Thought Leadership

Do you know the most effective civil rights organization in America?

It’s United States Chamber of Commerce, and it’s breathtaking to see how effective the Chamber has been at expanding corporate civil rights in the past two decades.

 

The first question anyone would ask, or at least anyone who hasn’t been deformed by law school, is this: what the hell? How can a corporation have civil rights?

 

It’s a long story, but it starts with a lie, and the short version is this: the 14th Amendment was passed after the civil war to protect the rights of former slaves, and it covered all human beings: no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” 

 

Soon after, some corporations paid one of the drafters of the amendment to lie. After accepting this bribe, he went on to argue that the word “person” really meant “person or corporation”. 

 

Ever since, courts have been vigilantly protecting corporate civil rights.

 

Today, judges and politicians from both parties tend to go to elite colleges and law schools, to socialize with successful corporate executives, and to have worked at corporate commercial law firms. Somehow these judges and politicians have been convinced that the corporations are the true victims, and the law must rush forth to protect their incredible wealth and vast power. 

 

This shocking expansion of corporate legal power comes at the very time that individual civil rights have been smashed. Corporate executives can’t be prosecuted for fraud, politicians can’t be prosecuted for bribery, corporations can’t be punished sufficiently even for wrongdoing that kills; that kind of punishment is too excessive and so violates the U.S. Constitution. But a life sentence for shoplifting three golf clubs, that’s not excessive, at least according to the Supreme Court. The Constitution does not find that sentence excessive. 

 

Your civil rights, like the right to trial by jury enshrined in the Constitution, are being eviscerated, mostly in the name of protecting the civil rights of corporations. 

 

Does that seem like justice?

 

Does that feel like America?

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