It’s ironic that Jeff Jacoby, in his Feb. 27 op-ed (“Why the fuss on Citizens United?”), accuses liberals of “hyperventilating” when his thesis includes dire warnings against adopting a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate rights. Using Professor Kent Greenfield’s paranoid analysis, Jacoby raises the specter of a series of dire consequences that are all patently absurd.
Requiring individuals to pray would be a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Prohibiting criticism by press outlets would be a violation of the individual author’s press right, which the company can assert by proxy, a well-established principle in law. And seizing Google’s servers without a warrant would violate the Fourth Amendment rights of Google’s customers with information on those servers. Institutions do not require civil rights to protect individual liberties.
Finally, the 13th and 14th Amendments expanded individual liberty specifically by limiting the power of state institutions to freely violate the rights of former slaves. Limiting the privileges of powerful, immortal private institutions would have the same effect.
We are pushing to expand individual liberties. Yes, that comes at the expense of institutional hegemony. That’s the whole point. Libertarians should be proud to support the People’s Rights and We The People amendments in Congress.
The writer is managing editor of The Amendment Gazette.