October 21, 2020
Greg Coleridge | Outreach Director, National Move to Amend Coalition
Happy Democracy Day!
We wouldn’t be here this afternoon if not for the tireless efforts of Toledo and other nearby residents to place the issue of ending big money in politics and corporate rule on the ballot and to create this annual public hearing — as well as for Toledo voters to pass this initiative.
Much of today’s testimony focuses on the many harms of the legalization of big money spent/invested in elections by the super rich and corporate entities claiming First Amendment free speech rights to spend or invest money in elections. This includes harms to authentic self governance and to our environment here in Ohio from the legalized bribery, if not actual bribery, of those connected to First Energy corporation, if not the polluting corporation itself, in influencing public policy away from renewable energy to bailing out their polluting and dangerous fossil fuel and nuclear plants.
But we should not ignore other disasters to people, communities and the planet caused by other court-invented constitutonal rights of corporations, which must be included when we talk about ending all corporate constitutional rights.
A few examples
States that have tried to compel the listing of bovine growth hormones on products or list certain chemicals that they feel are cancer causing have been rejected by courts as violations of corporate First Amendment rights “not to speak.”
Public regulatory agencies which have tried to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers, consumers and the environment through inspections of corporate factories and other facilities have been rejected by courts as violations of corporate Fourth Amendment “search and seizure” rights.
Public regulatory agencies that have passed laws protecting the public from corporate mining and other plundering of the land without compensation have been rejected by courts as violations of corporate Fifth Amendment “takings” rights.
Just as a reminder, the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are part of the Bill of Rights — meant to apply exclusively to human persons. Corporations aren’t mentioned in the Constitution.
Finally, among others, are efforts by local communities which value local businesses. Communities and states that have tried to give preferential treatment to local businesses over chain stores have been overruled by courts as violations of corporate Fourteenth Amendment “equal protection” rights — as discriminatory. You may recall that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to apply exclusively to freed black slaves.
These examples merely summarize the breadth and depth of the corporate hijacking of authentic self-governance for more than a century — way beyond, way beyond mere corporate political First Amendment free speech rights.
I invite you to learn more about the full extent of corporate constitutional rights at https://www.movetoamend.org/corporate-constitutional-rights
That’s why enacting the We the People Amendment (HJR 48), co-sponsored by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, is so important. It would end both the constitutional doctrines that money spent in elections is free speech and that corporate entities possess unalienable constitutional rights.
I invite Toledo Councilpersons to encourage colleagues in other communities, at the very least, to pass a resolution calling on Congress to enact the We the People Amendment to join the 680 other communities, including 25 in Ohio, that have already taken action, if not to place a measure directly on the ballot for local voter consideration.
Once again, Happy Democracy Day.