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Justice Sotomayor suggested the majority might have it all wrong -- and that instead the court should reconsider the 19th century rulings that first afforded corporations the same rights flesh-and-blood people have.
Judges "created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons," she said. "There could be an argument made that that was the court's error to start with...[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics."
The court's actual decision was uncontroversial. A unanimous decision issued by Justice ruled on the matter of fences -- in that the state of California illegally included the fences running beside the tracks in its assesment of the total value of the railroad's property. As a result, the county could not collect taxes from Southern Pacific that it wasn't allowed to collect in the first place.
The Supreme Court never reached the equal protection claims. Nonetheless, this case is sometimes incorrectly cited as holding that corporations, as juristic persons, are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
As such, it did not technically - in the view of most legal historians - have any legal precedential value. However, the Supreme Court is not required by Constitution or even precedent to limit its rulings to written statements.
Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1949, "the Santa Clara case becomes one of the most momentous of all our decisions.. Corporations were now armed with constitutional prerogatives."
Justice Hugo Black wrote "in 1886, this Court in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, decided for the first time that the word 'person' in the amendment did in some instances include corporations...The history of the amendment proves that the people were told that its purpose was to protect weak and helpless human beings and were not told that it was intended to remove corporations in any fashion from the control of state governments...The language of the amendment itself does not support the theory that it was passed for the benefit of corporations."
Originally posted by ExPostFacto
Wow, I'm surprised so many conservatives agree with this. I thought I was the fringe person in my party on this issue.
Originally posted by THX-1138
Soda Mayor is disgusting.
She should go play in the street.
Obama will eventually have to be held responsible for all his mistakes.