Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United v. FEC decision striking down the prohibition on corporate expenditures in federal elections. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people, with the same right to influence politics as voters. Meanwhile, many corporations including McDonald’s, Monsanto and Peabody Energy have cited the principle of corporate constitutional rights in recent efforts to fight back against new laws. McDonald’s and other franchises are suing the city of Seattle over its new $15-an-hour minimum wage law, arguing it violates its corporate personhood rights. They are basing their case on the 14th Amendment, a constitutional provision written to protect newly freed slaves after the Civil War and ensure equal rights for all people. Monsanto is challenging Vermont’s recently passed GMO-labeling law under the First Amendment, claiming that it forces them to "speak" against their will. We host a debate on the movement to draft a constitutional amendment to overturn the doctrine of corporate constitutional rights with two guests: Ron Fein, legal director at Free Speech for People, and Kent Greenfield, professor of law and Dean’s Research Scholar at Boston College Law School.
Leading security and privacy researcher Bruce Schneier talks about about the golden age of surveillance and his new book, "Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World." The book chronicles how governments and corporation have built an unprecedented surveillance state. While the leaks of Edward Snowden have shed light on the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices, less attention has been paid to other forms of everyday surveillance — license plate readers, facial recognition software, GPS tracking, cellphone metadata and data mining.
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: https://freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.