This is in response to recent letters to the Sun Journal that defended the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling that affords political freedom of speech rights to corporations.

The First Amendment extends freedom of speech to “the people,” protecting rights of individuals and of groups holding a set of beliefs. The crucial difference between a corporation and a person is that a person may vote their conscience, meaning they are responsible to their conscience.

A corporation is responsible only to its shareholders, whose main motive is to maximize profits. The “slippery-slope argument” is the stock argument used as an excuse to do nothing. For example, when we do not restrict access to assault weapons to the mentally-ill because the next step would be to take Uncle Hiram’s shotgun.

Five rabidly right-wing justices have ignored a century of Congressional legislation and Supreme Court precedent affirming that corporations are created by legal law and do not have the same rights as people do: 1907 in the The Tillman Act; 1990 in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and in 2002 in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

Now, corporations with no interest in the public good can contribute to fake non-profits who then contribute to campaigns without disclosing where the money really came from.

The U.S. Constitution is an underlying set of principles subject to adjustment in the form of amendments. Freedom of speech was intended to guarantee an equal voice in self-government and to foster diversity of thought. Citizens United concentrates political voice in the hands of a few who have profits as their primary motive.

Jeff Christiansen, Gorham

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