Judge Says Vermont Law Protecting Human Health over Corporate Rights is Legit


An Associated Press article this week reported that a federal judge will allow to stand for now a Vermont law that could make the state the first in the country to require labeling of genetically modified food, despite opposition by corporate food groups. These groups, representing the likes of Monsanto corporation and other mega food companies, claim the law violated their First Amendment constitutional rights – specifically their claimed right to have broad discretion about what to include (or not include) on their labels. This is not simply the right TO speak, but also the right NOT to speak. Consumer and environmental groups claim the state should have the right to protect their citizens.

The corporate food groups tried to throw out the law before a trial could even start. The decision means there will at least now be a trial.

If history is any guide, Vermont faces an uphill battle since never intended corporate “personhood” constitutional rights have been granted and expanded by activist federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. The 2nd federal circuit court concluded in International Dairy Food v Amestoy in 1996 that a 1994 Vermont las requiring mandatory labeling of milk laced with artificial growth hormones was unconstitutional, as it compelled food corporations to choose speech instead of silence.

Chalk this up as another example of corporate rights trumping the rights of human beings to define laws and regulations protecting human health.

We Only Have 1 Realistic Chance to Amend the Constitution


The Udall Amendment to amend the Constitution to end money as speech doesn’t go far enough.

It’s hard enough to pass any sort of legislation these days, which addresses real problems given the political gridlock and the capture of the political process by corporations and super wealthy individuals. Yet, legislative change is still in a reasonably short amount of time if there’s widespread public support.

Not so with amending our Constitution — which is extremely difficult. It’s only happened 27 previous times in our nation’s history.

Realistically, we only have one lone chance on this issue. The Udall Amendment only addresses one aspect of corporate constitutional rights — as it related to money in elections.

The corporate usurpation of the 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments would continue, as would the corporate perversion of the Commerce and Contract clauses.

The corporate so-called “right” not to speak would also still stand — meaning the recently enacted Vermont law (supported by more than 80% of the public) calling for labeling of products with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could still be struck down as infringing on Monsanto Corporation’s right “not to speak.” The 1996 Vermont law requiring the labeling of products with bovine growth hormones, in fact, was overturned when Monsanto corporation, Dow chemical corporation and others connected to the International Dairy Foods Association won in court using their constitutional first amendment right “not to speak” defense. This is not democratic.

Challenging local communities favoring locally owned businesses over big box stores over 14th Amendment “equal protection rights” would not be affected.  The recent decision granting corporations religious “rights” would also still stand.

In other words, if we’re going to go through all the time, energy and effort to end corporate personhood and money as speech, it might as well in its entirety end corporate personhood and money as speech. Otherwise, the corporate crowd will simply resurrect other untouched constitutional “tools” or “rights” still at their disposal that go back more than a century to trump democratically enacted laws and regulations.

This is why Move to Amend, unlike the Udall Amendment, is calling for an end to all never-intended inalienable constitutional rights for corporations and an end to money being defined as free speech.