Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Last week Kent Greenfield and Adam Winkler published "The U.S. Supreme Court's Cultivation of Corporate Personhood," in the Atlantic discussing two recent Supreme Court opinions. Greenfield and Winkler covered the ruling in Horne v. Department of Agriculture where the Court held "a federal program requiring raisin growers to set aside a percentage of their crops for government redistribution was an unconstitutional 'taking' under the Fifth Amendment." The second case addressed was Los Angeles v. Patel where the Court extended Fourth Amendment privacy protections "invalidating a city ordinance (similar to laws around the country) allowing police to search [hotel] guest registries without a warrant."
While they distinguish certain rights, like political speech, that are "more appropriate for people than for corporations," Greenfield and Winkler acknowledge that some constitutional protections should be extended to corporations.
"A corporate right to be free from government takings, for example, makes sense both as a matter of constitutional law and of economics. Government overreach is problematic whether the raisin grower is a family farm or a business corporation. And corporations left exposed to government expropriation would find investors reluctant to take that risk, undermining the basic social purpose of the corporation, to make money."