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Nader Urges Courts to Challenge Constitutionality of Corporate Personhood

Monday, October 27, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM

Press Release
Contact: Toby Heaps, 202-471-5833, toby@votenader.org

Nader Challenge to American Legal Community: Take Justice Scalia Up on His Invitation to Put Corporate Personhood on Trial

Following is a statement by Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader:

The word "corporation" or "company," or the words "political party," do not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. How then can these two excluded corporate institutions have such power over Americans who, as "real people," are the only "persons" protected and given rights under our Constitution?

Corporations are artificial legal entities. They are not human beings. They do not vote. They do not breathe. They do not have children. They do not die in Iraq. Why have they been given all the rights under our Constitution, except for the right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment, and why did they obtain these rights from judges, not from the legislature?

I put these and other questions in writing to Justice Antonin Scalia — deemed an extremely conservative judge who believes in "originalism," or strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Recently, Justice Scalia and I caught up together on the phone: I asked him how the application of the Bill of Rights and related constitutional protections to the artificial creations known as corporations can be squared with a constitutional interpretation theory of "originalism?"

Justice Scalia said he had not put much thought into unconstitutional corporate personhood, but if a case was brought before him on the topic, he would be happy to delve into it.

Unconstitutional corporate personhood is the central issue that prevents equal justice under the law and provides privileges and immunities to corporations completely outside of the framers’ frame of reference in that large hot room in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787.

The $700 billion blank check bailout of Wall Street is the latest manifestation of private corporate domination of our national government, a situation that Franklin Delano Roosevelt foresaw as "fascism" in a message to Congress in 1938. The relentless decline in the livelihood of America’s working families and growing unemployed reflects the radical concentration of power and wealth in a few hands.

To turn back this tide, the first step is for someone among the legal community — the sooner the better — to bring a case centering on unconstitutional corporate personhood to the fore on the floor of the Supreme Court.

And then, perhaps, Justice Scalia’s originalism can be brought to bare on restoring justice and allowing the Constitution’s words "we the people," to once again ring true.

*Please see link to Mr. Nader’s letter to Justice Scalia: http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/271-Letter-from-Ralph-Nader-and-Rob-Weissman-to-Justice-Scalia.html