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Corporate Personhood

HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
edited September 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
The New York Times ran an unsigned editorial today urging the United States Supreme Court to rule against the expansion of political rights for corporations:
The question at the heart of one of the biggest Supreme Court cases this year is simple: What constitutional rights should corporations have? To us, as well as many legal scholars, former justices and, indeed, drafters of the Constitution, the answer is that their rights should be quite limited — far less than those of people.

This Supreme Court, the John Roberts court, seems to be having trouble with that. It has been on a campaign to increase corporations’ legal rights — based on the conviction of some conservative justices that businesses are, at least legally, not much different than people.

Now the court is considering what should be a fairly narrow campaign finance case, involving whether Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, had the right to air a slashing movie about Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic primary season. There is a real danger that the case will expand corporations’ rights in ways that would undermine the election system.

The legal doctrine underlying this debate is known as “corporate personhood.”

The courts have long treated corporations as persons in limited ways for some legal purposes. They may own property and have limited rights to free speech. They can sue and be sued. They have the right to enter into contracts and advertise their products. But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms. Since 1907, Congress has banned them from contributing to federal political campaigns — a ban the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld.

In an exchange this month with Chief Justice Roberts, the solicitor general, Elena Kagan, argued against expanding that narrowly defined personhood. “Few of us are only our economic interests,” she said. “We have beliefs. We have convictions.” Corporations, “engage the political process in an entirely different way, and this is what makes them so much more damaging,” she said.

Chief Justice Roberts disagreed: “A large corporation, just like an individual, has many diverse interests.” Justice Antonin Scalia said most corporations are “indistinguishable from the individual who owns them.”

The Constitution mentions the rights of the people frequently but does not cite corporations. Indeed, many of the founders were skeptical of corporate influence.

John Marshall, the nation’s greatest chief justice, saw a corporation as “an artificial being, invisible, intangible,” he wrote in 1819. “Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it, either expressly, or as incidental to its very existence.”

That does not mean that corporations should have no rights. It is in society’s interest that they are allowed to speak about their products and policies and that they are able to go to court when another company steals their patents. It makes sense that they can be sued, as a person would be, when they pollute or violate labor laws.

The law also gives corporations special legal status: limited liability, special rules for the accumulation of assets and the ability to live forever. These rules put corporations in a privileged position in producing profits and aggregating wealth. Their influence would be overwhelming with the full array of rights that people have.
One of the main areas where corporations’ rights have long been limited is politics. Polls suggest that Americans are worried about the influence that corporations already have with elected officials. The drive to give corporations more rights is coming from the court’s conservative bloc — a curious position given their often-proclaimed devotion to the text of the Constitution.

The founders of this nation knew just what they were doing when they drew a line between legally created economic entities and living, breathing human beings. The court should stick to that line.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/opinion/22tue1.html?hp

The specific case in question is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In this case, Citizens United is arguing that a corporation, as a legal person, is entitled to First Amendment freedom of political speech and can therefore devote unlimited resources to supporting a particular candidate or policy. Also consider a similar case that never made it to the Supreme Court, Nike v. Kasky, in which Nike was going to argue that its press releases and letters to editors denying the use of sweatshop labor were not commercial speech; corporations and businesspeople can be held legally liable for misleading statements in commercial speech, but private citizens enjoy First Amendment protections.

I am obviously against the expansion of corporate rights. Large-scale commerce is made possible by treating corporations as persons for certain legal purposes, of course, and in some cases the limited liability provided by corporate personhood is beneficial to all of society; for example, if the massive number of people who have been injured by exposure to toxic chemicals over the years had to sue individual executives, there wouldn't be enough money to pay everyone's damages. It is therefore right and proper that corporations can own property and be party to a law suit. But I fail to see any benefit to endowing them with rights beyond what is absolutely necessary to conduct business. A corporation is a person only as a form of legal shorthand; they do not really "exist" in the sense that a natural person does. Granting additional rights to a "corporation" is in reality granting extra rights to the people who run these corporations, a class of persons that is already doing just fine with the normal set of rights they had at birth (or naturalization, as the case may be). There is no social benefit to further empowering the class of people that already exerts overwhelming influence in the politics of the United States; meanwhile, there is a great deal of potential harm. If corporations are free to direct their vast resources to influence public debate (more than they already do, that is), I don't see how private citizens could meaningfully compete in the political arena.

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Posts

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    They'll rule in favor of Citizens United, because this court hates America. (OK, maybe slightly hyperbolic)

    Was encouraged that Sotomayor questioned the whole idea of corporate personhood rights though.

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  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    They'll rule in favor of Citizens United, because this court hates America. (OK, maybe slightly hyperbolic)

    Was encouraged that Sotomayor questioned the whole idea of corporate personhood rights though.

    Best case scenario is going to be a 5-4 divide, but I suspect even a justice or two on the liberal wing is going to rule for Citizens United on this one.

  • BackstopBackstop Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Why should corporations get to donate unlimited resources to political candidates when actual people cannot? people are limited (I think) $2300 a year in donations. If this is found for Citizens United, that means that people could donate as much as they want - maybe only if they first incorporate.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Backstop wrote: »
    Why should corporations get to donate unlimited resources to political candidates when actual people cannot? people are limited (I think) $2300 a year in donations. If this is found for Citizens United, that means that people could donate as much as they want - maybe only if they first incorporate.

    Even if corporate donations were limited as a person's donations were, this would effectively double the donation limit of every CEO in the United States. ($2300 from Apple Computers, $2300 from Steve Jobs; $2300 from Monsanto, $2300 from Satan Who Is the Devil)

  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The whole notion of "corporations have rights" is ontologically asinine.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Yeah, this is some serious tittering on the brink of capitalist dystopia shit right here.

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  • DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?

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  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Demiurge wrote: »
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?

    Well, "the corporation" didn't do anything. Some jackass dumped the toxic waste.

    The notion of a corporation is specifically to remove individual blame or responsibility, which is asinine. "The corporation" does not do anything; particular people do things.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Demiurge wrote: »
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?

    The corporation is liable in any civil suits, and in some jurisdictions may be charged with corporate manslaughter. IANAL but I'm pretty sure there would have to be proof of totally outrageous criminal behavior for any individual to be charged with a crime.

  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Yeah, this is some serious tittering on the brink of capitalist dystopia shit right here.

    What are you talking about, Ham [Corporation name]?

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    Backstop wrote: »
    Why should corporations get to donate unlimited resources to political candidates when actual people cannot? people are limited (I think) $2300 a year in donations. If this is found for Citizens United, that means that people could donate as much as they want - maybe only if they first incorporate.

    Even if corporate donations were limited as a person's donations were, this would effectively double the donation limit of every CEO in the United States. ($2300 from Apple Computers, $2300 from Steve Jobs; $2300 from Monsanto, $2300 from Satan Who Is the Devil)
    While obnoxious, this is hardly the worst case scenario here.

    At this point, if the worst thing to come out of this decision is an extra $2300 a cycle for the corporatist candidates I'll count my blessings.

    The real implications of this are more akin to glossy corporate hellscape, I'm afraid.

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  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _J_ wrote: »
    Demiurge wrote: »
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?

    Well, "the corporation" didn't do anything. Some jackass dumped the toxic waste.

    The notion of a corporation is specifically to remove individual blame or responsibility, which is asinine. "The corporation" does not do anything; particular people do things.

    Being able to sue a business entity makes total sense, since it's the business entity that holds all the resources you'd want to get your damages from. That said, individuals within the corporation should probably get less of a shield from liability.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    Backstop wrote: »
    Why should corporations get to donate unlimited resources to political candidates when actual people cannot? people are limited (I think) $2300 a year in donations. If this is found for Citizens United, that means that people could donate as much as they want - maybe only if they first incorporate.

    Even if corporate donations were limited as a person's donations were, this would effectively double the donation limit of every CEO in the United States. ($2300 from Apple Computers, $2300 from Steve Jobs; $2300 from Monsanto, $2300 from Satan Who Is the Devil)
    While obnoxious, this is hardly the worst case scenario here.

    At this point, if the worst thing to come out of this decision is an extra $2300 a cycle for the corporatist candidates I'll count my blessings.

    The real implications of this are more akin to glossy corporate hellscape, I'm afraid.

    Indeed.
    Depending on how narrow the ruling is, this case could erode the notion of campaign donation limits completely. After all, if a financial donation constitutes speech, why does the government have the power to limit it?

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    So what additional "rights" would this currently grant corporations that they don't already have?

    Free Speech = legal false advertisement was already mentioned. The right to bear arms... well, we've already got ginormous mercenary corporations in the US, so I can't imagine that would get much worse unless Microsoft decided it had enough money to justify an ICBM or something. The additional voting donations could be very problematic (especially for large corporations who might give a 'bonus' to everyone with the strong implication that it fucking well needs to be donated to x candidate). What else are we looking at?

  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Demiurge wrote: »
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?

    Well, "the corporation" didn't do anything. Some jackass dumped the toxic waste.

    The notion of a corporation is specifically to remove individual blame or responsibility, which is asinine. "The corporation" does not do anything; particular people do things.

    Being able to sue a business entity makes total sense, since it's the business entity that holds all the resources you'd want to get your damages from. That said, individuals within the corporation should probably get less of a shield from liability.

    But a "business entity" is a confused term; there is no "thing". We've allowed them to legally become things such that a business has more rights than, say, a cat. And that's mosly asinine insofar as a cat is a discrete entity and a "business" or "corporation" is a series of papertrails.

    Sure, corporations exists as entities in our society as a result of capitalist dipshittery. So, that argument won't go far.

    But that corporations exist as entities is so fucking asinine that issues, such as the ones raised in the post, ultimately display the fundamental problem exhibited by legally recognizing a corporation as a discrete entity.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    So what additional "rights" would this currently grant corporations that they don't already have?

    Free Speech = legal false advertisement was already mentioned. The right to bear arms... well, we've already got ginormous mercenary corporations in the US, so I can't imagine that would get much worse unless Microsoft decided it had enough money to justify an ICBM or something. The additional voting donations could be very problematic (especially for large corporations who might give a 'bonus' to everyone with the strong implication that it fucking well needs to be donated to x candidate). What else are we looking at?

    At the absurd end, we have corporations running for office, although this would require corporate citizenship to be established first.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Demiurge wrote: »
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?

    Well, "the corporation" didn't do anything. Some jackass dumped the toxic waste.

    The notion of a corporation is specifically to remove individual blame or responsibility, which is asinine. "The corporation" does not do anything; particular people do things.

    Being able to sue a business entity makes total sense, since it's the business entity that holds all the resources you'd want to get your damages from. That said, individuals within the corporation should probably get less of a shield from liability.

    But a "business entity" is a confused term; there is no "thing". We've allowed them to legally become things such that a business has more rights than, say, a cat. And that's mosly asinine insofar as a cat is a discrete entity and a "business" or "corporation" is a series of papertrails.

    Sure, corporations exists as entities in our society as a result of capitalist dipshittery. So, that argument won't go far.

    But that corporations exist as entities is so fucking asinine that issues, such as the ones raised in the post, ultimately display the fundamental problem exhibited by legally recognizing a corporation as a discrete entity.

    So you think one should be able to sue shareholders directly?

  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    So you think one should be able to sue shareholders directly?

    Sue the particular person who manifested the particular offense.

    For example, I am drinking Sam Adams. If it turns out that there is arsenic in this Sam Adams and I get sick? I oughtn't be able to sue "Sam Adams". I ought to be able to discern who put the fucking arsenic into the Sam Adams and sue that person.

    Which, granted, is not the system we currently have.

    But once we move from what I outlined above to "you can sue Samuel Adams" or its parent company, or whatever, then we have made those parent companies entities within the legal structure. And once they are entities...fuck. How the hell does that work? If I can sue it then oughtn't it be able to vote?

    It's hella complicated, but in the end I think making corporations entities creates more problems than it solves.

  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It would be extremely difficult to trace your skunkass beer to the actions of a single person.

    Impossible, probably.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    So you think one should be able to sue shareholders directly?

    Sue the particular person who manifested the particular offense.

    For example, I am drinking Sam Adams. If it turns out that there is arsenic in this Sam Adams and I get sick? I oughtn't be able to sue "Sam Adams". I ought to be able to discern who put the fucking arsenic into the Sam Adams and sue that person.

    Which, granted, is not the system we currently have.

    But once we move from what I outlined above to "you can sue Samuel Adams" or its parent company, or whatever, then we have made those parent companies entities within the legal structure. And once they are entities...fuck. How the hell does that work? If I can sue it then oughtn't it be able to vote?

    It's hella complicated, but in the end I think making corporations entities creates more problems than it solves.

    I understand where you're coming from, _J_, but this is completely unworkable. It would actually result in many people who have been injured getting nothing. Asbestos manufacturers, for example, have paid out billions over the last couple decades in class action lawsuits. Even if you managed to sift through literally millions of pages of internal memos and industrial documents to determine exactly which individuals knew about the dangers of asbestos and when, these people would certainly not have enough money to compensate the victims.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The idea of corporate personhold is clearly a fairly asinine one, and despite the fact we're likely to see a lose here I think a significant backlash is building and is likely to come to a head over the next couple of decades (conveniently enough as the millennials make up the plurality of voters) that will curtail the insane excesses we've been seeing.

    On the issue of direct liability for the people involved in corporate activities as opposed to complete shielding through the corporation, there are important points on both sides. There's clearly a need for reform, as massive abuses, fraud, and willful societal harm done through shell corporations and companies explicitly designed to extract all possible profit and then fold on liabilities have shown. On the other hand, if you swing too far there is a legitimate chilling effect that will either make it massively hard to fund anything other than a small business or even further reduce the caliber of person running businesses and trying new things.

    I don't think the idea of corporations shielding assets and a reasonable amount of liability is inherently bad, because it gives people the safety to try starting companies and has some legitimate benefits, but it decidedly need to be curtailed.

  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited September 2009
    _J_ wrote: »
    Demiurge wrote: »
    So if corporation X is directly responsible for the deaths of 10 people because of, say, toxic waste dumping who has responsibility? The corporation as an entity or the people in charge of the waste disposal?
    Well, "the corporation" didn't do anything. Some jackass dumped the toxic waste.

    The notion of a corporation is specifically to remove individual blame or responsibility, which is asinine. "The corporation" does not do anything; particular people do things.
    And when people do something stupid, the courts will tend to look behind the corporate "veil" and assign blame to the people if they were really being jackasses. And keep in mind that "limited liability" doesn't mean no liability for anyone, it means that it is the corporation and its resources bear the brunt of any damages - and your dude who owns one share in the corporation isn't suddenly liable for anything beyond his initial investment.

    Saying corporations are "people" sounds huge, but the corporate rights bolded in the OP article are pretty tame - and aren't even exclusive to corporations (being able to sue and be sued in the corporate name, enter into contracts, etc. - partnerships have the same power). But it does make sense to limit the analogy between corporations and people, such as with political rights.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    It would be extremely difficult to trace your skunkass beer to the actions of a single person.

    Impossible, probably.

    Not least of which, who exactly is "responsible" in most cases? Is it the guy who designed the assembly line? The manager who didn't see the accident happen and stop it, even if he made a legitimate good faith effort to run a safe workplace? The owner that didn't foresee a possible accident like that and take more precautions? The schlub working that station on the line that particular shift, even if it was an endemic risk that was bound to happen eventually?

    Corporations as a legal repository of assets and liability have value in most cases, it's just going to extremes lately.

  • DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    So you think one should be able to sue shareholders directly?

    Sue the particular person who manifested the particular offense.

    For example, I am drinking Sam Adams. If it turns out that there is arsenic in this Sam Adams and I get sick? I oughtn't be able to sue "Sam Adams". I ought to be able to discern who put the fucking arsenic into the Sam Adams and sue that person.

    Which, granted, is not the system we currently have.

    But once we move from what I outlined above to "you can sue Samuel Adams" or its parent company, or whatever, then we have made those parent companies entities within the legal structure. And once they are entities...fuck. How the hell does that work? If I can sue it then oughtn't it be able to vote?

    It's hella complicated, but in the end I think making corporations entities creates more problems than it solves.

    I disagree, I want to be able to sue McDonalds for giving me food poisoning because its the responsibility of the restuarant to ensure they serve food fit for consumption. If a worker picked up salad from the floor because he dropped it and put it in my burger he has failed in his capacity and will likely be fired, but ultimately McDonalds were responsible for my food and by extension for their employees. Having to find the individual worker to sue him is ineffective and a waste of resources.

    Therefore its in every way practical for a corporation to be liable for damages but I don't think its neccessary to give them rights we normally reserve for human beings because they aren't. They are a business entity and nothing more.

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  • Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    What gender are corporations? I ask because I want to marry my corporation and I want to know if I can do it in CO or if I have to go elsewhere.

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  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Demiurge has it right. The actions of employees are attributable to the corporation if they're just doing their job, but if they're doing some egregious all on their own - like putting arsenic in your beer - they will be found liable (if they can be found) all on their own . . . though the corporation may still be blameworthy too. But at least if they can't be found you still have some way to recover for your damages.

    I don't know where _J_ gets this idea that people are suddenly immune from liability because they work for a corporation. I used to work for a corporation - want to guess who would get in trouble if I punched a customer in the face?

  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Demiurge wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    So you think one should be able to sue shareholders directly?

    Sue the particular person who manifested the particular offense.

    For example, I am drinking Sam Adams. If it turns out that there is arsenic in this Sam Adams and I get sick? I oughtn't be able to sue "Sam Adams". I ought to be able to discern who put the fucking arsenic into the Sam Adams and sue that person.

    Which, granted, is not the system we currently have.

    But once we move from what I outlined above to "you can sue Samuel Adams" or its parent company, or whatever, then we have made those parent companies entities within the legal structure. And once they are entities...fuck. How the hell does that work? If I can sue it then oughtn't it be able to vote?

    It's hella complicated, but in the end I think making corporations entities creates more problems than it solves.

    I disagree, I want to be able to sue McDonalds for giving me food poisoning because its the responsibility of the restuarant to ensure they serve food fit for consumption. If a worker picked up salad from the floor because he dropped it and put it in my burger he has failed in his capacity and will likely be fired, but ultimately McDonalds were responsible for my food and by extension for their employees. Having to find the individual worker to sue him is ineffective and a waste of resources.

    Therefore its in every way practical for a corporation to be liable for damages but I don't think its neccessary to give them rights we normally reserve for human beings because they aren't. They are a business entity and nothing more.

    Its McDonald's responsibilty that the food they serve is free from salmonella and arsenic, they hire people and instruct them in a manner to prevent this. The employes work for McD's behalf and according to McD's rules. If any employe fails to do their job, McDonalds corporation failed in its supervision of employees.

    Therefore you can sue McD's.

    Corporate Personhood is a crock anyways, it exists nowhere else in the world.

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  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Corporate Personhood is a crock anyways, it exists nowhere else in the world.
    Corporations as legal persons is the norm world-wide.

    And legal personhood is not just limited to corporations - towns, unions, political parties, etc. also enjoy separate legal identity.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Corporate Personhood is a crock anyways, it exists nowhere else in the world.
    Corporations as legal persons is the norm world-wide.

    And legal personhood is not just limited to corporations - towns, unions, political parties, etc. also enjoy separate legal identity.
    Corporations (or local governments, small businesses, etc) as legal entities partially separate from their constituent members is something you see virtually everywhere.

    That's not corporate personhood, though.

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  • _J__J_ Festive Pedant Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Demiurge wrote: »
    its the responsibility of the restuarant to ensure they serve food fit for consumption.

    Think, for a moment, about what that statement means.

    How can "the restaurant" have responsibilities?

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited September 2009
    But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms.

    How... how does a corporation bear arms? Is it like Ronald McDonald going on a shooting spree, or something?

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  • SaammielSaammiel Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    _J_ wrote: »
    Demiurge wrote: »
    its the responsibility of the restuarant to ensure they serve food fit for consumption.

    Think, for a moment, about what that statement means.

    How can "the restaurant" have responsibilities?

    Because we have defined it as a legal person (as opposed to a natural person) and as such is a legal entity. What are you going to tell me next, that patents are simply an invention of law and don't exist in nature? By your logic nation-states are meaningless. I mean, how can they be an entity?

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms.

    How... how does a corporation bear arms? Is it like Ronald McDonald going on a shooting spree, or something?
    My guess would be by training, arming and maintaining corporate military forces.

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited September 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms.

    How... how does a corporation bear arms? Is it like Ronald McDonald going on a shooting spree, or something?
    My guess would be by training, arming and maintaining corporate military forces.

    Wouldn't that be individuals bearing arms, though? Corporations can have private security personnel, yes? Can't those folks carry guns?

    I mean, a corporation having freedom of speech makes logical sense (ie, it can be properly imagined). Limited liability, freedom to own assets, all of that stuff is sensical. But how does a intangible entity pick up and fire a goddamn weapon?

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms.

    How... how does a corporation bear arms? Is it like Ronald McDonald going on a shooting spree, or something?
    My guess would be by training, arming and maintaining corporate military forces.

    Wouldn't that be individuals bearing arms, though? Corporations can have private security personnel, yes? Can't those folks carry guns?
    There are limitations on the size and scope of privately owned security forces. For precisely this reason.

    If the corporate equivalent of free speech is to pay for airtime and show propaganda films they spent tons of money making, then the equivalent of bearing arms is paying for a private army.

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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    The specific case in question is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In this case, Citizens United is arguing that a corporation, as a legal person, is entitled to First Amendment freedom of political speech and can therefore devote unlimited resources to supporting a particular candidate or policy.

    You guys are fucked aren't you?

    Seriously, this whole idea is asinine. Let's make it legal to buy elections. /sigh

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited September 2009
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms.

    How... how does a corporation bear arms? Is it like Ronald McDonald going on a shooting spree, or something?
    My guess would be by training, arming and maintaining corporate military forces.

    Wouldn't that be individuals bearing arms, though? Corporations can have private security personnel, yes? Can't those folks carry guns?
    There are limitations on the size and scope of privately owned security forces. For precisely this reason.

    If the corporate equivalent of free speech is to pay for airtime and show propaganda films they spent tons of money making, then the equivalent of bearing arms is paying for a private army.

    So the "right to bear arms" would translate into "removal of the limitations on the size and scope of corporate security forces". That makes sense, I guess.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • MazzyxMazzyx A Restoration through Revolution. Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    In general, if this ruled for the corporations it basically throws out the small amount of money control on elections we have. The removal of the caps and rules on corporations for donations basically means they can funnel unlimited amounts of funds toward a certain candidate. Basically think of buying offices. For lets say scumbag A is running against dork B. Scumbag A is being funded by the corporations who can by unlimited commercials and such while dork B doesn't have the money to counter it since they are not a bought corporate shill.

    With the the standard American mentality Scumbag A will probably win since people will see his message more than Dork B.

    I mean there are people who will vote through more than 30 second clips but they are not the norm.

    meijisig.png
  • DuffelDuffel Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    shryke wrote: »
    Hachface wrote: »
    The specific case in question is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In this case, Citizens United is arguing that a corporation, as a legal person, is entitled to First Amendment freedom of political speech and can therefore devote unlimited resources to supporting a particular candidate or policy.

    You guys are fucked aren't you?

    Seriously, this whole idea is asinine. Let's make it legal to buy elections. /sigh

    I still don't really understand why corporate campaign donations wouldn't be subject to the same rules personal donations already are. Why would Wal-Mart be able to dump $10 bil into a presidential campaign when the CEO can't already do that?

  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Corporate Personhood is a crock anyways, it exists nowhere else in the world.
    Corporations as legal persons is the norm world-wide.

    And legal personhood is not just limited to corporations - towns, unions, political parties, etc. also enjoy separate legal identity.

    As a legal person protected under a constitutional amendment(the 14th)? No don't think so.

    Legal existence is recognised worldwide, the legal equivalent to people, nowhere.

    Communicating from the last of the Babylon Stations.
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