Ann Althouse re: Citizens United

Thisltethwaite continues:

Here’s the point: If you are content to think that corporations are people and money is speech, as the Supreme Court decided in the by a vote of 5-4, in their Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision, then indeed you are sleepwalking through your citizenship and giving over your faith to false prophets.

I believe, when future accounts of this era are written, historians will judge that the wake up call for many people in America was in early 2010 with that Supreme Court decision. The winter of 2010 is what led to the #OWS demonstrations in the fall of 2011.

Can we as citizens accept this definition of person, and of speech? This is what Dr. West, by his action on the steps of the Supreme Court, is asking us to stop and ponder. Corporation as person? A soulless legal entity as human being? No. We can’t and we must not. As I have written before, God didn’t create corporations.

And God didn’t create The Washington Post, which is a corporation. Could Congress criminalize WaPo’s reporting about political candidates in the 2-month period preceding an election? It would protect us from distorted ravings like yours, Ms. Thisltethwaite. What do you say? You must say yes! I mean, if you care about coherence. And I know you don’t.


Every major media outlet in the country is either a corporation or is owned by a corporation. What would undoing corporate personhood do to freedom of speech and of the press?

If corporate personhood did not exist, how would you sue a corporation? What would that do to the doctrine of limited liability? Imagine losing everything you own because you owned a single share of a corporation that lost a lawsuit.

If you’re really interested in this issue, here is a good treatise on the topic.

Some legal concepts are too complex for a T-shirt or bumper sticker.

“I’ll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.”


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10 Responses to Ann Althouse re: Citizens United

  1. myiq2xu says:

    BTW – Ann Althouse is an actual professor of constitutional law. That’s her full-time job.

    • angienc says:

      Scary, ain’t it?

      Yep, lets do away with the legal fiction of “personhood” for corporations. Then, when some little kid gets set on fire by a heater that explodes because it wasn’t assembled properly causing millions of dollars in medical bills and future care bills for operations, skin grafts and quality of life care, his family can sue: NO ONE! Yeah, that’s the ticket!

      A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, as Althouse demonstrates (repeatedly).

      • angienc says:

        And, btw, for those not in the know, that case is a real one & the boys family sued (and recovered) millions from Sears (who sold the heater) and GE (who manufactured the heater).

  2. yttik says:

    “Some legal concepts are too complex for a T-shirt or bumper sticker.”

    Okay, but can I have that on a tee shirt?

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Great post. But, but, but, I want to reduce everything to a sign or bumper sticker. I’m writing to ann landers about this.

  4. WMCB says:

    The problem with Citizens United wasn’t that corporations are persons. The problem is that the court couldn’t find a way around treating only particular corporate entities as having a right to free speech (as expressed in a film), and not others.

    MoveOn is incorporated. So is ThinkProgress, and the Center FOr American Progress. So is The Sierra Club. So is NOW. So was the company that produced Fahrenheit 9/11, and the one that produced An Inconvenient Truth. So are the publishers who release political books prior to an election. So are the unions. So are all of our news outlets. And every one of them is treated as a single entity (or person, if you were) for legal purposes.

    SO…. if you’d like to go across the board and take the right of free political speech away from ALL of those corporations, then at least you are consistent. But most people that I’ve heard screeching about CU are very selective in who they want allowed to purchase airtime, or produce a film, or write a book. And that’s simply not how the law works.

    Even the ACLU, while recognizing the role that money is playing in politics, agreed that it was the right decision. If we want to attack money in politics, we are going to have to attack it from some other angle than a general STFU to all corporations.

    • angienc says:

      The ACLU has always been pretty consistent with its philosophy, IMO. Most people don’t like their stances in one instance or another (depending on the circumstances) but the ACLU itself is consistent.

  5. 1539days says:

    There’s a difference between a person and an entity. Obviously, a corporation isn’t a human being. It is an entity. A corporation exists. It must follow laws. It is legally accountable. It has rights and responsibilities.

    Taking money out of politics is a lazy way to promote democracy. Someone could spend a trillion dollars on campaign ads. If the voters don’t fall for the crap, that person won’t be elected. If you’re worried about democracy, you should look into easier ballot access and establish a runoff system.

    • WMCB says:

      Also. a lot of the “payoff” does not come in the form of political donations or ads. It comes in the form of cushy lobbyist jobs after one leaves office. I wouldn’t mind a law that made it illegal for any govt employee or elected official to work for any company he/she had a hand in regulating or writing legislation regarding – for a period of 5 years.

      Want to see some freaking fireworks on the Hill? Propose that.

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