All this talk about the Roberts Court decision giving the green light for corporations to spend money on straight up political advocacy ads has brought to the surface the history of this concept of corporate rights.
Why do we allow corporations to spend money on campaigns? It’s insane right? Well, because the Supreme Court in 1976 (Buckley v Valeo) said money is free speech and you can’t deny people with gobs of cash their free speech rights.
So, why the hell do corporations have free speech rights? Well, because a Supreme Court decisions around the 14th Amendment gave corporations the rights of persons. Well, not really- a court reporter just slipped it in and somehow that counted as precedent (in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific, the court didn’t actually rule on the issue).
Of course the 14th amendment was intended to provide freed slaves with political rights but as Doug Hammerston points out, of the 150 fourteenth amendment cases heard by the Supreme Court before Plessy v. Ferguson,
only one was decided in favor of a freed slave and the rest were about the rights of corporations. This is what we in polite society refer to as “fucking absurd.”
So if corporations are people with political rights then let’s just take it where it lands!
I hereby nominate Salvatore’s/Donuts Delite for Governor of New York. I think Salvatore’s would make a great Governor.
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