The corporation person
FLINT – The recent Hobby Lobby decision reaffirmed that U.S. Supreme Court justices weren’t kidding in 2010 when they upheld the notion that corporations are people, too.
Legal precedent being the powerful force that it is, we’ll see more and more corporations assert their personhood, so I thought it made sense to sit down and do the first ever interview with one – you know, to get his, um, her, er, its side of things.
Me: “So, congratulations, I guess, on your new personhood. How’s it feel?”
Corporation: “It feels great, to be honest. I’m free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last.”
Me: “Um, you realize that’s kind of an MLK Jr. line, right? Should you be using it? It seems odd coming from … a building.”
Corporation: “But I’m not just a building where human beings conduct business anymore. I’m a flesh and blood person now, remember? Same as you.”
Me: “But you’re not the same as me. That’s my objection to the Hobby Lobby ruling. It confirms that you have more rights than real people.”
Corporation: “Excuse me?”
Me: “OK, other real people. But you see my point. I can’t opt out of laws I don’t agree with. For instance, a cop isn’t going to let me off the hook for a ticket because I claim that speed limits are against my religious beliefs, which they are. So why should you get to opt out of parts of the Affordable Care Act that you don’t believe in?”
Corporation: “Jealous much?”
Me: “Damn straight. Who wouldn’t want to be a ‘person’ who can cherry-pick the law? Corporations are things, not people. Treating them like people is a terrible precedent. It opens up all sorts of worm cans. For instance, if companies are people, can they run for office? Can they become, say, president?”
Corporation: “Hmm, an interesting idea. Hillary IS beatable. Can you believe that remark she made about being poor? Amateur.”
Me: “Or how about voting? Since you’re a person now, can you vote?””
Corporation: “Not yet, but we’re working on it, I’m sure.”
Me: “Or how about criminal actions. If you, as a corporation, create a product that injures, maims or kills people, can you be tried, convicted and sent to prison, just like anybody else?”
Corporation: “Don’t be absurd. We’re not people when it comes to things like that.”
Me: “Or how about income taxes? Now that you’re people, are you going to pay income taxes? Social Security taxes? Anything like that?”
Corporation: “We’d never let that happen. We’re not stupid, you know.”
Me: “And there’s my beef. Through your buddies on the court, you’ve worked it so you get all of the benefits of being a person but none of the responsibility.”
Corporation: “Hey, no one ever said all men were created equal.”
Me: “Actually, someone did say that. It’s called the Declaration of Independence.”
Corporation: “Oh really? Huh. I’ll have to read that someday. You know, now that I’m human.”
EDITOR’S NOTE – Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.