Saturday, January 7, 2012

The "Complexities" of American Law

With the full unveiling of the concept of corporations are "people" (as Mitt Romney happily repeats on the presidential nomination trail), the Citizens United case settled by the Supreme Court has demonstrated the wondefully "complex" nature of American law.

Here is a bit from a post by UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong expatiating on the subtleties:
Justinian: How does this Fourteenth Amendment read?

Edward Coke: Like this:
Section. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.... 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... counting the whole number of persons in each State....
Justinian: So if you have more corporations in your state, you get more representatives in the legislature?

John of Salisbury: No, no, no! "Persons" in Section 2 refers only to human beings...

Edward Coke: And "persons" at the start of Section 1 refers only to human beings...

John of Salisbury: Only "persons" at the end of Section 1 refers to legal persons, i.e. corporations, as well as human beings...
If the US were consistent in its "law" then there would be a rush by the ultra-rich to incorporate all kinds of "companies", millions of companies, so that at the next election the ballot boxes could be happily stuffed with all kinds of votes from the corporate "persons" acting under the full weight of the law as laid down by the Fourteenth Amendment. If ever the poor organized themselves, it would simply require a renewed effort to incorporate some one "instant corporations" to help the "people" of America to keep the 99% in their place. Because... as the Supreme Court has affirmed, corporations are "people" too!

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