Corporations Are Perverting the Notion of Free Speech

Jeffrey Clements Posted by Jeffrey Clements.

Jeffrey Clements is a cofounder and general counsel of Free Speech for People, a national, nonpartisan campaign to oppose corporate personhood and pass the People’s Rights Amendment.


Our Legal Advocacy Director Ron Fein and Harvard Law Professor John C.

Our Legal Advocacy Director Ron Fein and Harvard Law Professor John C. Coates IV are featured today in Newsweek, in a piece titled “Corporations Are Perverting the Notion of Free Speech.”

So here’s what we do know: Corporations—and their lawyers—are trying to take over the First Amendment, and they’re doing so more now than ever.

Coates and Fein write, “Many people are familiar with the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which held that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.”

“In the past two months, corporations have argued that they have a First Amendment right to block laws requiring labels to disclose added sugars in San Francisco, cellphone radiation risks in Berkeley, California andgenetically engineered ingredients in Vermont. In September, a franchising trade group will argue that Seattle’s minimum wage law violates (somehow) the First Amendment rights of multinationals like McDonald’s. In one federal court, Arkansas is fighting to defend a ban on private surveillance firms using digital license plate scanners to record the movements of drivers on the state’s roads. Another appellate court is weighing whether to revise its earlier ruling that a law requiring publicly traded corporations to report whether their products are made from conflict minerals violates these companies’ freedom of speech.

This latest wave of corporate litigation is aimed directly at the Supreme Court.”

But the problem goes beyond election spending, as today’s Newsweek piece explains. Read the full story, here.

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