For Immediate Release
Move to Amend Rejects US Court of Appeals Decision in National Association of Manufacturers v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Calls on American Public to Support an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to End Corporate Personhood
WASHINGTON - On Tuesday, panel of US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has issued a decision in National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) v. US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), holding that publically-traded corporations have a First Amendment right to hide whether their products contain conflict minerals from the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the majority opinion, two out of three judges on the panel struck down a DC Circuit en banc ruling upholding regulations requiring businesses to disclose a product’s country of origin, ruling such disclosure rules only apply to advertisements.
“Rulings such as this one send the message that so-called corporate ‘rights’ actually trump ‘We the People’s’ rights. In this case a corporation is hiding behind the First Amendment to avoid accountability for their actions, and the Court has ruled their right to secrecy is more important than the public’s right to know,” stated Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, National Director of Move to Amend. “We reject this opinion and call on the American people to build a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to make clear that corporations do not have Constitutional rights.”
Move to Amend is a rapidly growing national grassroots coalition of nearly 400,000 individuals and thousands of organizations working to pass a constitutional amendment to state that Constitutional rights belong to human beings only, not to corporations and other artificial entities, and that campaign spending is not a form of protected speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated. The group formed in in 2009 in preparation for the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission ruling on January 21, 2010. Their We The People amendment was introduced in the US House of Representatives on April 29, 2015.
“This case sets a dangerous precedent that allows corporations the argument to dismantle modern transparency laws,” continued Sopoci-Belknap. “Every disclosure law in the country is now at risk for a corporate legal challenge under the First Amendment."
Judges Raymond Randolph and David Sentelle, responding to the dissenting opinion in this case, stated:
“To support the conflict minerals disclosure rule, the dissent argues that the rule is valid because the United States is thick with laws forcing ‘[i]ssuers of securities’ to ‘make all sorts of disclosures about their products.’ Charles Dickens had a few words about this form of argumentation: ‘“Whatever is is right”’; an aphorism that would be as final as it is lazy, did it not include the troublesome consequence, that nothing that ever was, was wrong.”
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