February 7, 2013

Another View: Concept of corporate personhood no longer relevant to our times

By Robert Libby

Being objective, I have listened to both sides express arguments for and against corporate personhood ("Another View: Corporate 'personhood' rights can also defend freedom" Jan. 24).

I have researched the precedents that have supported the advancement of this theory of status for commercial entities called corporations.  Currently, I believe that the 1886 Supreme Court decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad should take its place alongside the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision as among the worst decisions ever rendered by the judiciary. 

For our court to recognize a human being as property is on par with treating a legal entity with the protection of individual human rights -- both are wrong in the modern world. 

I am generally reluctant to advocate for amendment to the Constitution, but clearly the original intent of the framers was inclusion of a process to correct errors as they are discovered.

The 12th Amendment addressed a potential problem in presidential elections. Only the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which outlawed alcohol, because the practice proved to have damaging effect on society. 

The damage to our democracy posed by unrestricted expenditure to advance commercial advantage, without disclosure of the source of those funds, is ruinous to our civic well being.

If we do not restrict or at least reveal the attempts to control government purposes for personal advantage, all is lost.

Robert Libby is a resident of Chebeague Island.

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