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Sotomayor Asks, Are Corporations the Same as Humans Beings?:  During arguments in the campaign-finance Citizens United case, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wondered if corporations should be given the same broad First Amendment rights as people.  Wall Street Journal writer Jess Bravin reports on Sotomayor's provocative comment that probed at foundations of corporate law.  While the Court was hearing arguments in the campaign-finance case, Bravin quotes Sotomayor as saying, "[Judges] created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons.  There could be an argument that the court's error to start with...[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics."  As a matter of history justice Sotomayor is correct.  As corporations began to multiply in this country, courts started extending them many of the rights that human beings are afforded.  For example, a corporation has the right to make contracts and own property.  U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Morrison Waite said that the Court believed the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause applied to corporations.   Recently, even conservatives, including Chief Justice Rehnquist, have been skeptical of corporate rights.   Professor William Simon of Columbia Law Schools says, "Today, it's 'just complete confusion' over which rights corporations can claim." The final decision in the campaign-finance case should shed some light on the subject.    

Killer Escapes During A Field Trip To The Fair.  Thursday morning mental patient and killer, Phillip Arnold Paul, 57, escaped while on a field trip to the Spokane County Interstate Fair.  Fox News and the Associated Press reports that the escape of Paul, during a mental institutions field trip to the fair, was not reported until two hours after he disappeared.  Paul was acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to the Eastern State Hospital indefinitely for the 1987 murder of an elderly woman.  He had slashed her throat, soaked her body in gasoline to throw off search dogs, and buried the remains in her garden because voices told him she was a witch.  Paul was diagnosed as being criminally insane and a schizophrenic.  This is not the first time Paul has escaped.  In 1990, Paul walked away from custody and then attacked the sheriff's deputy who tried to apprehend him.  Spokane County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Reagan said that "had the institution told the police about the incident earlier, the 'odds of catching him would have been much greater.'"           

2 Comments

Isn't the First Amendment framed not as a personal right but a prohibition on government power. If so, then the distinction isn't that big of a deal. Additionally, aren't corporations etc. aggregations of persons anyway?

"Additionally, aren't corporations etc. aggregations of persons anyway?"

Under Justice Story's theory they are not. They are legal entities equal to a person. In other words, is the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, as far as corporations are concerned.

Corporations should have no "rights" whatsoever. We have been living under a deliberate and cruel fiction for a hundred plus years.

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