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Uncooperative Tom

Corporations Are People

Should corporations have some of the same rights as natural persons?  

57 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the government be able to perform a search on a corporation's property without probable cause or a warrant?

    • Yes, corporations are not people and should not have 4th amendment rights.
    • No, corporations should continue to enjoy the same constitutional protection as living people.
    • No, corporations are people. Sometimes.


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Why the need to lie about this issue, I wonder?

 

All nine Justices agree that the first amendment applies to corporate "persons" and said so in the Citizens United opinions. If Obama appoints another, I expect that person will agree. The court was unanimous on the idea of corporate personhood in 1886 and they are today.

 

Before argument, MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE said:

 

"The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids a state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does. "

 

 

People who need to lie in order to make some kind of political point make me suspicious. <_<

 

What was the decision of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? Was it 9-0 or 5-4?

 

Neither really captures what happened as well as the facts:

 

Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.

 

Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Scalia and Alito, JJ., joined, in which Thomas, J., joined as to all but Part IV, and in which Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor, JJ., joined as to Part IV. Roberts, C. J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Alito, J., joined. Scalia, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Alito, J., joined, and in which Thomas, J., joined in part. Stevens, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Ginsburg, Breyer , and Sotomayor, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

 

 

None of which has anything to do with the fact that all of them agreed that the first amendment applies to corporate persons as it has since 1963, they simply disagreed as to what that application meant in this case.

 

The cartoon you posted says that 5 members of the court believe that corporations are people. That is a lie. 9 do.

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Facts have a conservative bias. :P

 

BD, your frequent complaint when Jack posts something containing a lie will be punctuated by a link to your post from now on. Or you can go ahead and call yourself out. Either way. ;)

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Facts have a conservative bias. :P

 

BD, your frequent complaint when Jack posts something containing a lie will be punctuated by a link to your post from now on. Or you can go ahead and call yourself out. Either way. ;)

 

You taught me something I did not know. Or as the reptile would say - You schooled me.

 

Mea culpa.

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Eww, I didn't mean to act reptilian. ;)

 

I just have a limited tolerance for the common line that Citizens United was about whether corporations are considered people under the law or whether the first amendment applies to them. They are and it does. With that in mind, I'm open to discussion about how much we should limit corporate first amendment rights.

 

I'll continue to call BS when I see suggestions that corporate first amendment rights are new or should not exist. They are older than I am and should exist. Them's the fax.

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Eww, I didn't mean to act reptilian. ;)

 

I just have a limited tolerance for the common line that Citizens United was about whether corporations are considered people under the law or whether the first amendment applies to them. They are and it does. With that in mind, I'm open to discussion about how much we should limit corporate first amendment rights.

 

I'll continue to call BS when I see suggestions that corporate first amendment rights are new or should not exist. They are older than I am and should exist. Them's the fax.

 

Nah, you were not reptilian. I just needed a reality check.

 

Thanks.

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Is Bain a public or private company?

Might depend on whether you consider Mitt Romney to be a corporation, or a person, I suppose...

 

 

 

 

He's a natural person. Corporations are artificial entities that are legally treated as people for some purposes.

 

All nine Supreme Court justices agreed in 1886 that this was the sensible legal path, none have contradicted it since, and all 9 in Citizens United recognized one aspect of corporate personhood: corporate first amendment rights. Justice Stevens, for example, said, "We have long since held that corporations are covered by the First Amendment..."

 

The concept of corporate personhood, as the topic post in this thread begins to illustrate, covers quite a few things other than first amendment rights, but the backlash from the sudden discovery by the ignorati that corporations are legally treated as people seems indiscriminate, ignorant, and downright scary to me. I said elsewhere:

 

when I see calls for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood, I get the feeling that I'm trapped in a room with a chimpanzee and a very sophisticated bomb, and the little fucker is determined to try to disarm the thing. It's not going to go well.

 

 

Romney's statement is not the least bit controversial. Trying to make it controversial is trying to take an important and complex issue and reduce it to a talking point that will appeal to the ignorant, leading them to the natural conclusion that we should tear up large parts of our legal fabric, and parts on which there is near-unanimous agreement.

 

This is not just ignorance, but dangerous ignorance. I will continue to fight it, tedious though it might make me.

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From our former Washington Lobbyist, Jimmy Williams, here is a DRAFT of our Constitutional Amendment for public debate this fall:

 

“No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office.”

 

 

So if Fox news does a report on Romney's campaign would that be an indirect contribution?

 

Some of you will want that question in the other flavor:

 

So if MSNBC news does a report on Obama's campaign, would that be an indirect contribution?

 

Answer whichever version you like least, or both. :P

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the argument goes that money is speech and that

. Since corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money to influence elections which would affect them, their money (as speech) drives politics.

 

 

Corporate personhood is not in the Constitution.

 

Oh boy. Your "money is speech" link leads to an article deriding Scalia for having the temerity to talk about his job. The author says, "Hey Piers and Justice Scalia, THE MONEY IS THE MICROPHONE. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the microphone is an integral part of speech."

 

The first amendment says:

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

Does he not understand that the microphone is the modern version of the printing press, and that freedom of the press is the freedom to propagate opinions?

 

The next link is to the famous video of Romney agreeing with every Supreme Court justice since 1886 and any competent constitutional law professors by saying, "Corporations are people" near a camera. Oddly, there is no similar controversy about union personhood, though the issues are exactly the same.

 

The wiki page on Citizens United points out:

 

Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment's protection of "the press" quite differently. Stevens argues that the "Press" is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not "press". The majority opinion viewed "freedom of the press" as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

 

Hmmm... Noting that without citizen journalists (bloggers in pajamas) it is highly likely that the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation would never have been made public, I kind of think it is important to preserve the freedom of the press for all individuals, not just those the government is willing to concede are legitimate press and should not be censored. Face it, legitimate press is more offensive and dangerous as a concept even than legitimate rape. So offensive that no one even wants to talk to me about what distinguishes a legitimate press corporation that should not be censored from the other kind.

 

OK, my fellow internet posters... are we engaged in free speech as mere individuals here on this forum, or are we "the press"?

 

And since I'm started on questions no one wants to touch, let me include some from another thread...

 

If President (Romney/Obama) were to just shut down a satellite truck for (MSNBC/Fox) because he did not like what they were broadcasting, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a first amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the truck is owned by a corporation. :rolleyes:

 

If he sent his people to search the truck and remove any tapes, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a fourth amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the tapes and truck are owned by a corporation.

 

If he decided that the corporate headquarters of his least favorite news corporation would really look a lot better as a park and had it bulldozed, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a fifth amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the building is owned by a corporation.

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the argument goes that money is speech and that

. Since corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money to influence elections which would affect them, their money (as speech) drives politics.

 

 

Corporate personhood is not in the Constitution.

 

Oh boy. Your "money is speech" link leads to an article deriding Scalia for having the temerity to talk about his job. The author says, "Hey Piers and Justice Scalia, THE MONEY IS THE MICROPHONE. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the microphone is an integral part of speech."

 

The first amendment says:

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

Does he not understand that the microphone is the modern version of the printing press, and that freedom of the press is the freedom to propagate opinions?

 

The next link is to the famous video of Romney agreeing with every Supreme Court justice since 1886 and any competent constitutional law professors by saying, "Corporations are people" near a camera. Oddly, there is no similar controversy about union personhood, though the issues are exactly the same.

 

The wiki page on Citizens United points out:

 

Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment's protection of "the press" quite differently. Stevens argues that the "Press" is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not "press". The majority opinion viewed "freedom of the press" as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

 

Hmmm... Noting that without citizen journalists (bloggers in pajamas) it is highly likely that the Fast and Furious gunwalking operation would never have been made public, I kind of think it is important to preserve the freedom of the press for all individuals, not just those the government is willing to concede are legitimate press and should not be censored. Face it, legitimate press is more offensive and dangerous as a concept even than legitimate rape. So offensive that no one even wants to talk to me about what distinguishes a legitimate press corporation that should not be censored from the other kind.

 

OK, my fellow internet posters... are we engaged in free speech as mere individuals here on this forum, or are we "the press"?

 

And since I'm started on questions no one wants to touch, let me include some from another thread...

 

If President (Romney/Obama) were to just shut down a satellite truck for (MSNBC/Fox) because he did not like what they were broadcasting, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a first amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the truck is owned by a corporation. :rolleyes:

 

If he sent his people to search the truck and remove any tapes, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a fourth amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the tapes and truck are owned by a corporation.

 

If he decided that the corporate headquarters of his least favorite news corporation would really look a lot better as a park and had it bulldozed, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a fifth amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the building is owned by a corporation.

Well, if you want an example, the attempts of the soviets to control samizats would be a good one. The core of it is freedom of speech but, the press is invoked as the individual right to propogate the views with methods other than the spoken word.

 

The fact that the media business is now called 'the press' is a misdirection of sorts. That right is individual and is not the property of the group. It is the right of the individuals which is assumed by the group.

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And since I'm started on questions no one wants to touch, let me include some from another thread...

 

If President (Romney/Obama) were to just shut down a satellite truck for (MSNBC/Fox) because he did not like what they were broadcasting, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a first amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the truck is owned by a corporation. :rolleyes:

 

If he sent his people to search the truck and remove any tapes, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a fourth amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the tapes and truck are owned by a corporation.

 

If he decided that the corporate headquarters of his least favorite news corporation would really look a lot better as a park and had it bulldozed, that would be a problem, right?

 

It would not be a fifth amendment problem for foes of corporate personhood, since the building is owned by a corporation.

 

Man, you really are a dog with a big meaty bone. Shake it some more Tom, growl if anyone even comes close.

 

I still think you have it wrong in your head about what "corporate personhood" really entails. Somehow you've gotten it in your head that if someone doesn't think a corporation is not exactly the same as a person, then we must automatically think that a corporation has NONE of the same rights as a real person. That's just not true and I don't see ANYONE here arguing otherwise. IMHO, for a corporation to be a "person" they would have to have ALL of the exact same rights as real people do. You have even agreed with me in the past that they do not. Ergo a corporation is NOT a person. It is a corporation - an "entity" which enjoys some of (but not all) and in sometimes similar, sometimes very different fashion and application of those rights than do real people.

 

Let's run down the list again of rights again:

  • 1st Am - Yes, corporations have it - but not always applied in the same way and often with more restrictions than humans
  • 2nd Am - No, a corporation does NOT have the RKBA. Certainly not in the same way as a human does. For a corporation to KBA - they would need to be licensed and permitted well beyond what a human would be (which in some cases is not at all). Why would a corporation need an FFL if they had the RKBA like I do?
  • 3rd Am - Yep, I cannot see how the gov't could quarter troops on a corporations property. Oh but wait, that's not entirely true: See Miller vs US (1871)
  • 4th Am - Yes, Corporations have some protection against this. But unlike citizens, corporations are often compelled to divulge and report information (WITHOUT A WARRANT) that would not apply to people.
  • 5th Am - I would think yes to all.
  • 6th Am - Again yes to all. But some questions I honestly don't know if they apply to corporations: Do they always get tried in the same district? Can corporations get court appointed lawyers? Does the double jeopardy rule apply to corporations?
  • 7th Am - Yep
  • 8th Am - Dunno.... are billion $$ awards considered excessive fines?
  • 9th AM - No clue
  • 10th AM - I would think no. Give me some examples of powers delegated to the states or the "people" and we can have that line item discussion.

How does the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments pertain to corporations? Do corporations have US citizenship and are allowed to vote? Could they be slaves? Could they be discriminated on race, sex or color of the corporation Can a corporation run for office or be President? Can a corporation get married, divorced or have an abortion?

 

Look Tom, I get that the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th is used as the basis for corporate personhood. That's nice, but the fact is that corporations are NOT treated equally as real people. Yes, they enjoy some of and similar freedoms and liberties to real people. But not all and not in the same way. Ergo they are not people. They are entities that are treated like people in some cases and not in others.


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Well, if you want an example, the attempts of the soviets to control samizats would be a good one. The core of it is freedom of speech but, the press is invoked as the individual right to propogate the views with methods other than the spoken word.

 

The fact that the media business is now called 'the press' is a misdirection of sorts. That right is individual and is not the property of the group. It is the right of the individuals which is assumed by the group.

 

That's right, and one of two things must be true:

 

1. Any individual or group of individuals engaged in orderly group activity can act as "the press" with all the rights that entails, or

 

2. Only special individuals or groups of individuals (those with pink flags on their boats, presumably) are actually "the press" under the law, and other individuals or groups can be censored more than "the press" can be.

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Somehow you've gotten it in your head that if someone doesn't think a corporation is not exactly the same as a person, then we must automatically think that a corporation has NONE of the same rights as a real person. That's just not true and I don't see ANYONE here arguing otherwise.

 

...

 

How does the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments pertain to corporations? ...

 

Look Tom, I get that the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th is used as the basis for corporate personhood. That's nice, but the fact is that corporations are NOT treated equally as real people. Yes, they enjoy some of and similar freedoms and liberties to real people. But not all and not in the same way. Ergo they are not people. They are entities that are treated like people in some cases and not in others.

 

Among answers to the topic question at the top of this thread: corporations are not people and should not have 4th amendment rights. (19 votes [55.88%] - View)

 

I didn't bring it up, Olsonist did. I'll continue to shoot it down.

 

I would respond to all the rights you named individually, but that sixth one is going to draw Sol to talk about the Hertz corporation and how much I must hate NASCAR and I've about had enough idiocy for the day.

 

The response to all really boils down to the same one: they tend to depend on treating corporations as "persons" under the 14th amendment. Ergo, they are people. They are entities that are treated like people in some cases and not in others. If they are not people at all then they should not have fourth amendment rights at all, and it looks to me like 19 here feel that way, or did at the time of the poll.

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Somehow you've gotten it in your head that if someone doesn't think a corporation is not exactly the same as a person, then we must automatically think that a corporation has NONE of the same rights as a real person. That's just not true and I don't see ANYONE here arguing otherwise.

 

...

 

How does the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments pertain to corporations? ...

 

Look Tom, I get that the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th is used as the basis for corporate personhood. That's nice, but the fact is that corporations are NOT treated equally as real people. Yes, they enjoy some of and similar freedoms and liberties to real people. But not all and not in the same way. Ergo they are not people. They are entities that are treated like people in some cases and not in others.

 

Among answers to the topic question at the top of this thread: corporations are not people and should not have 4th amendment rights. (19 votes [55.88%] - View)

 

I didn't bring it up, Olsonist did. I'll continue to shoot it down.

 

I would respond to all the rights you named individually, but that sixth one is going to draw Sol to talk about the Hertz corporation and how much I must hate NASCAR and I've about had enough idiocy for the day.

 

The response to all really boils down to the same one: they tend to depend on treating corporations as "persons" under the 14th amendment. Ergo, they are people. They are entities that are treated like people in some cases and not in others. If they are not people at all then they should not have fourth amendment rights at all, and it looks to me like 19 here feel that way, or did at the time of the poll.

I don't give a shit what 19 idiots think. Corporations can be NOT people yet still have 4th Am rights. The two are not mutually exclusive and your error was in question such that there were poor choices to chose from. I went to great pains to illustrate that in my post above and you're ignoring it.

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I don't give a shit what 19 idiots think. Corporations can be NOT people yet still have 4th Am rights. The two are not mutually exclusive and your error was in question such that there were poor choices to chose from. I went to great pains to illustrate that in my post above and you're ignoring it.

 

Easy, JBSF, you're one of the 19 last I looked!

 

The fourth amendment says:

 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated

 

It protects the right of the people. It can only apply to corporations if they are legally treated as people. That does not mean they have to be treated exactly the same as living people, but I have a hard time applying a "right of the people" to them at all if they are not considered people for certain legal purposes.

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Corporate citizens have long been denied their God Given Right to Vote.

 

That would be because if we treat corporations as people, they can enjoy some of the same rights as people, which is the purpose for which they were created and the source of their name.

 

Voting is not one of the purposes for which they were created, nor is it consistent with any public interest, so they have not been and will not be given suffrage.

 

If we deny they are people at all, rights like the fourth amendment can not apply, can they? So it would be OK to search any corporate property without a warrant or probable cause?

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Justice Stevens did bring up corporate suffrage...

 

 

 

Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Ginsburg , Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

 

If taken seriously, our colleagues’ assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the Government’s ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. Such an assumption would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by “Tokyo Rose” during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders. More pertinently, it would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans: To do otherwise, after all, could “‘enhance the relative voice’” of some (i.e., humans) over others (i.e., nonhumans). Ante, at 33 (quoting Buckley, 424 U. S., at 49).51 Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech.

 

...

 

The text and history highlighted by our colleagues suggests why one type of corporation, those that are part of the press, might be able to claim special First Amendment status, and therefore why some kinds of “identity”­ based distinctions might be permissible after all.

 

...

 

We have long since held that corporations are covered by the First Amendment...

 

 

The press plays a unique role not only in the text, history, and structure of the First Amendment but also in facilitating public discourse; as the Austin Court explained, “media corporations differ significantly from other corporations in that their resources are devoted to the collection of information and its dissemination to the public,” 494 U. S., at 667. Our colleagues have raised some interesting and difficult questions about Congress’ authority to regulate electioneering by the press, and about how to define what constitutes the press. But that is not the case before us. Section 203 does not apply to media corporations, and even if it did, Citizens United is not a media corporation. There would be absolutely no reason to consider the issue of media corporations if the majority did not, first, transform Citizens United’s as­ applied challenge into a facial challenge and, second, invent the theory that legislatures must eschew all “iden­tity”-based distinctions and treat a local nonprofit news outlet exactly the same as General Motors.

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Hmmmm, if corporations can be eligible to vote, I could just form a bunch of corporations and vote as often as I wanted.

 

Justices say some funny things, especially in dissent. Justice Thomas, for example.

 

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

 

...

 

If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined,” while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”

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Hmmmm, if corporations can be eligible to vote, I could just form a bunch of corporations and vote as often as I wanted.

It works for first amendment rights vis a vis contribution limits, why not for suffrage?

 

Btw, this is Tom's Corporate Fourth Amendment thread. Why are you hijacking it?

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Hmmmm, if corporations can be eligible to vote, I could just form a bunch of corporations and vote as often as I wanted.

It works for first amendment rights vis a vis contribution limits, why not for suffrage?

 

Btw, this is Tom's Corporate Fourth Amendment thread. Why are you hijacking it?

 

Mostly because there is no reason to give corporations the vote, like there is no reason for regulating quilting bees. We created them for certain kinds of "orderly group activity" and suffrage is not one of them. Political expression can be one of them, as the court found it was in NAACP vs Button.

 

And I actually hijacked it a long time ago when I started consolidating various "oh no! corporations are people!" replies here. It's for all aspects of corporate personhood: first amendment, fourth, fifth, any you want to discuss. I'm interested in the idea of seizing corporate property for public use without just compensation and whether that would be any kind of fifth amendment problem.

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Do corporations have Third Amendment rights? Should they be limited for those corporations that benefit from our troops' sacrifice? (Should Raytheon have to house troops in return for Obama's decision to rotate the Tomahawk inventory in Libya?)

 

Even that one is welcome here, though perhaps not as relevant as others.

 

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

 

Are we at war?

 

I'd say it matters, and technically, we are not. That means the consent of the owner is required. If it can be bought as part of a contract, that's consent. If ownership is individual or collective, I'd say consent of the owner is required.

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Hmmmm, if corporations can be eligible to vote, I could just form a bunch of corporations and vote as often as I wanted.

It works for first amendment rights vis a vis contribution limits, why not for suffrage?

Contributions are from the cumulative earnings of the owners and can be allocated back to the individual based on shareholding.

 

Votes are subject to state laws on eligibility. Although frequently phrased as a 'right' to vote, it is actually a license based on certainn eligibility requirements set by the state. Much like a drivers license or CCW. You get the right after meeting the criteria defined by the state.

 

You might like to read up on the constitutional amendments which define what classes of individuals may not be precluded from that eligibility for the 'right'. So far, I don't see corporations mentioned but, if you like, you could propose a US or State constitutional amendment forcing that eligibility on the states.

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The addition of the infringement on their first amendment rights by not being designated members of the press, should be added to the scales as well, I reckon. Perhaps this is wrong place to address it, but it must be corrected at some point.

 

 

One correction: those other threads are for hypothetical and very unlikely aspects of corporate personhood and are meant to distract from the real ones that can and do impact our lives. This is the correct thread for your post, since it deals with something real and important.

 

 

Why is it hypothetical? Are corporations allowed to vote? I thought that was a right reserved for the people? And if corporations are "people", shouldn't they be allowed to vote?

 

Because corporations are not allowed to vote and will never be allowed to vote, talking about their right to vote is a way to deflect discussion from real aspects of corporate personhood such as first or fourth amendment rights.

 

Once again, if corporations are considered people, they can enjoy some of the rights of natural persons, which is what we agree can and should be the case. If corporations are not people at all, they can not enjoy any of the rights of natural persons, which we both agree is not and should not be the case. Why you insist on clinging to something with which you disagree is a mystery to me.

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So if a family owned corporation were to be appointed to the Supreme Court, would that violate the clause that forbids titles of nobility? or can the Sierra Club run for office just to confound the NRA from a position of power? Somethings are just better left alone.

 

In general, I would say that corporations are not eligible for Supreme Court service. The constitution does not exclude the possibility by its language, but common sense does.

 

However, your post is kind of relevant despite delving into hypothetical events that are extremely unlikely to occur. You bring up the Sierra Club and the NRA, our two largest and most powerful lobbying organizations. Also the ONLY two organizations exempt from the DISCLOSE Act. Finding out who is funding these things is only good sometimes, it seems. It's good when it comes to the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and lots of others, just not the NRA. It's good for various environmental groups, just not the Sierra Club.

 

And we expect incumbent politicians to protect us from these special interests? I say drown out the establishment voices with a bunch of fringe voices. They say stifle the fringe. Not too surprising.

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Hmmm, What about resident alien corporations?

 

The minority brought up that very issue, bolded below:

 

 

Justice Stevens did bring up corporate suffrage...

 

 

 

Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Ginsburg , Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

 

If taken seriously, our colleagues’ assumption that the identity of a speaker has no relevance to the Government’s ability to regulate political speech would lead to some remarkable conclusions. Such an assumption would have accorded the propaganda broadcasts to our troops by “Tokyo Rose” during World War II the same protection as speech by Allied commanders. More pertinently, it would appear to afford the same protection to multinational corporations controlled by foreigners as to individual Americans: To do otherwise, after all, could “‘enhance the relative voice’” of some (i.e., humans) over others (i.e., nonhumans). Ante, at 33 (quoting Buckley, 424 U. S., at 49).51 Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech.

 

...

 

The text and history highlighted by our colleagues suggests why one type of corporation, those that are part of the press, might be able to claim special First Amendment status, and therefore why some kinds of “identity”­ based distinctions might be permissible after all.

 

...

 

We have long since held that corporations are covered by the First Amendment...

 

 

The press plays a unique role not only in the text, history, and structure of the First Amendment but also in facilitating public discourse; as the Austin Court explained, “media corporations differ significantly from other corporations in that their resources are devoted to the collection of information and its dissemination to the public,” 494 U. S., at 667. Our colleagues have raised some interesting and difficult questions about Congress’ authority to regulate electioneering by the press, and about how to define what constitutes the press. But that is not the case before us. Section 203 does not apply to media corporations, and even if it did, Citizens United is not a media corporation. There would be absolutely no reason to consider the issue of media corporations if the majority did not, first, transform Citizens United’s as­ applied challenge into a facial challenge and, second, invent the theory that legislatures must eschew all “iden­tity”-based distinctions and treat a local nonprofit news outlet exactly the same as General Motors.

 

That one strikes me as easy to solve. Corporations with American ownership should be treated as Americans and corporations with foreign ownership should be treated as foreign under our laws.

 

It's much harder to answer the "who is the press" question, which is why I can't seem to get an answer. Wanna take a shot?

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine. The real focus of the clause is on process, meaning the way to do something, the influence of government. The citizen can accomplish this through the use of “speech” as on a stand, or through the “press,” the printed word.

When the First Amendment was written it did not create a protected class known as the press. The founders didn’t have the slightest idea of the concept; they only knew tradesmen and farmers who were known for dramatic oratory like Franklin known for his widely read broadsheets. The founders idea was centered on the idea that all men had access to press and had a right to hear and speak their opinion.

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

 

That's precisely what I said. However, the founders were referring to a press as a machine, they had no concept of a press as we know it. That the machine enabled speech to be heard and the importance of not limiting that ability, is the sum of the First Amendment. If the founders were asked to define 'press' they would have said that the press is the access to a voice for all able bodied citizens. Kind of like what they did for militia's.

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

 

That's precisely what I said. However, the founders were referring to a press as a machine, they had no concept of a press as we know it. That the machine enabled speech to be heard and the importance of not limiting that ability, is the sum of the First Amendment. If the founders were asked to define 'press' they would have said that the press is the access to a voice for all able bodied citizens. Kind of like what they did for militia's.

 

So the intention was not for people to be "the press" but machines, and those machines should have access to a voice? Or maybe it is about people after all?

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

 

That's precisely what I said. However, the founders were referring to a press as a machine, they had no concept of a press as we know it. That the machine enabled speech to be heard and the importance of not limiting that ability, is the sum of the First Amendment. If the founders were asked to define 'press' they would have said that the press is the access to a voice for all able bodied citizens. Kind of like what they did for militia's.

 

So the intention was not for people to be "the press" but machines, and those machines should have access to a voice? Or maybe it is about people after all?

 

You're being condescending Tom. If you want to know how the founders thought in 1770, you might try a book. Tell me, does the free press clause support technologies of mass communication? Where did that come from?

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Hmmm... I note a new vote and a changed vote since I last looked at the results of this poll.

 

That's a change for the better, JBSF, and I have a feeling it came from discussions on this forum. Please alert Gouv, who does not believe such things happen.

 

Mark, seriously? Searching and seizing corporate property is not a fourth amendment problem?

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

 

That's precisely what I said. However, the founders were referring to a press as a machine, they had no concept of a press as we know it. That the machine enabled speech to be heard and the importance of not limiting that ability, is the sum of the First Amendment. If the founders were asked to define 'press' they would have said that the press is the access to a voice for all able bodied citizens. Kind of like what they did for militia's.

I would consider that a statement that they had the freedom to use the mass communications media to disseminate their views and ideas. There were indeed newspapers and pamphleteers doing exactly what newspapers and bloggers do today.

 

Does the name Thomas Paine and Common Sense ring a liberty bell?

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

 

That's precisely what I said. However, the founders were referring to a press as a machine, they had no concept of a press as we know it. That the machine enabled speech to be heard and the importance of not limiting that ability, is the sum of the First Amendment. If the founders were asked to define 'press' they would have said that the press is the access to a voice for all able bodied citizens. Kind of like what they did for militia's.

I would consider that a statement that they had the freedom to use the mass communications media to disseminate their views and ideas. There were indeed newspapers and pamphleteers doing exactly what newspapers and bloggers do today.

 

Does the name Thomas Paine and Common Sense ring a liberty bell?

 

That's precisely why I referenced Franklin and his fame a a broadsheet author.

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The misunderstanding of the phrase "freedom of the press' is disturbing to me because it was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press' the founders were talking about the iron machinery of an actual machine.

 

No, they were talking about the freedom of people to publish, meaning to propagate opinions. That freedom could be (and was) exercised by individuals and by businesses.

 

That's precisely what I said. However, the founders were referring to a press as a machine, they had no concept of a press as we know it. That the machine enabled speech to be heard and the importance of not limiting that ability, is the sum of the First Amendment. If the founders were asked to define 'press' they would have said that the press is the access to a voice for all able bodied citizens. Kind of like what they did for militia's.

 

So the intention was not for people to be "the press" but machines, and those machines should have access to a voice? Or maybe it is about people after all?

 

You're being condescending Tom. If you want to know how the founders thought in 1770, you might try a book. Tell me, does the free press clause support technologies of mass communication? Where did that come from?

 

Sorry, just questioning your contention that the first amendment "was never written with the intention of describing people as 'press'". That's just not the case. They were talking about the freedom of people to publish, and as with militias, they applied that to individuals and to groups.

 

Yes, the first amendment supports the use of newer communications technologies by people. It does not protect the actual machines. It came from our freedom to express our opinions, just as it always has.

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Sorry Saorsa, perhaps I didn't make myself clear. Go back to my post at #230 and see if that clarifies, if not I'll address your concerns.

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Corporations will be people when Texas executes one.

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So, does anyone know who the originator of this quote is?

 

Quite possibly someone who is unaware that states create corporations by issuing a corporate charter, and they can, do, AND HAVE revoked those charters, meaning put those corporations to death.

 

I just voted.

 

No, they are not people.

 

From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

 

People, "human beings making up a group or assembly or linked by common interest".

 

 

Corporation, "a group of merchants,or traders united in a trade guild, the municipal authorities of a town or city, a body formed and authorised by to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession, an association of employers and employees in a basic industry or of members of a profession organized as an organ of political representation in a corporate state".

 

 

I don't see your vote on the results list.

 

Does it not make at least a little sense for a body "authorised by law to act as a single person" is in some cases treated under the law as a single person? Isn't that what that authorization itself would mean?

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It works for first amendment rights vis a vis contribution limits, why not for suffrage?

 

 

Noted felon G. Gordon Liddy can contribute money to a campaign. He says his wife has a heck of a gun collection.

 

But he can't vote and he can't own a gun.

 

Not every person who can make a political contribution can vote. The two things are different, though both are forms of political expression, as the minority notes above.

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I hate to make this easy, but a Corporation is not a person. A Corporation is not a citizen. A Corporation is incapable of making a decision. A board of directors can make a decision for a Corporation, but the Corporation did not make that decision. A Corporation is a legal entity, and legal only for the purpose of doing business, paying taxes, etc.. A Corporation cannot catch a cold. A Corporation cannot get married. Therefor, a Corporation cannot vote.

 

 

From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

 

 

Corporation, "a group of merchants,or traders united in a trade guild, the municipal authorities of a town or city, a body formed and authorised by to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession, an association of employers and employees in a basic industry or of members of a profession organized as an organ of political representation in a corporate state".

 

 

Corporations are formed and authorized by law to act as a single person. The law that forms them treats them as a person. It only makes sense that other laws should follow suit, since acting as a person is the purpose for which they are formed. That is why the Supreme Court was unanimous on this subject back in 1886, and why they have been unanimous on corporate personhood ever since.

 

It simply makes no sense to create a legal entity for the purpose of acting as a person and then proceed to do anything but legally treat that entity as a person. This is so obvious that the Supreme Court felt it did not need argument.

 

Before argument, MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE said:

"The Court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which forbids a state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does. "

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Personally, regardless of Tom's obsession on the matter, I don't think corporations should be considered people. Also, regardless of Sol's amusing antics, I don't think corporations should ever get the right to vote - the instant they do, the system collapses. Thing is, those aren't legal arguments and so are inapplicable. Boiled down, Tom seems to be saying because corporations haven't been considered able to vote, they cannot be. Sol is stating that because there is a legal argument they can, they should be allowed to. Both are extreme positions on the issue that only SCOTUS can resolve... though I suspect only one of them is actually serious. Call it a hunch :P

 

I have many obsessions. It's surprising they do not all distract me from each other!

 

When people don't want to address my arguments on the commerce clause, I'm said to be obsessed with it. When they don't want to talk about the 5th amendment and Kelo vs New London, I'm obsessed with that. When people don't want to address the facts on the second amendment, they call me obsessed instead. And yes, I'm also obsessed with the first and fourth amendments at times (when other people don't want to address what I say).

 

If a corporation is "a body formed and authorised by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties" then it only makes sense for the law to treat the entity authorized to act as a single person as if it were something completely unrelated to a single person. No, wait, that would make no sense. What would make sense would be to treat that entity as a single person, at least for certain legal purposes.

 

That's one form of legal argument. Another would be citation of precedent, and unlike Sol's strawman, the issue I want to discuss actually has a lot of them, starting back in 1886, when the Supreme Court for the first time bought the legal argument above. They considered it so obviously true that they did not want to actually hear argument on the subject, as I have mentioned. Our courts have consistently ruled that corporations are to be treated by law consistent with the purpose for which the law created them: as entities acting as a single person. To my knowledge, there is not a single case in which our courts have overruled corporate personhood. A position that has been unanimously accepted by all of our courts since 1886 is extreme and equivalent to a position that makes no sense and has never been considered, let alone accepted, by the courts? OK, whatever. I really don't know where to start with that assertion.

 

On the subject of suffrage, what I said was that corporations were not created for that purpose. They were created to act as a single person for some purposes, not all. For that reason, they enjoy the rights and responsibilities of single persons for some purposes, not all. They have not been allowed to vote simply because they were not created for that purpose.

 

Sol's "legal" argument that anyone who can contribute to campaigns should be allowed to vote is ridiculous. As noted above, felons can contribute, but can not vote. The one does not imply the other, as anyone who graduated law school should know.

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Yes, Tom, you are pretty obsessed with it in my opinion. You post far more often and in greater detail than anyone else on this forum. You might think your level of interest fine & dandy, but that's not unexpected by those obsessed ;)

 

 

And boiled down, once again, your argument above is still based around the fact that because the Supreme Court hasn't decided something yet, they won't. Sol's argument is that because there is a legal argument that fits the pieces, it's a valid argument. Given the Gonzles v. Raiche and the United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association decisions, his perspective has as much merit as yours - novel legal arguments previously unconsidered by the Supreme Court showed a hole in the Constitution which enables unintended/unpredicted consequences.

 

For what it's worth, felons are denied a vote due to explicit legislation barring them from it. Corporations are not explicitly barred through legislation. Perhaps a SCOTUS decision on the matter might prompt such legislation, like it did the McCarran–Ferguson Act ;)

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...

And boiled down, once again, your argument above is still based around the fact that because the Supreme Court hasn't decided something yet, they won't. Sol's argument is that because there is a legal argument that fits the pieces, it's a valid argument. Given the Gonzles v. Raiche and the United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association decisions, his perspective has as much merit as yours - novel legal arguments previously unconsidered by the Supreme Court showed a hole in the Constitution which enables unintended/unpredicted consequences.

 

For what it's worth, felons are denied a vote due to explicit legislation barring them from it. Corporations are not explicitly barred through legislation. Perhaps a SCOTUS decision on the matter might prompt such legislation, like it did the McCarran–Ferguson Act ;)

 

The Supreme Court and others have repeatedly decided that corporations are to be treated as people for some purposes, so I'm afraid you completely misunderstood my argument.

 

Sol's argument does not fit the pieces for the reason I mentioned, among others.

 

By the way, there was not much really new about Gonzalez vs Raich and the majority opinion droned on and on about how the issue was the same as that raised in Wickard vs Filburn, which it was.

 

Corporations are explicitly granted certain legal rights in their charters, and are denied others. Those charters are created pursuant to legislation and that legislation does not authorize purposes we don't want them to serve, voting among them. They are barred from stepping outside their powers, whether you are aware of it or not.

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THIS IS NOT A DEM V. REPUBLICAN ISSUE.

 

This is about fictional people called corporations enjoying the same rights as real people.

 

No, it's about artificial people called corporations enjoying some of the same rights as real people. Considering they are formed and authorized by law to act as a single person by definition, having the law treat them in the manner intended by law makes sense to me. Does it make sense to you?

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Sure enough, not a Dem v Republican issue. Bipartisan ignorance.

 

For those wondering, it's not a Libertarian issue either. Many, myself included, are suspicious of corporate structures because of the limited liability thing. It kind of goes against personal responsibility in some ways.

 

But not liking some things about them will not make me blind to the fact that they are created by law to act as a single person under the law, so it only makes sense for the law to treat them that way, at least when it is consistent with the purposes for which they were created.

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You win Tom. If this was a fight they would have to stop it. Citizens United was obviously correctly decided.

And yet we are treated to the Elizabeth Warren spectacle at the DNC. Like a bunch of clapping seals.

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Citizens United was obviously correctly decided.

 

The issues and the opinions in that case were exceedingly complicated. I don't agree with all of what any of them said.

 

I'm just sick of the harping on the main thing on which all 9 agreed, and have agreed since 1886: corporations are "persons" under the law and have had first amendment rights since 1963.

 

There are difficult and legally controversial issues in that case. Corporate personhood is not among them.

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I'm just sick of the harping on the main thing on which all 9 agreed, and have agreed since 1886: corporations are "persons" under the law and have had first amendment rights since 1963.

 

I, for one, have never argued that isn't the case. I've argued it shouldn't be the case and the foundations offered to support the precedent are unconvincing. I disagree with the law & the reasons given for, I don't claim it is in any way not the law. ;)

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I'm just sick of the harping on the main thing on which all 9 agreed, and have agreed since 1886: corporations are "persons" under the law and have had first amendment rights since 1963.

 

I, for one, have never argued that isn't the case. I've argued it shouldn't be the case and the foundations offered to support the precedent are unconvincing. I disagree with the law & the reasons given for, I don't claim it is in any way not the law. ;)

Since the laws and charters that create them treat them as persons, your argument amounts to advocating a ban on corporations.

 

It may surprise you to learn that I agree, at least in theory. Corporations are dangerous and creating them was ill-advised in some ways. The limited liability thing bothers me, as does immortality and the fact that they have unique political interests not shared by any actual person.

 

We probably should never have done it, at least in theory. One day I want to move to Theory. I hear everything works there.

 

In practice, they have also done a lot of good and dismantling the entire structure would be incredibly disruptive, if possible. In practice, we are stuck with them.

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Since the laws and charters that create them treat them as persons, your argument amounts to advocating a ban on corporations.

 

Perhaps it sound that way to you, but I've never actually said that or anything like that. I have said before and I'll say again, I think the law should be changed to stop treating corporations as persons and just give them the specific and limited set of rights we want them to have and nothing more.

 

The problem we have is that treating corporations as people rather than just the legal arrangements they are creates the ambiguities that allow such crazy interpretations of the law that give corporations more than they were intended to have and open the path to legal arguments for them being able to vote. Such a legal argument would be without foundation if the rights of the corporation were explicitly limited and not derived from courts having to interpret laws & rights written for "natural persons" as they now apply to corporate liability shields and what-not.

 

It may surprise you to learn that I agree, at least in theory. Corporations are dangerous and creating them was ill-advised in some ways. The limited liability thing bothers me, as does immortality and the fact that they have unique political interests not shared by any actual person.

 

We probably should never have done it, at least in theory. One day I want to move to Theory. I hear everything works there.

 

In practice, they have also done a lot of good and dismantling the entire structure would be incredibly disruptive, if possible. In practice, we are stuck with them.

 

I don't advocate getting rid of corporations. I advocate changing the legal foundation under which they are granted rights. I find it funny (in a sad way) that the "unalienable rights" supposedly granted by God to man are given to corporations because of a semantic argument (calling them "persons" is semantics - no two ways about it). Simply create overriding law that states corporations are no longer persons and have the rights explicitly needed for them to operate. Free speech as text - fine. Free speech as unlimited political spending - not fine and gets written into law that way. If they are not persons, and Congress does have the right to legislate such, their rights can be written as such without Supreme Court override based on their status as people.

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Since the laws and charters that create them treat them as persons, your argument amounts to advocating a ban on corporations.

... I have said before and I'll say again, I think the law should be changed to stop treating corporations as persons and just give them the specific and limited set of rights we want them to have and nothing more.

 

...

 

It may surprise you to learn that I agree, at least in theory. Corporations are dangerous and creating them was ill-advised in some ways. The limited liability thing bothers me, as does immortality and the fact that they have unique political interests not shared by any actual person.

 

We probably should never have done it, at least in theory. One day I want to move to Theory. I hear everything works there.

 

In practice, they have also done a lot of good and dismantling the entire structure would be incredibly disruptive, if possible. In practice, we are stuck with them.

 

I don't advocate getting rid of corporations. I advocate changing the legal foundation under which they are granted rights. I find it funny (in a sad way) that the "unalienable rights" supposedly granted by God to man are given to corporations because of a semantic argument (calling them "persons" is semantics - no two ways about it). Simply create overriding law that states corporations are no longer persons and have the rights explicitly needed for them to operate. Free speech as text - fine. Free speech as unlimited political spending - not fine and gets written into law that way....

 

I think this discussion is going to lead to another agreement to call them "entities" and change little else about the way our legislators write and our courts interpret laws.

 

Laws that give them rights explicitly needed to operate are what we have already. Only a constitutional amendment would override judicial interpretation on the subject of what we shall call corporations.

 

I'm curious about the last bit. Why is text OK, and would any other forms of communication be within their rights? I'm thinking specifically of filing lawsuits with the aim of effecting political change, something the Court said was protected political expression when the NAACP did it.

 

Individuals are not limited in what we can spend to spread our political views. Do you think we should be?

 

I think if it is within my rights as an individual, it is also within my rights if I choose to act together with other individuals.

 

Should the government limit how much NBC or Fox can spend broadcasting political reporting before elections? The power to control spending on those broadcasts is also the power to censor them, which I think is a dangerous power.

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Since the laws and charters that create them treat them as persons, your argument amounts to advocating a ban on corporations.

... I have said before and I'll say again, I think the law should be changed to stop treating corporations as persons and just give them the specific and limited set of rights we want them to have and nothing more.

 

...

 

It may surprise you to learn that I agree, at least in theory. Corporations are dangerous and creating them was ill-advised in some ways. The limited liability thing bothers me, as does immortality and the fact that they have unique political interests not shared by any actual person.

 

We probably should never have done it, at least in theory. One day I want to move to Theory. I hear everything works there.

 

In practice, they have also done a lot of good and dismantling the entire structure would be incredibly disruptive, if possible. In practice, we are stuck with them.

 

I don't advocate getting rid of corporations. I advocate changing the legal foundation under which they are granted rights. I find it funny (in a sad way) that the "unalienable rights" supposedly granted by God to man are given to corporations because of a semantic argument (calling them "persons" is semantics - no two ways about it). Simply create overriding law that states corporations are no longer persons and have the rights explicitly needed for them to operate. Free speech as text - fine. Free speech as unlimited political spending - not fine and gets written into law that way....

 

I think this discussion is going to lead to another agreement to call them "entities" and change little else about the way our legislators write and our courts interpret laws.

 

Laws that give them rights explicitly needed to operate are what we have already. Only a constitutional amendment would override judicial interpretation on the subject of what we shall call corporations.

 

Two points. First, The problem isn't that we haven't given corporations the rights they need to operate, it's that we did so using a semantic shortcut of calling them "people" and that shortcut entails giving corporations MORE rights than is needed. As is evidenced by the argument between you & Sol. Sol wouldn't have any basis for the right to corporations to a vote if it weren't for the semantic argument that keeps granting more and more unintended rights to corporations.

 

Secondly, I don't believe a Constitutional amendment is necessary. The Constitution does not state corporations are people. The fact that they are considered people is not based on any particular amendment of the Constitution. Whilst a Constitutional amendment would work, it's like a nuke when all that is needed is a stick of dynamite in the right place - that place being federal legislation.

 

I'm curious about the last bit. Why is text OK, and would any other forms of communication be within their rights? I'm thinking specifically of filing lawsuits with the aim of effecting political change, something the Court said was protected political expression when the NAACP did it.

 

Individuals are not limited in what we can spend to spread our political views. Do you think we should be?

 

I think if it is within my rights as an individual, it is also within my rights if I choose to act together with other individuals.

 

Should the government limit how much NBC or Fox can spend broadcasting political reporting before elections? The power to control spending on those broadcasts is also the power to censor them, which I think is a dangerous power.

 

I don't think the liability and privacy shield corporations provide should be used for political purposes. If you want to act with other individuals - you go for it. no-one is stopping you and I don't state you cannot do so. You also take on the full responsibility of the actions taken - which is the point. Doing it through the corporation provides a legal separation from the responsibilities that go with the rights you want to use. For purposes of business, I can accept this is a necessary evil. For purposes of politics, I don't accept this is an acceptable trade-off. Especially given the libelous nature such "free speech" has when it comes to how corporations are exercising said rights.

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. . . [ blah, blah, blah he said anonymously. . .

 

Anonymously to you at this point. Should you choose to litigate, that anonymity is not guaranteed in any way. I will then be forced to face the consequences of my speech. Not so the people using corporations as a liability shield in politics. The corporation will take the legal consequences of actions taken by real persons. Kind of my point, thanks for providing the opportunity to illustrate it ;)

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Two points. First, The problem isn't that we haven't given corporations the rights they need to operate, it's that we did so using a semantic shortcut of calling them "people" and that shortcut entails giving corporations MORE rights than is needed. As is evidenced by the argument between you & Sol. Sol wouldn't have any basis for the right to corporations to a vote if it weren't for the semantic argument that keeps granting more and more unintended rights to corporations.

 

Secondly, I don't believe a Constitutional amendment is necessary. The Constitution does not state corporations are people. The fact that they are considered people is not based on any particular amendment of the Constitution. Whilst a Constitutional amendment would work, it's like a nuke when all that is needed is a stick of dynamite in the right place - that place being federal legislation.

 

...

 

Individuals are not limited in what we can spend to spread our political views. Do you think we should be?

 

...

 

Should the government limit how much NBC or Fox can spend broadcasting political reporting before elections? ...

 

I don't think the liability and privacy shield corporations provide should be used for political purposes....

 

Your first point is absolutely right, and is one I have made to JBSF: common law was all about the rights of persons and we inherited it, complete with corporations. We did not really invent the idea.

 

The basis for the argument Sol and Justice Stevens advanced is that corporations have first amendment rights, so why not all the other rights of individuals? This ignores the fact that plenty of individuals have first amendment rights but still can not vote for various reasons.

 

A constitutional amendment is needed to fix that situation because the Supreme Court said in 1963 that corporations have first amendment rights and a law stripping them of those rights would lose in court. Laws can't strip us of constitutional rights. Amendments can.

 

You must have missed a couple of questions, so I left them in the quote. Limiting spending seems to be the popular way to restrict speech in many campaign laws and that was the issue in Citizens United. Press corporations could spend money on political broadcasts, but non-profits could not. Would you reinstate and preserve that distinction, allowing unlimited spending on broadcasts by "the press" but limiting all other spending by those who are not "the press"? Or would press corporations also have spending limits on their broadcasts?

 

I'm not sure how your solution addresses the actual issue in Citizens United, so please explain.

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The basis for the argument Sol and Justice Stevens advanced is that corporations have first amendment rights, so why not all the other rights of individuals? This ignores the fact that plenty of individuals have first amendment rights but still can not vote for various reasons.

 

And you neglect to consider the fact that individuals who are denied their right to vote have it done through explicit legislation - none of which (currently) excludes corporate persons from said right to vote.

 

A constitutional amendment is needed to fix that situation because the Supreme Court said in 1963 that corporations have first amendment rights and a law stripping them of those rights would lose in court. Laws can't strip us of constitutional rights. Amendments can.

 

The Supreme Court said corporations have first amendment rights because they are deemed persons. If corporations are not deemed persons, they aren't afforded that right. A statute could override that designation as it is not contained in the Constitution. I'm guessing you're going to continue disagreeing with me on that, but unless/until the issue comes before SCOTUS, neither of us is going to be able to prove the other wrong ;)

 

You must have missed a couple of questions, so I left them in the quote. (snip even more questions)

 

With all due respect, mate, no-one needs to answer every question asked of them here. I don't demand it of you nor disparage you if you don't answer all questions posed you. I'm not as focused on the issue as you are and those questions don't grab me as worth the usual tit-for-tat on these forums. Sorry if that disappoints, but I've had my fill of being dragged into minutiae I'm uninterested in debating. I don't intend to let this forum become tedious to me because of that.

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Bent, did you ever object to corporate personhood prior to 2010?

 

I suspect your objection has to do with Citizens United, so the main issue in that case seems to me to be, well, the main issue.

 

The main problem people complain about from that case is unlimited spending by corporations that are not "the press" so I wonder: if you consider that issue "minutia" what is your main reason for wanting to overturn corporate personhood?

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The Supreme Court said corporations have first amendment rights because they are deemed persons. If corporations are not deemed persons, they aren't afforded that right. A statute could override that designation as it is not contained in the Constitution. I'm guessing you're going to continue disagreeing with me on that, but unless/until the issue comes before SCOTUS, neither of us is going to be able to prove the other wrong ;)...

 

So if we passed a law saying that a fetus is a person from the moment of conception, that would extend 14th amendment protections to them? Or would that require an amendment?

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Bent, did you ever object to corporate personhood prior to 2010?

 

Yes. I've been complaining about it since high school.

 

I suspect your objection has to do with Citizens United, so the main issue in that case seems to me to be, well, the main issue.

 

Your suspicion is incorrect. Remember that post about ASSumptions... ;)

 

The main problem people complain about from that case is unlimited spending by corporations that are not "the press" so I wonder: if you consider that issue "minutia" what is your main reason for wanting to overturn corporate personhood?

 

Unlimited spending is a "new" consequence to the same problem I have had with corporate personhood for well over a decade - namely that the legal arrangement to provide a liability shield for investment purposes has evolved into something far more due to sloppy legal decisions. Take for example, criminal liability. It makes no sense to what amounts to a piece of paper and government agreements, crimes requiring intent and all... but due to "personhood" a piece of paper is held liable for crimes instigated by real people.

 

And that's just the example that made me start thinking about it at the end if high school... there are plenty more examples, up to and including the unlimited political activism with liability shield that is the cause de jure for people new to the concept.

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The Supreme Court said corporations have first amendment rights because they are deemed persons. If corporations are not deemed persons, they aren't afforded that right. A statute could override that designation as it is not contained in the Constitution. I'm guessing you're going to continue disagreeing with me on that, but unless/until the issue comes before SCOTUS, neither of us is going to be able to prove the other wrong ;)...

 

So if we passed a law saying that a fetus is a person from the moment of conception, that would extend 14th amendment protections to them? Or would that require an amendment?

 

Actually, yes it would (extend the protections to them) and that's the scary thing about Ron Paul's desire to change federal law to make a person's existence start at conception.

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Unlimited spending is a "new" consequence to the same problem I have had with corporate personhood for well over a decade...

 

 

Sorry for the groundless suspicion. It seems to apply to a lot of people, glad you're not one. We agree on limited liability. Union Carbide did not kill those people when their plant leaked. People did.

 

Unlimited spending on political broadcasts is not new for press corporations, just other corporations.

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The Supreme Court said corporations have first amendment rights because they are deemed persons. If corporations are not deemed persons, they aren't afforded that right. A statute could override that designation as it is not contained in the Constitution. I'm guessing you're going to continue disagreeing with me on that, but unless/until the issue comes before SCOTUS, neither of us is going to be able to prove the other wrong ;)...

 

So if we passed a law saying that a fetus is a person from the moment of conception, that would extend 14th amendment protections to them? Or would that require an amendment?

 

Actually, yes it would (extend the protections to them) and that's the scary thing about Ron Paul's desire to change federal law amend the Constitution to make a person's existence start at conception.

 

Edited for accuracy about Ron Paul's proposed solution.

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Perhaps you might want to look into the Sanctity of Life Act Ron Paul tried to pass. It was federal legislation, not a constitutional amendment, that would have started legal personhood (specifically "natural personhood") at conception. He might also want to change it at the Constitutional level, but he has proven his desire to change federal law to create that change.

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Perhaps you might want to look into the Sanctity of Life Act Ron Paul tried to pass. It was federal legislation, not a constitutional amendment, that would have started legal personhood (specifically "natural personhood") at conception. He might also want to change it at the Constitutional level, but he has proven his desire to change federal law to create that change.

 

I put that in the same category as his vote for the Partial Birth Abortion ban, which he said at the time "greatly stretches the definition of interstate commerce." He is willing to step outside the bounds of the constitution if he feels the issue is important enough. I have always disagreed with him on that point. If it's OK for him, it's OK for everyone and there are no rules.

 

He knows and has advocated the right way to do such a thing: through amendment. The fact that he is occasionally willing to work the system the way other pols do is shameful.

 

If such a bill were to pass into law, that does not mean it would survive the inevitable court challenges and wind up altering the meaning of the 14th amendment.

 

This discussion has taken the character of Libertarian discussions of what to do if we win.

 

We could undo and then rewrite all the laws governing corporations since 1886! We could let corporations vote! Can you IMAGINE???

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Glad to see someone admit to that problem of Ron Paul's. Especially given you claimed I was wrong about it. ;)

 

Ron Paul is generally pretty consistent, which I respect him for if not on what he is consistent about. However, when it comes to his pro-life position, the man acts like every other politician - ready & willing to act hypocritically & against legal principles in order to get what he wants. The Sanctity of Life Act & Partial Birth Abortion Ban demonstrate that without a shadow of a doubt.

 

Honestly and frankly, I think you are wrong about the 14th Amendment covering the foetus given said change in federal law. The Supreme Court can only interpret law as it stands and only so long as it doesn't contradict the Constitution. Claiming black people are not "persons" wouldn't fly, but giving the rights to natural personhood to a foetus most likely would given the current make-up of the court, especially if we're giving the rights of personhood to legal arrangements. It's be one of those narrow decisions, but I don't think Roberts will be siding with the liberal judges this time.

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Glad to see someone admit to that problem of Ron Paul's. Especially given you claimed I was wrong about it. ;)

 

Ron Paul is generally pretty consistent, which I respect him for if not on what he is consistent about. However, when it comes to his pro-life position, the man acts like every other politician - ready & willing to act hypocritically & against legal principles in order to get what he wants. The Sanctity of Life Act & Partial Birth Abortion Ban demonstrate that without a shadow of a doubt.

 

Honestly and frankly, I think you are wrong about the 14th Amendment covering the foetus given said change in federal law. The Supreme Court can only interpret law as it stands and only so long as it doesn't contradict the Constitution. Claiming black people are not "persons" wouldn't fly, but giving the rights to natural personhood to a foetus most likely would given the current make-up of the court, especially if we're giving the rights of personhood to legal arrangements. It's be one of those narrow decisions, but I don't think Roberts will be siding with the liberal judges this time.

 

I'm not noted for loyalty to politicians or parties and the abortion issue doesn't interest me much, until someone says the feds have authority because abortions affect interstate commerce. That'll get my attention. Ron Paul said the law was wrong for the reasons I believe it is wrong when he voted for it, but he voted for it.

 

A Supreme Court case on fetal personhood would involve some amusing reversals of usual roles, I think. Since it's one of the hundreds of Paul bills that went exactly nowhere, it's likely to remain hypothetical.

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Not debating that, Tom Ray, just debating your "correction" of my actually correct statement. Ron Paul does want & try to change legal personhood of the foetus through federal law. The fact he doesn't succeed doesn't make my claim, that you took the time to "correct", false. I would expect similar pushback if I were to "fix" your true comments with a incorrect statement of my own ;)

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Not debating that, Tom Ray, just debating your "correction" of my actually correct statement. Ron Paul does want & try to change legal personhood of the foetus through federal law.

 

Yeah, I knew he wanted to do it through amendment, did not know he wanted to do it through law as well. Like I said, the abortion debate does not interest me.

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The abortion debate doesn't bother me too much either. It's not illegal here and, due to the fact the religious right doesn't have the grip on politics here as it does in the US, it's unlikely to become so. It's something that came up in a conversation I was having with a Ron Paul supporter in Ohio (mate of mine from work - major Tea Party guy), namely the fact he is generally consistent on which branch of government should have which powers except in the case of abortion - where his position basically is "whichever branch will let me make it illegal".

 

I have discovered that this supporter was an exception to the rule I've uncovered empirically since - that Ron Paul supporters go positively apoplectic when he is accused of hypocrisy. Seems there is a myth he is the only non-hypocritical politician in Congress and that confronting that myth sends supporters into a tailspin. Kind of like when HJ gets a bad poll ;)

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Ok, so now I really AM confused....

 

Money and fund raising, even from corporations with foreign ties, are free speech.

...

 

Yes, you really are confused. We have campaign contribution limits, including for corporations, so money is restricted speech.

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These trees are the right height. I like cars. I Iike the lakes, especially the inland ones. These are pancakes. Are these 7 eleven cookies? What are those chocolaty goodies? I like to fire people. Corporations are people my friend.

 

Are you just trying to aggravate me? ;)

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Or more specifically, what Constitutional rights does a corporation have?

 

(Rhymes with Nero.)

 

What part of "first amendment rights of free expression" rhymes with Nero?

 

A corporation is incorporeal by definition, it is not protected by the Bill of Rights, only the Americans who formed the incorporeal creation are protected.

 

The Supreme Court disagrees with you, and has for some time.

 

They said in the linked case that NAACP Inc. had first amendment rights of its own, and also that the corporation could act on behalf of the rights of its members.

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Who are GE's members?

 

Stockholders is one answer, but that particular corporation muddies the waters a bit.

 

They own NBC. Hmm... NBC Nightly News, MSNBC... sounds like they might just be "the press" that is mentioned in our first amendment.

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Who are GE's members?

 

The stockholders.

 

Now given your claims about unions spending money on a party not all members are supporting - do you believe that said "stockholding members" all support the same party as the corporation does? If not, why is it bad for an action to be taken by unions and not by these corporations with stockholders?

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So corporate members get representation, and attain legal rights, through their membership(s) and as private citizens?

 

Yes, that's right, we all have individual rights and the Supreme Court said in 1963 that a corporation (the NAACP) could act on behalf of the rights of its members. They said they could have decided the case on that basis, and we can all IMAGINE what our legal structures might be like if they had, but they did not. They went a bit further and said the corporation had legal rights of its own and could act on its own behalf.

 

That means that a citizen interested in, for example, environmental issues and hunting, might join the Sierra Club and the NRA, since groups can accomplish more than individuals in political advocacy. Back in the 1950's in the South, a person interested in racial justice might join the NAACP.

 

What do those three organizations have in common?

 

In 1950's Alabama, righteous citizens wanted to know who was interfering in local politics, so they wanted NAACP membership lists. The Supreme Court found in NAACP vs Alabama that forcing that kind of disclosure would have a chilling effect on political expression. That's a nice way of saying it would have had a chilling effect on the body temperature of members, right down to room temperature.

 

More recently, the Sierra Club and the NRA were exempted from Congress' DISCLOSE legislation. Why? See NAACP vs Alabama. Things have not changed that much, as we are frequently reminded.

 

Something to think about as we call for the regulation of all these evil corporations...

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