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View Diary: Should we amend the US Constitution? Justice Stevens thinks so, incl. 2nd Amendment (new book) (321 comments)

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  •  I wasn't talking about CU (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight, Tonedevil

    I was talking about Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad.

    Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

    by happymisanthropy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:06:42 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Where did that decision say (0+ / 0-)

      corporations are people????

      The decision is here.  It's not anywhere in that decision.  

      If you are talking about the first decision to hold that corporations enjoy some constitutional protections, that's probably Dartmouth College v. Woodward in 1819.  And there's nothing radical about that.  No legal association of persons could exist if it did not have some constitutional protection.  For example, how practical would it be for the government to be able to search and seize property of any club, union, corporation, LLC, association, etc. any time it wanted?  Of course some constitutional protections extend to associations of people like corporations.  

      •  You know damn well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil

        what Santa Clara has to do with the history of corporate personhoood.  Fuck you for playing stupid.

        Wikipedia:

        In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad - 118 U.S. 394 (1886), the reporter noted in the headnote to the opinion that the Chief Justice began oral argument by stating, "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."[1] While the headnote is not part of the Court's opinion and thus not precedent, two years later, in Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania - 125 U.S. 181 (1888), the Court clearly affirmed the doctrine...

        Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 03:55:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sigh. My point is that (0+ / 0-)

          the Supreme Court has never declared corporations to be "persons" in the sense that you and I are a person.  Whether some Reporter put that in a paper or not  -- that did not matter AT ALL to the Supreme Court's subsequent decisions, including CU.  There is a long line of cases -- dating back to 1819 -- that corporations were entitled to some constitutional protection (in the 1819 case, Article I, section 10, clause 1), and a long line of cases specifically holding that corporations were entitled to First Amendment protection.  This is despite the fact that corporations are not "natural persons," not BECAUSE they are "natural persons."

          So, I'll be clear.  

          If by "corporate personhood," you mean that the Supreme Court has declared that corporations are the same as "natural persons," that notion is a myth.  

          If by "corporate personhood," you mean that corporations,, despite NOT being "natural persons," are entitled to some of the same constitutional and legal protections as natural persons, then that's a very uncontroversial notion that dates back to at least 1819.  

          •  Stop playing stupid. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Old Sailor, Tonedevil

            It's really fucking pissing me off.  The question is not whether the supreme court said that corporations have two arms, two legs, and various genitals.  Pretending that that is the issue is just trolling.

            The issue is the fucking 14th amendment.  If corporations are not people under the 14th, then they can't have selectively incorporated protections against state laws derived from the bill of rights.

            And, conversely, if they do have rights incorporated under the 14th amendment, then the supreme court has made them equal to human persons, regardless of the hand-waving involved in getting there.

            Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

            by happymisanthropy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 10:55:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  When you say "corporations are people under the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              14th Amendment," all that means is that corporations -- which, technically, are made up of people (shareholders) who pool their resources (money) to operate a business) -- have 14th Amendment protection, such as due process rights.

              Two points:  

              1.  Saying "corporations are 'persons' under a specific law" is not the same as saying "corporations are persons."  Many laws use the word "person" and then define it to include groups or associations of persons, like clubs, businesses, unions, etc.  It's a shorthand way of saying that groups or associations of people are covered by the law as well. It's certainly NOT equated a corporation to a person for any purpose OTHER THAN the effect of that specific law.

              2.  Do you have a problem with corporations having some rights under the constitution?  If they didn't have due process rights, then a conservative president like Bush could just order seizure of the assets of an entity they didn't like, such as Planned Parenthood and shut them down completely.  Don't you think that an entity ought to be protected by the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against "seizure" or by the 14th Amendment's guarantee of due process?  

              •  Oooh scary bogeyman. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, Old Sailor

                They were adequately protected before there was a 14th amendment.  They were adequately protected before the 14th was misapplied on their behalf.  They don't need to steal the rights of human beings, to the great detriment of the human beings thus deprived, to get there.

                Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

                by happymisanthropy on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:06:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Of course they can. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sharon Wraight

        Why do you think it's legal for the NSA to collect all of the phone meta data.

        We were not ahead of our time, we led the way to our time.

        by i understand on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:13:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it wasn't in the decision (3+ / 0-)

        it was in a headnote.

        The court reporter, former president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company J.C. Bancroft Davis, wrote the following as part of the headnote for the case:
           "One of the points made and discussed at length in the brief of counsel for defendants in error was that 'corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.' Before argument, Mr. Chief Justice Waite said: The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."
        In other words, the headnote claimed that all of the justices believed that corporations enjoyed rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, adopted in 1868. In fact, the headnote was only a reporting by the Court Reporter of the Chief Justice's personal interpretation of the Justices' opinions. The issue of applicability of "Equal Protection to any persons" to the railroads was not addressed in the decision of the Court in the case.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:18:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that a reporter misstated the holding of (0+ / 0-)

          that case really doesn't matter.  The Reporter was not declaring corporations to be "persons" in the sense that you and I are persons.  The point he was making was that corporations were entitled to some of the same constitutional protections as persons -- like due process.  Even if that concept was not part of that particular case, it is a non-controversial concept that dates back to at least 1819.

          The Supreme Court has never declared that corporations are persons.  The Supreme Court has -- repeatedly -- said that corporations enjoy some of the same constitutional protections as persons.  And it has to be that way.  A business could never function if its assets could be seized by the government at any time without due process, for example.  And as I pointed out, if corporations were not entitled to First Amendment protection, then the government could ban books, movies, magazines, photographs, etc. that it didn't like.

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