[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 62, Issue 22
christina.spiesel at yale.edu
Mon Jan 25 04:32:25 EST 2010
Maybe the solution is to demand that corporations that engage in fraud
or other misbehavior have to cease operations for a period equivalent
to sentencing imprisonment for persons and that if they kill, they are
subject to a "death penalty" of dismantlement?
John Haber wrote:
> I must say I'm a little appalled at the idea that the problem is the
> 14th amendment itself and, in particular, that it must be challenged
> because it's inherently unfair to single out former slaves, whereas a
> better legal framework would guarantee protection for all. There's a
> lot wrong here.
> First, the 14th amendment already does say plain and simply that all
> persons deserve equal rights under the law. Its only mention of slavery
> is in the last clause, to state that we didn't have to reimburse former
> slave owners. It's the 13th amendment, freeing the slaves, and the
> 15th, giving them the vote, that mention "race, color, or previous
> condition of servitude," and I trust we don't wish to rescind those.
> Second, what if it had specifically addressed the rights of African
> Americans? It's disgusting to think that there's anything wrong with
> that. It sounds like the right wingers complaining that whites are
> suffering from civil rights. In fact, it sounds like the position of
> the faction of the court that reached this awful decision.
> Third, one could, I suppose, argue that the amendment could have been
> phrased differently to make clear that persons were, well, people. The
> trouble is that the current interpretation is so ludicrous that no one
> would ever have thought of that before.
> Now, it's not easy to explain how the idea of corporations as persons
> under the 14th amendment came to be, along with the second plank, of
> money as speech. It would not have occurred to a nation after the Civil
> War, when corporations were relatively rare, less powerful, and often
> nonprofit. It would seem to be denied by the text of the amendment
> itself, which starts with the phrase "born or naturalized," thus, at
> least to me, implying that "persons" are going to be life forms.
> It's a long history, and I'm not really qualified to tell it, so I'll
> let you look it up. It started with a mere aside or note in a decision
> largely unrelated to the point from a conservative court. Even then, it
> only slowly attained much value as precedent. It certainly didn't imply
> all this till this week. I recommend Stevens's dissent, in fact, where
> he starts right in by pointing out that, whatever value we agree to give
> to corporate rights as persons, they're not the same as human rights
> since, for example, corporations can't vote or hold office (his
> examples). Then he notes the 100 years of precedent that this decision
> Anyhow, we could blame the American legal system, but I suggest we start
> blaming the Republicans. I know it's hard for us liberals to organize
> rather than mourn (or backbite). I sure felt that this week, with the
> reaction to the Massachusetts election and the readiness to blame those
> who actually supported a more liberal health-care bill rather than scum
> like Nelson, Landrieu, Snowe and the fiercer rest of her party, and the
> media network putting out their lies. But consider it. Had Bush not
> got a second term, with Alito and Roberts appointed to the court, this
> decision would not have happened, and indeed no one would ever have
> dreamed it would happen.
> To put it another way, perhaps more relevant to Empyre, this isn't about
> legal or critical theory. It's about politics and power, and the bad
> guys won.
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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