Re: Supreme Court Interpretation of the 14th Amendment

I don’t believe SCOTUS has ruled on the individual rights of a corporation issue.All of the interpretations are from a lesser court.

Column in question:

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, SCOTUS overruled the lower court in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which was based on the Fourteenth Amendment:

So SCOTUS effectively argued corporations are indistinguishable from individuals.

Utterly wrong. In Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court effectively argued that speech is protected with no regard to source, since there is no speech source restriction in the Constitution. There is nothing in the decision that makes any kind of argument that a corporation is similar to an individual, much less that it is “indistinguishable” from one.

Your argument appears to hinge on whether the court used the magic words, “Corporations are individuals.”

The rest of us clearly understand the opinion of the court.

More specifically about the column-Are Birchers a subset of the people discussed in the column?

I thought Birchers are just ardent anti-Commies. I’ve never read that they’ve taken any particular position on the Federal government’s power to legislate or tax (although it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that individual Birchers would be “sovereign citizen” types.)

There is probably some overlap. The Birchers were also against the UN and anything that could be construed as world government.

Ah, yes. And flouridation, right?

From your statement, I don’t think you do. I’m curious as to whether you’ve even read the opinion?

Yes, I have. Have you?

Yeah, this is definitely a case where Cecil either displayed early Alzheimer’s, or succumbed to the Chicago detachment from reality where political developments you disfavor are concerned.

The SCOTUS declared corporations are people? Really? So, for example, no accountant could assist a corporation in going out of business without being guilty of murder, except of course in Oregon, assuming there is some equivalent to the psychiatric evaluation required for assisted suicide…?

And a corporation gets a vote, right? No state can deny the right of GM to vote, right? Er…but Facebook, yes, because it’s less than 18 years old…

Sure, I understand the statement is meant to be a provocative metaphor, a bit of rhetorical red meat hyperbole. Obviously what the Supreme Court did is say corporations are like people in the extremely restricted sense of having some First Amendment rights. (They obviously don’t have full FA rights, even, because Congress makes laws, e.g. truth-in-advertising laws, or laws about what coporations must say on a prospectus, et cetera, that put all kinds of restrictions on corporate speech.)

Does that make a corporation into a person, effectively? Hard to see how. There’s just a bit more to being a person than having FA rights, no?

Besides which, what they said is not so much that a corporation by some magical process is sort of like a person, but that if actual persons choose to exercise their FA rights through an organization, it doesn’t matter what kind of organization it is. If the FA means government may not forbid 1 person from taking out an anti-Obama ad in the paper, nor 100 people from taking out 100 separate ads, nor 100 people from voluntarily pooling their money to take out 1 gigantic anti-Obama ad, nor 100 people forming an informal organization or club, paying dues, and voting to have the dues go to funding an anti-Obam ad – because, in each case, people are exercising their FA rights through whatever organization they please – then on what conceivable rational grounds can we say that if those 100 people first take out incorporation papers for their group, shazam! they now lose their right to do what was an inalienable core right just before they named themselves Foo, Incoporated instead of The Foo Club. You have to truly love splitting hairs – or have an ulterior agenda – to swallow that “logic.”

Really. To be precise, they have the same legal rights as people. This subject was addressed in:

It is of course trivially true that artificial persons can’t be murdered and so on.

“Effectively” is the key word. Corporations - as associations of individuals but not as living breathing human beings - can not be prevented from expressing their political views thru the expenditure of money. The same holds true for unions, as an association of individuals, or the Loyal Order of the Moose, as an association of individuals.

Corporations can’t get a drivers license, or a birth certificate, or use the EZ1040 form to file their taxes.

Corporations are only considered the same as individuals when it comes to spending money to express their freedom of expression for political campaigns.

Individuals can lie, that’s part of freedom of speech too. Interesting to me will be whether “truth in advertising” laws will be cast aside: after all, corporations have the same freedom of speech rights as individuals, and so can’t be held to any standards of truthfulness (unless they’re under oath, of course.)

No, you’ve missed the point. Corporations aren’t merely associations of human beings; they’re “artificial persons” and as such entitled to equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment. This applies to everything, not just freedom of expression. If you’re not buying Cecil’s take on it, try this:

*Since corporations had been viewed as artificial persons for millennia, the debate over whether they should be afforded the same rights as humans had been raging long before the 14th Amendment was adopted. *

This debate has been going on for a very long time. It seem to me that the people who want to change the way corporations are viewed by established law have to formulate a convincing argument (an argument that convinces a majority of the people who elect our elected representatives) that corporations should not be considered “artificial persons” any longer.

What will that take?

Should the SCOTUS be expected to simply rewrite the 14th? Congress wrote and rewrote campaign fianance laws. Congress screwed up and wrote some parts of the law in a manner that is unconstitutional. It’s Congresses job to readdress the issue of corporate artificial personhood. Hopefully, to your approval.

The definition and primary responsibilities of corporations have changed within the US’s legal history. I’d like to know which types of corporations the article refers to that have been going for millennia, especially in regards to legislation (guilds?).

This documentary discusses their historic roles and purposes within a community and how those have changed.

Our servant gov’t has managed to make us masters the slave. In law, persons, individuals, and yes, even human beings include just about any entity you can imagine. Only the rarely used term “natural person” (read part 14 of FDR’s first official act where he helps the banksters steal everyones gold) signifies what us mere mortals think of as a person. I listened to Michael Badnarik, Libertaterian candidate for President speak about this and later verified what he said.

The bottom line is this: When it comes to gov’t, every issue starts as a 1st (or 3rd, 4th, 6th, etc) amendment issue, but eventually becomes a 2nd amendment issue.

Well informed citizens are important for our republic; well armed citizens are even more important.

Veneriable Slacks
gun control is hitting your target

The How Stuff Works article was written by Josh Clark. He’s probably a better source for that information. I assume he’s referring to the various corporations in the various forms they’ve taken over the millennia.

Before anything can be considered illegal, there must be a law against it. The 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868. Corporations, in some form, already existed. Corporations already had legal standing. Now here’s the really important part - The States and Congress approved the 14th as it was written. The SCOTUS didn’t write the 14th but they have ruled based on its wording.

So here’s what I propose, since laws can be written that allow union members to elect NOT to participate in their unions political contributions, it’s also possible to write laws that allow stockholders and employees of corporations to elect NOT to allow their funds to be used for a corporations political contributions. The accounting and record keeping would be a might cumbersome.

Of course, that won’t solve every problem. Media corporations, for instance. If NBC/MSNBC decides to actively campaign for Obama, should that also be illegal? They can call it news or commentary or interviews if they want but it’s still free air time for a particular candidate or political position.

If people want to stop corporations from influencing elections, I think those people should start with the media corporations.

If corporations enjoy the benefits of personhood, they should also suffer the consequences, like criminal penalties. Your product kills someone? Everyone involved goes to jail. That would end this corporate-personhood nonsense quickly enough.