Supreme Court

The New York Times, a Corporation, Worries That the First Amendment Is Now 'Embraced by Corporations'

Are liberals turning on the First Amendment because it protects the free speech of corporate entities?

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Yesterday's New York Times featured a story carrying this provocative headline: "First Amendment, 'Patron Saint' of Protesters, Is Embraced by Corporations." Here is the opening to that story:

Liberals used to love the First Amendment. But that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters.

These days, a provocative new study says, there has been a "corporate takeover of the First Amendment." The assertion is backed by data, and it comes from an unlikely source: John C. Coates IV, who teaches business law at Harvard and used to be a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, the prominent corporate law firm.

"Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment," Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is "recent but accelerating."

How recent a phenomenon is this shocking corporate takeover of the First Amendment? The Times does not provide a precise start date, but surely it must be at least as old as the year 1964. Why? Because that was the year when a wealthy and powerful corporation prevailed in the landmark First Amendment case known as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the for-profit corporate entity (otherwise known as The New York Times) by rejecting a libel suit filed by a Jim Crow official from Alabama who objected when the paper published a letter critical of his local government's mistreatment of black Americans. If the corporation lost, the Court observed, "would-be critics of official conduct may be deterred from voicing their criticism," thus diminishing the scope of the First Amendment.

Seven years later, that same wealthy and powerful corporate entity prevailed in yet another landmark First Amendment case, a decision known as New York Times Co. v. United States. Here the Supreme Court invalidated the federal government's attempt to suppress publication of the so-called Pentagon Papers. According to Justice Hugo Black, the corporation had to win this dispute, otherwise the outcome "would make a shambles of the First Amendment."

On a personal note, when I first learned about these two cases back in college, I got the impression that liberals were happy with the outcomes. But I guess I was wrong. After all, a corporation did win them both.

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  1. So is there a particular legal framework that makes free speech bad, or is it just any time two people are in the same room together?

    1. What makes free speech bad is that it can be held that the free speech doctrine applies to speech I don’t like.

      /progderp

      1. Precisely. It’s Fox News and whatever is funded by the Koch brothers that are the problem, not MSNBC and whatever is funded by George Soros.

        1. FAUX NEWS!!!111!!!

          1. It’s not only the media that is faux, but institutions of “higher learning” like New York University, with which the NYTimes has special business relations and where grotesque tuition fees (now $71,000 per year) are funneled into real estate investment and fancy summer homes for star “administrators” who double as professors. Naturally, these corporate academic managers interpret the First Amendment in the manner that best suits their interests, even collaborating, when need be, with prosecutors in criminalizing speech that we “really don’t like.” See the documentation of America’s leading criminal satire case, with the bold, path-breaking trial testimony of several NYU faculty officials, at:

            http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

        2. Well, to be fair, ask FOX news their position on flag burning or Westboro Church demonstrations.

          1. I think FOX would actually do better on this issue even with flag burning or Westboro Church as the mirror image litmus test.

          2. I am of the opinion that the relevance to the public of the Westboro Baptist Church is only that of the publicity that the major media and the major media keep bringing it up to show how evil conservatives are.

            1. And they rarely mention that the Westboro idiots are Democrats (including at least one past candidate for office).

              1. Really?

                1. Yep, Fred Phelps ran several times in Democratic primaries for various offices. And Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist, not a right-wing nutjob.

          3. What does that mean? Fox News is not some collective intelligence. The people there have very diverse views on any subject. If you take O’Reilly, Hannity, Greta, Megyn, Getaldo, Beckel, Gutfeld, Napolitano, etc. and survey their positions on anything you’re going to get a wide range of views.

            Likely much less so at MSNBC or CNN. Progs don’t like dissent, or diversity of thought. It’s all groupthink for them.

            1. What does that mean?

              It means FOX cares about liberty about as much MSNBC does. They just play for different TEAMs.

              The only two at FOX who are worth a shit are Napolitano and Stossel.

              1. How is THAT not TEAMspeak, since you literally just singled out the two who bat for your team?

                1. HAHAHAHAHA!

                  Case in point.

                  We were talking about liberty, not political positions. My “TEAM” is 100% for liberty. Everybodies liberty, all liberty, not just the liberties my demigod leaders tell me to support. It’s based in principle rather than what’s going to buy me the most votes.

                  THAT is how THAT is not TEAMspeak.

          4. Well ask John Stossel from Fox Business and you might get a different answer.

            #Fuckoffanddie

    2. I think the leftists (and their SoCon reflections) think the determination should be made by:
      1) the loudest voice
      2) the most votes
      3) the biggest guns

      Those are interchangeable so as to achieve the desired outcome.

      1. No. The Socons just don’t like porn and vulgarity. Progs don’t like disagreement of any kind in any way. They are not mirrors of each other. To think they are is to not understand either one.

        1. Right – see the NY Times article about how the conservatives cleverly supported free speech with the assistance of gullible liberals.

        2. The specific type of speech or the number of types targeted doesn’t excuse the tactics of using government to suppress speech, John. But I do take your point that progs seem to have now taken this to another level in wanting to even close off debate (see the “triggering” thread).

          1. I read this article the other night and there was an interesting passage:

            Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.

            The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip?not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery?and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.

        3. They aren’t reflections of each other. But they both think that free speech should be subject to democratic restrictions.

          1. It’s silly almost to the point of tokenism to throw conservatives, even the dreaded socons, under the same bus alongside modern progressives. Conservatives, reviled by the media, take a largely ineffective (and hardly universal) stand against obscenity. Progressives, arbiters of good taste on campuses and in the media, want certain topics declared settled before the debate begins.

            1. Sure, but I don’t give a shit about the political calculations. Either you are for free speech/press, or you aren’t. And if you aren’t, then fuck you. (not you personally, obviously)

              1. No, if I weren’t adamantly pro-speech I’d want me fucked, too.

                I mean… more so than I already do.

        4. No they are in fact identical. They just have a different set of pet issues. From a philsophical perspective they come from the same place. The reason they hate each other so much is that looking at each other is like looking in a mirror.

          If socons had a slogan it would be
          “Progressives for Jesus”

    3. I still say that a big part of the problem is the improper use of “the press” and “speech”. The first amendment would be a lot clearer if “the press” wasn’t so often thought of as referring to journalists and publishers of books and newspapers.
      Speech is when a person opens their mouth and says something. Press is all communication using any kind of technology. And both speech and press are protected in exactly the same way. Corporations, by definition, can’t speak. They don’t have the capability. But they sure as hell can use the press and its modern analogs. “Free press” would be utterly meaningless if it didn’t apply to corporations.

      1. Agreed. To me, ‘speech’ is communication in which the direct source of a thought reaches an immediate audience: a person speaking to a group of people. ‘Press’ is when the thought reaches an audience where the source of the thought is not present: the audience gets it from reading it in a book or on a billboard, hearing it on the radio or through a third party, or seeing it on TV or the internet.

        1. Yes. It is dumb to call something like an election campaign ad “speech”. It is press. Once you figure that out, it is pretty easy to see that any communication produced by any person or organization must have exactly the same protections and freedoms that newspapers have to publish whatever they want.

          1. And that is exactly the interpretation that the Liberal Establishment hates. They didn’t undertake the Long March through the institutions just to allow people to DISAGREE with them!

            Which makes them arguably no worse, but certainly no better, than any other bunch of self-appointed Aristocrats in history.

      2. I agree in gen’l, but in this case I think the biggest problem is that “corporations” is code language. It doesn’t mean all incorporated bodies, and it does include some businesses that aren’t even incorporated. Often it’s preceded by “the”.

    4. If it’s offensive to a super-secret, nebulous, ever-changing list of protected and special collectives, it’s not protected under the 1A. Simple.

    5. I make up to usd90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to usd86h Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link……… Try it, you won’t regret it!… http://www.jobs-check.com

  2. Liberals used to love the First Amendment. But that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people they liked, like civil rights activists and war protesters.

    Slight typo there, guys.

    1. You used to hear a lot of liberals proudly stating how important they thought it was that even Illinois Nazis and the KKK be allowed their free speech rights. I don’t think those people are entirely extinct.

      1. Stated vs revealed preference. The kind of liberals who actually paid those ideals anything more than lip service were always vanishingly rare.

      2. The old guard within the formerly-liberal movement died off, bowed down, or were suborned by the new order. Ideology gave way to pathology, and now winning elections and crushing dissent is the order of the day.

        1. I agree. It would be interesting to know how many of the “formerly-liberal movement” just became part of the power structure and now just do whatever is necessary to protect what they think is theirs.

        2. Yeah, maybe. I’m going to continue to be a little more optimistic.

        3. Nat Hentoff is the only old liberal that comes to mind, who still believes that 1st still means what it says.

      3. I don’t think those people are entirely extinct.

        No, but there are a lot less of them.

      4. They only wanted to be free to push their agenda without reprisal. Once they are installed in power it’s all about suppressing all other speech.

  3. “Are liberals turning on the First Amendment because it protects the free speech of corporate entities?”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA….

    *wipes away tear*…

    That’s a good one.. They have A LOT more reasons to turn on free speech than that, and this is hardly a new phenomenon. Every week someone from the left champions banning some form of speech because:

    It is offensive
    It causes provocation
    They disagree with it
    They cannot refute the factuality of it
    They resent a message that gets broad exposure

    Jesus, pick your poison. the fucking leftards hate the first amendment almost as much as they hate the second…

    1. “Hate speech is not protected speech”!

      “KKKorporashunz are not people”!!!!!

      1. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater can you?

        1. “FIRE!”

          See, that was easy.

          1. Two questions:

            (1) Were you in a crowded theater when you uttered this word?

            (2) Was the theater, in fact, on fire?

            1. *hides torch and gasoline can*

              Maybe.

            2. According to Brandenburg the theater doens’t even need to actually be on fire, as long as you didn’t shout it knowing it was false and for the purpose of inciting a lawless action.

              But amazingly, the smartest people on NYT editorial article comments sections seem to think Schenck is still case law.

              1. Sorry, that wasn’t real fire, that was movie fire. My mistake.

            3. Did the words “ready” and “aim” precede the word in question?

        2. I did once. Nothing interesting happened. So one in fact can.

        3. “You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater can you?”

          But there’s nothing to stop you from shouting “Theatre!” at a crowded fire.

    2. Actually, they just don’t like that it protects any speech they don’t like from anyone they disapprove of.

    3. They definitely hate the free press (see my comment above for what I consider “speech” and “press” to mean). I don’t see many serious calls in the US to ban speech of any kind. They prefer to use social pressure and hecklers’ veto to silence those they disagree with.

  4. Among my people, we carry many such words as this from many lands, many worlds. Many are equally good and are as well respected, but wherever we have gone, no words have said this thing of importance in quite this way. Look at these three words written larger than the rest, with a special pride never written before, or since, tall words proudly saying, “We the People”.

    That which you call Ee’d Plebnista, was not written for the chiefs of kings, or the warriors or the rich or the powerful, but for ALL the people! Down the centuries, you have slurred the meaning of the words, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution”.

    These words and the words that follow, were not written only for the Yangs, but for the Kohms as well! They must apply to everyone, or they mean nothing!

    1. Prime Directive? What Prime Directive?!

      1. Kirk fucks the Prime Directive. In the ass.

        1. What wouldn’t Kirk fuck?

          1. Spock

      2. To be sure, that was pretty much blown out of the water by Captain Tracy, who later goes insane on the Tantalus colony. Besides, they already had our Constitution and everything. Kirk was just translating.

        1. If they’re trying to follow the U.S. Constitution, the Prime Directive was already pre-violated.

          1. Nah, they did it on their on. Budget-saving Earth-parallel.

            1. Well, pardon *me,* Mr. Nerd-it-all!

              1. That was a common trope. Say, look, close Earth parallel so everyone can dress in clothes we have in the props department.

                1. And use pre-existing sets!

                  1. From Mission: Impossible!

                    1. They used the set of the Andy Griffith show for the episode ‘Miri’

                      Bonk, bonk on the head.

                    2. And they used the actress from True Grit and Better Off Dead.

                    3. Holy shit! Never put that together.

                    4. She looks very different in each movie. She’s like a chameleon.

    2. What the hell are you all talking about? Speak English, fellas.

    3. Lessons I learned from watching Star Trek!

  5. I love how the Times views people doing something they have an absolute right to do makes them “the beneficiaries” of the benevolent government like they are on welfare or something. What a vile turn of phrase. No one is the “beneficiary of the 1st Amendment”. The Amendment is a restriction on what the government can do. It is not some benefit doled out by our enlightened superiors.

    1. Our government is illegitimate every time in infringes upon our rights. The more it infringes, the more illegitimate it is. Period.

      1. Maybe you should go buy another 1000 rounds of 5.56…

        1. HATE SPEECH!

        2. Literal trigger warning.

    2. Agree. It’s 100% ignorance of natural rights.

  6. I see what you’re getting at Damon, but it is pretty obvious that the people who populate the New York Times editorial board today want nothing more than to be American Pravda for a progressive government. They would be afforded the privilege of speech by virtue of their deeds as a mouthpiece for those in government.

    1. Remember, everything they say is a lie. So they don’t have a problem with corporate speech. Let Tesla Corporation start sponsoring global warming propaganda and the Times will think it is great. Let some house wife in Dallas try to form a political organization to promote pro life and pro gun causes and the Times will want the FBI down there putting a stop to the scourge of money in politics. Their problem is with any speech that they disagree with.

      1. They sure do feel the need to force other people to shut up or do or not do things, don’t they? If their viewpoints are so great, why is force necessary?

        Seems to me that force has to be used to stop people from living free of government interference, not the other way around. Might makes right?

        1. If their viewpoints are so great, why is force necessary?

          Because in the prog worldview, the masses are stupid and dangerous and need the government to control and enlighten them. If the masses are allowed to make free choices willy-nilly, it’d be Somalia.

          1. I dunno, is your average working stiff less honest or capable than your average politician or bureaucrat?

            1. That’s part of the problem. Progs believe that bureaucrats and politicians will be better than average people at those things.

          2. It kind of makes me sad that I won’t live to see that moment of realization; that Eureka moment where they figure out what they’ve been doing wrong with their lives…

            I know I won’t live to see it because I know it will never happen.

            1. that Eureka moment where they figure out what they’ve been doing wrong with their lives…

              I’ve had conversations with leftists where I was able to get the light bulb to go off in their head, but they quickly reverted back to groupthink. After all, their social status is dependent upon them going along with the hive. When the epiphany happens they are faced with a choice between going against groupthink or being ejected from the hive. Most choose the hive.

              1. I got that choice line wrong, but you know what I mean.

              2. For the next drink, Sarc, I want you to choose the liquor.

              3. In sarcasmics allegory of the cave the hero doesn’t get killed by the masses.

                1. Mmmm, Bushmill’s Black Bush, great for lunch.

                  1. When Old Man With Candy is talking about having Black Bush for lunch, well . . .

                  2. Yup.

                    It’s not just a breakfast drink anymore.

              4. When the epiphany happens they are faced with a choice between going against groupthink or being ejected from the hive. Most choose the hive.

                Sadly this.
                Almost all of them practically *define* what is good in terms of what is socially approved of by others. It’s almost impossible to get them to wrap their minds around the possibility that the majority of their friends and neighbors might be completely wrong about something. And the *danger* of having to face the possibility of being on the wrong side of the hive mind is so intensely fucking frightening to them that they for the most part, will drive the thought from their minds.

                1. I’ve often had this happen with people who are usually on my side. The intellectual cost of admitting error (sometimes long-standing error) is just too high. It’s rather sad.

        2. Their ideas only work(in their minds) if everyone does it. Hence their hatred of states’ rights and federalism. Once all the states are forced to go along, its just a matter of rounding up the hoarders and wreckers.

          1. Aren’t they usually the ones propagating that nonsense about “libertarianism only works in utopian society!!!1111one”?

            Projection is a funny thing.

        3. Seems to me that force has to be used to stop people from living free of government interference, not the other way around.

          Liberty is tyranny!

          /Tony

          1. You’re being facile /Tony in these very comments

        4. Their message is perfection captured in prose which, unfortunately, the troglodytes with whom they share society refuse to recognize or understand.

  7. What a terrifying headline. I’ll be up tonight worrying what fundamental rights and freedoms corporations will be embracing next.

    1. If they ask for equal justice under law, I am moving to Moldova!

  8. My personal favorite is when Salon.com (publicly traded as Salon Media Group, Inc.) complains about billionaires giving money to political causes, despite the fact that Salon has lost so much money that they’re only kept afloat through periodic donations from board members John Warnock (co-founder of Adobe) and Bill Hambrecht (an investment banker).

    Keep in mind that every time Salon complains about rich people giving money to politics, they themselves only exist because rich white men use their software and banking fortunes to prop up a company that would otherwise be bankrupt.

    1. I did not know that – that is deliciously fun. Thanks, Lord Irish.

    2. If only those fucks would wake up and realize their investment will never have a return.

      1. They know. I believe one of them is actually the father of a former Salon.com executive (thus adding rich person nepotism to the list of Salon’s hypocrisies) and both of them basically use Salon as a vanity press to get their leftist ideas out there.

        They’re subsidizing Salon because they support the message, not because they expect a return.

  9. What other rights should I lose if I incorporate?

      1. Hey, just what you see, pal!

      2. That’s just a horrible Austrian accent, Switzy.

        1. Hey, all my German instructors were Austrian – just because I work for the Swiss (and their oddball version of German) doesn’t mean I have forgotten everything I learned!

          *Smashes empty Stiegl bottle over own head*

          1. I love Austrian German. It has a slight bit more musical quality than the usual 100% choking sound of German German.

            1. Austrian German is probably the most understandable German to a foreign ear. Followed by Hochdeutsch and lastly, dead last, is Swiss German which almost sounds more like Dutch because of it’s Alemannic influences.

            2. But… thought that they spoke Austrian in Austria. ?

          2. Es muss ein Stiegl sein! 🙂

  10. The New York Times, a Corporation, Worries That the First Amendment Is Now ‘Embraced by Corporations’

    Well, the wrong kind of corporations, in their fair estimation.

    It ain’t like you were expecting logical consistency and intellectual honesty from little red Marxians, were you?

    “Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment,” Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is “recent but accelerating.”

    Notice how the legal expert assumes the Constitution is the one granting people the right to free speech to reach the conclusion that a person’s enjoyment of a right can be “displaced” by the enjoyment of another, rather than assuming that everybody is born with the same and inalienable right.

    1. What are you, one of those weird theocratic Ted Cruz types who think rights come from God? Aren’t you in sync with the latest legal wisdom from Yahoo News?

      1. legal wisdom from Yahoo News?

        lolworthy quote, in its own right.

    2. Exactly.

      Natural rights, unlike positive “rights”, aren’t zero-sum.

  11. “wait, you mean even if I make rules on what people can and should say, they might choose to say something I disagree with!? BUT I MADE RULES!”

    Good luck trying to suppress natural rights, cockmonglers.

  12. “Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment,” Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is “recent but accelerating.”

    Well, no fucking shit, the laws, rules & regulations that corporations are ordered to abide by the Government is probably the exact same line on the same chart.

  13. I never tire of posting this – the NY Times Co.’s certificate of incorporation:

    http://investors.nytco.com/fil…..on2007.pdf

  14. Witness, my friends, the slow death of the Gray Lady. And sleep well tonight, knowing that she is, indeed, dying……….one subscriber at a time, one advertiser at a time.

    1. Pretty sure it’s already dead, just limping along by paying its bills with credit cards. Oh, and money from the government.

      1. Money from the govt? How’s that? I’d like to have that in my quiver, next time I talk to my liberal brother.

  15. Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance. Any disagreement with the left is intolerant and rooted in bad intentions. Thus it is the duty of tolerant leftists to shut down anyone who disagrees with them because disagreement is intolerant and born of bad intentions.

    1. Also why do you hate black people/women/gays/whatever we can subdivide you into today?

    2. Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance.

      Finish your cup and mix a new drink!

      1. Sarc is going to have me wasted by 2pm.

        1. It’s tough drinking this heavily at work. But dammit, I’m going to make the effort.

      2. Tolerance means not tolerating people who aren’t drinking right now.

      3. Nope. It’s a long drive home. But there’s a bottle of Bombay waiting for me when I get there.

        1. Sapphire or the regular stuff? May I suggest you try Hendricks if it’s Sapphire?

          1. The blue bottle. It was a gift. I generally buy bottles in the twenty dollar range. A step up from crap, but not top shelf.

            1. Gin is hard to go cheap on. The blue bottle is Sapphire and is a big step up over regular Bombay.

              If you have Trader Joe’s near you and like either rum or vodka check out Whaler’s dark rum or Monopolova respectively. They’re both dirt cheap ($10/L) and delicious.

              1. I’m sure it costs a lot more than that here. Maine rapes us with its alcohol taxes. Some bottles are literally twice the price that they charge neighboring New Hampshire, the only difference being taxes.

          2. I used to like Hendricks but I moved on. I suggest Berkshire Mountain (the Greylock). Plymouth and Tanqueray 10 are also good for mixing if it’s more ingredients than a martini.

            1. Have you tried any of the stuff from the St. George’s distillery? I really like Terroir, but it reminds me of the forests in CA.

              I haven’t tried anything from Plymouth, and I like some of Tanqueray’s higher end stuff, but tend to reach for Sapphire first.

              1. Yes, I have half a bottle of the Terroir in my liquor cabinet as it happens – I can’t remember exactly but I seem to recall I thought it was a little too herbal.

                Sapphire was my go-to for non-martinis (like a Negroni, where the Campari mostly wipes out the character of the gin anyway) but then I found that the Plymouth was smoother for those. It’s great in something like an Aviation.

                I absolutely anti-recommend that honey crap from vermont, Barr Hill, I think. Ick.

                1. Honey gin sounds miserable.

                  I’ll have to try the Plymouth as I’ve heard consistently good things about it. I can see the Terroir being too herbal, although the flavors make me nostalgic for my childhood, so I enjoy it. You might try their Dry Rye Gin which is distinctive but very clean and masculine.

            2. good for mixing if it’s more ingredients than a martini.

              Why would any sane and civilized man do this?

              Hendricks is my go to, but I also hit the Hayman’s Old Tom pretty hard.

              1. And where in the hell is Sweating Gin?

      4. Jebus. These will be some interestingTPS reports.

        1. I stapled mine on all four corners. Snagged my foreskin as well.

          1. Worst. Jew. Ever.

          2. Stop stapling with your dick. DUH

            1. The refills kinda tingle.

      5. Just pack up a new bowl and hit the bong instead.

  16. I’m starting to understand why the Judge phrases his statements as “What if” questions. He’s cleverly avoiding getting harassed for HATE SPEECH!

  17. Wait a minute, is Coates suggestinghe government is suppressing the speech of individuals because corporations can avail themselves of 1st amendment protection? That is the only way his asserton of a ” corporate takeover” makes any sense.

    1. He’s just pissed that the government wants to go after corporations now but the First Amendment is in the way. That’s the only way the First Amendment can benefit someone, as protection.

      So, in effect, this is not a measure of how much corporations are benefiting relative to individuals but a measure of how often the government wants to regulate the speech of corporations.

  18. “Corporations have begun to displace individuals as the direct beneficiaries of the First Amendment,” Professor Coates wrote. The trend, he added, is “recent but accelerating.”

    That’s because it wasn’t until recently that we decided “corporate speech” was a separate entity and began regulating it accordingly.

  19. “An expansive conception of free speech became attractive to Republican justices,” he wrote, “both because robust free-speech protection fit neatly into the right’s skeptical, deregulatory approach to government generally, and because it encouraged vigorous transmission by powerful speakers of the right’s newly energized collection of ideas.”

    Note that the notion that it’s just simply in keeping with the constitutional requirement that “Congress shall make no law…” is not even remotely possibly to the speaker.

  20. I’ve never heard a corporation speak. I’ve heard people associated with a corporation speak.

  21. Liberals used to love the First Amendment. But that was in an era when courts used it mostly to protect powerless people like civil rights activists and war protesters.

    If you don’t love the 1A when it’s being used to defend Fred Phelps, Holocaust deniers, or, worst of all, corporations, that’s as good a sign as any that you’re not actually a liberal. I’ll never understand how tribalism trumps principles for so many people.

    1. Because they were taught sophistry, not philosophy.

  22. Well the problem with corporations is that they’re all corporationy. And they destroy the environment and….uh….rape culture….the 1%….Koch brothers… hands off my democracy!

    1. The problem with corporations is that they provide goods and services to voluntary customers while providing jobs for voluntary employees. This is immoral because they make icky profits in the process, which means they’re stealing from their customers and their employees alike. Government should be the provider of all things, because government doesn’t waste money on icky profits to rich people. This is why corporations must be stopped and replaced by government. Government is we the people, it says so right in the Constitution. Corporations aren’t people. They’re… corporations.

      1. Those consumers can’t be voluntary because they need those goods produced by the corporation and the wage slaves employees need those wages to live. Thus if we want to end exploitation of the workers, the workers should have a right to the job and the conusmers should have a right to the goods and services produced. If everyone is a slave to everyone else, there would be no slavery. Understand now?

        1. Oh yeah. It’s not really voluntary because people really have no choice. This means the corporations are forcing people to work for them and to buy their products. Corporations are slavers, and government is the savior. Now I understand.

          1. And those “purchases” aren’t really voluntary, because the corporations are tricking them into buying their stuff. Because people are too stupid to know what’s good for them, like we do.

  23. Yep, sounds like a liberal stance: Free speech for me, but not for thee.

  24. First Amendment cases involving corporations go way back before New York Times v. Sullivan. You have NAACP v. Alabama in 1955, Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization from 1939, Grosjean v. American Press Co. from 1936. The last one specifically held that a corporation is a “person” for purposes of the 14th amendment, and did so in the context of incorporating the first amendment against the states. I really don’t know where liberals have gotten this meme that treating corporations as persons is some newly invented right wing conspiracy.

    1. When said meme became politically advantageous for the smart ones and mindlessly bleated by the not so smart ones.

  25. There is something of a difference between the types of corporations, alluded to in this passage:

    Before 1976, First Amendment challenges from corporations generally involved companies in the business of free expression, like newspapers, book publishers and film producers. More recently, companies have filed free-speech challenges to laws regulating how ordinary products may be marketed or advertised.

    Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers? The problem is using First Amendment litigation to get around checks on business activity:

    “Concentrated, moneyed interests, represented by those in control of the country’s largest business corporations,” he wrote, “are increasingly able to turn law into a lottery, reducing law’s predictability, impairing property rights, and increasing the share of the economy devoted to rent-seeking rather than productive activity.”

    But clearly such a complicated subject full of conflicts between rights and regulations is better summed up by facilely noting that a newspaper is indeed a business.

    1. Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers?

      Fraud is not protected by the 1st Amendment. The assertion that someone is arguing that it is, is just you taking on a strawman.

      1. Without strawmen he’d have nothing to argue against.

        1. If we burn all the straw, does Tony disappear? Or do we then begin making men out of cylindrical drinking aids?

        2. When Citizen’s United took out ads against Democrats and progressive ideals, they were committing fraud in Tony’s world. That’s the false advertising in question. At least, it would be more coherent than what he just pulled out of his ass because he can’t cite a single example of the courts ruling on anything like that.

    2. “Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers?”

      No, because it’s fraud. The crime in that instance, however, is not the speech itself (since if I lied to you but didn’t get any monetary gain I’ve done nothing legally wrong), but is instead the fraudulent act, which is somewhat akin to theft.

      Also that passage you alluded to:

      “Before 1976, First Amendment challenges from corporations generally involved companies in the business of free expression, like newspapers, book publishers and film producers. More recently, companies have filed free-speech challenges to laws regulating how ordinary products may be marketed or advertised.”

      Is utterly idiotic. Please explain to me precisely why a company ‘in the business of free expression’ is allowed to attempt manipulate public policy, but a company not in that business is not. I must have missed the part in the first amendment where it differentiated between free speech practiced by a certain set of companies and free speech practiced by others. Oh, that’s right – because no such prohibition against speech by certain companies exists.

      Your argument is therefore based on a difference that idiots made up out of wholecloth rather than anything based on actual constitutional law.

      But we’re being facile – okay.

      1. But, “the press”, Irish! It’s clearly mentioned /derp

    3. Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers?

      IOW, we need to take away freedom of speech in all cases where the content was paid for with money… in order to help ease the case load of the federal and state courts of their criminal and tort cases involving the civil and criminal violation known as fraud.

      Jesus fuck Tony. Get that second cup of coffee. You’re usually good for a larf at least. This is pathetic even by your standards.

    4. Citizens United, the case that seems to have started this hissy fit liberals, was a corporation producing a film.

      But in any case, the government didn’t engage in the pervasive regulation of the permissible speech of businesses until fairly recently. Therefore, there wasn’t much of a need for business to challenge such regulations.

      1. But it was a film criticizing a candidate during her campaign for the Presidency!

        Funny how they didn’t all come out in droves when Fahreinheit 9/11 was released, a film produced by a corporation which was critical of a candidate during his Presidential campaign..

    5. “Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers?”

      You mean like Obama lying to consumers regarding the effects of ACA when he told them if they liked their insurance they could keep it, if they liked their doctor they could keep him (or her) and that their premiums would go down by $2500?

      That kind of lying?

      If government officials – such as the prez – have protection to lie to consumers, then so do corporations.

    6. Individuals aren’t allowed to commit fraud because of “First Amendment protection” either, you fascist fuck.

    7. Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers?

      So what you’re saying is that you, too, oppose any and all restrictions on speech by corporations if that speech is true, or carries no measurable truth content?

      1. I don’t even know how corporations are capable of speaking, since they are artificial, abstract government-created entities with no capacity for speech.

        1. And therefore the government can censor any and every aspect of the New York Times, since it’s a corporation. Do you even think at all about what you type?

          1. No, IT doesn’t ever think.

    8. “Should companies have a First Amendment protection to lie to consumers? ”

      I’ still trying to find out why my healthcare premimums haven’t gone down by $2,500 a year and why I can’t keep the same doctor I once had to worry about whether Clorox will make my clothes whiter than Cheer.

  26. The Times and their ilk jave always been willing to go to the mat for their own speech or speech they agree with. For speech they disagree with? Meh, not so much. After all, if you boys could just get your minds right, you’d be saying the same things they’re saying.

  27. The comments on the article once again illustrate the underlying disconnect of the progressive mind. They want to regulate speech because “money is speech” and “money in politics” is by definition evil and corrupt.

    They, never, not once, ever consider that the source of corruption in politics stems from power, the power to tax, the power to spend, the power to imprison. These things are necessary, in their worldview, to implement the utopian solution. Therefore, they cannot be restricted. No, the answer is to change human nature, to attribute ever more and more power to government so that it can change human nature. It’s a death spiral that always ends the same way, in blood and tears.

    1. To wit, a modest proposal from the NYT readership:

      We The People Amendment (Move To Amend)

      Section 1 [A corporation is not a person and can be regulated]

      The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

      Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

      The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

      Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]

      Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

      Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

      The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

      Section 3

      Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

      1. “Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have NO RIGHTS under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.”

        Is this a stealth libertarian or something? Saying corporations have ‘no rights’ is so absurd I can’t even believe a prog would consider this rational.

        1. Basically, if the government recognizes your freedom to associate then you’re fucked.

          Convenient, huh?

          1. Since marriage is an artificial government construct, I believe you should lose your free speech rights the instant you sign a marriage certificate.

            1. If you were married, you’d know that’s already the case.

            2. What rights does “marriage” have?

              1. Marriage gives “beneficiaries” of marriage certain rights.

                Like the right to immigrate, or to be seen differently by the law for tax purposes.

                But since it’s a government construct, do you people who choose to associate by way of marriage should lose their Constitutional rights because of their association?

                How about people who choose to associate by corporation?

        2. Yeah – So the millions of Subchapter S corporation business owners where the business is a single person (yours truly included) can be summarily searched, censored, and have life and liberty taken away without due process? So idiotic it has to be fake.

        3. The Democratic Party, the SEIU, the Unitarian-Universalist Church, PPFA, the ACLU, etc., are all “artificial entities” for the purpose of that law.

          1. But, but, we didn’t MEAN them!!!

      2. I love the way Section 3 completely negates the rest of it.

        1. They know that what they want is problematic, but they refuse to admit that the distinctions they would make between the organizations they want protected and those they want surpressed are not sonething that can be done undet a rational legal standard.

        2. I see a million new newspapers starting, each one owned by a different corporation.

    2. Yeah. They fail to see power as a motivator for corruption. Only money does that. Since people in government are not motivated by money, then they are not corruptible. They have no interest other than the will of the people. It’s as if a miracle occurs when someone joins government. They are transformed from an untrustworthy rube who is motivated by self interest into someone who is selfless and altruistic. Unless they’re a Republican that is.

    3. More:

      Publicly funded elections is an answer. No political contributions whatsoever. Equal and regulated access to media. No lobbying, as we know it, allowed. No revolving doors (ten year restriction).

      We will then draw a much more qualified field of candidates. The candidates will be focused on what is good for the country and not what is good for the contributors (because there won’t be any).

      1. We will then draw a much more qualified field of candidates.

        I think he skipped the step where a miracle occurs.

      2. Publicly funded elections is an answer.

        Is a direct violation of free speech. I would be forced to contribute to certain candidates campaign (and political contributions are widely regarded as ‘speech’). In addition to all the immorality of taxation to begin with.

        Equal and regulated access to media.

        What could possibly go wrong?

        No lobbying, as we know it, allowed.

        What a joke. As long as the government has the mere ability to rent out it’s tremendous monopoly of legal aggression, there will be lobbying. If outlawing lobbying was so easy it would have been done. It seems that the writer of this argument would prefer that lobbying persist, but just never see the light of day.

        1. Here in Maine they passed what they call Clean Election laws. This means tax dollars are used to fund the candidates. So a Clean Election candidate gets subsidized by money obtained by coercion, as opposed to dirty money candidates who are funded by people who voluntarily contribute.

          1. The moral logic of progressives is so twisted and arbitrary, that it’s neither logical nor moral.

            1. There is no logic at all. It’s pure emotion.

        2. At one time Obama was going to take only public money. Then he realized he could probably out spend McCain with private money.

          He was also going to be the nost transparent administration. EVAH.

      3. Publicly funded elections is an answer.

        So, we can go two ways like with this?

        Either like Iran with candidates vetted by the government or we fund everyone who wants to run for office.

  28. I’m fucking dating a lefty, and she recently opined that she thought SCOTUS should vote unanimously on a case where an organization wanted to display the confederate flag on the license plates of their members, similar to other organizations put their own symbols, and I agreed with her until I realized she thought SCOTUS should vote unanimously to shut down such hateful speech.

    I said that the free speech right to be pro-kittens and rainbows didn’t need protecting, it is the free speech rights of people like me who spout views unpopular with both the left and right that need protecting … along with arseholes who want to display the confederate flag.

    1. My viewpoint on that particular matter is that custom license plates are unnecessary. Given that government is a necessary evil, all unnecessary functions should be eliminated.

      Get a bumper sticker.

      1. My view is that license plates are not just unnecessary, but a violation of fundamental constitutional rights. That being said, if certain government-approved groups whose speech politicians and bureaucrats agree with can have special license plates, but other groups whose speech politicians and bureaucrats find noxious can’t — that seems like a clear-cut infringement, unless you’re retarded enough to be a SCOTUS justice.

        Either everyone gets to get their own special plates, or no one does.

    2. At the risk of being accused of “making the personal the political”, it boggles my mind how some people can have a serious relationship with a partner with such diametrically opposed viewpoints. It’s one thing to disagree on a particular piece of legislation or vote for different candidates, but having completely different ethical foundations just ain’t doable for me.

      1. We agree on most stuff, for example, how to cordially resolve disputes. Just not on some political topics. We can agree on legalizing weed, for example, or for any other rights she personally uses. She just hasn’t grasped that other people who enjoy stuff she hates also should have their rights preserved.

        There’s a lot more to life than politics.

        1. We agree on most stuff, for example, how to cordially resolve disputes.

          Well apparently not. If she’s a leftist and you are, I assume, a libertarian, there is an enormous and fundamentally different approach to the issue of conflict resolution.

          1. . If she’s a leftist and you are, I assume, a libertarian, there is an enormous and fundamentally different approach to the issue of conflict resolution.

            Baloney!

            I am in such a relationship, and we talk things out when we fight. Sometimes we agree to disagree. Sometimes one of us gives in and does something to make the other person happy that we wish we didn’t have to do. And most of the time we figure out a nice compromise we both can live with.

            Political ideology doesn’t enter into it.

            1. Who said anything about politics? It’s philosophy. Whether you justify aggression or loathe aggression is a difference in philosophy. Kudos to you and your significant other that you have enough cognitive dissonance between you that philosophical compatibility is irrelevant.

          2. I know “aspy” gets thrown out a lot in these comments, but…

        2. My wife is a conservative, though I’ve gotten her to come around on a few things. One subject I avoid is the drug war. She has an emotional reaction to the suggestion that the drug war is worse than the drugs, and argues against wanting people to use drugs. Which of course isn’t the point, but oh well.

          1. ^^this, not only with my wife, but everybody in my family, and all my friends but one, whom I was able to convince since we were both ex-military who turned to alcohol for awhile upon our return that thankfully we used a legal drug and can still have productive careers.

          2. Mrs. Dean has better things to spend her mental energy on than politics.

        3. There’s a lot more to life than politics.

          Definitely! My gf is the stereotype of the Democratic low info voter. Her reaction to my political views on specific issues is primarily one of horror. She finds my anarchism kind of exotic in the abstract.

          Yet, despite her consternation at my actual views, she has been encouraging me to restart my blogging. She says it would make me very happy and that I write beautifully, even though she disagrees with it. And that’s what love is.

    3. I don’t think you’ll be fucking her for very much longer.

      1. Maybe, but not for the reason you think.

    4. … along with arseholes who want to display the confederate flag.

      Why? Becuz slavery? Some people may legitimately view the confederate flag as one of rebellion just as some people view the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression. I don’t think that makes them a freckled scottish asshole.

    5. We don’t have the First Amendment so we can talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things. If you have the inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty.

      ? Ron Paul, at the Republican Presidential Debate

    6. I’m dating a lefty

      NEXT!

      Run, get to teh choppah!

    7. The reason libertarians defend people who wave the confederate flag is because we realize that if the needle tilted just a teeny bit further, it would be us who would be on the receiving end of the law’s speech restrictions.

      The progressive left would LOVE to place restrictions on people advocating free market policies. Especially thinks like fracking and GMOs. You can tell by how eager they are to accuse anyone who argues with them of being a paid shill. They would, in a new york minute, pass laws suppressing “anti-social” speech, like advocating libertarianism, if they ever got the chance. They would claim that we were undermining social harmony or some such bullshit.

    8. Better go back to just fucking and leave the dating to someone you have more in common with.

  29. I think I’m missing the point, and I’m not being a smart ass here. Is the author’s suggestion that the New York Times should have lost those court cases mentioned in the article? Maybe it’s just the post lunch brain-lull but I feel as though I’ve completely missed the point being communicated here. Anyone want to break it down for me?

    1. No. That’s not the point. Drink some tea.

      The point is that the New York Times, a corporate press entity, arguing that you lose your first amendment rights as soon as you choose to organize your financial affairs with a corporate structure is hypocritical and evil.

    2. The point is that the NYT = hypocrite.

    3. He’s saying the New York Times should have won those cases (which they did) but that they therefore shouldn’t be opposing the free speech rights of other corporate entities.

      1. Thank you. I’m afraid that’s something that, to me, seems so obvious that I was looking for a deeper meaning in what he wrote. I’m also relatively new to Reason and haven’t ever read this author so I thought I might also be missing something due to not knowing his style of writing or any inside references he might have with his readership.

        I remember when Brandon Eich lost his job at FireFox. That was the day my whole outlook on America changed. It was the day I realized there was a difference between a liberal (what I am) and a Leftist. Rocked my shit.

        Thanks for the explanation Slayer.

  30. This is the money quote for me:

    the First Amendment has become the darling of economic libertarians and corporate lawyers who have recognized its power to immunize private enterprise from legal restraint

    Um… yeah. That’s the point of the First Amendment, and a lot of other amendments: to “immunize” people from “legal restraint”. In plain language, “stopping the state from ignoring your rights”.

    How dare these people exercise their rights and use the law as some kind of shield for their actions? It’s disgusting.

    1. I like this one, a little further down:

      “Concentrated, moneyed interests, represented by those in control of the country’s largest business corporations,” he wrote, “are increasingly able to turn law into a lottery, reducing law’s predictability, impairing property rights, and increasing the share of the economy devoted to rent-seeking rather than productive activity.”

      I don’t know how to take this as saying anything other than, “Those corporate bastards won’t just submit to legislatures and bureaucracies! They’re harming us all by trying to defend their rights!”

      And I guess suing the government now counts as rent-seeking? The problem is that this shit is just asserted in the essay, but not explained or defended. Much like complaining about inequality, you’re not supposed to ask for reasons or evidence, just accept the ominous assertions.

      1. Exactly. They won’t roll over and play dead. The will of the mob is being resisted.

        1. Nah, the author wants corporations to fall into line with the government’s will, like good little German corporations did in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

          1. To be fair, Italian corporations did too.

    2. How dare these people exercise their rights and use the law as some kind of shield for their actions? It’s disgusting.

      That’s probably the money quote of this thread.

  31. That’s a bit of a misreading of the NYT article for the purposes of writing Root’s piece.

    At the very least, the article distinguishes between speech-based corporations (i.e., media) and other types…Root does not.

    Also, if you don’t know what a SLAPP lawsuit is–Google it.

    1. Ah, so more of the “rights for me, but not for thee” variety of thinking.

    2. At the very least, the article distinguishes between speech-based corporations (i.e., media) and other types…Root does not.

      Neither does the Constitution.

      1. It very much does. That’s what “the press” is.

        1. From Wikipedia’s First Amendment article:

          “The Free Press Clause protects the right of individuals to express themselves through publication and dissemination of information, ideas and opinions without interference, constraint or prosecution by the government. This right was described in Branzburg v. Hayes as “a fundamental personal right” that is not confined to newspapers and periodicals.”

          Hint: It’s about technology, not specific organizations or occupations.

        2. If you accept the premise that corporations have no rights, then why “freedom of the press” should be an exception seems rather bizarre.

    3. Before you post in public again, please provide your Speech-Based Individual license number and registration. Thank you for your cooperation.

    4. “At the very least, the article distinguishes between speech-based corporations (i.e., media) and other types…Root does not.”

      So the article distinguishes between types of corporations that they invented out of thin air and which have no antecedent in the actual constitution.

      Tell me more about these fairytales the article invented for the purposes of desultorily advancing their idiotic narrative.

    5. Such a distinction is entirely arbitrary. The 1st amendment does not protect the rights of the professional press because they are the press, it protects the free speech rights of all individuals and associations of individuals.

    6. At the very least, the article distinguishes between speech-based corporations (i.e., media) and other types…Root does not.

      Because that distinction is fatuous and illusory.

      1. Not to mention derisory and digressive.

    7. speech-based corporations (i.e., media) and other types

      [Looks at his copy of the 1st Amendment]

      [squints] [gets magnifying glass]

      [Checks under 2nd Amendment]

      Nope. Not in there. Are you sure know what the fuck you’re talking about?

  32. Not really a fair response, as their idiotic complaint is about certain kinds of corporations seeking certain kinds of protections. They exempt news agencies like the NYT from their fear-mongering.

    The article is so packed with stupid that we don’t need the superficial hypocrisy argument.

  33. Professor Coates also analyzed data from federal appeals courts, finding that “businesses are growing steadily more aggressive in their use of the First Amendment.” Court dockets these days are full of free-speech challenges from pharmaceutical firms, tobacco companies, miners, meat producers and airlines.

    Such lawsuits, he wrote, have pernicious consequences for both free enterprise and the rule of law. Corporations are diverting resources from research and innovation to litigation, he wrote.

    “Concentrated, moneyed interests, represented by those in control of the country’s largest business corporations,” he wrote, “are increasingly able to turn law into a lottery, reducing law’s predictability, impairing property rights, and increasing the share of the economy devoted to rent-seeking rather than productive activity.”

    1A lawsuits necessitate state attacks on private speech via regulation or legislation. What sort of twisted thinking leads you to believe that corporations would be better suited ignoring attacks on their ability to communicate and instead using those resources to conduct “productive activity” (presumably while ignoring state attacks on their right to communicate)?

    Ah, I forgot. Prof. Coates knows better than the leaders of the businesses themselves what constitutes “productive activity.” The arrogance of these people is extraordinary.

  34. Alternate NYT headline: “Curtail Their 1st Amendment Rights Because They’re Icky (Not Ours Though, Fuck That)”

    Good times, good times.

  35. Once liberalism was subsumed by radical leftism, belief in the freedoms of the First (and other) Amendments went out the window for everyone but themselves. So did acceptance that corporations can have any rights (except for corporations of, by, and for liberals such as the NYT).

    1. What’s equally funny is the amount of internecine bickering going on within the political left, whether between students and professors or lefty publications and demagogues, trying to further pare down what qualifies as protected speech and what should get the speaker thrown out of polite society. Even staunch leftists can’t be trusted with the right of protected speech.

      1. Or maybe just…

        Even staunch leftists can’t be trusted with the right of protected speech

        1. That’s almost as good as Michael Weller’s version of the First Amendment, which cuts off all but the first 5 words.

      2. There’s a known way to fix this? what we do is create a government official to monitor corporations, student organizations professor, etc., so that their speech does not cross the line into unprotected speech. Since these officers will be making sure speech or information released to the public is in harmony with the spirit of the First Amendment, the organization in charge of monitoring free speech will be called the “Committee on Public Information” and since the officials monitoring speech will be monitoring political speech first and foremost, those officials will be called “Political Officers”.

  36. John C Coates IV of the Harvard Corporation said what?

  37. “Corporations” has become one of the most useless words in the English language.

    The people who use it the most do so as a generic derogatory term for “capitalism” writ-large…. whether they know that’s what they’re doing or not.

    The vast majority who would put the term as “#1 on the list of ‘problems’ in America” would likely be unable to accurately define what a corporation actually *is*…

    i.e. what the nature of the legal structure is, how corporate governance works, what ‘capital structure’ is and why it matters, what the roles of management/board of directors/shareholders are, and what their respective interests are.

    It is most often used as though what they are describing is monolithic – as though the shared ‘corporateness’ of Procter & Gamble, Disney, and Raytheon is the more-important factor than the actual details of what those businesses actually do.

    Probably most significantly…. people who rail about ‘corporations’ as somehow being inimical to the interests of the general public seem to completely overlook the fact that they only exist insofar as people willingly give them business*. That every ‘corporation’ exists only at the whim of the public that demands their products and services. That ultimately, objecting to ‘corporations’ is simply objecting to ‘other people’s choices’.

    (*monopolistic rent-seekers aside)

    1. The only rational argument to be made against corporations is that of being against corporatism, a word that they never will define. Ask any leftist to define a corporation or corporatism in their own words and I’ll bet any amount of money they’ll vaguely describe a joint-stock company and make no mention of a “corporate charter”.

      1. They will define “corporatism” in such a way that excludes 1920’s through 1940’s corporatism and, in fact, will actually make themselves rather similar to 1920’s through 1940’s corporatism:

        Further, in the main body of Parliament industrial elements would receive a more direct and systematic recognition by the adoption of an occupational franchise. As things stand at present, there is nothing to prevent the electorate, supposedly all-wise, from electing a Parliament composed entirely of sugar brokers. Each might be an excellent candidate for whatever Party he chose to represent. He might well be affluent, genial and docile; a firm supporter of charity bazaars, a pillar of local football elevens, a regular contributor to the Party funds of his constituency. If, with all this, he kisses babies with a pretty grace, and promises reforms enough to impress the electors, he may well find himself in Parliament. If enough sugar brokers did it, there is no reason at all why the whole of Parliament should not be sugar brokers: but this would scarcely fit them for the task of discussing a Bill dealing with the complexities of unemployment administration in a northern industrial town. In fact, the unemployed might expect to fare rather badly.

  38. Oh noes! The KORPORSHUNS might be able to SAY STUFF!

    Balrgh! They will force us to become the false consciousness with their advertizing 111!!!!!111
    We cannot resist the brainwashing of their evil ads, which will force us to want unnecessaary capitalist products!!!!111

    Glarrg! Must regulate speech to protect self from foreign capitalist desires!!!1 Must be protecting from people saying things that make me want stuff. Must get mind straight with glorious socialist program!!!!

    Must think right! Thwapp!11 Bad brain thinking want stuff must not want because capitalist!!!!
    bad corportations making me bad socialist! Must punish!

  39. Corporations may not be people, but the government can’t do anything to them that it can’t do to people–without violating some very real person’s rights.

    I’ve been a customer, vendor, employee, manager, shareholder, and sole proprietor of a corporation at various times in my life, and I swear I still felt like a person in each and every one of those situations.

    Even when I was the sole proprietor of a corporation, I was sure Congress had no authority to abridge my freedom of speech.

    Meanwhile, the purpose of the corporate shield against personal liabilities isn’t what the progressives make it out to be. The main purpose is to shield investors’ personal holdings outside of the corporation–investors who could not possibly be culpable for any managers’ decision making process.

    Meanwhile, the personal assets and criminal conduct of any corporate executive is just as subject to the law as any criminal outside of a corporation…

    Just ask Kenneth Lay, Jeffery Skilling, Bernie Madoff, Bernard Ebbers, Dennis Kozlowski, Ivan Boesky, Charles Keating, Michael Milken, Sam Waksal, or any one of the thousands and thousands of other corporate executives who are arrested, convicted, and/or sued for their activities as corporate executives–every. single. year.

    1. So you do grasp the distinction between a person and a corporation. Do you really think the framers were thinking of corporate personhood and hence corporate free speech when they wrote the first amendment, or do you guys just default to corporate whoring no matter what?

      1. Was the Pentagon Papers case wrongly decided?

      2. Individuals have a right to free speech even if they’re an owner, a manager, an employee, or a customer of a corporation.

        Why is that so hard for you to understand?

        There isn’t anything about owning, managing, or working for a corporation that means those individuals forgo their right to free speech–why is that confusing to you?

        1. Because he’s both stupid AND mendacious!

      3. What corporations do you hear speaking? I only ever hear people.

        1. #racetogether

          1. Winner, winner, chicken dinner, OneOut. Ignorant fucks like Tony would applaud this corporate speech as it FEELZ. That they dropped it like a hot potato because of universal mocking (rightly so) is beyond Tony’s pay grade.

            Corporate speech changed when most people thought their speech was stupid….sort of a free market thingy. Way over the Tonester’s head.

      4. The Constitution says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

        It makes no difference whatsoever who or what is doing the speaking. The prohibition is on Congress to make no law.

        It makes no difference whatsoever whether the speaker is human or not. Congress cannot restrict the speech of an African grey parrot who had been taught to say “Obama is an asshole”.

  40. As we all know, it’s not all corporations that Democrats and Progressives don’t like, only ones that they don’t control that they don’t like.

  41. Glenn Reynolds said it best: “If you only defend speech you agree with, you’re not a free speech advocate, you’re just a partisan hack.”

    NYT = partisan hacks. But we knew that already. This just adds to the overwhelming evidence.

  42. Almost every libertarian here is engaging in question begging. Of course, corporations can’t lie to consumers, because that’s called fraud! (Even though it’s also speech, and the 1A doesn’t say anything about exempting that kind of speech.) More egregiously, you all take at face value that the suits are 1A-based and automatically to be won. I couldn’t even figure out specifically what the litigation the article referred to is about, but the general point is that corporations are increasing relying on 1A arguments to rent seek instead of participate in the virtues of capitalism.

    1. Re: Tony,

      Almost every libertarian here is engaging in question begging. Of course, corporations can’t lie to consumers, because that’s called fraud! (Even though it’s also speech, and the 1A doesn’t say anything about exempting that kind of speech.)

      The conflator in chief has spoken, confusing a tort with speech.

      Hey, idiot: in order to call it a fraud, you have to have an actual tort committed.

      “This is what happens when we allow imbeciles to have too much speech” – see how that works? I’m arguing like a little red Marxian!

    2. “Of course, corporations can’t lie to consumers, because that’s called fraud!”

      Neither can individuals. Your example has nothing to do with the entity being a corporation rather than a single human being. Or are you saying that mom and pop businesses can lie to consumers?

    3. So you have no idea what the litigation is about, but somehow you know that corporations are relying on 1A arguments to rent seek? Please point out specific examples of rent seeking by corporations hiding behind the 1A. Are you really this stupid, or do you just think we are?

      1. Yep. He admits he doesn’t know what the litigation is, but the same guy says it’s rent-seeking, so it must be rent-seeking. Don’t need a cite if it helps his argument.

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  44. uptil I saw the check ov $9726 , I didnt believe …that…my friends brother actually earning money part time on-line. . there uncles cousin has done this for under eighteen months and recently took care of the morgage on there villa and purchased a brand new Chevrolet .

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  45. Corporations are not people. But their owners/shareholders are.
    Likewise, automobiles are not people. But their owners are.
    Houses are not people. But …

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