Amendment XXVIII?

  • News
  • Thread starter Skyhunter
  • Start date
  • #1
Skyhunter
Congresswoman Donna Edwards has introduced http://freespeechforpeople.org/amendment" [Broken] (And it is not a ban on same sex couples.)

Amendment XXVIII

Section 1. The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, the First Amendment shall not be construed to limit the authority of Congress and the States to define, regulate, and restrict the spending and other activity of any corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law or the law of another nation.

Section 2. Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Q6cehXA5mHo&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param [Broken] name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Q6cehXA5mHo&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
27,396
11,508
If this passes, what is to stop Congress from banning corporate or union spending in favor of the minority party? Or for that matter, requiring corporate or union spending in favor of the majority party?

This is democracy?
 
  • #3
russ_watters
Mentor
20,959
7,577
I'm not sure I agree or disagree but at least she understands that an amendment is required for this. An awful lot of people including politicians don't seem to get it.
 
  • #4
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,803
806
If this passes, what is to stop Congress from banning corporate or union spending in favor of the minority party? Or for that matter, requiring corporate or union spending in favor of the majority party?

This is democracy?

I think an amendment is in order, but getting the language right will take some doing.

Yes, this is how democracy works. I don't understand the objection; or is the objection strictly in regards to the language proposed here?
 
Last edited:
  • #5
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
223
84
But the Contract Clause of the Constitution still can limit Congress and the States?

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

This was included to stop "powerful" people from having their debts dismissed (State legislature would dismiss the debt, as bankruptcy laws didn't exist back then). A major side effect was to limit the ability of Congress and/or individual states to modify the corporate charters of corporations, once formed. You can't change the rules after the fact. Another side effect of this clause was that it was used to justify denying the right to secede to the Confederacy.

I'm not positive, but maybe her wording should be more specific (similar to the section making sure there was no confusion over freedom of the press). I don't think it would be good to inadvertantly repeal the Contract Clause of the US Constitution.
 
Last edited:
  • #6
CRGreathouse
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,824
0
What an awful amendment. It would allow laws like "Unions can't spend money to support candidates" or even "The Democratic party can't spend money to support candidates".

If you're going to mess with free speech, you'd better do it carefully -- you're playing with fire.
 
  • #7
1,031
18
If this passes, what is to stop Congress from banning corporate or union spending in favor of the minority party?
The proposed amendment said:
any corporation, limited liability entity, or other corporate entity created by state or federal law
Not any corporation, just certain ones.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,803
806
But the Contract Clause of the Constitution still can limit Congress and the States?



This was included to stop "powerful" people from having their debts dismissed (State legislature would dismiss the debt, as bankruptcy laws didn't exist back then). A major side effect was to limit the ability of Congress and/or individual states to modify the corporate charters of corporations, once formed. Another side effect of this clause was that it was used to justify denying the right to secede to the Confederacy.

I'm not positive, but maybe her wording should be more specific (similar to the article making sure there was no confusion over freedom of the press). I don't think it would be good to inadvertantly repeal the Contract Clause of the US Constitution.

How does this affect corporate charters or the obligation of contracts?
 
  • #9
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
223
84
How does this affect corporate charters or the obligation of contracts?

I think her wording is pretty clear - especially when compared to the Second Amendment. It just pays to make sure that the wording can't be misconstrued. While I think it's clear that the Amendment is saying the First Amendment can't be considered a restriction, the things the article mentions are things the Contract Clause prevents from being modified after the fact.

For example, New Jersey issued bonds to finance the World Trade Center back in the 60's and had contractually promised the bondholders that the collateral would not be used to finance money losing rail operations. Later, New Jersey attempted to modify law to allow financing of railway operations, and the bondholders successfully sued to prevent this from happening. Eventually, the case wound up in the US Supreme Court, with the suit being upheld based on the Contract Clause prohibiting changing the contract after the fact through legislation.

I'm not saying the Contract Clause would prevent the Edwards Amendment from taking affect, since the Amendment would overrule the clause in the Constitution. I'm just saying the clause serves a useful purpose and it wouldn't be good to have people think it's been overruled.
 
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,803
806
A general comment: I have already emailed my Senators and Congressman, indicating our support for a Constitutional Amendment to correct this aberration in the law of the land. I urge all other US citizens here to do the same. Tell your friends to do the same.
 
  • #11
CRGreathouse
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,824
0
A general comment: I have already emailed my Senators and Congressman, indicating our support for a Constitutional Amendment to correct this aberration in the law of the land. I urge all other US citizens here to do the same. Tell your friends to do the same.

I hope you don't support it in its current form, though! Any suggestions for fixing it?
 
  • #12
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,803
806
I hope you don't support it in its current form, though! Any suggestions for fixing it?

I didn't reference any particular language or this particular proposal. I may have some comments about the specifics later, but for now I can only say that an amendment is needed. I agree that this is dicey territory and we need to be very careful.

For me, the SC decision only helps to accentuate a problem that has long required attention.
 
  • #13
russ_watters
Mentor
20,959
7,577
Yes, this is how democracy works. I don't understand the objection; or is the objection strictly in regards to the language proposed here?
The objection for me is that I like the first amendment and it makes me very nervous to cut into it, even though the general idea of campaign finance reform is appealing to me. Specifically, though, the proposed amendment is very broad - too broad.

As the long thread on the recent USSC decision showed, a great many people just haven't thought through the full implications of such laws/amendments. Liberals don't seem to get that restricting Merck from giving money to politicians has implications for unions and MoveOn, as well.
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,803
806
I agree. But I think your objections apply to people of all political brands. Liberals [typically meaning Dems], Conservatives [typically meaning Reps] of various types, and probably most Independents can get behind something like this and perhaps overreact.

Most Liberals will also be quick to defend free speech.
 
  • #15
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
223
84
Liberals don't seem to get that restricting Merck from giving money to politicians has implications for unions and MoveOn, as well.


Would it be so bad if it had implications for the Republican Party and Democratic Party, as well?

Personally, I'd be for eliminating any party affiliation from ballots. If a voter can't even remember the name of the candidate they want elected, then their choice probably isn't any better than a random choice, anyway.
 
  • #16
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,803
806
One difference that I see between a body like a union, and a corporation, is that presumably The Union represents the majority view of all people within the organization, whereas a corporation can exploit the wealth of many to promote the views of an elite few.
 
Last edited:
  • #17
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
223
84
One difference that I see between a body like a union, and a corporation, is that presumably The Union represents the majority view of all people within the organization, whereas a corporation can exploit the wealth of many to promote the views of an elite few.

Technically, a corporation might exploit the wealth of many to promote a view no one shares.

If the individuals running the corporation do their job the way they're supposed to, they should take whatever (legal) action brings in the most money for the corporation - even if it's something they personally don't approve of doing.

It might be in a corporation's best interest to do something like run attack ads against the vicious dolphins fouling the nets of the poor, but honest, tuna fishermen.
 
  • #18
Skyhunter
This is an issue that needs to be debated.

Amending the Constitution should only be done sober... with much deliberation.
 
  • #19
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
223
84
.

Amending the Constitution should only be done sober... with much deliberation.

Does this apply to every amendment? Surely it can't apply to both the 18th and the 21st Amendment.

I always like the amendment to Colorado's Constitution that created article XXVI - Nuclear Detonation. In the middle of the cold war, Colorado banned nuclear explosions in our state. The USSR was totally stymied, which is why the Air Force has so many bases in the state.
 
  • #20
Skyhunter
Does this apply to every amendment? Surely it can't apply to both the 18th and the 21st Amendment.

I always like the amendment to Colorado's Constitution that created article XXVI - Nuclear Detonation. In the middle of the cold war, Colorado banned nuclear explosions in our state. The USSR was totally stymied, which is why the Air Force has so many bases in the state.

I said that is how it should be amended. I didn't mean to imply that is how it is done historically.

The 14th IMO is one most in need of repeal.
 
  • #21
246
3
I do not like section 2. I feel it conflicts with section 1. I would delete section 2. We can limit incorporated entities. This will leave elections to be decided by the spending of rich individuals. My... that will not be much of a change.
 
  • #22
CRGreathouse
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,824
0
I didn't reference any particular language or this particular proposal. I may have some comments about the specifics later, but for now I can only say that an amendment is needed. I agree that this is dicey territory and we need to be very careful.

I would be most interested in your thoughtful opinion on the subject.
 
  • #23
russ_watters
Mentor
20,959
7,577
Would it be so bad if it had implications for the Republican Party and Democratic Party, as well?
Being applied evenly across party lines isn't the only issue - it isn't even the biggest issue. The biggest issue is whether the general concept of restricting people's ability to pool their political influence is a good or bad thing.
Personally, I'd be for eliminating any party affiliation from ballots. If a voter can't even remember the name of the candidate they want elected, then their choice probably isn't any better than a random choice, anyway.
I would agree with that....doesn't have a whole lot to do with the thread, though...
 
  • #24
russ_watters
Mentor
20,959
7,577
One difference that I see between a body like a union, and a corporation, is that presumably The Union represents the majority view of all people within the organization, whereas a corporation can exploit the wealth of many to promote the views of an elite few.
?? Both a union and a corporation represent everyone in them. People choose to be a part of both, even if they don't agree with every specific act!

Ie:
Technically, a corporation might exploit the wealth of many to promote a view no one shares.

If the individuals running the corporation do their job the way they're supposed to, they should take whatever (legal) action brings in the most money for the corporation - even if it's something they personally don't approve of doing.

It might be in a corporation's best interest to do something like run attack ads against the vicious dolphins fouling the nets of the poor, but honest, tuna fishermen.
Individuals can and do often have conflicting or contradictory points of view, but externally what matters is what you do. A company exists to make money and an employee works for the company to make money. That's perfect harmony.

If a person works for a tuna company and feels bad that the tuna company is killing dolphins, that's their own hypocrisy causing the stomach ache - it is not a conflict between the employee and the company. If it hurts enough to matter, quit (and if it hurts enough to go against the company, get fired). Can't quit because you need the money? Well, you've just decided which is more important, haven't you?
 
Last edited:
  • #25
CRGreathouse
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2,824
0
Bad comparison, russ. Employees are free to work or not work for a company, but companies represent the stockholders not the workers.
 

Related Threads on Amendment XXVIII?

  • Last Post
12
Replies
278
Views
25K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
40
Views
5K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
92
Views
10K
Replies
18
Views
2K
Replies
31
Views
9K
Replies
72
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
Replies
10
Views
4K
Replies
8
Views
5K
D
Replies
45
Views
6K
Top