Sotomayor fires one across corporate America's bow!
by WashStateBlue, Thu Sep 17, 2009 at 02:44:48 PM EDT
Well, she may not have been liberal enough for many, but during her first appearance on the SCOTUS bench Associate Justice Sotomayor spoke out about one of the great missteps in US judicial history, the "about to be codified into law" assumption that Corporations are US Citizens just like people, and therefore have all the constitutional rights that human citizens do.
The greatest Chief Justice of them all, John Marshall, was indeed correct as this article states when he said ""A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible. It possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it."
But, in one of the greatest slight of hand magic tricks ever pulled off by the right wing business oligarchs in the famous Southern Pacific Railroad V California case it has been somehow made into a legal truism that US corporations have personhood:
In an 1886 tax dispute between the Southern Pacific Railroad and the state of California, the court reporter quoted Chief Justice Morrison Waite telling attorneys to skip arguments over whether the 14th Amendment's equal-protection clause applied to corporations, because "we are all of opinion that it does."
The court reporter! Yes, that my friends is the basis for over a century of corporations demanding the same rights as US citizens, while having such incredible advantages as immortality!
That's it. Some offhanded remark without any case law backing it has been codified into corporate law, somehow giving corporations rights never assigned in the Constitution.
So we have right wing hacks like Anton Scalia wailing about the imaginary right to privacy nowhere in the Constitution, yet he sits on the bench propagating this myth of Corporate Personhood! IMHO, Jefferson and Adam's would swoon to think The Hudson Bay Company had all the rights of a Citizen of the Colonies!
So, at least today, I am heartened by Associate Justice Sotomayor's comment. There is little doubt who she was speaking for in this case, and it wasn't the side of big business!
I remember hearing the wailing of those in their bitterness who were backing Palin/McCain, telling me "SCOTUS DOESN'T MATTER" and it wouldn't have made a difference if McCain was appointing SCOTUS judges.
Is there any further insanity then contemplating a SCOTUS with 2,3, maybe 4 MORE John Roberts and Sam Alitos and saying it wouldn't matter?
For all those telling me they are sitting out 2012 if Obama doesn't get the public option, just keep in mind ONE offhanded remark by Republican Morrison Waite started this country down the path to Oligarchy that Roberts and Alito would love to complete.
Just give them a few more brethren on the court, and they will finish the job.