Corporations can’t vote, act as jurors
To the editor:
I disagree with Bob DeMaura’s March 25 article “Citizens United: the right decision.” Corporations are created by legal documents. Corporations are responsible only to their shareholders, not the commonwealth. If a corporation were a person, it would be able to vote, or serve in the military, or on a jury, or go to jail. It can’t do any of these things. Individual citizens can do all these things and therefore have the right to speak and be heard.
The right to assemble and to “petition the government for redress of grievances” is in our Constitution. It doesn’t say the right to form a corporation, because corporations are legal entities. The 501(c)C4 regulation is just one example of the protection provided to corporations that individuals aren’t privy to.
In regards to Mr. DeMaura’s desire to repeal the 17th Amendment: The 17th Amendment was enacted in 1913 after many years of thought and debate. Previous to the 17th Amendment Senators were selected by the governor and then voted in by the State Legislature. Closed-door corrupt deals paying for privilege were the way many got representation in the Senate. The country fought long and hard over that issue and they came up with a more representative system.
A separate but related issue: “money is speech.. This is the slogan that came out of the decision by the Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo in 1976. It is a misnomer of sorts. The court found that using money to access speech is allowed. In that same decision, the court upheld the right to set limits on campaign contributions by individuals. Money is a way to make one’s speech louder.
Freedom of speech is an intricate issue, but I think we can control the loudness of speech without limiting the right to speak.