By Bob Alexander
Ms. Reubenstein is right in her letter (posted in The Bedford Citizen on October 17, 2018) that corporations are not people. However, they are undeniably assemblies of people, and the First Amendment protects the right of people to assemble and to petition the government. This, in fact, was the basis of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.
Moreover, we should think carefully about the consequences before denying rights to corporations. If corporations do not have Fourth Amendment rights, for example, then the government can search them without so much as a warrant. The corporations that provide your e-mail service, phone service, and cloud storage would have no legal right to protect your data from a warrantless search.
Since the Citizens United ruling, corporations have indeed spent a lot of money on politics. But the candidates they’ve supported have, to a large extent, lost. Jeb Bush lost the Republican nomination despite being the darling of corporate donors. Bernie Sanders did remarkably well despite being shunned by them and was arguably defeated more by the Democratic Party establishment than by corporate funding. In short, the real world effect of Citizens United has been negligible.
There is no problem that needs to be solved here, and a Constitutional amendment stripping corporations of rights will have dangerous unintended consequences. I urge people to vote No on Question 2.