Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It
Chat with Jeffrey Clements about his new book, hosted by George Zornick.
The January 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision marked a culminating victory for the legal doctrine of corporate personhood. Corporations, as legal persons, are now entitled to exercise their alleged free-speech rights in the form of campaign spending, effectively enabling corporate domination of the electoral process.
Jeffrey Clements uncovers the roots, expansion, and far-reaching effects of the strange and destructive idea, which flies in the face of not only all common sense but, Clements shows, most of American legal history, from 1787 to the 1970s. He details its impact on the American political landscape, economy, job market, environment, and public health—and how it permeates our daily lives, from the quality of air we breathe to the types of jobs we can get to the politicians we elect. Most importantly, he offers a solution: a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and tools readers can use to mount a grassroots drive to get it passed.
Overturning Citizens United is not about a triumph of one political ideology over another—it’s about restoring the democratic principles on which America was built. Republican president Theodore Roosevelt and conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist both vocally opposed the idea of corporate personhood. Community by community, state by state, we can cross party and ideological lines to form a united front against unchecked corporate power in America—and reinstate a government that is truly of, by, and for the people.
Jeffrey Clements is a cofounder and general counsel of Free Speech for People, a national, nonpartisan campaign to oppose corporate personhood and pass the People’s Rights Amendment. The founder of Clements Law Office, LLC, he has represented and advocated for people, businesses, and the public interest since 1988, serving as assistant attorney general and chief of the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau in Massachusetts from 2007 to 2009. (Berrett-Koehler)