January 24, 2013

Another view: Corporate 'personhood' rights can also defend freedom

Americans would lose their rights when they incorporate if the Constitution is amended.

By William P. Shumaker, a resident of Cumberland

I write to protest the invitation to totalitarianism implicit in the campaign of the MovetoAmend.org Coalition ("Maine Voices: It's time for Americans to take back 'personhood' for the people," Jan. 19) to strip corporations of constitutional rights.

Obviously, corporations are not natural persons.

They are groups of natural persons who have banded together to accomplish some aim under the protections afforded by the corporation laws.

Why should these persons give up their rights as Americans when they do so?

Corporations include such groups as the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the Maine Education Association. Why should these groups lose their right to speak out?

Suppose this coalition succeeds. Then, for example:

MaineToday Media Inc. would enjoy no First Amendment protections of free press or free speech. If a governor wearied of Bill Nemitz, he could order the paper closed indefinitely in the interests of public order.

With no Fourth Amendment protections, the police could seize the newspaper's computers at will and troll through their contents looking for reporters' sources, or anything at all.

With no Fifth Amendment protection against uncompensated seizure, a governor could seize this paper's presses to print tourism brochures, or the corporate headquarters for state offices, and pay nothing.

If MaineToday objected to any of this, they would be reminded that they have no Fifth or 14th Amendment rights to due process of law.

The coalition's proposal advances only tyranny, not democracy. Why would anyone want to do these things to our country?

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