In forthcoming work, Chief Justice Leo Strine and Professor Jonathan Macey argue that the majority in Citizens United embraced an indefensible theory of corporate personhood
. (22) My view is somewhat different.
improperly recognized corporate personhood
in the first place.
Winkler will discuss how that controversial Supreme Court decision was the capstone of a two-hundred-year struggle over corporate personhood
. Bringing to life the legendary lawyers and justices involved in the dramatic yet often overlooked cases that extended our most fundamental rights to corporations, Professor Winkler will reveal how powerful companies transformed the Constitution into a bulwark against the regulation of big business and a tool to serve the ends of capital.
Winkler explains that courts have consistently used the notion of "corporate personhood
" to limit corporations' legal rights.
One key reason for this confusion included the rise of the business corporation, especially the strengthening of the legal fiction of corporate personhood
. Another contributing factor was the growth of large-scale industrial production and the related increase in population density, which, together, not only subjected individuals to the collateral damage of institutions in the forms, say, of pollution or congestion, but dissociated actions from their effects by exposing them as links in a virtually endless chain.
In movies such as "Citizen Koch" and "Pay 2 Play," the idea of "corporate personhood
" -- the notion that businesses are, in a sense, people -- is shown to have paved the way for moneyed groups to buy ads attacking politicians who stand in the way of their interests.
Southern Pacific Railroad that the Supreme Court established the legal fiction of corporate personhood
Hobby Lobby (2)--both relied on a legal concept that was little-discussed in the majority opinions: corporate personhood
. Justice Kennedy's opinion for the Court in Citizens United and Justice Alito's opinion for the Court in Hobby Lobby focused on the rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion, more or less accepting that those rights can inhere in corporate persons.
How did we get Here: An Examination of Corporate Personhood
To help voters assess how candidates measure up to the agenda, a questionnaire sent to all the candidates asked for their stances on six core issues: establishing contribution limits; amplifying the voices of small donors through public financing; increasing transparency and requiring "paid for by" disclaimers on campaign ads; expanding the right to vote and opposing barriers to voting; preventing gerrymandering by taking responsibility for redistricting out of the hands of politicians; and calling for a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and corporate personhood
Setting aside legalistic concepts of corporate personhood
, however, there is some truth in seeing the in-house lawyer as the company's treating physician.
She enumerates and rebuts common arguments minimizing the relevance of corporate personhood
in constitutional analysis, and argues that avoiding this issue obscures important value judgments.