Day by Day

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Corporate Personhood is Not


Last month at the Gualala Municipal Advisory Council (GMAC), I demonstrated that natural climate change has existed for the Earth’s 4.54 billion-year life. GMAC was largely unmoved by the facts, but I considered it my civic duty to update GMAC on this topic of interest. At their last meeting I documented the lack of rapid sea level rise. The 158-year San Francisco tide gauge record shows average sea level rising 3.5 inches per century, about one-quarter of the lowest estimate of global warming alarmists.

However, GMAC was impatient to address other consequential matters, such as supporting the Mendocino County Measure F advisory-only vote to abolish so-called corporate personhood.  I sensed eagerness to endorse Measure F immediately, but GMAC reluctantly placed it on their November agenda.

Measure F is nonsensical political posturing. The Supreme Court Citizens United ruling was not based on corporate personhood, but on First and Fourteenth Amendment individual rights; corporations do not forfeit rights enjoyed by other organizations.

“Corporate personhood is the legal concept that a corporation may sue and be sued in court in the same way as natural persons or unincorporated associations of persons. This doctrine in turn forms the basis for legal recognition that corporations, as groups of people, may hold and exercise certain rights under the common law and the U.S. Constitution. The doctrine does not hold that corporations are ‘people’ in the most common usage of the word, nor does it grant to corporations all of the rights of citizens.”

Corporations can enter into contracts, be taxed and regulated, hire and fire employees, buy and dispose of property, etc., but corporations cannot claim constitutional protections not otherwise available to persons acting as a group.

These inconvenient facts should prevent the irrational Measure F from passing. Unfortunately, facts always lose to uninformed opinions in Mendocino County. 

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