Corporate Litigants Bear Unfair Burden
What's the definition of a corporate litigant? The amendment doesn't say. Is it a large business enterprise, could it be a farmer, rancher or small shop owner filing for protection in a business matter - could it be all the above? Whatever the case, the authors paint an unambiguous target on the backs of businesses and make them pay more for their cases. That's cause for concern, considering the amendment lets individual litigants refuse to pay their filing fee.
Although the above criticism is made to paragraph 7 (Filing Fees), the discussion regarding "corporate litigant" more appropriately relates to paragraph 8 (Surcharges), and our response here will cover both subjects.
The definition of "corporate litigant" is prima facie, evident on its face. It is obviously a party to a lawsuit that holds a corporate charter. The surcharges on such litigants would be imposed only "as necessary to supplement the funding of this Amendment." (¶8). Only if the other funding falls short of financing the budget needed would this surcharge apply. Corporate litigants obtain corporate status from the state and is a state-created privilege designed to protect their assets. It is only fair that corporations contribute to the state from the advantage of their state-created privilege. Individuals are not creations of the state nor the recipient of such state privileges.
The surcharge is not imposed upon the right of doing business, but upon the privilege of operating under the protections of a corporate charter.
Individuals would file a complaint before the Special Grand Jury as a matter of right and post the filing fee of fifty dollars; except an individual could be exempted if a declaration is filed stating under oath that he/she is impoverished or has reason to object to the fee. This follows in accord with the First Amendment, Right of Redress of Grievances, as justice should not come at a price.
Corporate litigants are in a totally different category-- they are not sovereign nor do they have First Amendment rights. The same privileged status applies to attorneys who are licensed by the state to represent a party.