HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

44

TWENTY-SIXTH LEGISLATURE, 2011

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 


HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

 

Urging the United States Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution for the states' consideration to provide that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, free and fair elections are essential to American democracy and effective self-governance; and

 

WHEREAS, individual persons are rightfully recognized as the human beings who actually vote in elections; and

 

WHEREAS, corporations are legal entities that governments create and can exist in perpetuity and simultaneously in many nations; and

 

WHEREAS, corporations do not vote in elections and should not be categorized as persons for purposes related to elections for public office; and

 

WHEREAS, corporations are not mentioned in the United States Constitution as adopted, nor have Congress and the states recognized corporations as legal persons in any subsequent federal constitutional amendment; and

 

WHEREAS, during the 18851886 United States Supreme Court term, in the midst of oral arguments leading to the decision in Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 118 U.S. 394 (1886), Chief Justice Waite stated that all the justices agreed that the Fourteenth Amendment's prohibition on state action that denies equal protection to a person applies to a state's treatment of private corporations; and

 

WHEREAS, this brief but extraordinarily significant comment by Chief Justice Waite sanctioned private corporation lawsuits against municipal and state governments for adopting laws that violate a corporation's rights even when those laws serve to protect and defend the rights of individuals; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has continued to adhere to this legal position in its jurisprudence for over a century, and most recently applied it in its decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010), that eliminated many restrictions, including any total prohibition on corporate spending in the electoral process; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court in Citizens has created a new and unequal playing field between individuals and corporations with respect to campaign financing, negating over a century of precedent prohibiting corporate contributions to federal election campaigns that dates back to the Tillman Act of 1907; and

 

WHEREAS, the Citizens decision has forced candidates for political office to divert attention from the interests and needs of their individual constituents in order to raise sufficient campaign funds for election; and

 

WHEREAS, corporations are not and have never been human beings and therefore are rightfully subservient to individuals and the governments that are their creators; and

 

WHEREAS, the profits and institutional survival of large corporations are often in direct conflict with the essential needs and rights of individuals; and

 

WHEREAS, large corporations have used their rights to successfully seek the judicial reversal of democratically enacted laws passed at the municipal, state, and federal levels aimed at curbing corporate abuse; and

 

WHEREAS, these judicial decisions have rendered democratically elected governments ineffective in protecting their citizens against corporate harm to the environment, health, workers, independent business, and local and regional economies; and

 

WHEREAS, large corporations own most of America's mass media and employ those media to loudly express the corporate political agenda and to convince Americans that the primary role of human beings is that of consumers rather than sovereign citizens with democratic rights and responsibilities; and

 

WHEREAS, the only way to reverse this intolerable societal reality is to amend the United States Constitution to define persons as human beings and not corporations; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-sixth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2011, that the Legislature urges Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution for the states' consideration to provide that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of Hawaii's congressional delegation.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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Report Title:

Clarifying that Corporations are Not People