19
Jan
12

Own petard, hoist, etc.

Ken is, as ever, on a ranty-goodness roll:

Some of the criticism began with the Citizens United case, which held that the McCain–Feingold Act violated the First Amendment to the extent it purported to prohibit a non-profit corporation from producing and airing a film attacking Hillary Clinton. Elements of the Occupy Wall Street campaign took up the cry, asserting that corporations are not people and only people, not corporations, have constitutional rights.

These sentiments seemed largely absent yesterday when various business entities — from non-profits like Wikimedia Foundation to for-profits like Google — expressed themselves in opposition to SOPA/PIPA.

So, to critics of Citizens United, I have a question: should those business entities have had a right to engage in SOPA/PIPA protests like they did? If so, what is the source of that right, and by what mechanism is it vindicated?

(Emphasis in the original.)

I’m a bit wary of arguments for corporate personhood — treating a set of individuals acting more-or-less together as one big aggregate individual strikes me as a least-bad compromise rather than a bright and shiny ideal — but I still think it’s pretty fuckin’ clear that corporations, under whatever rights framework we end up with, have the right to engage in speech, political or otherwise.  Click through and RTWT.

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