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Reading 'em What Rights

Updated on October 27, 2011

With Great Power. . .

comes great responsibility.  So said Ben Parker, and these words would become the credo of his nephew's alter ego. 

I was a bit surprised when the new House Republican majority decided to open the new Congressional Term by reading the Constitution.  I understand that they stirred the "Tea Pot" with talk of restoring "constitutional sanity" to Government.  Never mind that it's possible that our founding father's vision of America was not as populist as people think, but may be closer to the view of America that the corporate forces that are behind so much of Tea Party activity desire

Of course, I have yet to see where in the Constitution that corporations are entitled to the same rights as people.  The Supreme Court, however, determined that corporations do have the same rights to free speech as citizens.  The recent elections showed how well corporations can use this new influence. 

So if corporations are, in a sense, people, they should be held responsible in the same way.  Some progressive members of the House or Senate should propose legislation to allow corporations to be sued in criminal court as opposed to civil court.

Some more radical people would salivate at the possibility of corporations being charged with murder when their product leads to a death, or something like the Deep Water Horizon or Big Branch Mine disaster occurs.  But murder would be a hard case to make, you would need to prove that a corporation intended to harm or kill.  Most likely the evidence against a corporation would lead to a negligence charge.  

The corporation would likely hire a top-tier defense attorney, while the people would have a District Attorney to make their case.  A plea would likely be offered, perhaps a deal along the lines of a class action suit.  Very few of these cases would ever see trial, what drug company would want the public to know how a dangerous drug was rushed to market, or how a coal company cut corners on safety inspections.

But what would the cumulative effect be?  What would the effect be on the company's stock?  Would customers be less likely to buy from companies who are constantly being charged.  And what would happen if one CEO was found guilty and had to serve the time? 

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    • A M Werner profile image

      Allen Werner 7 years ago from West Allis

      And I like how corporations (acting as American citizens) can have little vested interest in the U.S. with all their employment opportunities actually existing overseas. How will their interests remain those of the U.S. if they are making money in India? Whose economy will they want to grow then? Peace

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 7 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      You are correct. The Supreme Court should be ashamed of themselves for the Citizens United decision recognizing corporations as individuals thus allowing them unlimited campaign contributions. It's a joke. You are also right that they can throw bundles of cash at problems to make them silently go away.

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 7 years ago from Worldwide

      You raise a good point. The whole point of the American Corporation has very little to do with business anymore. Here in AZ, you can register vehicles as a corp and never see a photo radar ticket. Now that brewer is back in, the police are snatching peoples cars left and right. I had one snatched by them and got a letter in the mail as a "Courtesy", because our vehicles are held in a trust. Things are getting crazy man! Keep hubbing!

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