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Wed, Jan 25, 2012
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

VANCOUVER, WA: Citizens United v. FEC Two Year Anniversary Demonstration

The Associated Students of Washington State University Vancouver and the on-campus organization, At Home At School-Activists Coming Together, cordially invite you and your students to a I AM A PERSON!, a civic forum regarding the Supreme Court Ruling of Citizen’s United v Federal Election Commission and corporate personhood.

Who: The forum will feature keynote speaker, Eric Byler, co-founder of the Coffee Party USA, a 501(c)(4) social benefit organization. Mr. Byler is a director, screenwriter, and political activist whose films have been featured and honored at the Sundance Film Festival. Mr. Byler has also championed contemporary online political and social organizing, empowering voters and the general public to act as individual news broadcasters, providing real-life commentary and experiences on current social and political issues that are ignored by mainstream media outlets.

What: I AM A PERSON! Is an open community forum that will address the policy, constitutional, economic, and democratic implications of the most recent Supreme Court ruling on of Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission. The forum will address the issue of corporate personhood, provide a clear definition of what exactly corporate personhood is, how it impacts contemporary campaign reform and law, while providing a top-down analysis of how corporate personhood and the Supreme Court rulings effects us, as voters and individuals. By providing explanations and the current U.S. policy climate, the forum will demonstrate the importance of democratic government and proactive, educated, and civil citizen involvement. The forum will also provide an open floor for attendees to ask questions and raise personal concerns. Following the keynote speech and the question-and -answer period, the forum will break into a less formal discussion among attendees and Mr. Byler, allowing attendees to discuss the forum, interact with the speaker and each others in order to begin to critically think about nature of contemporary U.S. politics and civic engagement.

Why: Corporate personhood extends the rights and privileges afforded under law and the U.S. Constitution to U.S. citizens (natural persons) to corporations and their respective entities as legal persons. The Supreme Court of the United States has interpreted the word “person” in the 14th Amendment to allow them to prescribe constitutional protection to corporations. The landmark ruling of case 588 U.S. 08-205, Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, held that the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has resided on the court since 1975 and in his official dissenting opinion stated:

“At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

Corporate personhood challenges the very notion of democracy on which this country was founded. In one the most unstable and fragile times ever faced by the United States, this decision furthers the public’s inability to ensure true democratic governance of themselves, their families, their communities, and their country.

Event Location

14204 Northeast Salmon Creek Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98686