Are Corporations People?

I just became aware of this book “Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It” credited to Bill Clements.

Corporations are not people, and there is no law that says they are, anywhere in the books.

Mitt Romney has said they are in a famous video clip, but his word is not law (thank the gods!).

Laws define the term “person”, and a corporation can be a U.S. Person or a U.S. Citizen.

The implication of this is clear: when you affirm that you are a “U.S. Person” or a “U.S. Citizen”, you are volunteering into the lowered status of a fictional entity that exists solely on paper, and your rights are equal to or less than that of a corporation.

This book addresses the question of whether corporations are people; to wrap one’s head around the issue, we first must be clear that “people” and “persons” are not the same thing. “People” is NOT the plural of “persons”, no matter what you and I learned in public school.

Read for yourself– Title 26 of the U.S. Code (The Internal Revenue Code) never defines the word “People”. Nor does Title 8 (Immigration and Nationality).

Black’s Law 5th Edition says:

“Person. In general usage, a human being (i.e. natural person), though by statute term may include a firm, labor organizations, partnerships, associations, cor­porations, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers. National Labor Relations Act, § 2(1).

(This bit is tricky… by statute it doesn’t include natural person or human being– Ed.)

Bankruptcy Act.    “Person” includes individual, part­ nership, and corporation, but not governmental unit. Sec. 101(30).
Corporation. A corporation is a “person” within meaning of equal protection and due process provi­sions of United States Constitution.    Allen v. Pavach, Ind., 335 N.E.2d 219, 221; Borreca v. Fasi, D.C.Ha­ waii, 369 F.Supp. 906, 91 1. The term “persons” in statute relating to conspiracy to commit offense against United States, or to defraud United States, or any agency, includes corporation. Alamo Fence Co. of    Houston    v.    U.    S.,    C.A.Tex.,    240    F.2d    179,    1 8 1 .
Foreign government. Foreign governments other­ wise eligible to sue in U.S. courts are “persons” entitled to bring treble-damage suit for alleged anti­ trust violations under Clayton Act, Section 4.    Pfizer, Inc. v. Government of India, C.A.Minn., 550 F.2d 396.
Illegitimate child.    Illegitimate children are “persons” within meaning of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68, 88 S.Ct. 1509, 1511, 20 L.Ed.2d 436; and scope of wrongful death statute, Jordan v. Delta Drilling Co., Wyo., 541 P.2d 39, 48.
Interested person.    Includes heirs, devisees, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries and any others hav­ ing a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward or protected person which may be affected by the proceeding. It also includes persons having priority for appointment as personal representative, and other fiduciaries repre­senting interested persons.    The meaning as it relates to particular persons may vary from time to time and must be determined according to the particular pur­ poses of, and matter involved in, any proceeding. Uniform Probate Code, § 1-201(20).
Municipalities.    Municipalities and other government units are “persons” within meaning of 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983. Local government officials sued in their official capacities are “persons” for purposes of Sec­ tion 1983 in those cases in which a local govern­ment would be suable in its own name.    Monell v. N. Y. City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611. See Color of law.
Protected person.    One for whom a conservator has been appointed or other protective order has been made.    Uniform Probate Code, § 5-101(3).
Resident alien. A resident alien is a ‘person” within the meaning of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. C. D. R. Enterprises, Ltd. v. Board of Ed. of City of New York, D.C.N.Y., 412 F.Supp. 1164, 1168.
Unborn child. Word “person” as used in the Four­teenth Amendment does not include the unborn.    Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 729, 35 L.Ed.2d 147.    A fetus is not a “person” and is not entitled to protection under the equal protection clause.    Mur­row v. Clifford, C.A.N.J., 502 F.2d 1066, 1068.
A viable unborn child, which would have been born alive but for the negligence of defendant, is a “per­son” within meaning of Wrongful Death Statute. Simmons v. Howard University, D.C.D.C., 323 F.Supp. 529.    Unborn child is a “person” for purpose of remedies given for personal injuries, and child may sue    after    his    birth.    Weaks    v.    Mounter,    88    Nev.    1 1 8, 493 P.2d 1307, 1309.”

(Emphasis mine.)

The term “Person” is completely malleable, and its meaning depends entirely upon context (forum) and the definition relevant to the reading.

Black’s on “People”:

“People. A state; as the people of the state of New York.    A nation in its collective and political capaci­ty. The aggregate or mass of the individuals who constitute the state.    Loi Hoa v. Nagle, C.C.A.Cal., 13 F.2d    80,    8 1 .    In    a    more    restricted    sense,    and    a s generally used in constitutional law, the entire body of those citizens of a state or nation who are invested with political power for political purposes.    See also Citizen; Person.”

So, the people ARE the state. The see also part may be there as contradistinction (indication what people are not), or because the terms are often used interchangeably, albeit incorrectly. A citizen is a subject of the state, rather than its consituent.

This is not a review, but pointing out a common, detrimental misunderstanding. Let’s get the argument right rather than waste our time. This books looks worthwhile overall; it has a blurb by the Ben & Jerry guys and a foreword by Bill Moyers.


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