December 14, 2011 · Lessig
Consistent with the brilliant call by Rootstrikers.org, I have modified Publius’ proposed 28th Amendment to assure that at least the First Amendment would not be construed to grant to any non-natural person (i.e., a corporation) any “unalienable” (as the Declaration puts it) rights. The added text in ¶2 is as follows:
Nor shall the First Amendment be construed to vest in any non-natural person any unalienable constitutional rights.
This version of the “corporations are not persons” movement is meant to be as narrow as possible to achieve the change we need. There’s no reason not to allow legislatures to vest corporations with “personhood” when that’s convenient and helpful — e.g., it’s useful to be able to sue Exxon as a person for damages done by an oil tanker. The key is to make sure that a corporation can’t claim a constitutional right against the judgment by a legislature.