Dred Scott v. Sandford, commonly referred to as The Dred Scott Decision, was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants -- whether or not they were slaves -- were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States. The Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, additionally established that the United States had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories. Authored by Chief Justice Taney, the majority opinion also ruled that because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Finally, the Court claimed that slaves could not be taken away from their owners without due process. Dred Scott has almost unanimously been criticized as the most irresponsible and careless decision ever handed down by the high court...until now.
With the announcement of Dred Scott, "Abolitionists were incensed. Although disappointed, Frederick Douglass found a bright side to the decision and announced, 'my hopes were never brighter than now.' For Douglass, the decision would bring slavery to the attention of the nation and was a step toward slavery's ultimate destruction." Four years later, the country was in the midst of a civil war.
On January 21st our highest court adamantly reaffirmed, and confirmed, what it has established for well over a century -- that corporations, as artificial entities, are entitled to all the constitutional rights as natural persons in the landmark decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The similarities between this latest numbskull decision, and the one in 1857, are eerily similar. The latter forbade Constitutional rights to natural-born people of African descent; the former grants equal Constitutional rights to artificial creations (i.e., corporations), to the detriment of all natural-born people.
Like Mr. Douglas, maybe I'm more hopeful now, too. Now that the term "corporate personhood" was brought to the forefront of the national debate, and hopefully our collective conscience, possibly this is a positive step toward the elimination of corporate rule in our everyday lives. It won't be easy, or without hardship, but neither was the Civil War.
Listen to what Representative Alan Grayson, one of the few not bought-and-sold by the corporatist mentality of our congress, had to say in this video clip from Countdown. "If this decision stands, you can kiss this country goodbye."