Re: Supreme Court Interpretation of the 14th Amendment

This just isn’t true. At a constitutional level, for instance, corporations have no Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Lower courts have extended this principle even to one-person corporations. At a state level, corporations (whether straight or gay) are denied the right to marry or adopt a child.

It would be accurate to say that the law extends many of the same rights and protections to corporations as it does to individuals. It would be more accurate to say that individuals retain many rights and protections when they associate as corporations. But to say simply that those rights are “the same” is not supportable.

Just as an aside, this sort of idiotic political turd that the current Cecil decided to drop into the column (awkwardly and redundantly–you’d think that his editor would have told him “Dude, you dropped that stupid, irrelevant comment once, you don’t need to repeat it again at the end”) is exactly why I stopped reading Cecil.

The original Cecil was funny and kept above the fray, yeah, he shot one-liners at Reagan (and occasionally Carter) but he was smart enough to not deal with current hot-button, debatable political issues and treat them as though his opinion was fact. This shit is just sad. I used to love the column.

It was mentioned in The Truman Show (yes, I know it’s fiction) that the network had adopted Truman as an infant.

Geez, Fenris, even Homer nods. Tweaking Ed is one thing, but Cecil is still the Perfect Master.

That may be true in a practical sense, but you can’t think about it that way legally. The legal fiction is that a corporation is an entity unto itself, independent of the humans who created it. If it weren’t, it would afford its makers no protection against lawsuits. The corporation doesn’t simply retain the rights of the human beings who filled out the incorporation papers; rather, it has its OWN rights, and also its own obligations, from which its human owners are shielded.

As for your first point, it’s true the rights of corporations have fluctuated over the years and don’t precisely coincide with those of human beings. Cecil said as much, and the fault for suggesting otherwise lies solely with me.

Agreed. I think we’re looking at the question like the blind men looking at the elephant, and seeing different aspects of it. And of course Cecil was right. :smiley:

Has someone suggested that individual natural persons are not subject to false advertising laws, fraud laws, or other commercial regulations?

Hey, if anyone knows about “artificial persons” it’s gotta be “Cecil”.

Absolutely false.

The issue of corporate personhood is never mentioned in the Citizens United decision.

The decision simply said that SPEECH is protected. The source of the speech is irrelevant.

Corporations are simply tools created and used by people. Saying that corporations have no speech rights is like saying a website has no speech rights. It’s irrelevant to whether speech can be censored.

Cecil, your mention of corporate personhood is really ironic.

YOU engaged in the same sort of ridiculous, and false, conspiracy theories that you bashed in your article!

No court has ever said that corporations are people.

Corporations are, by definition, legal persons, but that’s not the same thing as being a real person. Courts have said that certain laws apply to corporations the same way they do as people, in limited circumstances, but no court has ever said corporations are the same as people in every sense. That would be absurd, as you note - and that’s why it didn’t happen. Just as the U.S. never created fictional citizens with accounts in the Treasury!

You bashed one loony theory by repeating another one!

If you are going to split hairs, I never mentioned corporate personhood.

I have.

I didn’t find any reference to corporate personhood whatsoever.

I did find the actual arguments of the majority, which was that it doesn’t matter where the speech comes from, it cannot be censored.

By the way, the ACLU filed an amicus brief in support of the majority ruling. That should at least make some people stop and think about it. Maybe you don’t know as much as you think about this decision.

Apparently YOU want to split hairs, so I’ll amend my statement:

The decision never mentions the concept that corporations are indistinguishable from individuals.

or, if you prefer:

Arguing that corporations are indistinguishable from individuals in a particular legal sense is not the same as arguing that they are persons.

We are on a thread about the claim that a court declared corporations to be people. You supported that claim by citing this decision. I hope you’re not trying to play word games now. But I’ll let you speak for yourself.

Citizens United never mentions corporate personhood to support its view that speech by corporations cannot be censored merely because the source of speech is a corporation. That should cover all your bases.


No court ever said that corporations are people. It said that certain laws apply to corporations in the same way as people, that’s all.

And that makes sense. Otherwise, you couldn’t sue a corporation, for instance. And when you do sue it, doesn’t it have a right to an attorney, etc? to defend itself?

The whole point of corporations is to create fictional, limited “persons”. That’s what they are. And everybody understands - at least until people like Cecil started spewing the spew that others are spewing lately - that this isn’t even remotely the same as saying that corporations are people in every sense of the word. That’s obviously false, and nobody would say such a loony thing.

Sometimes - like the very legal nonsense Cecil was bashing in his column - some stories are so crazy that you have to stop and think about whether they’re simply not true, instead of crazy. Yet this “corporations are people” stuff is the left’s version of believing the nonsense on Faux News without questioning it.

Corporations can’t go to jail because they aren’t people.

And no court has ever said they are!

People who run corporations can go to jail though, even when they use corporate power or corporate funds to commit their crimes. Remember Enron, for instance? And if a person does something illegal within a corporation and it kills someone, they can go to jail. There is no “corporate immunity” for crimes.

Well said! That’s it in a nutshell.

Congress has written laws that apply to corporations. Corporations exist and they have to abide by certain rules and regulations.

CONGRESS wrote and rewrote campaign fianance laws and the SCOTUS ruled that the wording in those laws made some of the sections unconstitutional.

CONGRESS, not the SCOTUS, can, at any time, readdress the campaign fianance issue and CONGRESS can write a better, more comprehisive law that abides by the U.S. Constitution.

Just a quibble - the laws had nothing to do with campaign finance, in that they didn’t involve donations to or spending by campaigns.

Well, not quite everything.

Ah, but no such law exists.

Union members cannot opt out of their dues being used for political activities (we are NOT talking about donations to campaigns - that is still forbidden by unions and corporations, which can only use voluntarily-donated money from PACs they sponsor). Unions can spend dues money on speech about politics all they want.

Only workers who are required to pay a fee to a union if they refuse to join it can get a reimbursement of the portion that pays for political activity.

But you have some reasonable points. If this is just about stockholders, they can vote for new management or sell their stock. An opt-out wouldn’t be unreasonable though. And full disclosure of spending on politics wouldn’t be unprecedented for publicly-held companies.