• Corporate Personhood Resolution

Corporate Personhood Resolution – Embedded

Joint Resolution Referred J.R.S. 11.

Joint Senate resolution of the following title was offered, read the first time and is as follows:

By Senators Lyons, Sears, Ashe, Ayer, Baruth, Fox, Giard, MacDonald, McCormack, Miller and Pollina,

J.R.S. 11. Joint resolution urging the United States Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution for the states’ consideration which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions.

Whereas, free and fair elections are essential to American democracy and effective self-governance, and

Whereas, individual persons are rightfully recognized as the human beings who actually vote in elections, and

Whereas, corporations are legal entities that governments create and can exist in perpetuity and simultaneously in many nations, and

Whereas, they do not vote in elections and should not be categorized as persons for purposes related to elections for public office, and

Whereas, corporations are not mentioned in the United States Constitution as adopted, nor have Congress and the states recognized corporations as legal persons in any subsequent federal constitutional amendment, and

Whereas, during the 1885–1886 United States Supreme Court term, in the midst of oral arguments leading to the decision Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394, Chief Justice Waite stated that all the justices agreed that the Fourteenth Amendment’s prohibition on a state denying equal protection to a person applies to a state’s treatment of private corporations, and

Whereas, this brief but extraordinarily significant comment of Chief Justice Waite sanctioned private corporations to sue municipal and state governments for adopting laws that violate a corporation’s rights even when those laws serve to protect and defend the rights of human persons, and

Whereas, the United States Supreme Court has continued to adhere to this legal position in its jurisprudence for over a century, and most recently applied it in its decision Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876, that eliminated many restrictions, including any total prohibition, on corporate spending in the electoral process, and

Whereas, the Court in Citizens has created a new and unequal playing field between human beings and corporations with respect to campaign financing, negating over a century of precedent prohibiting corporate contributions to federal election campaigns dating to the Tillman Act of 1907, and

Whereas, the Citizens decision has forced candidates for political office to divert attention from the interests and needs of their human constituents in order to raise sufficient campaign funds for election, and

Whereas, corporations are not and have never been human beings and therefore are rightfully subservient to human beings and the governments that are their creators, and

Whereas, the profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of human beings, and

Whereas, large corporations have used their so-called rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws passed at the municipal, state, and federal levels aimed at curbing corporate abuse, and

Whereas, these judicial decisions have rendered democratically elected governments ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and local and regional economies, and

Whereas, large corporations own most of America’s mass media and employ those media to loudly express the corporate political agenda and to convince Americans that the primary role of human beings is that of consumers rather than sovereign citizens with democratic rights and responsibilities, and

Whereas, the only way to reverse this intolerable societal reality is to amend the United States Constitution to define persons as human beings and not corporations, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly urges Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution for the states’ consideration which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions,

Full resolution –   http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2012/journal/SJ110121.pdf#page=1

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