Corporations are not people, so why should the First Amendment apply?

I started a debate on Facebook about the HHS mandate, and my friends have poked holes into my argument, saying that corporations are not people, and they should follow the rules for every other business, and the First Amendment does not apply, so this is not an issue of religious liberty. I’m not really sure how to answer that.

What exactly is your argument? Do your friends realize that a corporation is made up of people?

Ever hear of a corporation being drafted?

Or, since Nixon, people?

Ha! :thumbsup:

The corporation is given the status of a legal person, even though it is “noBODY” in a human sense. The term corporation means body; the entity substitutes for an actual human body.

Because it is a legal person, the corporation is entitled to contract debts, take legal action, own property, etc. Because it does not have to “die”, it is allowed vastly larger amounts of credit than a human or “natural” person, whose debts may end up in probate court.

Because it is not a human being, it is exempted from legal physical requirements such as the draft or going to jail. But all other legal effects of “persons” apply, and that would include the 1st Amendment.


How about the New York Times, the Washington Post and MSNBC. Those are all corporations, yet they claim rights under the First Ammendment, namely that of Freedom of the Press.

Do you belive that the Federal Government does, or should, have the right to tell news corporations what they can, and cannot print.

Sure, specific reporters could write whatever they want, but unless the rights of freedom of the press apply to the corporation which owns and runs the actual press and provides the medium of distribution, it could never be printed or broadcast.

Is that what your friends are claiming?

Catholic Answers is a corporation too… (which obviously enjoys First Amendment protections).

Ask them if they support “the People’s Rights Amendment” (a bogus bill introduced by Congressman Jim McGovern).

There is a very good reason for a corporation being granted the status of personhood.

How would you like to own a share of Home Depot and then get sued because someone was sexually harassed at work and you are then legally liable as an owner? Or be legally liable for the corporations environmental crimes?

There are very good reasons to treat corporations as their own “person” from a legal standpoint. Primarily that people can invest in corporations by owning a share without being liable the same way the owner of a small proprietorship would be.

Otherwise, no smart person would ever buy stock if they could be held liable for the acts of the corporation.

Under the first amendment, US citizens are granted the right to free assembly and to petition the government. Granting corporations 1st amendment speech rights is an extension of these other 1st amendment protections.

Basically, if several of us get together for some purpose (business, charity, recreation, whatever), and choose to speak as one voice, the government can’t and shouldn’t restrict that. Seems pretty straightforward.

Corporations are collections of people. The idea that groups of people can’t get together and be heard collectively is codswallop. The left should be careful on this one, though. If corporations don’t have any sort of “personhood”, they can’t be taxed.

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