A Note of Respect and Gratitude to Debbie O’Dell Seneca, President Judge Emeritus of the Washington County, PA. Court of Common Pleas, for her Ruling in a Case involving Damages Suffered by Families due to “Fracking” (Extraction of Natural Gas) done by a Corporation:
Please accept my congratulations for your recent courageous ruling that a corporation does not possess Constitutional rights, and for asserting that, if corporations could claim Constitutional rights, then corporations would become a “… legal fabrication superior to the law that created and sustains it”.
I share with many people a deep concern about the struggle that will define the 21st Century – Corporations v. Persons. I have studied and, from time to time, written about this struggle for more than a decade, and a little over two years ago I finally felt impelled to personally dig into the tap root of the problem and closely examine an underlying question: “What, specifically, is in the U.S. Constitution that would allow a Supreme Court Justice to conclude that a corporation legitimately possesses the rights that are defined there as being the rights of a person?” I found an answer that has been overlooked for too long, and to our peril.
One of the two key citations in the Constitution bearing on whether a corporation is a ‘person’ under the Constitution is the 14th Amendment, which contains four sentences employing the word “person[s]” – (the two sentences that constitute section 1, and the opening sentences in each of sections 2 and 3). The 14th Amendment was cited by the Supreme Court in 1886 when it established a powerful and important but highly questionable precedent (opening up a massive reinterpretation of corporate law) by asserting that a corporation is a person.
A single, all-but-forgotten sentence in Article IV section 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides a concise, clear, as yet unused argument that helps us conclusively determine the validity of the legal theory that a corporation possesses, by authority of the U.S. Constitution, any of the rights described there as being the rights of a person. (more…)
Wisconsin has abolished the death penalty longer than any other government in the world. Wisconsin blazed the trail and set the unwavering example that has since inspired the entire so-called civilized world. Wisconsin is no longer alone in that world. Wisconsin is now entirely encircled by states (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Canada) in which the death penalty has also been abandoned. Sixteen states no longer use the death penalty. Membership in the European Union is open only to countries that have abolished capital punishment. Today, 140 countries no longer impose the death penalty. And in December of 2012 the United Nations General Assembly will be voting on an unprecedented resolution to urge the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Where will Wisconsin and the United States of America stand on that resolution?
Have you ever wondered what possessed members of the Supreme Court to determine that a corporation is a “person”, according to the Constitution? Which passages in the U.S. Constitution (including Amendments) could certain Supreme Court Justices have construed to support their determination (in contrast to common understanding and general usage) that a corporation possesses the rights that are explicitly defined for a “person” in the Constitution? Having researched and written about the consequences of this determination several times over the last decade, I became interested and finally compelled to get to this root of the problem. And so I once again studied the Constitution and its Amendments. But this time, I searched in particular for an answer to the question of how in the world anyone can conclude that a corporation possesses the specific Constitutional rights that are described there as belonging to a “person”.
I began by locating and highlighting certain words in the text (such as “corporation”, “company”, “person[s]”, “citizen[s]”, and “people”). Then I studied the context in which those words appear. My search was productive, with results that were startling, informative, and actually simple to comprehend and to share with you.
My ol’ huntin’ partners, Sidney D. Complex and Jesse B. Simple, and I were enjoying a couple beers together this Spring. Jess had just boggled my mind with one of his astute observations on the human condition. So I was trying to appear calm, and in full possession of my faculties while feeling more than usually uncertain and unbalanced.
Sid handled the silence that followed by deftly changing the subject. ‘Know what?’ inquired Sid. ‘The word “Person(s)” appears in the U.S. Constitution 22 times. And that same word pops up 27 times in the Constitutional Amendments (which is more than once per Amendment). I know because I counted. But, the word “corporation(s)” doesn’t appear even once in the U.S. Constitution or in any Amendment. What the hell is all this noise about a corporation being a person? That’s just plain nuts.’
Smart-as-a-whip Jess came right back, without even pausing to take a deep breath or whet his whistle. (more…)
Wisconsin had just became a state, prior to the Civil War, when Joshua Glover was apprehended alone, by an overpowering number of men, and locked up in southeast Wisconsin in 1854, after putting up a terrible and valiant fight, charged with having escaped from slavery in another state. He was bound in irons and held, awaiting an armed federal escort platoon to return him to a cruel fate to be determined at the sole discretion of the “Party” that claimed ownership of him. (more…)
The “Citizens United Inc. v. Federal Elections Commission“ ruling in the first month of 2010 represents “Strike Three” called against the U.S. Supreme Court.
Probably the same sort of person who is not certain what the future holds for her family, or who worries at times about the fine print in whatever health insurance policy currently “covers” them.
There are 3 serious consequences of the huge mistake or betrayal made by “public option” spokespersons, exemplified locally by Wisconsin Citizen Action, and nationally by Move-On, among others, when they declared that the single-payer solution was “off-the-table”. (more…)
In Ozaukee County, Darcy McManus got 44 percent of the votes from the 23 percent of those registered who voted. Therefore, long-time District Attorney Sandy Williams will be the new Branch 3 Circuit Court Judge here. Ozaukee residents might be interested to learn about an earlier but unsuccessful candidate for election to be the Ozaukee/Washington County District Attorney, one Leland Stanford. Name sound familiar? (more…)
A discussion has been proceeding for the last month in the Ozaukee News-Graphic regarding the continuing occupation of Iraq. This column continues that important discussion, and asks that you contribute to it, as well.
AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESSMAN SENSENBRENNER:
There’s a wonderful, little heralded landmark in the rapidly changing surroundings of downtown Grafton, Wisconsin. (more…)
Does your family celebrate Columbus Day? Or did it slip by without notice? Columbus Day is usually noted in school classes (well before college) and after that it is all but forgotten. But the four voyages of Columbus represent an incredibly important “first” in world history, in the history of the Western Hemisphere, and in the USA, that we should not forget.
“Against our traditions, we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war. This republic’s life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It … is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. … Each of you…must speak. … Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t.” – Glances at History – by Mark Twain
To remember and memorialize those thousands of souls murdered in one shocking and horrific crime last September;
To honor those heroes who, to render aid and rescue, courageously entered the maelstrom from which all others were understandably fleeing;
To express deep gratitude for those who fought to prevent the airline in which they flew from being used to kill many more on the ground;
To extend deep sympathy and help to those family and friends who have been left to mourn and wonder why and struggle with grief and rage and their lives so brutally shattered;
To do this with justice, with reverence for all life, with love suffusing our hearts and to do this while defeating terrorism should be our goal.