hearts and minds

February 7, 2019

Why a Corporation cannot be a “Person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution

[This proof was discovered in 2011. The narration of the proof * was revised here in February 2019.]

The Constitution starts with “We the People… establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  Then the first sentence of Article I Section 2 and the first sentence of the 17th Amendment state that Representatives and Senators shall be “chosen” and “elected” “by the People” of “each state”.  Those sentences – which include the only two sentences in all seven original Articles of the Constitution where the word “People” is used – establish the revolutionary principle that this shall be a government that is by and for “the People”.  The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were truly pioneering, establishing “the people” as the sovereign power in government.  The word “person[s]”, however, appears 49 times in the Constitution, as amended.  “Persons” would no longer be serfs, with lives subject to the whims of an aristocracy, but were “created equal … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”, struggling to establish a new type of government intended “to secure these rights”. The Constitutional meaning of the word “person” (and its plural form “people”) is critical to us, since the Constitution lists extremely important rights that belong to us.

The first two sentences of the third paragraph of Article I Section 2 delegate to the Congress of the United States the authority to identify and then enumerate (as per a formula) all “Persons… in such Manner as they shall, by Law direct”.  Thus what is and what is not a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, depends on two things: (a) ‘How does the Constitution itself use the word “person”?’ and (b) ‘How has the Congress defined a “person”, in exercising its authority outlined in paragraph 3 of Article I Section 2?’
(a) The Constitution identifies “Indians”, “Persons” migrating or imported to “any of the States”, and “Persons held to Service or Labour” – also “citizens”, “free Persons” and “all other Persons” – as “persons” in the meaning of the Constitution [See Art I Sec 2, the 1st sentence of Art I Sec 9, the 3rd sentence of Art IV Sec 2, and the 14th Amendment]. The Constitution does not state or imply, anywhere, that an artificial legal entity is a “person”, nor does it declare in so many words that such entities are not Constitutional “persons”.  Is that a loophole big enough to drive a corporation through, citing something allegedly pertinent emanating from the Roman Empire or English common law?  It is not!  Article I Section 2 explicitly delegates to Congress the authority and the responsibility to identify all Constitutional “persons”, and the Congress has exercised that authority with commendable consistency each decade since 1787, through the 21st century.
(b) The U.S. Congress, in undertaking its very first Constitutional responsibility, has consistently identified all women, people of color (including indigenous people and slaves), wealthy white men, and others, as Constitutional “persons”.  That being said, the Constitution names one and only one category of “person” which is not to be counted in the “number of persons in each state” for purposes of representation in Congress.  That category is “Indians not taxed”. Thus, anything that is a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, with the sole exception of “Indians not taxed”, must be included in the enumeration that is mandated every ten years by Article I Section 2.  But the Congress has never included corporations in that count. So, unless it is an “Indian not taxed”, a corporation cannot be a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
[This passing mention in the U.S. Constitution of the indigenous people who suffered centuries of disinheritance, oppression and genocide, helps provide us with the answer to the question posed in the title of this essay, and the needed proof.  The persistent denial of Constitutional rights to entire categories of “persons” has been a terrible injustice of historic proportions. Asserting (correctly) that the Constitutional rights of certain categories of “persons” have been systematically violated for many generations is very different from saying (incorrectly) that the Constitution did not ascribe any rights to those “persons”, or that the Constitution did not even recognize them to be “persons”.]

Persistent efforts have been made to stuff corporations into the Constitutional meaning of the word “person”.  But corporations should instead be seen in the context of a Constitutional category that does actually fit them and apply to them.
(a) It is so helpful that the 3rd sentence of Article IV Section 2 uses both the word “Person” and the word “Party”.  It refers to a “Person held to Service or Labour”, and to “the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due”.  A Constitutional “party” [See Article I Section 3, Article III Section 2, Article IV Section 2, and the 13th Amendment] is a legal entity, one which can enter into contracts, can be held responsible for a crime, and/or can appear in court.  A legal entity (a “party”) can be either a “person” or an artificial legal entity.  A chartered company (aka a corporation) is an artificial legal entity. Chartered companies (corporations), as well as individual human beings, “held” many “persons … to Service or Labour”, and those “parties” demanded that the Constitution ensure that a “person” who had allegedly escaped to another state and who they claimed owed them “Service or Labour” be “delivered up” to them with no delay.  The words “person” and “party” are used consistently throughout the Constitution. They are not synonymous and they are not interchangeable.  If the placement of the words “Person” and “Party” were reversed in that sentence, a court could allow a corporation to be summarily “delivered up on Claim of” a ‘mere’ human being; and a court could rule against “delivering up” an alleged escaped slave to a chartered company.  It is ironic poetic justice that the avarice of slavery, made evident in this sentence, further confirms for us all today that the Constitutional word “person” does not include corporations, or any other artificial legal entity.
(b) Hypothetically, corporations might have been Constitutional “persons” if Congress had identified and counted them as such in complying with Article I Section 2, and Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.  But Congress has never done that through 23 consecutive enumerations every ten years.  Finally, there is no contradiction between (a) the use of the word “person” throughout the Constitution, and (b) the working definition of “person”, used consistently by Congress in complying with Art I Sec 2 and the 14th Amendment.  Since 1787, a Constitutional “person” has been nothing more and nothing less than a human being that was born alive, has not yet died, and is within the jurisdiction of the United States.  Transforming a corporation into a Constitutional “person” tears the heart out of the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution.

The first sentence of Section 2 of the 14th Amendment revised the formula provided in Article I Sec 2, but it did NOT change the Constitutional meaning of the word “Person”.  It simply replaced the two previous categories (i.e. “free Persons” and “all other Persons”) with one all-inclusive category (i.e. “persons”) – and it tended to equalize the tallying of those “persons”.  Also, the 14th Amendment in no way changed the exclusive responsibility of Congress to identify (and count) all “Persons”.  The word “person(s)” appears four times in the first three sentences of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868.  The Constitutional meaning of such an important foundational word cannot change on a whim from one clause, or one sentence, or one Article, to another, in the Constitution.  But that is what corporatist judges have claimed when enabling corporations to usurp the Constitutional rights of a “person”.  A “person” who is so identified (a) by the Constitution, and/or (b) by the Congress in complying with its Constitutional mandate to identify and count “persons”, is the same “person” who is promised the Bill of Rights and the “equal protection” clause immediately preceding the 1st sentence of Sec. 2 of the 14th Amendment.  In the U.S. Constitution, a “person” is a “person” is a “person”, whether it’s 1790, 1857, the 1880’s, 1946, or today.

The U.S. Constitution has always delegated to the U.S. Congress the sole authority to “by law direct … the actual Enumeration” of “Persons”, so neither the President nor the supreme Court may legally change the long accepted, eminently sensible Constitutional meaning of the word “person”, which has been in place since the very first Census and apportionment.  Indeed, they are sworn to uphold it!  Moreover, and despite a widespread false narrative, the supreme Court has never published an official Opinion of the Court which carefully examined the Constitution itself on this extremely important question of Constitutional law.  Instead, the supreme Court has usurped Congressional authority and summarily changed the Constitution, in stark violation of Article I Section 2 and Article V, by abusing the process known as ‘establishing legal precedence’.  In this case, that process has been a blatant traceable obvious fraud, involving gross impeachable violations of the oath of office.  That is how corporate power has taken illicit possession of the Constitutional status and the rights of the people.  Corporations (which are actually “parties” chartered by and acting under the authority of the government) have also been illegally allowed and encouraged to violate the unalienable Constitutional rights of “the people”.  And corporations have even grasped for their own purposes the Constitutional prerogatives and reins of government. This is not a trivial or esoteric problem of semantics.  It has insidious and escalating adverse effects on everything that everyday people know, need and love, including one another, Nature, and the ability of our planet to continue to sustain life as we know it.  When members of the supreme Court (and other officials and corporate sycophants) maneuvered to magically transform corporations into Constitutional “persons”, they have been engaged in diminishing and subverting the essential principle of the American Revolution and our Constitution, resulting in the destruction of government that is by and for the people, replacing it with an illegitimate corporate rule.

* [Note: All text in the essay above which is in italics and is contained between quotation marks is text that is copied verbatim from the U.S. Constitution.  It is recommended that you have a copy of the Constitution available for reference while reading this essay.  The introductory paragraph explains why the subject of this essay is so very important to all of us, to the future, and to succeeding generations.  Each of the next three paragraphs (which precede the concluding paragraph) is a narration of the proof, based upon five sentences in three different Articles of the Constitution, that a corporation cannot be a “person” in the meaning of the Constitution.  In each of those three paragraphs, the identification of those sentences in Article I, Article IV, and the 14th Amendment is highlighted in bold-face type.  Also, in each of those three paragraphs of this essay, the letters (a) and (b) indicate a portion of the proof that is based upon either (a) the text of the Constitution itself, or (b) the authority explicitly delegated to the U.S. Congress by the U.S. Constitution.  Note that this essay is a brief but careful examination of the proof based entirely on the text of the Constitution itself.  This essay does not address (except with a simple, direct assertion in the concluding paragraph) the question of case law – that is, how the U.S. supreme Court illicitly established the directly contradictory legal precedent that a corporation supposedly ‘DOES’ have the Constitutional rights of a “person”.  That’s another essay, and I did that research and wrote about it some four years ago.  Neither we the people, nor our legislative representatives, can allow a supreme Court ‘precedent’ to remain standing, which usurps an important responsibility conferred by the Constitution upon the Congress, and is also fraudulent, unjustified, and directly contradicts the U.S. Constitution.  ‘Justice’ Stephen Field is the initial and prime culprit.  He holds the smoking gun, and authored at least two criminally fraudulent official Deciding Opinions in the 1880’s, leaving his personal fingerprints on the initial supreme Court fraud.  But subsequent ‘Justices’ who have knowingly upheld and even extended his initial fraud are guilty of complicity in his crime.  If you want the truth, be careful to read the official published Opinions of the Court – not any summaries or explanations by others.]

“The Constitution may be right [while] the Government is wrong… No Court, no Congress, no President, can add [or take out] a single word [of] The American Constitution. It…can only be altered [or] amended…by the people [per Article V]… Only the text [itself]…and not any commentaries or creeds written by those who wished to give the text a meaning apart from its plain reading, was adopted as the Constitution of the United States. It should also be borne in mind that the intentions of those who framed the Constitution …are respected only so far as we find those intentions plainly stated in the Constitution. It would be the wildest of absurdities, and lead to endless confusion and mischiefs, if, instead of looking to the document itself for its meaning, it were attempted to search [for that meaning] in the…motives and…intentions…of the men who took part in writing it.”
[From a speech by Frederick Douglass, in 1860, urging upholding the Constitution, abolishing slavery, and preserving the Union]

“I shall not… be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Barbara Jordan [1936-1996. Lawyer, educator, Texas legislator, life member of the Civil Rights Movement]

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