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When the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission in 2010, it effectively stated that corporations are people under the First Amendment, able to spend as much money on some forms of political speech as they wish—and the world inside and outside of politics took notice. A University of Kansas law professor has authored an article arguing the court failed to consider the real power brokers—corporate groups— ......
...A University of Kansas law professor has authored an article arguing the court failed to consider the real power brokers—corporate groups—and that the opinion illustrates how courts are often taking different views of what it means to be a corporation in the same area of the law, or as in Citizens United, in the same opinion.
...the court never clearly answered the basic questions of whose voice corporations represent.
"I think the court took an extreme position on the campaign finance question in Citizens United because they were less concerned about the power of corporate groups," Harper Ho said of the ruling. If they had, she notes, they might have been more concerned about corporations drowning out individual voice. "But I wanted to take a closer look at what the case means from the perspective of corporate law."
Corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, and the court has held that only certain constitutional rights should be extended to them, she notes. How the rights and duties of corporations extend to related entities is more complex. A year after the Citizens United ruling, the high court ruled in Janus Capital Group Inc. vs. First Derivative Traders, a caste that also turned on the boundaries of the corporate group and the meaning of corporate speech. In that case, the court ruled Janus Capital Group was not responsible for misleading information made by an affiliated fund in the sale of securities—in other words, the court concluded that Janus Capital Group and its affiliate were not a single speaker, in contrast to the enterprise-level view of corporate speech the court appeared to take in Citizens United.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the case Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., which raises similar questions about the role and identity of multinational corporate groups under international law. The case centers on Nigerian forces that undertook a campaign of murder, rape and abuse against local activists who demonstrated against oil exploration there, allegedly with the support of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company. There is not currently a single definition of a multinational corporation, and this case will go far in determining how the identity of multinationals under international law will be viewed by courts in the United States, Harper Ho said.
Originally posted by Maxmars
reply to post by benrl
Some would say that this was the primary point of 'corporate' status - protection from liability.
The spirit of the law was abandoned by the technocrats who - as diligent worshipers of actuarial tables and spreadsheet statistics - knew they could then justify their increased profit by simply stating an "acceptable risk" to human life and limb can and should be quantified and accepted as an externality which is unavoidable in real life.
After all, "people" are just "resources" and "consumers" .... and corporate entities deserve more protection from trivial consumer lawsuits ( )
Way back in February of this year, more than two-thirds of Californians believed raising more money from tobacco companies to finance cancer research was a good idea. That was before industry money kicked in.
In just over three months, opponents spent $41 million to defeat the initiative — a proposition to levy an extra $1 on the sale of a pack of cigarettes — five times what its supporters spent. On June 5, it was defeated by 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.
Voters have always worried about the role of corporate money in election campaigns. Surprisingly perhaps, there hasn’t really been that much.
Gordon Tullock, one of the first social scientists to study the effects of corporate money in politics, remarked 40 years ago that it was a mystery that companies didn’t spend much more given the huge potential return of swaying legislators’ votes.
Ten years ago, Stephen Ansolabehere, John M. de Figueiredo, and James M. Snyder from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology picked up the theme with a study called “Why Is There So Little Money in U.S. Politics?” They noted that campaign spending over the last 100 years had remained stagnant and perhaps even declined as a share of the nation’s gross domestic product.