Fine, Let’s Treat Corporations Like People.

Wed Jul 02, 2014 04:53:09AM | Categories: Civil & Human Rights, Supreme Court Cases & Supreme Court

Supreme Court BuildingBy: Public Domain
In 1819, the Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward ruling recognized corporations as having the same rights as natural born citizens to contract and to enforce contracts.

In Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania (1888) SCOTUS ruled that under the designation of ‘person’ that corporations are included in the 14th Amendment. A ruling that has be upheld numerous times

In 2010, Citizens United v. FEC ruled that because corporations are people, they are entitled to freedom of speech, just as people are. Since money is considered a form of speech, this allowed corporations to freely donate to political campaigns.

And just two days ago, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court ruled that since corporations are people, then they can also have religious beliefs and thus are provided religious protections.

So fine. Let’s for a moment concede the fact that corporations are actually people. We will afford them the same rights as people and apply the same laws that apply to people to corporations. How ridiculous could that possibly be.

For starters, corporations would not be allowed to legally enter into contracts until the age of 18. Well technically they can enter into contracts, but contracts involving minors aren’t upheld in court. Numerous other laws that are designed to protect minors such as child labor legislation would also get quite cumbersome for new corporations. It would be a crime for these young businesses to even operate. Would someone please think of the children! They have rights too!

Next let’s look at more serious offenses. Recently, GM issued a recall on 2.6 million of its cars because of defective airbags. This defect has led to directly to the death of at least 13 people. In the US, a person guilty of this would be facing manslaughter charges and imprisonment not just a fine. Even more serious would be the Deepwater Horizon incident. A person should be facing 11 counts of criminal negligent homicide for how poorly the rig’s equipment was maintained and the quality of the materials that were used.

Because corporations are people and have the same rights as people, then they are also eligible to run for national office once they reach the age of 25. If they are natural ‘born’ corporation, they can even run for President once they reach the age of 35. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby has already established that corporations can have religious beliefs, so they must be able to have political beliefs and ideologies too. Restricting the corporate political voice to just monetary donations would be discriminating against an entire class of ‘people.’ Verizon 2016!

Now, of course all of this sounds bonkers. And it should. Corporations are not people! Corporations are an abstract business concept that establish a separate legal entity whose rights and liabilities are distinct and separate from its employees and shareholders. While some of the rights of a corporation may overlap with some of the rights of a person, it doesn't mean that they are the same thing. You can not separate legal and financial liability of a business away from the shareholders then have those shareholders claim that their religious beliefs are one in the same as the company they are trying to separate from. You just can’t have it both ways.
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