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Old 10-15-2016, 06:08 PM
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corporate Personhood?


Too bad the Supreme Court didn't read your column before it issued its Citizens United decision!
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:22 PM
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The problem with restricting corporate free speech as in Citizens United is not that the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people. What the Supreme Court ruled is that the people in corporations have First Amendment protection and that you do not lose your civil rights merely by organizing into a corporation. Aside from the fact that the entire case is pretty much an issue of attempted revenge by Hillary Clinton against a group that offended her with a movie, you have to consider the implications:

Virtually all the news media in this country are owned by only six gigantic corporations. Why should these six corporations have the ability to say whatever they want, but all others would be restricted? Why give these six corporations a monopoly on the First Amendment? How is freedom of speech and of the press protected by what would essentially be a federal licensing scheme that decides who can be a newspaper? The answer, of course, is you can't do that. No one, not even an employee or shareholder of a corporation, should be restricted from the public square.
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:37 PM
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Link to column being discussed.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 10-18-2016 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:59 PM
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I actually agree with Citizens United in that a corporation should have a right to political speech since they are affected by US laws. For example, I as an individual may not care about IP law but qua a stockowner of Disney, I would expect the corporation to be concerned about IP law.

HOWEVER they should still follow the same campaign laws individuals do and this end-around of how an anti-Trump or Clinton ad does not have to follow the rules of an official Clinton or Trump campaign ad.
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Old 10-18-2016, 03:45 PM
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One should keep in mind that "corporate person" also includes nonprofit organizations.

ACLU
NAACP
AFL-CIO
Greenpeace

If you muzzle groups on one side, you will also muzzle groups on the other side.

Last edited by mbh; 10-18-2016 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:55 PM
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darn I was expecting a debate about megacorps and corporate citizens ala shadowrun .........
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by waddlingeagle View Post
Why give these six corporations a monopoly ...
If there are six, doesn't that prove that it is NOT a monopoly?
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Old 10-19-2016, 11:37 PM
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If there are six, doesn't that prove that it is NOT a monopoly?
For prosecution purposes, if they collaborate under the table, they have a shared monopoly.
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Old 09-04-2019, 08:10 PM
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Bumped because the column is once again up on the Straight Dope homepage.

Cecil was overstating things to write that "after the... 1886 [SCOTUS] decision, artificial persons were held to have exactly the same legal rights as we natural folk" (emphasis added). They really weren't. Corporations cannot, as such, vote in an election, adopt a child, enlist in the military, serve on a jury, or marry a human being, off the top of my head. But they can do many other things, not all of them IMHO good for the republic, as Citizens United shows.
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Old 09-04-2019, 11:49 PM
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If a corporation is a person, then can it be held to be enslaved by its board of directors?
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Bumped because the column is once again up on the Straight Dope homepage.

Cecil was overstating things to write that "after the... 1886 [SCOTUS] decision, artificial persons were held to have exactly the same legal rights as we natural folk" (emphasis added). They really weren't. Corporations cannot, as such, vote in an election, adopt a child, enlist in the military, serve on a jury, or marry a human being, off the top of my head. But they can do many other things, not all of them IMHO good for the republic, as Citizens United shows.
Corporations have the right to do all of those things. The fact that no corporation has tried to do them is not evidence that they do not have those rights.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:09 AM
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Corporations have the right to do all of those things....
Cite? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:07 PM
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Cite? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
I don't know if there is any evidence, pro or con. For instance, is there a law on the books specifically stopping a corporation from adopting a child and/or is there a case where a corporation tried to adopt a child? If the answer is "no" to both, then the claim is not extraordinary-it is merely unknown.
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Old 09-05-2019, 12:15 PM
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Apparently we discussed the possibility of corporations adopting children almost a decade ago in this thread.
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Cite? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
My cite is USC Title 1:
Quote:
the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:46 PM
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My cite is USC Title 1:
Adoption is a matter of state law; the U.S. Code is Federal law.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:56 PM
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Federal law supersede state law (Supremacy Clause). Corporations are persons, not partial people, according to the law. Anything a person can legally do, a corporation can legally do because they are also persons. I welcome your cite showing otherwise.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 09-05-2019 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:52 PM
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American law draws a distinction between "natural persons," that is, human beings, and other kinds of persons such as corporations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_person

Notwithstanding the Supremacy Clause, Federal law does not intrude on adoptions, which are, as I wrote, a matter of state law. In Alaska, for example, only adults over age 18 may adopt children: https://www.acrf.org/adoption-faqs.php?tn=4

Jury service in Ohio, for instance, is limited to registered voters or licensed drivers: https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resou...-jury-service/

Voting has always been a right reserved for human beings in the US: https://constitutioncenter.org/inter...amendment-xxvi

Arkansas law, as in some other states, refers to males and females in dealing with marriage, while corporations are of course asexual: https://statelaws.findlaw.com/arkans...iage-laws.html

Joining the US military typically requires a high school diploma (enlisted) or college degree (officers): https://www.military.com/join-armed-...igibility.html

I am aware of no corporation which has ever done any of these things. I welcome your cite showing otherwise.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
American law draws a distinction between "natural persons," that is, human beings, and other kinds of persons such as corporations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_person

Notwithstanding the Supremacy Clause, Federal law does not intrude on adoptions, which are, as I wrote, a matter of state law. In Alaska, for example, only adults over age 18 may adopt children: https://www.acrf.org/adoption-faqs.php?tn=4
Has this ever been attempted by a corporation, tho? Has the law ever been tested?
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Jury service in Ohio, for instance, is limited to registered voters or licensed drivers: https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resou...-jury-service/
I'm willing to bet it's never been tested in court that a corporation cannot register to vote or to receive a driver's license.
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Voting has always been a right reserved for human beings in the US: https://constitutioncenter.org/inter...amendment-xxvi
I see the term "citizen" but not "human being" or "natural person". Corporations are citizens, aren't they? I mean, they are persons who originated in the US, right?
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Arkansas law, as in some other states, refers to males and females in dealing with marriage, while corporations are of course asexual: https://statelaws.findlaw.com/arkans...iage-laws.html

Joining the US military typically requires a high school diploma (enlisted) or college degree (officers): https://www.military.com/join-armed-...igibility.html

I am aware of no corporation which has ever done any of these things. I welcome your cite showing otherwise.
Except I don't have to show that corporations can do those things; I already did that by showing them to be citizens. It's you who have made the claim, now, that these things you listed are prohibited to corporations, but you haven't shown that to be the case. You've shown that they are proscribed by law but you haven't shown that they would stand if challenged in court. Many things have been proscribed by law and later the courts find that the law is improper.

For instance, marriage only being between a man and a woman. That was said to be illegal too, but eventually the SCOTUS found that the law (the Constitution) did not allow that particular law to exist.

The fact that no one has ever done something is not evidence that it cannot be done, just that it hasn't happened yet.

I can't see why a corporation that wanted to cast a vote couldn't sue to register to vote and I don't see why they should be denied.

To be clear here, I don't like the Dictionary Act and it's contents. I think it was short-sighted and foolish to make a law saying that anything other than human beings are persons, and I think there's a good chance that it will bite America on its fat ass even more than it already has.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:25 AM
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You asked for cites, and I provided them. I asked you for cites, and you did not. Funny that, if corporations could do all these things you insist they could, that they haven't since 1886.
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Old 09-06-2019, 12:34 PM
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You asked for cites, and I provided them. I asked you for cites, and you did not. Funny that, if corporations could do all these things you insist they could, that they haven't since 1886.
You did provide cites, but their content doesn't address the issues raised. Many things are forbidden under the law, until the law is challenged in court.

Citizens United, for instance.

I didn't disagree that those cites say what you say they say, I disagree that what they say would matter at all if a court was hearing the case. There is no exception in or to the Dictionary Act in US law that I know of: corporations are persons, and they have all the same rights as any other person. Thus far, none of the cites you've provided address that at all.

I would be happy to be wrong about this; I want to be wrong about this. But so far you haven't shown that to be the case.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 09-06-2019 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:52 PM
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In order to vote, you must register, and when you register, you need to show some form of ID. The listed forms of ID for Colorado include birth certificates, driver's licenses (for which you need a birth certificate or something like it), passports, and a variety of other things, none of which corporations can get. It does not include articles of incorporation.

A corporation can own a car, but a corporation cannot get a driver's license.

My guess about adoption is that somewhere in a state's adoption laws there is a distinction about natural persons, which corporations are not. In any case there are age requirements. Is your corporation 21 years old?

Corporations do not have all the rights of a natural person. If they did, the phrase "natural person" would not exist.
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Old 09-06-2019, 01:58 PM
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Corporations do not have all the rights of a natural person. If they did, the phrase "natural person" would not exist.
It's a good thing that nobody in this thread has claimed that corporations have all the rights of a natural person, then.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:46 PM
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For prosecution purposes, if they collaborate under the table, they have a shared monopoly.
So sort of an informal cartel, or an unorganized oligopoly then?
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:03 PM
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It's a good thing that nobody in this thread has claimed that corporations have all the rights of a natural person, then.
They haven't?
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
... There is no exception in or to the Dictionary Act in US law that I know of: corporations are persons, and they have all the same rights as any other person. ...
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:14 PM
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They haven't?
You don't see any difference in those statements?

ETA: Look, I'll save you the time and hassle: I didn't say "natural person" because that's not what the law says; the law says they are persons.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 09-06-2019 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:24 PM
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It's a good thing that nobody in this thread has claimed that corporations have all the rights of a natural person, then.
See Cecil's statement, which I quoted, and disagreed with, in post 9.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:47 AM
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There is no exception in or to the Dictionary Act in US law that I know of: corporations are persons, and they have all the same rights as any other person. Thus far, none of the cites you've provided address that at all.
There's a pretty big exception right there in it:

Quote:
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise...the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.
Also, it explicitly only applies to interpretations of Acts of Congress. It has nothing whatsoever to do with state laws.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 09-07-2019 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:50 AM
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I remember it; I replied to it which is what began our conversation.

Can we break your post down and look at the individual things?

For instance, adoption in Alaska.

I see that the Alaska statutes (http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/s....asp#01.10.060) define corporations as persons:
Quote:
(8) “person” includes a corporation, company, partnership, firm, association, organization, business trust, or society, as well as a natural person;
You said, and your cite also shows, that Alaskan adults over the age 18 can adopt. Why couldn't a corporation that was more than 18 years old adopt? Is there a law that specifically says only a natural person can adopt?

I did look at the Alaska Rules of Court - Alaska Adoption Rules, but I didn't see a single occurrence of the phrase "natural person" and only 3 times that "corporation" was used, although one of those was as part of the word "incorporation".

Alaska Statute 25.23.10 says
Quote:
Sec. 25.23.020. Who may adopt.
(a) The following persons may adopt:
(1) a husband and wife together;

(2) an unmarried adult;

(3) the unmarried father or mother of the person to be adopted;

(4) a married person without the other spouse joining as a petitioner, if the person to be adopted is not the other spouse, and if
(A) the other spouse is a parent of the person to be adopted and consents to the adoption;

(B) the petitioner and the other spouse are legally separated; or

(C) the failure of the other spouse to join in the petition or to agree to the adoption is excused by the court by reason of prolonged unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable withholding of consent.
I didn't see it when perusing the statutes, so I have to ask: does Alaska define an adult as only being a natural person?
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:54 AM
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There's literally an exception in it:
What does that phrase mean? Has that been hashed out in the courts?

What "context" would indicate that corporations were not supposed to be included in any law that applies to a person?
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Old 09-07-2019, 01:43 PM
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What does that phrase mean? Has that been hashed out in the courts?

What "context" would indicate that corporations were not supposed to be included in any law that applies to a person?
Lack of joinder! You owe me $20 billion! IN GOLD!

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Old 09-07-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo
Has this ever been attempted by a corporation, tho? Has the law ever been tested? I'm willing to bet it's never been tested in court that a corporation cannot register to vote or to receive a driver's license...
I can't see why a corporation that wanted to cast a vote couldn't sue to register to vote and I don't see why they should be denied.
It doesn't need to be tested in court because it doesn't pass the common sense test. You really don't see a reason why they should be denied the right to vote? Creating a corporation takes just a couple hundred dollars in filing fees. A person with a billion dollars could right now create a few hundred million corporations. In 18 years, by your rationalization, all of those corporations would have the right to vote. So now, this one rich person can control every single election. He can vote HIMSELF into office, as long as he spread his corporations out among the entire country and registered them equally among the states. He wins all 100% of the electoral vote and a vast majority of the popular vote. Does that sound like democracy to you? If corporations could vote, then the richest people could directly control the elections. The fact that no one has tried to do this, and that it has never been challenged in court, is enough reason to believe that it is impossible. If it were even close to possible, someone would have tried it. Hell, a foreign government would have tried it! They could just give a citizen a billion dollars and control America.
Absence of any court challenge is enough to prove that your idea is so wrong, that it doesn't even require case law.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:51 PM
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I realize I was using general number terms like 1 billion and hundreds of millions. It's not quite that insane. But if the average filing fee is about $200, then with $10 billion (pennies for an organization interested in controlling the entire United States), a person or group could create 50 million voters (once those corporations turned 18 years old). That's 15% of the current population. When was the last time the presidential election was decided by more than a third of that? Anyway, the point is valid, if not the exact math.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Federal law supersede state law (Supremacy Clause). Corporations are persons, not partial people, according to the law. Anything a person can legally do, a corporation can legally do because they are also persons. I welcome your cite showing otherwise.
Federal Court's lack authority over such state matters such as divorce, probate, domestic relations, etc. There are judicially created exceptions such as noted in Marshall v. Marshall, the Anna Nicole Smith case. That's my source, but I'm not a lawyer.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:06 PM
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I have to ask: does Alaska define an adult as only being a natural person?
For purposes of the ADOPTION laws, the definition is such:

Sec.25.23.240

(1) "Adult" means an individual who has reached the age of majority.
  #36  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:37 AM
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It doesn't need to be tested in court because it doesn't pass the common sense test.
If a common sense test was all it took, IMO, they never would have defined a person to include corporations in the first place. So, yeah, I have some trouble with what might actually constitutes "common sense" in many instances.
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You really don't see a reason why they should be denied the right to vote?
Oh, I see lots of them. I just don't see how it can be done with the current laws, should someone really want to test things.

I admit that the phrase "unless the context indicates otherwise" sounds like a nifty potential loophole, but I am not at all confident that "context" could be found when applying laws to actual situations that wasn't simply arbitrary.

Ya know, like "ceremonial deism".
  #37  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:01 AM
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My apologies; I meant to thank everyone for the conversation in my previous post.

Thanks, folks!
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