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Why Should Corporations Have All the Rights that Humans Have?

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 04:39 PM
Original message
Why Should Corporations Have All the Rights that Humans Have?

by Deb Cupples | The corporate-personhood debate is raging, and it's silly. Like most third-year law students, all U.S. Supreme Court Justices know better. Apparently, they cannot resist grabbing some spotlight while engaging in bizarre verbal gymnastics.

Corporations don't even exist on the physical plane, which is why law professors call corporations a "legal fiction." Corporations can't even physically do anything, like drive a car or eat a sandwich. The only thing a corporation can do is what human beings do in a corporation's name.

Corporations exist only because some legal documents say that they do -- kind of like Santa Clause's existing because parents say that he does.


Robots are closer to human beings than corporations are. Should robots have all the same constitutional rights that human beings have?

Fact: the people who own, run or work for corporations already have their (personal) Constitutional rights, precisely because they are people. Giving extra rights to corporations would be grossly unfair, as it would give the people who own, run, and work for corporations access to more rights than the rest of us have.

For example, most adult American people have a constitutional right to vote. If corporations are given the right to vote, then some of the people who own, run, or work for corporations (i.e., the ones who would cast a corporations' ballots) would get to vote more than once.

A New York Times editorial states:


"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."

Conviction? That almost sounds like an ideal or principle. Actually, it's more like a political agenda.

Yes, the Roberts court (like the Bush Administration) has been on a multi-year campaign to push the interests of elite folks who run big corporations -- at the expense of us ordinary Americans. At least the so-called "conservative" justices have pushed that agenda (i.e., Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito).

And it's hypocritical as Hades....


Those same so-called "conservative" justices staunchly scream their (purported) opposition to "activist judges" at the very same time that said "conservative" justices actively campaign to push a pro-corporate-executive agenda.

Hypocrisy is a huge clue that what someone is trying to market as a "principle" or "ideal" is anything but.

The Times also points out:


"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....

"Justice Antonin Scalia said most corporations are 'indistinguishable from the individual who owns them.'

There's an example of Justice Scalia forgetting his own so-called "principles" to support his agenda. He knows full well that corporations are highly distinguishable from the individuals who own them -- and in fundamental ways.

First, corporations don't have organic, physical bodies: they can't bleed or break bones or feel pain; they can't be put in jail when they break the law. Actually, corporations cannot even commit an act that would break the law: the people who run or work for corporations are the only ones who commit the acts.

Continued>>>
http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politic...
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent!
If 'Murkins weren't batshit crazy, no one would even have to point these things out.
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kimmerspixelated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. DINGDINGDING!
Even we smarties have been brainwashed by the media and by politicians. We at least know when to turn down the volume, read a book and occasionally think for ourselves.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. They shouldn't. If for no other reason than the Constitution makes no mention of
corporations being equal to humans, or having any rights.
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Festivito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. A mistake from inception, end the mistake, end corporate personhood.
The Constitution writers did not include corporations on purpose. People first, corporations are always to be under people -- not equal to people(that's nutty).
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. So let the Corporations pay for the "mandated" health insurance then.
:evilgrin:
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Festivito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. If corporations are persons, do we have to keep them healthy? /nt
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. How can they be people in the first place if they don't have a heart? Literally & Figuratively. nt
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 05:55 PM by earth mom
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Festivito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Republicans have no heart and thus cannot tell the difference. /nt
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Because, once you've allowed people to
pool money and organize some sort of legal structure, you find that they need some rights. The right to be able to sue (and be sued), the right to enter into and enforce contracts, the right to be able to own property, to be eligible for due process and to be taxed and defend against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The problem is that this, and a further raft of "rights", are those that hold for people. So the easiest way to say that they had these rights and to keep Congress from meddling with them was to declare them to be persons. Why do we want to keep Congress from meddling? For the same reason that we want Congress not to meddle with everything else--enough caprice and short-term whimsy leads to a complete distrust of the system. You need some sort of stability. (Note that even much of the economic and health-care discussion is, ultimately, a discussion about economic and social stability.)

Once they're persons, however, then you have to figure out where to draw the line. And analogical reasoning and reasoning by precedent are sucky ways of drawing lines.

However, I understand part of the problem in this case. A corporation cannot fund the production or distribution of a video that names or appears to be for or against a candidate, per current campaign law. So can a corporation publish a book without it's being considered an illegal campaign contribution? If it can, how exactly does that work. Where's the line, drawn in decontextualized language that can be applied not just to a large publishing house but to a small publishing house? And if a book can be published, why not a movie? After all, most copyright law treats them as essentially equivalent. Do we want to say that books are like newspapers, but documentaries aren't? I'm uncomfortable with the entire range of questions, to be honest, because try as I may I can find plenty of examples that make hash out of any principled solution I've heard (so far) or produced.

And when the solutions are so riddled with holes as to be hash, then enforcement becomes indistinguishable, in principle, from caprice and short-term whimsy.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. If Scalia were correct that would also be an argument against corporations.
"Justice Antonin Scalia said most corporations are 'indistinguishable from the individual who owns them.'

If that were the case, an individual owning a corporation has a De Facto Fiefdom, everyone working under that corporation must tow the political or ideological bent of the owner without running the risk of being unemployed or being passed over for promotion.

Thus the service provided by those; employed of politically active corporations may be used to work against said employees political beliefs and or self-interest. The corporations are in affect given First Amendment Rights which trump those of the People.

Any political leader accepting lobbying money from corporations would be violating the First Amendment Rights of employees held hostage by their employers, indeed the employees value of labor given could and/or would be used against them.

Thanks for the thread, Joanne.
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Puzzler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
11. I'm totally in favor of human rights for corporations...
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 07:15 PM by Puzzler
... then they could be jailed, or maybe given the death penalty for high crimes!!!


BTW, I am being sarcastic... but, seriously, the RW wackos only want all of the rights individuals have, but none of the responsibilities that come with those rights. Nor do they want questions like: is this corporation a US citizen then? If so, it can't be foreign owned.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
12. Scalia "corporations indestinguishable from owners" - patent bullshit:
Solicitor General please take note: Corporations are legal entities separate from the owners and shield the owners from liabilities of the corporation. That's the whole POINT of a corporation! The owners liability is limited to the amount they have invested in the corporation.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


Were the stockholders of DOW chemical ever charged with negligent homicide for the Bophal leak? The stockholders of Hooker Chemical found responsible for the victims of the Love canal?


ALSO: does owning stock in a corporation deprive the owners of the right to free speech they have?



What say you Antonin "the Reign-maker" Scalia?





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wroberts189 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
13. And their CEO's are duty bound to make profit over any other cost to society.
Edited on Tue Sep-22-09 08:28 PM by wroberts189


On edit:

Duty bound to their share holders.

knr
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
14. Corporations don't now and never have had ALL the rights of human beings
It muddies the actual legal debate by exaggerating like that. Corporate speech, for example, has been limited as "commercial speech." Corporations don't vote. They can be discriminated against.

The question is what rights if any they should have.
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