Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Corporations are people too

The Daily Journal (San Mateo), Associated Press, Nancy Benac, 7/5/14. "Corporations are people?  It's a legal concept."

Rights Corporations Have and Rights They Don't Have But Should, Ranked
"We the people..."
".... Corporations are people?  ....  it turns out the principle has been lurking in U.S. law for more than a century, and the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, gave it more oomph this week when it ruled that certain businesses are entitled to exercise religious rights, just as do people.

....  After the Supreme Court’s 2010 campaign finance ruling, attorney Burt Neuborne lamented: “At the rate the court is going, soon we will be able to be adopted by a corporation. Maybe even marry one.”  Now, Neuborne calls the latest court ruling “an immense perversion of the Constitution. Robots don’t have rights, trees don’t have rights, and neither do corporations.

He warned that the ruling could backfire against corporations if the court goes too far in extending individual rights to businesses. Breaching the wall between corporations and their shareholders, he said, could ultimately make corporations liable for the actions of their shareholders and vice versa.  

... Attorney John Bursch, a former Michigan solicitor general, said it makes sense that corporations have some of the same rights as individuals. After the court extended free-speech rights to corporations, “it’s not a big leap to say that a First Amendment protection with respect to religious liberty would also apply to a corporation,” he said. Whether more rights should be extended, Bursch said, “is a little harder, and we’d all need to think about that.”   Read more.

Reference -  Legal Information Institute (LII) Cornell University of Law. ..."The law treats a corporation as a legal "person" that has standing to sue and be sued, distinct from its stockholders. The legal independence of a corporation prevents shareholders from being personally liable for corporate debts. It also allows stockholders to sue the corporation through a derivative suit and makes ownership in the company (shares) easily transferable. The legal "person" status of corporations gives the business perpetual life; deaths of officials or stockholders do not alter the corporation's structure."

Related -  Rankings/Adam Weinstein, 7/1/14.  "Rights corporations have and rights they don't have but should, ranked."  .... "Rights corporations don't have but should"  1. Right to look at your spouse with an indescribable mixture of joy and terror when she announces she's pregnant.  2. Right to sit on an oceanside boardwalk, inhale deeply of salt as the sun lashes your corneas, and ponder why you don't do this more often. 3. Right to wonder if your children will inherit your worries."

Note the above photograph is from the related Rankings article above. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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