Day by Day

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wasted Effort - Abolishing Corporate Personhood


Don Quixote tilting at windmills makes more sense than Measure F “to amend the Constitution to clarify that a corporation is not a person and money is not speech.” In a previous letter I highlighted facts that corporations do not have the rights of persons, only the rights granted other groups of individuals. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling was in no way based on corporation “personhood.”

However, there is a simpler more basic reason (beyond the fact that Measure F is only advisory) that it is a waste of time. To amend the Constitution requires: in the U.S. Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate approve by a two-thirds supermajority vote, a joint resolution amending the Constitution. Amendments so approved are sent directly to the states to be ratified by approval of three-fourths of state legislatures. Passage in the House would require 290 votes, certainly all of which would have to be Democrats, so Democrats need to pick up at least 96 more. In the Senate Democrats would need 14 more now, or 18 or more after this election.

Ratification by 75% of state legislatures is not a slam dunk either, since Republicans effectively control 30 and 38 are needed. Of course, two-thirds of the state legislatures could ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments, and then ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states could approve it. In this scenario California’s Liberal hordes will have the same number of votes as Wyoming: 1.

Since Romney is heavily favored to win the popular vote, the “grassroots-driven movement” to amend the Constitution has already lost whatever traction its supporters thought it had. Measure F is a foolish and futile effort, as delusional as Don Quixote’s “Impossible Dream” without its innocent charm.
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