National Review Online

April 26, 2012

National Review Online’s editorial “Keep the First Amendment” contains several unfortunate falsehoods about the People’s Rights Amendment, the purpose of which is to make it clear, as the Framers intended and consistent with republican principles, that constitutional rights, such as free speech, belong only to natural persons, and not to corporations.

The Constitution protects certain individual rights that are vital to safeguarding our free society. Only our most sacred rights are enshrined in the Constitution, and thereby afforded the unique authority of that document.

Many other rights also exist, conferred by statute or by case law or common law. These rights are properly subject to legislation, and lack the unique protection of the Constitution.

Corporate law, appropriately, is in this latter category. Corporations are artificial entities, created by people. In order to accomplish important economic goals, we the people grant charters to corporations, conferring various legal rights, including the ability to enter into contracts, and great privileges, such as limited liability and perpetual life.

These corporate rights and privileges are properly guaranteed by law, but are not so sacred as to be protected by the Constitution, because corporations are not people. This critical distinction — between constitutional rights that properly belong only to people, and other, subordinate legal rights that legitimately extend to corporations — is the crux of the People’s Rights Amendment. Your editorial unfortunately ignores this distinction, falsely asserting that the People’s Rights Amendment would eliminate all these legal rights. It will not. It simply clarifies that constitutional rights are only for people.

To read the entire article, click here.