How Strained a Construction It Is of the Fourteenth Amendment…

[H]ow strained a construction it is of the Fourteenth Amendment so to hold…. It requires distortion to read ‘person’ as meaning one thing, then another within the same clause and from clause to clause…. Wheeling Steel Corporation v. Glander , 337 U.S. 562 (1949): Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom Mr. Justice BLACK concurs, dissenting.

Brad DeLong offers a meeting of great minds to parse the illogic leading to so strained a construction of the Fourteenth Amendment that corporations thereafter obtained many of the rights and protections of “personhood” previously accorded human persons. With the activist Roberts court and the Citizens United decision, freedom of speech is another protected right of the corporations, prompting Justice Stevens to dissent:

“At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

He further wondered, only half jokingly, when corporations would be seeking constitutionally protected gun ownership rights.

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About sdemetri
Portland, Maine freelance photographer, writer, activist

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