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Courts rule inconsistently on corporate identities

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posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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Courts rule inconsistently on corporate identities


phys.org

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— ......
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
erepository.law.shu.edu

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
Study shows powerful corporations really do control the world's finances




posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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...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.


I am taking a risk here, since not every ATS member is attuned to - or much interested in - the idea of "Corporate person-hood."

We might recall the hallmark Supreme court case of old ... "Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission" (130 S. Ct. 876, 887 2010) .... but what never happened (which the source author contends) that should have happened was the inclusion of another aspect of reality that seemed to have entirely escaped the chief jurists of our nation....


...the court never clearly answered the basic questions of whose voice corporations represent.


The Supreme Court failed to acknowledge, or make any address of the difference between a corporation and a 'Corporate Group" ... which is what most corporations at the national level are. In fact, in a subsequent case which DENIED the singular person-hood (or "enterprise level,") the courts ruled completely differently essential stating that a corporation is not an "individual" in terms of liability for actions by a member of it's corporate group (Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders (131 S. Ct. 2296 2011.)


"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."


In her paper "Theories of Corporate Groups: Corporate Identity
Reconceived" (erepository.law.shu.edu...) she explores the idea that a 'corporate group' is not "a corporation" and the difference manifests itself in a completely different manner in practice.


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 issue of corporate person-hood is appears to have become a matter of political or commercial expedience; from a cynic's perspective. And the net effect of the clumsy judicial approach by the courts seems to be bubbling to the surface as more questions about corporate person-hood are scrutinized.


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.


The linked paper may be a dry legalistic read for some,. but I assure you it's importance cannot be understated.

Eventually our collective identities are being massaged into something quite inferior to corporate identity. We might have expected this echo from past love of mercantilism... after all even states, nations, and bodies of elected officials have all "incorporated" as a matter of practice.

When you couple the vague "whatever is best for the corporation" legislation and global law-making with the incredible power of the corporate groups we already see controlling the world's finances, trade, agriculture and more... I predict this will be a major battleground to reestablish the supremacy of the sovereign citizen over legal constructs of commercial or political convenience.


phys.org
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 5-10-2012 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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A perfect example of this is neglagent manslaughter.

You know like when a car company knows that a car feature is unsafe but uses statistic to justify a recall or not.

If someone dies they knowingly allowed that death, if the Car company is a person than they are copable for manslaughter and not just the Civil case that would normally apply.

If you wanted to go a step further you could say that everyone in the Company is than apart of the crime Using RICO laws...

BUT thats just silly cause corporations arn't people.

Oh wait...



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:14 PM
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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 (
)



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:19 PM
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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 (
)


Exactly, Id like to see someone bring a criminal case against one of these companies, maybe let the Citizens Untited rulling BITE them on the ass.

Get a few CEO's on a manslaughter beef and we will see how fast the Amendment to overrule that ruling is pushed.

All those Civil cases where companies polluted and harmed people suddenly become negligent Manslaughter charges.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


S & F to being with but I have another question.

I cannot remember where but I read the whole idea of person-hood for corporations began back in the railroad days with a court case then. Sorry I am not being more specific, I do not recall. Maybe ATS-ers can help on that one. But some of precedent utilized to justify the Citizens United ruling came from it. The irony is, no where in the ruling from long ago were corporations ever identified as a citizen. It was simply assumed/misinterpreted as such and entered in the records that way.

I will need to do some looking now...



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:22 PM
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Ah Ha!!!!

Found it: en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:28 PM
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Here is some more on it. BTW, I still think it is BS. Corporations are not people when it comes to individual rights in the Constitution. With rights, comes responsibilities. Corporations claiming the rights of person-hood do not bear those responsibilities.

www.oyez.org...

legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

money.howstuffworks.com...



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:31 PM
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My primary issue of corporate personhood is the issue with criminal liability. A corporation indemnifies itself in this regard. When it is civil, the corporation pays. When it is criminal, the individual pays. Actually, in civil cases the individual can pay as well (for those who have recieved an accredited Civil Treatment training).

There is no clear distinction, to me, in the process. A corporation can do all manners of evil, individuals within the corporation will go to jail, the corporation will rebrand itself and go on like nothing ever happened.

The very notion of corporate personhood is preposterous on any level.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:37 PM
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reply to post by ABNARTY
 


Excellent point; and not lost on me. The truth is of course, deeper than the wiki article goes into. The particular court reporter who, in essence, took an exparte comment and made it seems as adjudicated law had something to gain.

As it turned out, that reporter stood to gain professionally and financially from the "mistake" he made.

Nevertheless, the BAR members all 'overlooked' the discrepancy and effectively created a precedent which went on to bolster many cases in favor of corporations.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


Absolutely. And that comes right back around to the article/paper you linked to initially.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:49 PM
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reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
 


Dead on. They want the gravy but don't want to pay for it.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 03:49 PM
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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.


There's an example of corporate influence in politics, but the article goes on to make some other interesting points.


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.


Apparently, as of 2000 there wasn't all that much corporate spending in politics compared to what most would think. Companies often found that playing politics created an unnecessary risk to the brand name.

Of course, they could always spend in discreet ways.

But the trend is upward, with campaign spending increasing significantly from 2000-2008-2010- and now in 2012.

www.nytimes.com...

edit on 10/5/2012 by PatrickGarrow17 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 04:09 PM
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reply to post by PatrickGarrow17
 


Undue influence in political affairs is just one manifestation of this blanket "corporations are people" paradigm. I think the compromise is going to be that a "single-charter" defines the corporate entity.. and that international or transnational companies cannot be afforded such power as the rights of an individual - when those rights were fought for and codified by breathing. living, mortal citizens... who can be drafted, serve as a juror, vote in an election.. etc.

Corporate identity needs to be defined and regulated... ostensibly according the charters that were supposed to identify them to the state... nowadays corporate charters are cookie cutter documents that simply boil down to "make as much money as possible - forever."



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by PatrickGarrow17
 


And you point to the other key issue that ties directly to this: that the court has also ruled that money=speech in regards to political donations (but not in regards to how people "vote" with their dollars buying illegal commodities...another double standard). This means that the less money you have, the less you can speak, in essence. Or, more accurately, that your voice can be drowned out with all the "noise" created by their rather large and deep voice. In effect, a corporation can metaphorically stand up, stick its fingers in its ears, and start shouting "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!"

It is now only "We The People" if "people" is redefined as "a corporation".

Oh. Wait.





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