When Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca, recently directed a corporate “fracking” combine in Western Pennsylvania to unseal the terms of a settlement with citizen-plaintiffs, she struck a clear blow for the public’s right to know. But far beyond the borders of Washington County PA, her ruling is being celebrated by a national movement working to reverse 127 years of law that gave corporations the constitutional protections of real human beings.
Her decision echoed language as old as that used when corporations were judged subservient to citizens and as new as the slogans of the “occupy” movement.
Judge O’Dell-Seneca observed that the Pennsylvania state constitution says men and women come into this world with “certain inherent and indefeasible rights’ and continued that,
“There are no men or women defendants in the instant case; they are various business entities”legal fictions, existing not by natural birth but by operations of state statutes”Such business entities cannot have been ” born equally free and independent,’ because they were not born at all. Indeed, the framers of our constitution could not have intended for them to be ” free and independent,’ because, as the creations of the law, they are always subservient to it.
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