the misguided Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, their influence within and over our federal government and state governments has grown exponentially.

Several national organizations are working to get an amendment added to the Constitution of the United States making it clear that the rights of natural persons do not apply to corporations.  This is, and must remain, our ultimate goal.  Amending the U. S.Constitution requires the support of two-thirds of the members of both houses of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures.  Winning enough elections to make that happen will be a big challenge. We must rise to meet that challenge. We must prove that Citizens United is no match for a united citizenry.