hearts and minds

November 19, 2015

The U.S. Constitution Itself Proves that a Corporation is NOT a Person!

This proof was discovered and published in 2011, and was last revised in March, 2017. Each of the five bullet points below contains a specific Constitutional reference and quotation. The arguments which follow the quoted text in each section stand alone, but they all mutually reinforce the contention made in the title of this essay. And the arguments help to give meaning to this question regarding a legal technicality that keeps on crippling and stealing our rights, and keeps on killing us, and is getting worse. In this matter, we the people persist in contending that the emperor and his lackeys are parading – without a stitch of clothing. So if the shoe fits wear it. But if it’s a good tool, put it to good use.

    • Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution begins by directing that the House of Representatives is to be “composed of Members chosen… by the People”. The third paragraph of Section 2 explains how Representatives are to be apportioned among the states. It mandates identifying and counting “Persons” for that purpose. Here are the pertinent first two sentences from the third paragraph of Article I Section 2: The first sentence directs that the “Representatives… shall be apportioned among the several States… according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” The second sentence explicitly mandates that The actual enumeration shall be made… every… ten years… in such Manner as they [the Congress of the United States] shall by Law direct”.
  • The first sentence of paragraph 3 names two categories of Constitutional “Persons” – (a)”free Persons“, and (b)”all other Persons. That sentence mandated that ALL “Persons” be identified, and then counted according to the formula provided, using the clarification and the exception, which are specified in that sentence. The clarification placed persons who were only temporarily “bound to Service for a Term of Years” in the category of “free Persons”. “Indians not taxed” (whatever that might have meant) were the ONLY Constitutional “Persons” whose “Numbers” were to be excepted from this “Enumeration” of surpassing Constitutional importance. Finally, the Constitution required that all other Persons be identified and then counted, applying a factor of 3/5ths to that count. The “all other Persons” category makes clear that an entity that is in neither category is not a “Person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

    The definition of what is and is not a Constitutional “Person” was and remains today critically important, since the Constitution was helping chart a course towards a powerful historical precedent that all persons have inherent rights; that the people are sovereign in their government, which should honor and protect those rights; and to ensure equal representation of all persons.

    The second sentence of paragraph 3 delegated to the U.S. Congress the sole authority and responsibility to “direct”, “by Law”, the “Manner” of “The actual Enumeration” of “Persons”. In complying with that Constitutional directive, Congress identified all women, men, and children who were not chattel slaves as “free Persons”, and counted their “whole Number” as directed (which meant not tallying certain indigenous “Persons”). Additionally, Congress identified all chattel slaves in the United States as being in the “all other Persons” category, and added 3/5ths of that number to the total count, as directed. Note that “slaves” is not the category; “all other Persons” is the category. And we today need to recognize that neither the U.S. Constitution, nor the Congress in executing this mandate, excluded any human being from being identified as a Constitutional “Person” due to age, sex, color, national origin, or property ownership. On the other hand, artificial legal entities such as corporations have never been identified or counted in either category in fulfillment of this defining Constitutional mandate. That dirty work was done by others (including the states) in other times, places, and manners. Bottom line? Every decade, beginning in 1790, the U.S. Congress has consistently and unambiguously, defined and identified a Constitutional “Person” to be a human being that has been born alive, is currently under the jurisdiction of the United States, but has not yet died. That is the Constitutional definition of the word “Person”, which the Congress has consistently applied and used for over two centuries – without objection, it should be noted, from anyone who wrote and/or ratified the Constitution or any of its Amendments.

    The bad news for corporatists, oligarchs, and other enemies of democracy, of course, is that Congress has never identified, much less counted, a corporation (aka a chartered company) as a “Person”, in either category, so (unless a corporation is an “Indian not taxed”) a corporation cannot be a Constitutional “Person”. By the separation of powers doctrine, the President does not have the Constitutional authority to decide what is or is not a “Person”. Neither does the supreme Court! Congress alone was delegated that Constitutional authority. The supreme Court may weigh in regarding the meaning of “equal protection” or “due process”, for example, but it may not legally re-define the Constitutional meaning of the word “person” any more than it may legally impeach anyone, regulate commerce, or command the armed forces. No rational argument that is based on the U.S. Constitution can be made, which contradicts this clear and unambiguous proof. The people and the Congress of the United States cannot allow any party – including the U.S. supreme Court – to usurp the authority and the responsibility, which was delegated to the U.S. Congress by our Constitution, and which has been so clearly, so consistently, and so unambiguously applied by the Congress, ever since the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The Supreme Court may only defend that long standing, never altered, common-sense Constitutional definition of a “Person”it may not change it.

    • Article III Section 2 – defines and limits the authority of the supreme Court. The 2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph of Section 2 states: In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
  • Article III Section 2 establishes that the supreme Court is only “supreme” with respect to any “inferior” courts, not with respect to the U.S. Congress, or the inherent rights and the sovereignty of “We the People”. No additional or explanatory comment will be made here regarding Article III Section 2 other than to remark that the entirety of this Section should be read to provide context to this quotation, and to remark that this reference is separate from the other four items of proof, none of which depend on this item.

    • The third sentence of Article IV Section 2 states: “No Person held to Service or Labor in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labor, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labor may be due.”
  • This is the horrendous sentence which authorized the notorious Fugitive Slave Laws! It is both unique and directly relevant that this one clear Constitutional sentence uses both the word “Person” and the word “Party” in the same sentence. That fact can help to clarify the Constitutional definitions of those two words. They are not synonyms. The word Person in this sentence refers to a human being who is presumed to be an escaped slave. By the way, this sentence confirms [as does Art I Sect 2 (see above), and the first sentence of Art I Sect 9] that a slave was, without any doubt, a “Person” in the precise meaning of the U.S. Constitution. But various institutions, estates, and chartered companies, including entire colonies owned a huge percentage of all slaves in America, so the word Person could not be used to describe or encompass all slave owners. Therefore the Founders carefully and accurately used the word Party here – it’s also used elsewhere in the Constitution, to refer to and include various artificial legal entities – regrettably to make clear that ALL slave owners, whether they be corporations (artificial legal entities) or persons (living human beings), could insist that those Persons who the self-described slave-owning Party alleged had escaped from slavery into a ‘free’ state, could legally be summarily apprehended and returned to slavery, with no hearing or appeal. Wealthy entities directly profiting from the human misery and the inhumane tragedy of slavery and the slave trade, greedily insisted that this particularly cruel sentence be included in our nation’s founding document. It is poetic justice that this sentence now buttresses our unassailable argument that the legitimate Constitutional definition of the word “Person” NEVER has included artificial legal entities of any kind. Such an entity is a “Party” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

    • The 14th Amendment was one of three amendments (13th, 14th, and 15th) which were ratified following the Civil War to abolish slavery and require that basic human and civil rights be upheld and not violated. The first three sentences of the 14th Amendment state: “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”
  • The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery; not ‘just’ the enslavement of people of color. The 14th Amendment defines (for the first time) citizenship in the United States; it establishes (for the first time) that certain basic human rights and the civil rights of individuals trump the state’s rights; and it prohibits any state from denying due process and the equal protection of the law to any “person”. Every person’s Constitutional rights are thus explicitly increased and protected by those two amendments, not ‘just’ the rights of so=called ‘minorities’.

    The 13th and 14th Amendments were, and remain today, extremely important in constitutionally strengthening the human rights of all persons. It is very important that ALL people understand what those amendments actually do for ALL of us. Neither Amendment mentions race, color, or sex. But, in fact, it is particularly advantageous for people of color that the 13th and the 14th Amendments cover everybody.

    , despite the fact that they do not even mention race or color. Paradoxically, it is very fortunate for everybody, including people of color, that the 13th and the 14th Amendments do not mention race or color. One really important advantage of these two amendments not even mentioning national origin, color, or sex is that they are less vulnerable to racist attack and ‘divide-and-conquer’ undermining, since the basic human rights of every human being are strengthened and protected by these two amendments – not ‘just’ the rights of those who had been slaves in the United States, and their descendants. Any “Party” that tries to undermine, weaken, compromise, or nullify the 13th or the 14th Amendments, is directly attacking the basic rights of every single person in the USA. Any person who thinks that the 13th and 14th Amendments provide ‘special rights’ that only benefit so-called ‘minorities’ or other marginalized people is a badly misinformed victim of lying propaganda. Just read the first sentence in the 13th Amendment, and then read the first two sentences of the 14th Amendment. Those 113 words assert, increase and protect your Constitutional rights, no matter who you are. The 13th and 14th Amendments benefit and protect the rights of every single person in America, now and into the future. It’s true that those Amendments were motivated by the movement to Constitutionally abolish slavery, and to establish equal rights for all following the defeat of the Confederacy, but the Amendments themselves do not restrict their protections only to persons who had been slaves and their descendants. The rights of ALL persons, in ALL states, regardless of color or sex, were substantially extended and asserted by those two Amendments.

    Tragically, the Constitutional human rights that were established by all three Amendments were notoriously ignored, violated, and blatantly denied for many generations. Just because the Constitution asserts that you have rights does not mean that someone or something won’t try to violate those rights, or that the government will automatically protect those rights. And the 14th was also turned upside down by very powerful charlatans to fraudulently usurp for corporations the Constitutional rights of a person, while outrageously and even simultaneously allowing the continued denial of the right to vote, and other basic human and civil rights, both to women and to persons of color, despite the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. However, the truth is that the first three sentences of the 14th Amendment, together with subsequent actions of Congress regarding apportionment, seal the airtight proof that a corporation is NOT a Constitutional “person”. The third sentence of the 14th Amendment altered neither the authority of Congress, nor the Constitutional definition of the word “Person” as Congress had consistently applied it under Article I Section 2 (see above). The 14th merely removed the distinction between “free Persons” and “all other Persons”, and mandated Congress to identify and count “… the whole number of persons in each State…”, (continuing to omit only the counting of certain “persons” identified as “Indians not taxed”). And for the following 150 years, including the most recent Census, the Congress has continued to comply with its Constitutional mandate, using precisely the same definition of the Constitutional word “person” that it had used during the eighty preceding years between the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

    • The definition of the word “person”, appearing in each of the first three consecutive sentences of the 14th Amendment – indeed, the meaning anywhere in the Constitution of any such word of surpassing importance – cannot reasonably be supposed to change, willy nilly, without warning or explicit re-definition by Constitutional Amendment, from one clause, sentence or Article to the next.
  • – Not unless we the people concede that the Constitution itself is indeterminate, and we willingly surrender our inherent rights as well as our government as up for grabs – with mega-corporations and their huge resources having an overwhelming, decisive advantage over us mere mortals. Since 1788, the Congress has been mandated by the ratified Constitution to “direct” the “manner” of identifying and counting “persons”. And the entirely consistent, unambiguous history of those enumerations, throughout every one of the 22 following decades, has established beyond question the long-standing, precise Constitutional definition of the word “person”. That definition applies in all 58 places where the words “person(s)” or “people” appear in the U.S. Constitution. It provides proof without a shred of rational doubt that a corporation is NOT a Constitutional “person”, and does NOT legitimately possess the Constitutional rights of a “person”.

    ~ [Note: In this narration I have not examined prior court rulings. But in a matter of this significance, what the Constitution itself so clearly establishes must overrule any succeeding contradictory case law – especially so if the record of relevant rulings is itself contradictory, strongly contested, weak, severely flawed, and tainted. It is best to have a complete, accurate copy of the Constitution before you when considering this proof based entirely on the Constitution itself, so that you can see for yourself the context of these sentences, as well as verify that the quotations provided here are accurate, and also to satisfy yourself that there are no sentences in the Constitution, which would tend to contradict the Constitutional meaning of the word person that is so straightforwardly and solidly established by these sentences, and by the U.S. Congress in complying with its Constitutionally delegated authority.]

    I believe that it is urgent and necessary to end corporate rule and legalize democracy (by establishing that corporations do not legitimately have the Constitutional status or rights of a person) in order to protect our rights and our sovereignty, to defend the ability of this planet to continue to sustain life as we know it, and to be able to establish and live in peace, justice, and liberty, with equal rights for all. Even if ending corporate rule might not be essential to protect our planet, the life that depends upon it, and our inherent rights; those struggles now merge and strengthen each other. One struggle should not be considered more important than the other.

    Ref: The Universal Invasive Species is Bound for Planet “B”

    If you like, use these tweets, which summarize the proof that a corporation is not a Constitutional “person”:

    Congress alone was delegated authority to define the word “Person”
    in conformity with the Constitution as mandated by Art 1 Sec 2 para 3

    a Constitutional “person” is a human being that is born but not dead.
    SCOTUS is not authorized to change that definition. Art I Sec 2 para 3

    Since 1790 a corporation is NOT a Constitutional “person”.
    See Art I Sec 2 para 3; Art IV Sec 2 para 3; and 14th Amendment first 3 sentences


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    6. Clyde –
      Very nice meeting you at the Rivoli this evening. I’ve read a fair amount of your writings on the issue of “Corporate Personhood” which is a topic I have had some interest in. I note that one of your assumptions as to why a Corporation is not a person is contained in the following “The bad news for corporatists, oligarchs, and other enemies of democracy, of course, is that Congress has never identified, much less counted, a corporation (aka a chartered company) as a “Person”, in either category, so (unless a corporation is an “Indian not taxed”) a corporation cannot be a Constitutional “Person”.” Your argument does not seem to account for the “Dictionary Act” of 1871 in which Chapter LXXI Section 2 states that “And be it further enacted…and the word “person” may extend and be applied to bodies politic and corporate…” I would also like to point you to an interesting article in the Fall 2015 edition of National Affairs entitled “Are Corporations People” in which he delineates the historical development of the concept. Your thoughts?

      Comment by Jerry Smith — December 8, 2017 @ 1:44 am | Reply

      • Hi Jerry
        Thank you for informing me about “the Dictionary Act of 1871”, and an edition of “National Affairs” published in 2015. I am disappointed that you did not make your case (rebutting my argument, which appears to be your intention) at all explicit, but instead left that work for me to do, as a sort of homework assignment, I suppose. I regret that I am unable at the moment to study those two items to which you referred me, and extract and analyze for you their relevance, their accuracy, their motivations, and their degree of importance to the subject at hand. And so, I shall pose to you the concluding question which you tossed my way. What, may I ask, are “your thoughts”?

        Comment by Hearts & Minds — March 26, 2018 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

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