Fiction. As in, not real. Which is pretty much what the United States Supreme Court has just done with our fundamental right to freedom of speech where political speech is involved. As in, made it not real.
Justice Stevens, writing for the dissenters, turned Chief Justice John Marshall’s celebrated comment in the Dartmouth College case — in a ruling that actually favored the corporate form — into a belittling comment: “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it.” [emphasis added]
I’ll tell you who can make a lot of money off of Citizens United: the first law school textbook publisher who comes out with the text needed for law schools, since they will have to change their corporate law curriculums to explain the Sybil-like personalities of the previously all-fiction personhood of corporations.
Ugh. Don’t get me started. Too late. Some reading to do for more on this SCOTUS decision:
Jill Filipovic, who is a lawyer: Democracy, It was fun while it lasted
Whose been giving corporate money within the previous confines (on OpenSecrets)
Three must-read posts from SCOTUSblog.com:
- The decision in plain English
- Lyle Denniston’s Analysis: The Personhood of Corporations
- And two round-up posts of other posts here and here
Lawrence Lessig of Change Congress and Creative Commons: Institutional Integrity: Citizens United and the Path to a Better Democracy
And be prepared to learn how to use every tool that exists to track contributions, and be prepared to boycott the corporate “people” giving in ways you don’t like. I still can’t wrap my head around how we’ll deal with foreign corporations.