The article on the web page Citizens United Petition delivered to Carson City leaders | Carson City Nevada News – Carson Now states that 300 cities and 11 states are passing around a resolution for a constitutional amendment to overturn this Supreme Court decision. Sadly, the arguments for it focus on dubious statistics claiming that 99% of unlimited political spending was done by those evil profit-motivated corporations and wealthy billionaires, and only 1% by unions and other such unselfish, high minded donors. This line of argument is as ridiculous as it is pointless. The problem is not with the amounts, or with the sources of all the money, or with the affiliations of the donors.
Yes, the Supreme Court made a very bad decision, but it seems to me that everybody, including the Court, is missing the point.
The problem is not that there is a lot of spending on political ads, or that they fill the airways with drivel and crap, or that they use the stupidest arguments pro and con to win your vote. As long as there is politics and as long as people have or can collect money to spend on these ads, they will find a way to do so. The history of the endless series of inane campaign finance “reform” laws should prove how silly it is to try to regulate this activity. We also have this pesky little problem called the First Amendment which most specifically protects POLITICAL speech. So, no, it is both impractical and illegal to try to shut people up or to put roadblocks in their ways of spending their own money.
The problem is that only human beings can perform the activities that we associate with politics, and therefore it follows logically that only human beings have human rights, only citizens have civil rights. Corporations, unions, political action committees, etc., are NOT human beings, they are NOT natural persons; they are fictitious legal entities, also called FICTITIOUS PERSONS, which are nothing more than voluntary ASSOCIATIONS of natural human persons — all of whom already have their own individual constitutionally guaranteed civil rights which they can exercise freely and in many different specific ways, according to a wide range of Supreme Court decisions that explain what sort of verbal and non-verbal activity constitutes “speech.” The physical reality is that these fictitious persons require natural persons to act on their behalf, to write campaign mailers, opinion columns and legal briefs, to buy ads, to collect and bundle donations — again, from natural persons — and to donate to a candidate’s campaign organization, which is, yet again, just another fictitious person, just another voluntary association and organization of real, natural persons.
Therefore, if the Citizens United decision is to be overturned by such a serious means as a constitutional amendment, then it should prohibit all political activity by any and all fictitious persons, no matter what they are — corporations, unions, political action committees, political parties, political clubs, social clubs, etc. All these associations already have real, natural persons as members who are entitled to the free exercise of their constitutional civil rights, who are already exercising those rights. People are NOT entitled to ADDITIONAL or duplicate rights simply because they are members of an association which is set up as a separate legal entity, as a separate fictitious person. But that is precisely the effect of the grossly erroneous Citizens United decision. According to the Court, the fictitious legal entity, the fictitious person, has its own separate set of civil rights. Therefore the natural person who is an “organization man” has double the civil rights of another natural person who is just a solitary citizen — once in his own right and once more as a member of the organization … What if I belong to a hundred different organizations, each of which separately promotes my point of view, do I then get to exercise my civil rights a hundred fold over my neighbor who keeps to himself? What infernal nonsense is that? How does it square with the equal protection clause? If I had the resources, I would sue…
The only correct action by an city and state, if they are circulating a petition for a constitutional amendment, is to amend the current draft to strip ALL fictitious legal entities of all civil rights accorded to natural persons:
* No, you do NOT get to give to a campaign in the name of General Motors or “Citizens United” or the United Auto Workers or whatever the heck you call yourselves — you give donations in the names of the individual donors from whom you collected contributions.
* No, you do NOT get to buy a political or “informational” or “advisory” or “advocacy” or whatever advertising on any media in the names of in the name of General Motors or “Citizens United” or the United Auto Workers or whatever the heck you call yourselves; you make the buy in the names of the individual donors from whom you collected contributions to do so.
* No, you do NOT do any of these things in the name of anything other than the real, natural persons who contribute their time, money and effort to the cause that they come together to promote.
What’s the problem, a little bookkeeping to keep lists of donors and participants? Is the small convenience of using a fictitious group name worth savaging the Constitution? Shame on you if you say “yes.”