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#PoliticsInc: More on WHY #CorpSpeak is radical, nonsensical & dangerous judicial activism

Below is another handy summary of my Constitutional arguments against #CorpSpeak and #politicsInc (Twiter hashtags, for those of you who may be unfamiliar with them), copied from another comment thread at Volokh Conspiracy.

Readers should not forget that it is the state grant of limited liability that – as I have discussed in many posts – lies at the root of our burgeoning fights over government and public distrust (extending even to my quaint pet enviro concerns), Corporations are divorced from their owners, who have been given a grant of limited liability for the risks they shift to society, a cloak of anonymity by which they can behave irresponsibility (with little concerns greater than what provides the largest profits and bonuses) and can seek favors from government, as well as unlimited lives and deep pockets to make persistent efforts to corrupt.

Yes, I may be repeating myself, but core libertarian concerns are at stake. Here are my comments, with a few slight tweaks:

TokyoTom says:

I missed this conversation, while continuing to argue on Jon‘s
initial thread that CU is radical, nonsensical and dangerous judicial
activism: http://volokh.com/2010/01/21/citizens-united/

Let me note a few thoughts:

– the First Amendment was not amended to extend “speech” from humans to nonhumans of any kind;

– as corporations are creatures of the state — with special benefits
extended to shareholders in them that are unavailable otherwise via
contract or common law — the state has every ability to limit the
powers of corporations;

– in the same way, governments routinely condition extensions of
benefits on acceptance of limits on speech; prominent examples include gag rules on churches and other nonprofits, and on
doctors in hospitals that receive federal funding;

– the equation of corporations — which have a legal status distinct
from their owners — with individuals and other forms of voluntary
organizations that retain unlimited liability is invidious, and blurs
the very real distinctions between them. When corporations “speak”, WHO
is talking? (The growth of corporations and the lack of shareholder
liability has led to a continued attenuation of SH control, for the
benefit of managers.)

– if corporations were held to have NO Constitutional speech rights,
the real human beings who work at, manage or own them would retain all
of their Const rights of speech and redress — but at their own direct
expense. All that would be lost would be the ability of some to mask
their identity, to claim that they represent all, and to pay for their
speech by picking the pockets others (a point one wishes Kagan had
better understood and made).


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