14th Amendment natural vs fictitious persons

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Thom mentions many times on the radio and on his shows how the 14th Amendment was interpreted to cover corporations because the authors only said persons instead of natural persons in the clause "... nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

While it might be possible to include ficticious persons such as corporations because they weren't specifically excluded, the first sentence of the amendment makes perfectly clear which persons it is talking about.

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."

Since corporations cannot be born or naturalized, it is impossible to include them in the person category that the amendment is talking about. When standing on its own, the "any person" statement could be construed to include fictitious persons such as corporations, but the mentioning of persons who are born or naturalized explicitly excludes corporation from the group.

Why has no one thought to challenge the ridiculous interpretation of the 14th Amendment that has magically given corporations equal protection as human beings? Since they cannot be born or naturalized, they cannot be included in the persons that the amendment is talking about. They also cannot be citizens, so the inclusion of them for coverage by the amendment is even more ludicrous.

Robert Harvilla's picture
Robert Harvilla
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You are taking the "Corporations are not people' rhetoric too literally. The question is, do organizations of people have constitutional rights.

gumball's picture
gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

Organizations have rights, but not the same rights as you or I. Since corporations are legal constructions that are completely artificial, they cannot have the same constitutional rights as actual people. Since they would not even exist if not for the government and legal system that calls them into being, that same government and legal system can exert total control over them. Allowing them parity with humans gives them superiority over humans since they cannot be restrained in the normal manner that humans can be.

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Robert Harvilla
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Quote Robert Harvilla:

Organizations have rights, but not the same rights as you or I. Since corporations are legal constructions that are completely artificial, they cannot have the same constitutional rights as actual people. Since they would not even exist if not for the government and legal system that calls them into being, that same government and legal system can exert total control over them. Allowing them parity with humans gives them superiority over humans since they cannot be restrained in the normal manner that humans can be.

So the state of Texas can legally confiscate all the assets of planned parenthood within the state and the organization would have no legal recourse?

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

The strawman you are attempting to construct might allow corporations' assets to be confiscated, but the reality of the corporate legal structure would not. It's not all or nothing. Corporations can own property and have a sort of personhood that allows them to enter into contracts and undertake other legal actions, but as far as having the benefit of political agency and other human rights, that is just reserved for actual humans.

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Robert Harvilla
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Quote Robert Harvilla:

The strawman you are attempting to construct might allow corporations' assets to be confiscated, but the reality of the corporate legal structure would not. It's not all or nothing. Corporations can own property and have a sort of personhood that allows them to enter into contracts and undertake other legal actions, but as far as having the benefit of political agency and other human rights, that is just reserved for actual humans.

So the first amendment does not apply to corporations but the 4th does?

Please explain how pointing out that more than the first amendment currently applies to corporations and doing away with the legal doctrine will end all rights is a "strawman"?

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

Robert, if you're going to engage in a debate with this doofus, be prepared to go 'round and 'round and 'round.... Having to point out the difference between a corporation and an actual human being is a clear indication that the person you're debating is an idiot.

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Aliceinwonderland
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I am not saying that ANY amendments apply to ANY corporation. When the privilege of limited liability is given to an entity, it loses all rights except those explicitly granted to it by the legal system. We can debate whether or not it is permissible to extend narrow and limited 4th Amendment protections (or any other amendment) to them, but to automatically give them the same rights as natural persons is absurd, and only leads to the diminishment of human rights in favor of corporate dominance over all aspects of society. The economy is here to benefit society, not the opposite.

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Robert Harvilla
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Than how is my argument a strawman? Under your interpretation of the constitution there is no constitutional restriction on the state of Texas passing a law confiscating all the assets of planned parenthood within the state.

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

If Texas wants to pass a law confiscating all the assets of PP, THEN they are going to have much more to worry about THAN the constitutionality of it. It's not the corporation of Planned Parenthood that has to worry and is affected the most, it is the women who are served by it. They will be the ones to consider.

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Robert Harvilla
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May. 14, 2014 10:34 am

So my point is valid, not a strawman? Do you think the Texas legislature has shown any amount of concern for abortion rights?

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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

None of your points are valid.

There is only one point that is being addressed here, and there is one simple question that needs answering. Should corporations be extended the same constitutional protections as human beings? Yes or no.

If yes, then corporate superiority and dominance over humans is what is wanted. If no, then it has to be acknowledged that our current situation cannot be improved unless corporate personhood is abolished. Since they have bought and paid for our politicians, it doesn't matter what we want to happen. The corporations and millionaires are in charge, and what we do or say has little to no effect. Do we want oligarchy and plutocracy, or do we want the democratic republic that we are supposed to have?

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Robert Harvilla
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Obviously, corporations aren't literally people.

Let's say that IBM is suspected of wrongdoing by the government. Should the government have to get a warrant to search the offices of IBM? Why or why not?

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LysanderSpooner
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Quote Robert Harvilla:

None of your points are valid.

There is only one point that is being addressed here, and there is one simple question that needs answering. Should corporations be extended the same constitutional protections as human beings? Yes or no.

If yes, then corporate superiority and dominance over humans is what is wanted. If no, then it has to be acknowledged that our current situation cannot be improved unless corporate personhood is abolished. Since they have bought and paid for our politicians, it doesn't matter what we want to happen. The corporations and millionaires are in charge, and what we do or say has little to no effect. Do we want oligarchy and plutocracy, or do we want the democratic republic that we are supposed to have?

Explain why my point is not valid. Under your interpretation of the constitution would the state of Texas be able to confiscate the assets of Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood would have no legal recourse?

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gumball
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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

My interpretation of the constitution (along with the vast majority of people) says that only human beings are entitled to its protections. The legal system and whatever laws we pass to safeguard the "rights" of corporations can cover much of the same things, but be nowhere near as comprehensive and prevent them from being completely shielded from any oversight whatsoever. No legal proceeding would allow the seizure of a corporation's assets without a good reason. Your attempts to paint the alternative to corporate personhood as such is a strawman, and hence it is invalid.

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Robert Harvilla
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Quote LysanderSpooner:

Obviously, corporations aren't literally people.

Let's say that IBM is suspected of wrongdoing by the government. Should the government have to get a warrant to search the offices of IBM? Why or why not?

Included in the corporate charter would be due process protections that would prevent abuses by the government. That same charter could also require that corporations make their activities and holdings more transparent. Corporations should not be allowed to use the constitution as a shield to cover up their wrongdoing, but it is not necessary to make them completely defenseless.

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Robert Harvilla
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Quote Robert Harvilla:

No legal proceeding would allow the seizure of a corporation's assets without a good reason. Your attempts to paint the alternative to corporate personhood as such is a strawman, and hence it is invalid.

Because the fifth amendment prohibits it. You are telling me that the fifth amendment does not apply to corporations. Are you not?

Since they no longer have fifth amendment protections or equal protection what would prevent Texas from passing a law confiscating the assets of planned parenthood?

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Dec. 12, 2013 11:02 am

Like I said, corporations are not people, and they are not protected by the constitution. They can be be covered by whatever laws the people see fit to pass to govern them.

If Texas wants to pass a law confiscating the assets of Planned Parenthood, then so be it. It won't be tolerated by the people who vote for the lawmakers, so your strawman is not only specious, it is ludicrous as well.

I'm not responding to your trolling anymore, and no reasonable person would pay any attention to your pathetic attempts to concoct absurd scenarios.

If you want to claim that corporations are people, that's fine, but unless you can overcome the fact that the 14th Amendment clearly is talking about natural persons who can be born and naturalized citizens, then you are wasting your time and ours.

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Quote Robert Harvilla:

Like I said, corporations are not people, and they are not protected by the constitution. They can be be covered by whatever laws the people see fit to pass to govern them.

If Texas wants to pass a law confiscating the assets of Planned Parenthood, then so be it. It won't be tolerated by the people who vote for the lawmakers, so your strawman is not only specious, it is ludicrous as well.

I'm not responding to your trolling anymore, and no reasonable person would pay any attention to your pathetic attempts to concoct absurd scenarios.

If you want to claim that corporations are people, that's fine, but unless you can overcome the fact that the 14th Amendment clearly is talking about natural persons who can be born and naturalized citizens, then you are wasting your time and ours.

Robert,

Who owns the corporations? Stockholders. Stockholders are people.

You said that corporations only get protections that the people, presumably through their representatives, give them. What if the government chooses not to enact any protections? Can the government then go into the offices of the corporation and search without a warrant. Corporations are not people but they are made up of people. The owners are people and the workers are people.

What I do object to is corporations, or anyone else, getting privileges from the government. That includes welfare.

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Quote Robert Harvilla:

Like I said, corporations are not people, and they are not protected by the constitution. They can be be covered by whatever laws the people see fit to pass to govern them.

If Texas wants to pass a law confiscating the assets of Planned Parenthood, then so be it. It won't be tolerated by the people who vote for the lawmakers, so your strawman is not only specious, it is ludicrous as well.

I'm not responding to your trolling anymore, and no reasonable person would pay any attention to your pathetic attempts to concoct absurd scenarios.

If you want to claim that corporations are people, that's fine, but unless you can overcome the fact that the 14th Amendment clearly is talking about natural persons who can be born and naturalized citizens, then you are wasting your time and ours.

I'm told that a women's healthcare is under attack and red state legislatures are only held back by the constitution. Do you disagree?

What would stop a state from specifically banning political speech of a particular corporation like Emilys list or the Sierra club?

You call these scenarios absurd, but are they really? Gerrymandering, Jim crow, Tammany hall, voter ID laws. To say that politicians will not pass laws for their own political advantage is to ignore history

"Corporations are not people" make a good bumper sticker that appeals to low information voter's who take it literally.

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Lysander, who owns cars? People own them, but we don't give cars constitutional protections. Just because people own a business doesn't mean we give businesses the same rights as people. The corporations are owned by people argument is nonsense.

The main privilege that corporations get is limited liability for their managers and shareholders. Unless you want to do away with that, you cannot be opposed to them getting privileges from the government. As for people not getting privileges, I think you miss the whole point of having a government in the first place.

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Robert Harvilla
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Hi Robert Harvrilla, I've Havrillas in my family tree (no r berfore the v) out of west PA, Greek Catholics, long exstinct or converted(roman)............peace brother Hungarian/Slovak Ottoman Empire.....mlk......alsoi. I agree w/your args, cousin

mlk.silenceisnotanoption (not verified)
Quote gumball:

You are taking the "Corporations are not people' rhetoric too literally. The question is, do organizations of people have constitutional rights.

Since Gummie posted this... he apparently has come to the conclusion corporations have NO constitutional rights

http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2015/11/corporations-frankensteins-how...

You are 100 percent right and I am 100 percent wrong. Corporations have no constitional rights.

Of course Gummie might have been playing more of his games. What the hell is a "constitional" right?

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ulTRAX
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote gumball:
Quote Robert Harvilla:

No legal proceeding would allow the seizure of a corporation's assets without a good reason. Your attempts to paint the alternative to corporate personhood as such is a strawman, and hence it is invalid.

Because the fifth amendment prohibits it. You are telling me that the fifth amendment does not apply to corporations. Are you not?

Since they no longer have fifth amendment protections or equal protection what would prevent Texas from passing a law confiscating the assets of planned parenthood?

Gummie tried this argument in another thread... and it's a red herring. Here were my responses from this thread

http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2015/11/corporations-frankensteins-how...

1: Show us where in the 14th that a federal law clearly meant for HUMANS can apply to an artificial entity created by the state.

2: You claimed that libs were trying to shut down speech they disagreed with. Show us where in an effort like Move To Amend that's true with it's clear it's aimed at ALL artificial entities including unions.

3: In your mind it may make perfect sense to extend rights of humans to artificial legal entities such as Planned Parenthood. But just because you WISH it to be true, doesn't mean it's in Constitution. If we look at the Constitution as giving limited powers the best case you can make when it comes to seizing property is the Fourth and the Fifth. The Fourth applies only to People.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

And the Fifth says NOTHING about the rights except those of the People... though it gives the government NO power to seize ANY private property EXCEPT for public use.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

But it would seem the property owned by artificial entities is safe... unless a crime has been committed or it's taken for public use. There's no need for to bastardize the 14th to INVENT this right for corporations.

==============

As I said, I believe the Constitution is a mess. One may argue that if the federal government was given no specific power over corporations then they can also have the rights of "persons". But then that violates the core concept of natural rights that the Constitution is built upon... that natural rights belong only to PEOPLE... (except slaves apparently) and corporations have no natural rights since they are CREATIONS of government. Government doesn't get its powers from subtracting some rights from corporations... only from PERSONS. So the "no powers" argument is a dead end. But the Fifth is clear that private property... even unconnected to a person, is protected. Hence the first half of the Move To Amend amendment seems pointless and MTA should instead be arguing for the LITERAL interpretation of the BoR...

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ulTRAX
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Quote Robert Harvilla:

I am not saying that ANY amendments apply to ANY corporation. When the privilege of limited liability is given to an entity, it loses all rights except those explicitly granted to it by the legal system. We can debate whether or not it is permissible to extend narrow and limited 4th Amendment protections (or any other amendment) to them, but to automatically give them the same rights as natural persons is absurd, and only leads to the diminishment of human rights in favor of corporate dominance over all aspects of society. The economy is here to benefit society, not the opposite.

So I alone can buy political advertisements on TV during election season, but as soon as I team up with a handful of other people (i.e. become a corporation) and do it I lost my rights?

I don't see what you're trying to accomplish here.

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Maine
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Jul. 8, 2015 4:26 pm
Quote Robert Harvilla:

Lysander, who owns cars? People own them, but we don't give cars constitutional protections. Just because people own a business doesn't mean we give businesses the same rights as people. The corporations are owned by people argument is nonsense.

The main privilege that corporations get is limited liability for their managers and shareholders. Unless you want to do away with that, you cannot be opposed to them getting privileges from the government. As for people not getting privileges, I think you miss the whole point of having a government in the first place.

I own my hand and I certainly give it the first ammendmnt right to wave the one finger salute at the idea of taking away my rights to act via my property.

My property is an extension of myself.

With the car example, I certainly have the right to paint my favorite politician's face on the roof and the sides if I want to. Taking away my right to do that is similar to you trying to take away a person's right to use his corporation to make some kind of political speach.

When you take away a particular usage of someone's property, you are depriving them of property. No person (like a shareholder) can be deprived a life liberty or ... property ... without due process of law. Now *due process* can certainly be debated, but you cannot deny that a corporation is a man's *person's* property and limiting his use of his property amounts to a deprivation.

Second Part Now.

Limited liability isn't the special kind of privilege that it gets made out to be. I won't deny that corporations get many other kinds of privileges (like subsidies) that ordinary people don't get. But limited liability is not such a privilege. Shareholders are already largely immune in common law from the mistakes of their corporation. It is easy to set up a corporation with language protecting the shareholder's general personal assets without needing to resort to a statutory mandate.

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