Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Denver. I am well aware that lots of people, particularly on the left,
believe that corporations should not be considered "persons" under the law.
They don't like the idea that corporations have rights under the law or
Constitution. But I've never until now seen this complex question reduced
to a bumper sticker.
I always wonder what people are thinking when they talk about stripping
corporations of legal defenses. For instance, if you agree with the idea
that corporations should not enjoy protections accorded to persons under
law, I trust you also believe that, say, Time Warner or Gannett should enjoy
no protection against, say, warrantless searches or restraints on
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The abolition of corporate personhood does not extend to all legal rights accorded to corporations, only to those rights ordinarily accorded only to voting human citizens. Corporations enjoyed full legal protection as artificial entities before the 1886 legal event that resulted in their enjoying the rights of human citizens; the abolition of corporate personhood would merely restore their original status and legal rights as was originally the case before 1886.