J.R.S. 11. Amend the United States Constitution: Corporations are Not Persons Under the Law

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Updated Dec. 9, 2011 – Back in January Vermont state senator Virginia Lyons introduced J.R.S. 11 an anti-corporate personhood resolution, which was the first of its kind in the nation. Now Bernie Sanders has just introduced a similar resolution, both are purposing to amend the constitution. Here is Bernie’s more recent one that is getting a lot of attention on the net (link) -sign the petition to over turn Corporate Personhood (video of Bernie).

Personally I feel The original one is a little more thorough. I’m not sure why Senator Sanders wrote another one, maybe it has a better chance of passing because he gives it a 7 year gap to be implemented, once it has passed. (I posted an answer from a fellow Vermont Blogger in the comments section – follow the link to read his blog)

Here is my original post from back in April on Senator Virginia Lyons resolution, which was just an Excerpt From:  J.R.S. 11.  – To amend the United States Constitution: 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,…

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,…

Whereas, the Court in Citizens has created a new and unequal playing field between human beings and corporations with respect to campaign financing,…

Whereas, the Citizens decision has forced candidates for political office to divert attention from the interests and needs of their human constituents…

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

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

Full Resolution – Amendment J.R.S. 11

Here is an article from Moral Low Ground published back in Jan. when JRS 11 first came out (link)

One thought on “J.R.S. 11. Amend the United States Constitution: Corporations are Not Persons Under the Law

  1. When I asked Robert Riversong, a fellow Vermont blogger, what the difference was between the two resolutions, this is what he answered:

    J.R.S. 11 is a bill in the Vermont legislature, specifically a “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.”

    That bill is in committee, but before it was even brought to the the floor of the Statehouse for consideration, Bernie fulfilled its mandate by introducing a Joint Resolution in Congress “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution of the United States, prohibit corporate spending in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures.”

    Recent Constitutional amendment bills, such as the 1972 ERA, have included a 7-year deadline for state ratification. That doesn’t mean it must take seven years, but it cannot take any longer.

    The process for introducing and ratifying a constitutional amendment was deliberately made by the Framers to jump a high hurdle so that our founding document would not be frivolously altered. Either 2/3 of State legislatures or a 2/3 vote in each house of Congress are required, as well as 3/4 of the states, either through their legislatures or by state convention (as determined by Congress).

    Sanders took the lead on offering precisely the kind of amendment proposal that David Cobb and others are advocating: one that both eliminates Corporate Personhood and outlaws corporate contributions to electoral campaigns. But Bernie took it down a finer path: his proposal specifically prohibits only for-profit corporations from the political process, leaving labor unions and legitimate non-profits (as voices of the people) within the political realm.

    Read his Blog on this topic here – http://transitionvermont.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-people-s-rights-amendment

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