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Big corporations are robbing us of our voice

Posted: January 24, 2011 10:02 p.m.
Updated: January 25, 2011 4:55 a.m.

The deplorable Citizens United 5-4 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court was handed down one year ago Friday. Now corporations are continuing to claim even more rights of “personhood” by saying they can be “embarrassed” by what is said about them, which is another way of squelching citizens’ voices protesting the power of the superrich controlling the corporations and banks.

How much longer will the American people not understand the implications of “corporate personhood” on their lives? It means that those superrich 1 percent have more power, voice, influence and control over our political and economic destiny than citizens.

Now we find out that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas may have had a connection to the Koch brothers, among the most wealthy people in the world, funders of the Tea Party, Proposition 23 and heavy contributors to ultraright candidates. That really flies in the face of judicial objectivity.

Common Cause is requesting a Justice Department investigation of judicial conflict of interest by Scalia and Thomas. Both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders including the Koch brothers, whose political aims were advanced by the Citizen United decision.

With respect to Justice Thomas, there may also be an undisclosed financial conflict of interest due to his wife’s role as CEO of Liberty Central, a 501(c)(4) organization that stood to benefit from the decision and played an active role in the 2010 elections.

Corporations are not people, nor should they be endowed with the same rights as people.

As Jefferson wrote in 1816, “I hope we shall ... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

This terrible Citizens United ruling must be overturned, must be exposed as sham and must not be allowed to stand. Our economy and environment are in shambles because the superrich have robbed us of our voice.


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