EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 9, 2012

Letter: What other rights might apply to corporations?

To the editor:

Michael Bleiweiss’ recent letter to the editor (“Corporations must not have the same rights as people,” Oct. 4) caused me to wonder what the recent Supreme Court decision means, if carried to its logical conclusion.

By granting “personhood” to U.S. corporations by way of unlimited “free speech”, (i.e. unlimited financial donations in political campaigns) does the court now make available a series of protected “rights” as articulated in the 27 amendments to the Constitution. For example:

Does the Second Amendment now allow for corporations to own and carry arms in order to form militias? If so, what types of arms, and for what purpose?

Does the Fourth Amendment now add a new level of protection for corporations when it comes to investigations, searches and seizures?

Does the Fifth Amendment now protect corporations from both double jeopardy and self-incrimination when being investigated by federal regulators?

How is “cruel and unusual punishment” as defined in the Eighth Amendment to be applied to corporations? Does it include termination of corporate “life.” If so, by what non-cruel means?

What other “rights not specified in the Constitution” does the Ninth Amendment bestow upon corporations?

The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery. Does this mean that an individual’s employment contract with a corporation is now null and void?

Can corporations now vote as guaranteed by the 15th Amendment? Whether they are male of female (19th Amendment)?

If a corporation is elected president, is it also limited to two terms as prescribed in the 22nd Amendment? If a corporation has not yet reached the age of 18, can it vote? (Amendment 26)

Beyond these guaranteed rights, other questions may arise. Are corporate unions or mergers limited to one marriage partner? How is same-sex marriage law to be interpreted? Are corporations subject to deportation under the DREAM Act? Can the Sam Adams Brewery legally drive; and what is the legal limit in terms of alcohol? If the military draft were to return, would corporations have to serve?

Silly? Yes. But you get the point.

Bob Gilman


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