Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sample letters to the editor on Citizens United and corporate personhood

Use these as a model for your own writing. They were developed by AfD co-chair Nancy Price and Justice Rising editor Jim Tarbell. When your letter is published please let us know and we'll link to it or repost it here. Letter #1 begins here, and continues, along with letter #2, at the "read more" link.

Letter #1
Dear Editor,
In this era of health reform legislation manipulated by senators beholden to the insurance industry and pharmaceutical lobbyists, the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opens the door for complete corruption of our democracy. Masquerading as a free speech case, it actually guts previous state and federal limits on campaign expenditures, especially the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold). Now corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the election result they want and manipulate politics and policy in their self-interest.

This is all part of a legal agenda that includes eliminating restrictions on corporate campaign contributions. The right has been trying to take over the federal courts for over twenty years and this decision proves they have been successful at packing the Court with politicians in robes.

This Supreme Court ruling is being widely applauded by the Republican Party, which sees it as a boon to their fundraising efforts. With pivotal elections for control of the House, Senate and statehouses in November, corporations will use this decision to accelerate their take-over of our political system.

Many groups are organizing to confront this corporate offensive with campaigns to challenge the controversial legal doctrine of the corporations have personhood rights under the 14th Amendment and therefore the First Amendment rights to free speech.

Justice John Paul Stevens writing for the minority said: “The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.”

Corporations are not persons. It will only be by reclaiming control of our democracy that we can ensure a safe and healthy future for our families and ourselves. For information on the new Campaign to Legalize Democracy and movement to Amend the Constitution to strip corporations of all constitutional rights conferred piecemeal by the Court over the years, check out and

Letter #2
Dear Editor,
Ten years ago, people rallied to stop global corporate governance at the WTO in Seattle. Now, the recent Supreme Court ruling further entrenches corporate power and rule in our nation.

The Roberts Court majority of right-wing, pro-corporate ideologues, in their recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, opened the door to unlimited corporate campaign spending in state and federal elections. This comes when Wall Street banks were the biggest campaign donors in the country. If we think corporate-friendly politicians have handed a boondoggle of cash to their Wall Street friends during the recent banker-caused financial crisis, just count what they contribute to their Wall Street-friendly candidates this election year to buy the results they want to manipulate politics and policy in their self-interest.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the dissent for the minority: ”Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races.”

We can not allow the Supreme Court’s expansion of free speech rights under the First Amendment to further entrench corporate power in the law of the land. Nor, can we allow the controversial legal doctrine of “corporate personhood” that gives corporations protection under the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights go unchallenged. Corporations are not persons. They are artificial entities. We must make clear that the American people are in charge of their government, and not the corporate elite and their corporate-friendly courts.

The only way to establish citizen control of our democracy is to pass a constitutional amendment to deny corporate personhood, thereby stripping corporations of all constitutional rights conferred on them piecemeal by the Court over the years. Go to for information on how to join the national uprising putting people in power, not the monied elite. Thanks for joining in.

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