What is the process for amending the US Constitution?
A Constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds supermajority in both the U.S. House and Senate, followed by ratification by three fourths of the state legislatures.
The second method for amendment is via a constitutional convention called into being by two-thirds of the state legislatures, and then later ratified by three-fourths of the states.
How would unions be affected by ending corporate personhood?
Why don’t we just pass a law?
While passing a law might be easier than amending the constitution, any such law, even if you could get it passed by a Congress controlled in large part by big-money special interests, would be challenged in the court system. Ultimately, the case would reach the US Supreme Court which would find it unconstitutional. We must embed the language that corporations are not people in the constitution itself to ensure that the Supreme Court cannot rule it unconstitutional.
The following FAQs are copied from Santa Clara Blues: Corporate Personhood v Democracy. Read the rest of the article here.
What would be the immediate effect of revoking corporate personhood?
The only immediate effect of revoking corporate personhood, either at the state level or by the Supreme Court, would be to cause the legal status of corporations to revert back to that of artificial entities. (We should refuse to use the old terminology of artificial persons.) They could still be represented in courts by attorneys and would be subject to the law and taxation.
However, a whole body of Supreme Court decisions would have to be re-examined. The ability of States, when granting or renewing corporate charters, to restrict harmful activities of corporations would be greatly enhanced. New legislation to protect the environment, workers, small businesses, and consumers could be enacted without worrying that it would be struck down by the Supreme Court.
How would small businesses be affected?
Small, incorporated businesses would become artificial entities under the law. Most small businesses have gained no meaningful advantage from corporate personhood. Small businesses do not have the kind of money it takes to corrupt the political process that large corporations have. Small businesses would be better situated to protect their interests since laws favoring local businesses over national and international corporations would become legal.
If corporations can't lobby, how can they get laws that are fair to them?
Revoking corporate personhood would not immediately prevent corporations from lobbying, but it would allow laws to be passed (and enforced) that would restrict corporate lobbying and campaign contributions. If a state legislature or Congress is considering legislation that affects a particular industry they would be able to hold hearings and interrogate corporate representatives. If a corporation feels its needs a change in the laws, not for its own profits but in order to insure competition or public safety, it could petition the legislature to hold such a hearing.
What about past harms done by corporate personhood?
That is an interesting question with no certain answer. The Constitution prohibits ex post facto laws (laws that punish for deeds committed before the law was written), and properly so. However, revoking corporate personhood does not create an ex post facto law. It may be possible to force corporations to rectify damage they did to the environment during the era of corporate personhood.
Would the media lose its freedom of the press and free speech?
The ruling that corporate ads on political and social issues is free speech could be overturned, but the corporate media would continue to have freedom of the press. New legislation would be needed to restrict corporations to ownership of a single radio or TV station, newspaper, or magazine and to insure that individual and non-corporate voices could be heard as well.
How will revoking corporate personhood affect non-profit corporations?
Non-profit corporations would continue to operate as the artificial entities that they are. However, it would be possible to restrict for-profit corporations from working for corporate interests.
Why don't unions have corporate personhood?
Unions don't have corporate personhood, even though they are also, legally, artificial entities, because unions have never fought to get it. Unions have largely avoided the court system, correctly seeing it as the home court of their enemies.
Why do you want to restrict the freedom of stockholders and people who work for corporations?
This is a trick question. Corporate lawyers and propagandists will try to get people who work for corporations to support corporate personhood by lying to them about the effects of revocation. In fact individuals, whether they work for corporations or not, will retain all of the freedoms recognized in the constitution. In addition, individuals will have their freedom enhanced by not having their liberty overpowered by the rule of corporations. Only the artificial entity of the corporation will be redefined to have restrictions on its liberty.
Wouldn't we lose the power to tax and regulate corporations?
In the art of lying it is hard to surpass corporate lawyers. They have managed to place in the minds of law students, in the texts of some law books, and in the public mind, the idea that corporate personhood is necessary to bring corporations under rule of law. This is such a big lie it is amazing that they can tell it with a straight face. Corporations were taxed when they were artificial entities, long before they were granted personhood. They were more subject to the rule of law, not less, before receiving personhood. Read up on the history; don't be fooled again.