Same sex marriage is very new…newer than cell phones or the internet.
The fight over Obamacare is about freedom. That’s what we’ve been told since these lawsuits were filed two years ago and that’s what we heard both inside and outside the Supreme Court this morning. That’s what Michele Bachmann* and Rick Santorum have been saying for months. Even people who support President Obama’s signature legislative achievement would agree that this debate is all about freedom—the freedom to never be one medical emergency away from economic ruin. What we have been waiting to hear is how members of the Supreme Court—especially the conservative majority—define that freedom. This morning as the justices pondered whether the individual mandate—that part of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty—is constitutional, we got a window into the freedom some of the justices long for. And it is a dark, dark place.
The 14th Amendment was passed at the end of the Civil War to give equal rights to black people, and therefore it said no state can deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of the law and that was intended to prevent the states from taking life, liberty or property away from black people, as they had done for so much of our history. What happened was corporations would come into court, and corporation lawyers are very clever and would say you cannot deprive a person of life, liberty, or property, we are a person, a corporation is a person. The Supreme Court goes along with that. What is particularly grotesque about this was the 14th Amendment was passed to protect newly freed slaves. Between 1890 and 1910 there were 307 cases brought before the court under the 14th Amendment, 288 of these brought by corporations, 19 by African Americans. 600,000 were killed to get rights for people and then with strokes of the pen over the next 30 years, judges applied those rights to capital and property, while stripping them from people.
Today’s Supreme Court ruling reminded me of this quote from the documentary “The Corporation” where companies were given the same rights as people.
You can watch “The Corporation” in it’s entirety here.