Corporations are Not People, Unless Someone Kills One: January 11, 2012   Leave a comment

Quote Number One.

“As a friend of mine from Texas says, he will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one”.   

Bill Moyers, January 11, 2012.

Different versions of this one have been floating around for a while, but since it has gained traction this month—January 22, 2012 is the 2nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision—I thought it deserved inclusion in the month’s best quotes. Like any good quote it ends up with personal changes to suit the speaking style of the person doing the quoting. The above version is my favorite, offered this month by Bill Moyers during an interview on the Colbert Report.

Who could ignore the connection to Texas, the current Republican nomination circus, and the Supreme Court? First, Texas—more than any other state—has an unbridled enthusiasm for capital punishment; second, there was Mitt Romney’s insistence during an Iowa campaign stop last summer that “Corporations are people”. Third, there was Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s head-shake denial at President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address. Obama lectured the court on their 5-4 decision:

“Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said tonight. “Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

HRH (His Robed Highness) Justice Alito shook his head “no” and mouthed the words “not true”. We now know Alito was wrong and Obama’s general statement was correct. But until a constitutional amendment is passed, or states, under the rubric of “States Rights” (which always gets applause at GOP events) begin asserting their own constitutional amendments to overturn the CU decision within their borders, the Super Pacs will grow in influence and we’ll continue to see the erosion of one person, one vote. I’m with Moyers: When Texas executes a corporation, I too will believe corporations are people.

Prior: Introduction


Next: When Saying “Sorry” Just Isn’t Enough


David Steffen

© David Steffen 2011


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