Neither Persons Nor Associations: Against Constitutional Rights for Corporations

Journal of Law and Courts, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall 2013)

26 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2015

See all articles by David A Ciepley

David A Ciepley

Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, The University of Virginia

Date Written: October 1, 2013

Abstract

This article challenges the practice of extending constitutional rights to corporations. Drawing on recent corporate law scholarship, it shows that a corporation is neither an association of natural persons nor an independent person (or “real entity”) itself. The rights of natural persons thus do not pass to it. Instead, the corporation is an abstract, property-owning legal entity entirely distinct from its members that owes its very existence to a complex of legal privileges granted by government. Having been constituted by government, the corporation cannot properly assert constitutional rights against it. Corporations have only what rights they are granted by charter or statute, and these do not and cannot include constitutional rights.

Keywords: corporation, constitutional rights

Suggested Citation

Ciepley, David A, Neither Persons Nor Associations: Against Constitutional Rights for Corporations (October 1, 2013). Journal of Law and Courts, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall 2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2698794

David A Ciepley (Contact Author)

Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, The University of Virginia ( email )

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