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  • 'OCCUPIED' Constitutional Amendment Would Eliminate Due Process for Corporations

    A constitutional amendment offered in the House of Representatives would strip American companies of all protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. While the amendment is aimed at curbing free speech rights afforded third party groups by the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC, it would, whether intended or not, open the door to a host of gross violations of Americans’ civil rights.

    The proposed amendment, offered by Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-FL) on Nov. 18, is wholly a product of the violent and subversive “Occupy” protest movement currently unwinding across the country. In a news release, Deutch made specific reference to the protests, and stated, “the days of corporate control of our democracy must end.” Branded with the acronym OCCUPIED, the amendment states:

    The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

    Note that the amendment would apply not just to the First Amendment, but to the entire Constitution. Because it would therefore preclude companies from Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections, for instance, the federal government could wiretap company phones without warrants, seize company records on a whim, or expropriate company property without due process.

    All of those government activities are constitutionally prohibited, but under Deutch’s proposed amendment, private companies – under any legal incorporation – would not enjoy those protections.

    Deutch’s proposal would only apply to private companies. Labor unions would be exempted from its flagrant infringements on constitutional liberties, as would nonprofit organizations such as Heritage and the Sierra Club. The same selective approach was taken in the last legislative attempt to reverse Citizens United, which would have imposed burdensome and potentially unconstitutional limitations and reporting requirements on private companies, but not unions. Both unions and incorporated companies have had their political freedoms restored under the post-Citizens United campaign finance regime.

    The amendment would also exempt media companies and their corporate parents. Under pre-Citizens United law, news outlets enjoyed a monopoly among private companies on free political speech, meaning companies that owned those news outlets – General Electric, for instance – were free to opine on current affairs as they pleased via their media holdings, while the vast majority of American companies were not. (G.E. reportedly pushed policies through its NBC holdings that advanced its own financial interests.)

    Deutch’s proposal would take that thoroughly lopsided approach to the First Amendment and apply it to every other amendment. But media companies would enjoy not just the free speech rights denied to all other corporations, but all other rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

    Asked about the proposal, Heritage legal expert Hans Von Spakovsky called it “one of the worst, most anti-democratic amendments I have ever seen.”

    Posted in Featured, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    26 Responses to 'OCCUPIED' Constitutional Amendment Would Eliminate Due Process for Corporations

    1. dam1953 says:

      These people are idiots. The law would only apply to "for-profit corporations". I can see loop holes big enough to fly the Hindenburg through, and the results of this bill will likely go up in flames as well.

      It seems to me that a strong counter argument would be if corporations have no rights then they should have no responsibilities. So, all of the laws and regulations enacted by Congress should not apply to them. i.e. no taxation without representation.

      If the sanctimonious SOBs want to reduce corporate influence in Washington they need to regulate themselves. How about passing a law that states Senators and Congressmen cannot vote on legislation that impacts corporations and other entities (unions) from which they received direct or indirect campaign contributions. That would put a dent in the current vote buying practice. Unfortunately, it would also dry up their campaign coffers. So, don't hold your collective breaths.

    2. Jeff says:

      Wow… We truly have two Americas here. I think it's time to split the sheets with the socialists…

      Oh wait, we already did that back in 1776…

    3. chatmandu002 says:

      These liberal/progressive/socialists democratic party representatives hope to push through a constitutional amendment to restrict a private companies rights of redress to the government. But the same people can't pass a balanced budget amendment. What a load of fools.

    4. Al B says:

      Could there possibly be a congressional district in Florida where a majority support this attempted vandalism of the constitution? Who the hell votes for guys like this, outside of Santa Monica, Manhattan, Bennington, VT? If the GOP is not mounting a challenge in that district, and cutting the ads as I speak, there is no hope for that party as a sane alternative.

      • Kurt Leisler says:

        That's why I quit giving to the GOP years ago, they have abandond there principals. And as for Theodore Deutch, this man is going against every principal this country was founded on, and aginst everything our founders fought and died for. He needs to step down, or be removed from office!!!

    5. Tom Marino says:

      It's truly unfortunate that you've chosen to denigrate the Occupy movement. No Occupy people have, for example, attempted to disconnect the fuel lines from anyone's home. No Occupy people have referred to Mr. Cain as a "n**ger Kenyan Usurper," a fascist or any of the other nonsense denigration of elected or hopeful officials that mainstream right wing pols have promoted for the last 4 years.

      Unfortunately, with insisting that corporate entities have citizen rights, this is the position we've been left. Supporters of such policies, denigrating the moniker of freedom, have left the vast majority of Americans with little recourse to combat the interference of both corporate influences and individuals in elections for people that will not represent them.

      For example, both the current Minority Leader, Ms. Pelosi, as well as the current Speaker, Mr. Boehner, raised over 90% of their campaign funds in the last cycle from donors outside their districts.

      Let's state it again, because it deserves restating: The two most powerful people in the United States House of Representatives raised 9 dollars of every 10 dollars they raised from people they do not represent.

      This is the system you call freedom? It defies every principle of a republic, yet allegedly conservative organization like Heritage calls every attempt to deal with this fundamental transgression against the principles the founders instituted as an assault on freedom and the constitution. Its disgraceful.

      I agree with some of your concerns related to other Constitutional provisions and corporations losing other legal protections, but this proposal doesn't go far enough.

      Allegedly conservative organizations such as this group will of course raise the misguided alarm of socialism at any attempt to fund elections through public dollars, since that would turn elections into a competition of ideas rather than fundraising. We of course can't have that, because then the average American that earns $45k a year might influence an election. That's a non-starter, naturally.

      The concept behind the appropriate amendment is very simple:

      1. Eligible donors must have both a social security number and citizenship.
      2. No eligible donor shall be permitted to donate to any candidate for any federal office that does not represent the district they are eligible to vote in, with the exception of POTUS elections.
      ex: No corps, unions, 501C3, interest groups or anything but individuals eligible in the district the campaign represents.
      3. Each individual shall donate no more than $1,000 total to any number of eligible campaigns.
      ex. If you give $1,000 to one campaign, you cannot donate to others.
      4. Roll back the "public figure" protections against liability for libel and slander during defined campaign seasons for PACs, other campaigns, party officials, etc.
      ex: When such orgs cut up video to make candidates look like they've said things they haven't, or constantly contend that a candidate is terrorist supporter, foreigner, defrauded the military to get out of Vietnam, conspired with 9/11 attackers, etc. they should be held financially liable (there should be a press exemption).
      5. Attempting to financially interfere in the elections of others should be a felony.
      6. Any campaign which accepts funds from a ineligible source shall be required to transfer twice that amount to be applied directly against the national debt.

      A notable distinction needs to be drawn here. Amending the constitution to prohibit marriage amongst gay people was supportable. Amending the Constitution to put elections in the hand of the voters is objectionable.

      Disgraceful.

    6. Jean Witte says:

      I hope the 'comments' are open to any sbject, because mine today refers to the unholy pious attitude of too many Americans on both sides of the aisle. Herman Cain is a human being. I do not condone extramarital afairs, but I would be will to wager that at least 90% of those who are tongue and finger wagging are guilty. I don't know that Cain can be, or should be our president, but he is basically a sinner, but an honorable man. that is to say that if he had a lengthy affair, that is hardly sexual harrassment! Could the media please get over their haughtiness and let out system play out as it is intended. I just finished reading "To Try Men's Souls" by Newt Gingrich, and wonder if we have the heart to fight for our freedom now as those brave people did! If ever we need to fight for our freedom AGAIN…it is NOW!!!

      • Bobbie says:

        Jean, it breaks my heart to see how low people will go to bring down one man who's intellect and nature unintentionally threatens too many weakened to bring themselves so low to carry out these atrocities!

    7. Todd says:

      Just another example of how the Democratic Party is trying to destroy this great country. The Democratic Party should be called by its true name – The Democratic Socialist Party.

    8. Bobbie says:

      there's due process in the only role of government also neglected. protecting our freedom and liberties. you know, those inalienable rights all people have and what America stands to protect through the established documents written by her fore fathers and since!! stop these cruel intentions unwilled by the people!! stop using our money to support, supply and protect all those union conflicts of our interests! stop government force of punishment on private sector corporations who respect necessary rules rational to conduct freely. what's the hold up? why isn't government and it's expense being removed everywhere they aren't suppose to be?? dangerous unlawful threats! what happened to a line of discipline? stand tough and don't fall into their mind trap!!! read the constitution to refresh your ambition!

    9. Johnny B says:

      Since Corporations gaining "personhood" is a result of judicial decisions and and is not formally in the constitution, conservatives should propose a constitutional amendment to define what rights a Corporation has.

    10. Russ says:

      Todd – Look at what the Republicans voted along party lines about: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/senate-v

      The problem is on both sides…

    11. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      You have to give them credit. By promoting an amendment to the Constitution, the statists, probably accidentally, show some respect for the document and its limits on government.

      I tried over Thanksgiving to convince someone that the Constitution in no way limits the activities of individuals or corporations but only what laws Congress can enact over individuals or corporations.

      Do the statists not realize that corporations are nothing more than individuals peaceably assembled?

    12. @Kishin_D says:

      "it would, whether intended or not, open the door to a host of gross violations of Americans’ civil rights."
      Wait, corporations are Americans now? Since when? The human beings that run those corporations would still have protections under the Constitution.

      Under the Patriot Act, government agencies can already wiretap citizens without warrants, subject people to searches and seizures via secret warrants, and indefinitely detain US citizens with no access to due process. (see: Jose Padilla). "Violent and subversive". Way to reveal your bias, CNN. It's okay though. We have real journalists on the free press of the internet. Don't need you anymore, but thanks for your faithful service to the status quo and halls of power.

    13. Keith says:

      My friends, the Occupy movement does not support any efforts such as those by Ted Deutch which would co-opt our party. Ted Deutch is a tool of the 1% and soon will join their ranks if he serves them well. He received major campaign funding from the financial and securities industries, as well as real estate interests. Does that sound like the kind of man we in Occupy want to support? Of course not…both parties have stood by while our government has been sold to the highest bidder. Occupy demands fundamental change that will restore our government to the people. We are all Americans together both Progressive and Conservative and Occupy will only win when we cast aside the left vs right BS. Vast sums of money have been spent on the propaganda campaign that taught the left and the right to hate each other – that is un American and we must cast off those chains! Occupy is for all of us!

      • Ron says:

        Then why haven't I heard anyone from the Occupy group speaking about the need for term limits. Career politicians from both sides have created 15 trillion in debt and only the implementation of term limits will rid us of these self-motivated individuals.

      • dthomps6 says:

        I have to disagree. The Tea Party is for all of us. They are definitely not for Dems but they really aren't for Repubs either. They are for peaceful disassembling of the federal government from a nanny state to purely constitutional.

        Occupy seems to just be for hurting one class because they're different(as in rich). Of course there are bad people in the 1% of incomes, but there are also very good people. Its a form of prejudice that the OWS people have adopted. If the Occupiers want people to back them, they have to shake off the anti-semetism, fascism, and communism that has penetrated the movement.

        Education is the answer. The Occupiers must stop the "fair share" rhetoric and learn what the 1% actually pay in taxes. Blindly repeating what someone says is not an American value.

        • Ryan says:

          @ dthomps6

          I consider myself to be a protester, attending various OWS events here in NYC, while missing some of them because they happen when I'm at work. Yet, I wouldn't feel comfortable speaking for all of the other protesters as individuals like you just did. When you write, "Occupy seems to just be for hurting one class because they're different(as in rich)" you're grossly generalizing a movement that is successfully opening a healthy dialogue with all of America regarding the unethical trading of toxic mortgage derivatives and a general lack of accountability within the financial service sector. More people are aware of the discount window at the Federal Reserve and how large banks unfairly enjoy anonymity at that window as a direct result of OWS. These are just a couple examples of many topics mulled over during OWS general assemblies.

          You write: "Of course there are bad people in the 1% of incomes, but there are also very good people. Its a form of prejudice that the OWS people have adopted."

          To which I reply, of course there are naive pariahs out there at OWS, and some anarchists too, but they are mostly hard working, informed protesters who understand the issues who exchange ideas to find solutions. I have also met Jews through the OWS movement–no anti-semitists yet, I'm afraid. The real tragedy is that people like you are either not receiving the message through the mainstream media, which has been one-sided, and in many cases outright fictitious in how they cover the protests. Or you are simply closed to the truth that exists outside your dogma. I would add, regardless of whatever the 1% is required to pay in taxes, everyone knows they can and do hire expensive lawyers to find as many loopholes as they can find to usurp their rates.

          You write: "Education is the answer. Blindly repeating what someone says is not an American value."
          Now I know you're projecting because that's exactly what you should be reminding yourself while engaged in your own truth process.

          Common ground: If nothing else, the Occupy movement and the Tea Party have emerged for a reason. Everyone smells the same stench of Western decline and a fleecing of American resources from a small group of people sitting on the vertex of society. No one is happy about it. Keith is correct when he writes, "Vast sums of money have been spent on the propaganda campaign that taught the left and the right to hate each other – that is un American and we must cast off those chains! Occupy is for all of us!"

          The sensible people from both ends of the political spectrum need to find each other and form caucuses to discuss unity. They can begin with topics they can agree on and work their way out from there. It's the only hope everyday Americans aka the middle class have in maintaining their own livelihood as well as our status as a first or second world country.

    14. zeprin says:

      As a 'Test Run' lets apply it to the Democratic Party and see how it works over…oh say 5 years. Before we try it out in the real world.

    15. dthomps6 says:

      This is the most evil amendment I have ever heard of. Just pure disgusting evil.

    16. dgpgrove says:

      Talk about fundamental unfairness…not only should no one be dealt with this way, but all of the exempted groups are so obviously Dem friends that this is just like Chicago style politics, trash the opponent and don't let them respond or defend themselves.

    17. Bobbie says:

      I respect your discretion, but gols, my comment didn't make this…

    18. Sandi M says:

      This article is a worthless explanation of the proposed amendment.

    19. Larry Linn says:

      The Preamble of the Constitution states, “We the people…”, not “We the corporations”! However, it has sadly become a defacto "We the corporations in order to increase profitability without concern for the rights of the citizens".

    20. J Smith says:

      "violent and subversive?" There has been some violence that occurred as a result of Occupy but nevertheless they are a non-violent movement and there are always going to be people on the fringe who do not represent the core movement. Dispicable lies.

    21. Charles Webb says:

      I think most people in this Nation are tired of the constant battle to destroy our Constitution and our freedoms. This Nation has sacrificed its blood and fortune for others. What country would ever fight for us? The majority of us , I hope, do not want to be like Europe. Get a business law-book, look up corporations, think about what you have learned and then you will understand how the corporation has helped this country grow. We need and want the chance to work hard and earn our own way; with the opportunity to be successful and even achieve wealth. There are many people today that need to OCCUPY the idea of work and find a job or make one! We know that Socialism will always fail. It is only a matter of time. The thing we should fear most , as a nation, is the war against God and lack of support for Israel. If there was ever a time this nation needed God it is TODAY. Peace……..

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