September 19, 2011

Justice Thomas wonders why he even needs to say he's a textualist.

"It’s a Constitution that’s written in words... What, do people think it’s written in symbols? You need to say you’re a textualist[?] What else am I supposed to do, use a Ouija board, chicken bones?”

There's also this:
Thomas criticizes elite law schools for leaning left and breeding cynicism. He says his travels, especially in the Midwest, give him hope.
That amuses me, here in the Midwest... that special little corner of the Midwest we call Madison, Wisconsin. Thomas was speaking from western Iowa, whither he absconded to get away from Washington, D.C. where they "only talk to each other in a sort of cynical, smarmy way."

84 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

The constitution is words and those words do have an objective meaning that has meant something over time. So whenever the Court deviates from that it is an abuse of the system. Leave the law making to the legislatures. Courts should really strive to deal with laws and the constitution as written. Justice Thomas is right.

raf said...

But, but .... it gets in the way if you do that!

ricpic said...

I wish Thomas would get with it and come to understand that EVERYTHING is symbols and gestures* and stop dragging behind like a nose to the grindstone literalist.







*Well, Obama said so.

traditionalguy said...

War of the Words.

The Constitution says nothing on many subjects, so the holdings in words written by long dead Court decision writers guessing what a reasonable outcome should be is often blocking a better outcome.

Maybe we could red letter the parts Madison wrote and sniff at the parts that Hamilton wrote.

raf said...

You know, tradguy, you raise an interesting point. If we apply to stare decisis the same progressive logic that "they" do to the text of the constitution, there is no reason to be bound by that either. Prior court decisions are also "just symbols" to be interpreted to fit the current outcome requirements.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, sometimes the best response is "I JUST DON'T KNOW."

Penn Jellette starts of his new book with this. If you ask him if he believes in God. He says he just doesn't know.

Does he believe in Darwin's Theory of Evolution?" (Well, you get more things to look at, but he just doesn't know.)

What IS the Constitution?

A gift to LAWYERS!

Just as the Bible was always a gift to priests.

I think Clarence Thomas if off base to declare he could use a Ouija board. And, chicken bones. Because, actually, he cannot. He's not trained in their use!

If someone says to him it would be a good idea to forbid men from having sex with each other ... The right answer is "I JUST DON'T KNOW!"

Where governments and religions get dicey is when they say there's an authority there that forbids you.

BULLSHIT.

Instead of a "textualist" ... I like someone who "interprets" the laws that favors people ... and not corporations. Because, definitely, wed didn't have corporations back in those days.

Homosexuals however abounded.

Skepticism and doubt are your friends.

roesch-voltaire said...

So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?

Shouting Thomas said...

Oh, God no! r_v, you're actually one of those nincompoops?

You don't really teach a class in a college, do you? Please tell me you don't.

X said...

So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?

in the 1st amendment

Robert said...

"So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?"

Right in the same Article as that clearly spelled-out separation of church and state, asswipe.

roesch-voltaire said...

X I quote from Ilya Somin on Volokh: I should mention that it’s irrelevant that the First Amendment specifically protects the freedom of “the press.” It does not specifically mention “press” entities organized as corporations. So if you believe that freedom of speech doesn’t apply to corporations because they “aren’t people,” the same point applies to freedom of the press. As co-blogger Eugene explains, “freedom of the press” is not a constitutional right for a particular group of people or organizations. Rather it is a right to engage in a certain class of activities (such as publishing newspapers and pamphlets), whether the person doing so is a professional member of the media or not.

X said...

freedom of association. or are you saying associations lose their freedom of speech?

ricpic said...

Not only does roeschi teach a class in college, his number is legion. Propagandizes to a captive naive audience and knows no shame for doing so.

roesch-voltaire said...

Shouting why not go over to Volokh's blog and read all the smart lawyers who commented on People Organized as Corporations are People Too, and get a sense of just how complex the issue is rather than just making your knee jerk reaction- or is that simple exercise too challenging?
X One question raised:
However,the first amendment specifically mentions the press, not the other kinds of corporations. How is exempting “media” from restrictions have any bearing on how we should treat corporations in general?

Henry said...

Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

It's the restriction that's important.

If Madison wanted to give Congress power to make some laws that abridge the freedom of speech all he had to do was change one word.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So what was the point of asking where it says corporations are people, when it doesn't matter whether corporations are people?

traditionalguy said...

Corporations are King's grants of authority to rule in an area, until he changes his mind.

So the Stare Decisis rule and the Corporation both are temporary until they are changed.

The War comes from the American Revolutionists need to tell the King that he cannot end Corporations andrule through a Church.

Once only the Pope could do that, but Henry VIII had called an end to that and started The Church of England under his personal control.

So the Constitution added its 1st amendment and called an end to the Kings authority ever again working through a National Church.

Whatever will King Obama do now?

He cannot take away the corporation's powers and he cannot set up a national Church , except for the Church of CO2 Holy Hoaxers.

Good job Clarence Thomas, the strong Justice from Pin Point, Georgia.

Saint Croix said...

So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?

The New York Times are people, R.V., yes? It's a building filled with people. It's an organization filled with people. And those people are all individuals who have free speech rights. If you silence the New York Times--a corporation--you are silencing all the people who work for the New York Times. You are abridging their right to speak, and to assemble.

You are also abridging the freedom of the press.

All of these things are explicitly protected by the Constitution. And since there is no clause in the Constitution that says, "People who create legal entities lose their constitutional rights," your theory falls to pieces.

Once you realize that all of our media is produced by corporations, then your anti-corporate fantasy disguises your real intent, which is to shut down free speech.

There is no free speech in your world. Just assholes like you who are now forced to yell on street corners. Ann Althouse can't blog on blogger, run by Google, a corporation. We can't send emails on the systems owned by corporations. We can't watch television on the networks owned by corparations, read books or newspapers published by corporations. We can't watch movies made by corporations.

Under your dumbass theory, a union isn't people, either.

Government isn't people.

Political parties aren't people.

Marriages aren't people.

You have pulled a Robert Bork on the free speech clause, you facist nit. You've reduced it to nothing. You're an idiot.

Canuck said...

The name of the rose.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

This is the guy the Lefties say is such a dolt (notice a pattern here?), yet he calls them on all the legalistic and verbal gymnastics they require in order to make the Constitution do what they want.

Ann Althouse said...

He says his travels, especially in the Midwest, give him hope.That amuses me, here in the Midwest... that special little corner of the Midwest we call Madison, Wisconsin.

Maybe he's Shouting Thomas!

:O

G Joubert said...

The Upper Midwest of which Wisconsin is a part (including also Michigan and Minnesota) is not really "The Midwest" to which people are referring when they say the Midwest. The Midwest means places like Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, even the Dakotas. Socially and politically, the Upper Midwest is more like the coasts.

Alan said...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note that only two of the rights stipulate that they apply to "the people" - assembly and redress of grievances. If corporations are not people, then Congress may not restrict their rights to religious expression, speech, or press - but Congress may restrict their rights to peaceable assembly and redress of grievances.

If corporations have the right to speech but no right to seek redress of grievances, they may not speak to the government with regard to correcting some ill that has been placed upon them, but they may speak to the government for the purpose of seeking taxpayer largesse.

Lucius said...

I'm not sure the Northern Plains-- however you weigh their vices or virtues-- are really what people have in mind when they say "Midwest".

As a Virginian, "Midwest" always says to me Kansas and Nebraska. Those Lutherans up north are possibly sneaky, just waiting for their chance to put the Hohenzollerns back in charge. Those Prussophile Swedes have their own mysterious agenda.

But I confess ignorance. I'm not sure at all, for example, if Ohio even exists, or what for; nor how we're supposed to place it.

Sofa King said...

Corporations aren't people. They are composed of people. Hope that helps

Sofa King said...

So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?

Where does it say that straw men are people? HUH? HMMMMMM??

boxingalcibiades said...

Ms. Althouse, with all due respect, Greater New England hardly counds as the Midwest.

Random Arrow said...

It’s a Constitution that’s written in words... What, do people think it’s written in symbols? You need to say you’re a textualist[?] What else am I supposed to do, use a Ouija board, chicken bones?”

Thomas should get on his knees and thank God daily that the symbols of pubic hairs in Coke cans distracted his confirmation process just enough to obscure differences between the words "best qualified” (Bush) and “qualified” (ABA) compared to “well qualified” - which Thomas isn't - to read words.

Thomas isn’t a symbol?

roesch-voltaire said...

st that is one line of the argument made in this case, but then if corporations are to be treated like people why not treat people as corporations and give us all limited liability for life. The other side of the argument is corporations should have the rights they are given by the statures which created them. And on the other side free speech should apply to who or what ever wants to engage in it-- is it group rights or individual rights that the constitution created? My original post was to call into the question Thomas's statement, because
“Originalists” purport to be able to put themselves in the mindframe of the founders. If Freedom of Speech was meant to apply to individuals and to all corporations, they why reiterate that right for corporations which fall into the category of “press”?

veni vidi vici said...

Iowa? What, is he a Palinista or something?


wv: "babulga" -- an Italian-derived expression for what some would call a "pleasantly plump" or "thick'ums" woman.

veni vidi vici said...

"So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?"


I'd like you to meet the rest of the board of my corporation, Soylent Green, Inc.



wv: "hydriacc" -- someone with a fiendish mania for drinking water.

Kirby Olson said...

Another reason why we have to give Obama the heave-ho in 2012.

Any more of his nominees and we might as well be Zimbabwe, or the Kenya of his father's dreams.

(Unemployment in Zimbabwe is now 95%. In Kenya, only about 40%.)

In four more years, if Obama stays in, it will be 20%, and rising. He will say -- we need more of a stimulus package! Let's fund another Solyndra! Let's try Soylent GREEN!

Paul Zrimsek said...

We can't give limited liability to individuals because the question which limited liability answers for corporations-- "to what extent are its owners liable for its actions?"-- does not exist for individuals, and has not since 1865.

edutcher said...

Random Arrow said...
It’s a Constitution that’s written in words... What, do people think it’s written in symbols? You need to say you’re a textualist[?] What else am I supposed to do, use a Ouija board, chicken bones?

Thomas should get on his knees and thank God daily that the symbols of pubic hairs in Coke cans distracted his confirmation process just enough to obscure differences between the words "best qualified” (Bush) and “qualified” (ABA) compared to “well qualified” - which Thomas isn't - to read words.


Somebody needs to get the memo to the dullest arrow in the quiver that Anita Hill's big story was exposed for the lie it was years ago.

And even the Lefties have had to concede Justice Thomas' superior intellect.

Random Arrow said...

Gee, edutcher.

Talk about a dull arrow. I didn’t say it wasn’t a lie. I said it was a “distraction.” All the better if it was a lie. It distracted.

Let’s try it this way. For the reading impaired.

Clarence Thomas – you – are a symbol.

You’re not on the Court because of your competence at reading texts.

Quoting “Lefties”? To support Clarence’s “superior” intellect?

Really?

Canuck said...

"Corporations aren't people."

But symbolic, non-textualist judges have declared corporations can be treated as individuals.

or would that be a textualist interpretation?

traditionalguy said...

The first thing a law student learns is that a Corporation is a Legal Person.

That is a foundational rock of commercial law.

Call it a fiction , if you wish, but it is a necessary legal fiction.

Saint Croix said...

R.V., I apologize for losing my temper. I'm a hothead. My bad.

why not treat people as corporations and give us all limited liability for life.

Corporations do not have limited liability. (Shareholders do). Corporations are actually designed as lawsuit vehicles.

Corporations get sued all the time. Liberals love to sue corporations. You want to be a corporation? Seriously? You'd be taxed twice, sued, and demonized. Oh yeah, and blamed for stuff you didn't do. I grab somebody's boob and you get sued. That's life as a corporation.

corporations should have the rights they are given by the statutes which created them.

This assumes that free speech can be abridged by the government. No. It can't.

Remember, this "corporation is not a person" meme started with Citizens United, an attempt to censor political speech. Liberals are attempting to silence speakers they dislike. When I or somebody else mentions that the New York Times is a corporation, these liberals are willing to make exceptions for the New York Times. Oh, so the good corporations get to speak. But the bad corporations may be silenced. Liberals apparently see a world where some speakers are licensed as speakers by the government, and others are shut out and silenced.

I think that's bad, and not classically liberal at all.

Kirk Parker said...

R-V,

"However,the first amendment specifically mentions the press, not the other kinds of corporations. "

Wow, if you think the first amendment is using "press" in our modern sense as a metonymy for "organizations that are founded to run publishing enterprises", you deserve the abuse you're getting here.

Random Arrow said...

I think I get the Thomas jokes now.

My omniscient dullness got in my way.

First, The New Yorker article: “Partners” (hint, hint, Thomas and wife that cites “Lefties” praising Thomas’s superior intellect is an article that starts off by reporting Thomas’s superior intellect in his apparent inability to read the – texts – of “the document [that] requires the Justices to disclose the source of all income earned by their spouses.” Perhaps when a symbol (on the Court) has a wife who is also a symbol (on the Heritage Foundation) it’s excusable to ignore the – text – that requires a literalist textual interpretation “spouse”!

Glad I got that joke. I almost missed it.

Second joke me, Thomas really was “best qualified” (Bush) back when he was nominated. Funny of me to miss that subtle humor. I get it now. Because 20 years of remedial education since then by sitting on the Court beside his inferiors have been – 20 years – of remedial education that turned Thomas from “best qualified” into Thomas-the-Tower! The new St. Thomas! I do love Aquinas. Ever so.

Amazing what 20 years (of remedial education) can do. All those years of lap-puppy-to-Scalia have paid off. I almost missed this subtle joke. So now even the “Lefties” are praising Thomas too! That sly ole Thomas - now dwarfing his mentor, Scalia! Whooda thunk it?

That’s why I didn’t vote for Obama. Obama’s colleagues at U. Chicago knew that Obama Baby-Bambi wasn’t really formed. Didn’t have a true core. Brilliant law prof. Minus a central core. Smart and empty. Too young. I felt that the real Obama didn’t need my vote. Because the real Obama didn’t exist. Oh wait, I forgot to read those smart "Lefties," didn't I?

So I’m getting the humor now about Clarence Thomas’s brilliance. We should have appointed Obama to the Court for his own 20 years of remedial education before Obama ran for President! Maybe with his own 20 years of remedial education on the Court, Obama would get the praise of the “Lefties” too?

That’s about how I felt about Obama in the first place. Grow up. Come back in 20 years. You and Clarence.

Sofa King said...

The first thing a law student learns is that a Corporation is a Legal Person.

Only within certain, rather narrowly-defined contexts.

Lefties have adopted the strawman argument that the SCOTUS has declared "corporation=human" for all legal purposes. This is a lie.

Saint Croix said...

The non-person argument, by the way, is the most dangerous argument in all of law. Once you are defined as a non-person, you are stripped of your humanity and have no rights whatsoever. In Dred Scott black people were defined as legal non-persons. (Even free black people). Roe v. Wade defined the unborn, and the partially-born, as legal non-persons.

Citizens United involved a non-profit organization that created a movie critical of Hillary Clinton. The movie is free speech. Nobody disputes that.

Yet we are told these speakers are not allowed to speak. Because they are not people.

So let's consider this argument.

McCain-Feingold also outlaws union speech. So, if it were upheld, a union could not make a movie critical of George W. Bush before an election. Would the liberals who hate Citizens United feel the same way if a union was shut down, and unable to speak?

I think not. All we hear from the critics of Citizen United is "corporate, corporate, corporate," and how evil they are.

Thus this "non-person" argument is really a proxy for liberals who are dehumanizing the other side. You are defining the other side as sub-human, and you are silencing them.

What's really appalling is that a few unelected people in the Supreme Court are willing to go along with this.

Can the government define the Democratic party as a non-person? Can a party representing half the electorate be silenced? The Democratic Party is a non-profit organizaton, after all. Just like Citizens United.

Can the ACLU be silenced?

Liberals who hate corporations need to stop and think about all the organizations that are closer in status to corporations than human beings. Are you sure you want to limit speech to an individual who can prove that he is a human being?

What have you got against speech, anyway? What's wrong with criticizing Hillary Clinton? Are you opposed to that?

What the fuck has happened to liberalism?

Blue@9 said...

Random Arrow:

Proof positive that low-grade morons think that spitting out word salad is impressive.

Seriously, making yourself incomprehensible doesn't fool anyone.

SunnyJ said...

Not being a lawyer...I feel able to express myself without attempting to split every hair due to future possibilties of appeal.

I like the coporation=person for one really simple reason. It equates accountability to me, that is if you are a individual responsibility and accountability person. Misusers of corporate identity use it to mask or defray individual responsibility. There is annonimity in the corporate face or front if that is the card you wish to play.

For me, I would argue the corp=individual rulings open the doors to penetrate that barrier by allowing individuals representing the corp to be held accountable. Again, that is not the shareholders...but, the officers and decision makers are individually responsible for the collective action of the corporation.

Take that a step further and make the same distinction for government. Do that and you'll see the progressives jumping the sinking ship so fast it will make your head spin. Progs love the ivory towers of unaccountability.

Prof A falls prey to the "Madison" is the hub of WI, Midwest, etc. It isn't but, a little more Madison=individual accountability for the actions would go a long way to rebalance the city. The Madison Progs/Unionistas love nothing better than to hide in their "solidarity".

Random Arrow said...

Hiya, Blue. I’ll use third-grade English. Just for you. Next time. Promise.

Random Arrow said...

He [Thomas] says his travels, especially in the Midwest, give him hope. That amuses me [Althouse], here in the Midwest... that special little corner of the Midwest we call Madison, Wisconsin. Thomas was speaking from western Iowa, whither he absconded to get away from Washington, D.C. where they "only talk to each other in a sort of cynical, smarmy way".

I thought Thomas was speaking of his travels in the Midwest – Chicago – where Thomas discovered the Audacity of Hope. Far away from smarrmy pols in D.C.

sorepaw said...
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Canuck said...

"In Dred Scott black people were defined as legal non-persons. (Even free black people)."

But free blacks and enslaved people weren't defined as non-people in Dred Scott, but as non-citizens, either of a state or of the United States.

They were defined as excluded from being able to claim any sort of citizenship rights.

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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Random Arrow said...

sorepaw –

“Red Arrow can't read.”

Whoever Red Arrow is. Sounds like a chicken with a hemmoroid’s been walking across your computer screen leaving red arrows for you. If I were your ‘paw,’ I’d be sore at you too for letting that happen.

Nobody else on the Supreme Court has provided Clarence Thomas with a remedial education.”

Of course not. Thomas was “best qualified” from the start. That’s exactly what I’ve been saying all along. Thanks for helping me out. Nobody else on the Supreme Court – could provide – Clarence Thomas with a remedial education. There’s nowhere to go from “best qualified” than to God.

But there are issues on which Justice Thomas has schooled the rest of them.”

Wow.

For instance, that the 2nd Amendment has always pertained to an individual right to keep and bear arms.”

Wow again. Like individuals who have arms would give a shit what Thomas said. Or didn’t say. “Gee, Almighty Thomas has spoken. Now I can keep my Glock. Phew, it was really getting close there, until old brilliant Thomas saved me.” As if all the individuals who have arms are too stupid to have exactly that interpretation. Thanks Thomas, you original thinker. Like people would give a shit and turn in their firearms if Thomas said otherwise. Maybe Thomas is just the guy we need to review whether the right to bear arms includes choke-hold techniques between Wisconsin State Justices? You know, using physical arms for self-defense? Bet no one other than Thomas has ever thought of that one!

I’m sure the rest of the Justices are forever in debt to Thomas’s textual brilliance. If he could only have read the – text – that required him to report his spouse’s income.

Blue@9 said...

"Hiya, Blue. I’ll use third-grade English. Just for you. Next time. Promise."

It would help if you actually had an idea to communicate. Just sayin'.

(Really, that raggedy bullshit about the 2nd Amendment? Did you entertain yourself at least?)

Random Arrow said...

Can’t help you Blue. I don’t have any ideas. I can’t write English. Let Thomas do your 2nd Amendment thinking for you. I was about ready to turn in my individual firearms until Thomas did my thinking for me. Sure glad Thomas saved the day. Since no one else ever had that idea. Just sayin’.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You want to be a corporation? Seriously? You'd be taxed twice, sued, and demonized.

And maybe liquidated by judge's order if you're unable to pay your bills. I always like to remind 'em of that one.

cubanbob said...

roesch-voltaire said...
So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?

9/19/11 12:34 PM

In the same place where it states abortions are permissible along with income redistribution and growing wheat for one's personal use is commerce.

PETER V. BELLA said...

"The New York Times are people..."

That's kind of a stretch isn't it? People are supposed to be human. One could question the beings at the NYT was possessing basic human traits or intelligence.

John said...

Justice Thomas and his wife apparently spend all their free time driving about the country in an RV.

Think about the number of different people and the number of different kinds of people they must meet doing that.

I suspect that he has a much different, as well as better and more valuable, perspective on America and Americans than most.

Especially those who stay in DC, NYC, the Hamptons and listen only to people who echo their own opinions.

The more I learn about Thomas, the more I like him.

I had always been something of a fan but then I read "My Grandfather's Son" when it came out a couple years ago.

I love the man. He is a national treasure.

John Henry

Jim Howard said...

It's a good thing for Dull Arrow that Thomas is a conservative, because if Thomas was a liberal, Dull Arrow would, Prima facie, be a RAAAAAAACCCCCISSST!!!!!!!!

You can tell Dull Arrow is a liberal because he is proud to smear a black man with outrageous lies. Because he hates blacks who run off his plantation.

Pastafarian said...

Random Arrow: "All those years of lap-puppy-to-Scalia have paid off..."

Lab? Maybe a black lab? Freudian slip much....Racist?

In all seriousness, I suspect that the soft bigotry of low expectations is really all that informs your low opinion of Thomas' intellect, since you've offered no evidence, only snark and douchebaggery.

The last article I read about Thomas made a compelling case that he's become the intellectual leader of the conservative wing of the court. It was on Instapundit, I think. I'd find it for you, but you're too much of an asshole for me to bother.

Paul said...

To say the Constitution is a 'living document' is to say it means whatever the powers-to-be say it means.

And that would change from administration to administration.

The founding fathers said what they said, and didn't leave a cryptic message saying to later just ad-lib and twist the meanings to meet the popular demand at that time in history.

Especially the Bill of Rights we must guard it and not let it be turned into mush.

Hagar said...

Trad Guy,
Neither of those two wrote anything in the original Constitution; Gouverneur Morris wrote the last clean copy, but he claimed he only put in one thing that the Convention had not hashed out ad nauseam, and he probably said that just so that people would actually read the thing to see if they could spot his personal contribution.

A lot of the comments above refer to Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution as Amended, which is subject to revision by later courts. The Constitution itself, however, it is what it is and does not change except by duly enacted Amendments.

Moneyrunner said...

What’s fascinating is to observe the racism of Liberals like Random Arrow is totally unconscious.

Saint Croix said...

But free blacks and enslaved people weren't defined as non-people in Dred Scott, but as non-citizens, either of a state or of the United States.

No, that's not right. Federal citizenship has always been determined by Congress. Thus if Dred Scott was merely a case about citizenship, the Supreme Court would be saying that Congress (or any State) had the authority to resolve that specific question.

The Supreme Court went way beyond that. Taney wrote that black people "were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings..."

Get it? He is defining an entire class of people as sub-human.

"Neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people."

Or this: "They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect..."

To say this is a case about "citizenship" is to miss the evil in Dred Scott. And if you don't see the similarities between the discussion of "person" in Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade, you're not reading the cases.

Alan said...

Corporations aren't people. They do not speak or think. Humans speak and think. A corporation is a legal entity. It is an instrument through which many humans engage in trade.

When a law like McCain-Feingold places a restriction on "corporate speech," what it is really doing is limiting the number of lawful tools that people may use to engage in speech.

If incorporation is legal, then people should have the right to use corporations for any legal purpose.

The Crack Emcee said...

What else am I supposed to do, use a Ouija board, chicken bones?”

If you want to fit into OprahWorld, yeah.

Jeez, i thought this guy was smart,...

Random Arrow said...

Moneyrunner, exactly.

The liberals haven’t marched out Hitler yet. I guess we work through attributions to Freud first. And work forward to Adolf.

We’re touring through the meme introduced a few threads back on this blog. About the emotive stuff that’s hidden in political speech. And considering who didn’t get into law school because Quayle did. I’m thinking about Thomas’s contrast of “symbol” versus “words.” Picking up that meme. That quote’s from a newspaper article. Not a tome on “symbols” versus “words.” My sense (exploring the meme only) was that as far as ‘symbols” go, I’d rather have Thomas than Obama as President. Beyond “symbols,” give Thomas straight “A’s” for guts in weathering his confirmation storm. I feel (can’t prove) that Thomas would go beyond symbolism as President and put more substance behind his “words” as President. Thomas’s rating of “qualified” for the Court was probably just about right. There’s nothing wrong with a learning curve for Thomas. He’s held his own. I do wonder (ala the Quayle riff) who else might have been more qualified than Thomas for the Court? A moot issue. I’d like to see a Clarence Thomas bid for President. Substance over symbol.

Saint Croix said...

Corporations aren't people.

We can also say, "unions aren't people." But nobody goes around saying, "unions aren't people," because when you do that, you are showing your contempt for all the people in the union. Yes?

To strip a group of people of their legal rights because they are in a group that is disliked by the powers-that-be, does indeed implicate the free speech and free association clauses.

It is true a corporation is a legal entity. But compare it to other legal entities. A contract is a legal entity. A tort is a legal entity. A free speech clause is a legal entity.

But a contract, a tort, or a free speech clause cannot be sued in a court of law. You'll never see the Supreme Court case, Smith v. Contract or Jones v. Tort.

So it's not enough to define a corporation as a legal entity and say that's all it is. Corporations do stuff. They sign contracts. They commit torts. They criticize the government.

Thus, the courts have created a legal fiction that corporations are people, so that they may have access to the legal system in order to sue and be sued.

Wouldn't it suck to try to sue a corporation and be told that you can only sue people?

Tim said...

roesch-voltaire said...

"So just where in the text does it say that corporations are people?"

The good news, in a "the glass is half full" sort of way, is that corporations at least enjoy abortion rights under Roe v. Wade.

sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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sorepaw said...
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Random Arrow said...

The issue – sorepaw – is what you wrote: “But there are issues on which Justice Thomas has schooled the rest of them.” I like Thomas generally. But I think that Thomas “schooled the rest of them” on how not to screw up in failing to report his spouse’s income. That’s a real precedent. The other ‘precedent’ for Thomas “school[ing] the rest of them” is that it doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court nor matter that “for more than 50 years, Federal courts practiced [in] judicial nullification of the 2nd Amendment” – because the American people kept purchasing and bearing firearms. And these Americans didn’t join the National Guard so they could bear arms. Thomas didn’t “school the rest of them” ordinary Americans who read the Constitution for themselves.

Sometimes, sorepaw, the American people are smarter than the Justices. But thanks for the technical-legal lecture.

“The rest of them” – the American people – didn’t need Thomas’s permission. Thomas gave formal voice to what Americans have been doing all along With or without “50 years of Federal court practice.” The idea wasn’t original to Thomas. Thomas wasn’t schooling anyone. Thomas was just close to ‘home.’

Saint Croix said...

The good news, in a "the glass is half full" sort of way, is that corporations at least enjoy abortion rights under Roe v. Wade.

It's pretty insane that our legal system so easily calls a corporation a person, but has difficulty seeing how a baby is one.

I jump all over Harry Blackmun here and here.

I rip Scalia one here and here.

Canuck said...

"and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect..."

yes - no civil or political rights. I did read the case. We disagree. This excerpt is about Dred Scott's right to standing -- his right to press the case.

Free blacks were defined as people under the various state legal codes. For example, states prosecuted people who murdered free African Americans.

Gary Rosen said...

"... the racism of Liberals like Random Arrow is totally unconscious."

*Everything* about liberals/left is totally unconscious. They are too stupid to know how stupid they are. There was a classic right here at Althouse just a few months ago: "Why are you wingnuts so insulting?"

Random Arrow said...

Gary Rosen, hilarious. The only thing unconscious are these stupid labels. I voted against Obama because I’m not ‘liberal.’ Which is true. But, I’m a liberal racist because I criticize Thomas for not being “best qualified” (Bush) and because Thomas is only “qualified” (ABA). Hilarious. I’d rather see Thomas as President than Obama. So now I’m an unconscious liberal racist!!!

These terms -- liberal and racist -- are dizzying!

It all makes sense! Hilarious.

Saint Croix said...

Free blacks were defined as people under the various state legal codes. For example, states prosecuted people who murdered free African Americans.

Yes, and a few African-Americans were actually slave owners in the U.S.

Neither of these facts speak to the racism in Taney's opinion. He is saying that black people are sub-human, that even if they are free they are not a part of the American people. His opinion suggests that the Constitution does not apply to black people, that they have no rights, that they are outside the law.

It's a racist opinion.

Look, the original Constitution doesn't mention "slavery" by name. It doesn't want to talk about it. Why not? Because a lot of Americans didn't like slavery, even in 1789, and they didn't want that word in our Constitution.

Taney's ignoring that history.

Yes, there were laws on the books that treated free black people as people, just like white people. Taney's ignoring those laws.

There are states that outlawed slavery. Which means if you brought a slave into that state, he became free. Thus it was illegal to bring a slave into a free state.

Taney ignores states rights. He ignores the 10th Amendment.

Taney is acting like a legal realist. He is stripping the Constitution of all its happy rhetoric. He is defining black people as sub-human. He is injecting his racism into the Constitution.

He is saying Dred Scott cannot be free.

He is saying that slave-owners can take their slaves into free states, and they are still slaves.

He is saying that a slave-owner can take his slave anywhere he wants, anywhere in the world, and that slave is still a slave.

He is finding an unenumerated right to own a slave, forever.

He is saying there can be no free states.

The opinion is basically inviting a Civil War. All it did was piss off every abolitionist who read it. How do you not get that? How do you read Dred Scott and say to yourself, "oh, he's just reading the law in an impartial manner." No he's not. He's a racist fuckwit.

Curious George said...

Wait, wasn't Thomas and his wife lynched a while back? What's all this hub-bub about?

Canuck said...

"He is finding an unenumerated right to own a slave, forever."

yes, I am quite aware that Taney is a racist, as you put it, "fuckwit." I agree.

I would also politely disagree and assert that he is not arguing that free and slave African Americans are not people. He is saying that they have no civil or political rights that the law must respect.

It is not an immediately obvious difference, but rather significant.

Dred Scott is asserting that he was not a slave and wants to due in court. It is, essentially, a habeus corpus case. Taney says that even free African Americans do not have standing to press a case.

Canuck said...

"How do you read Dred Scott and say to yourself, "oh, he's just reading the law in an impartial manner."

I do not believe that. He ignores the Northwest Ordinance, which is, of course, ridiculous.

Something to consider, however -- how would a textualist have interpreted the Constitution and the right to own slaves in that time period? Remember that people have inherited slaves and the Constituiton in the 3/5th ordinance has already implicitly acknowledged the legality of domestic slavery.

How would a strict textualist have viewed the right of the legislature to pass the Northwest Ordinance and restrict constitutionally protected property rights?

I can see this being argued both ways.

Saint Croix said...
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RonF said...

I think that the next few Presidents should refuse to nominate anyone to the Supreme Court who went to either Harvard or Yale Law Schools until such time as the graduates of those two schools comprise a minority of the court. Everyone wants to talk about having the Court represent the diversity of the U.S. but they forget that true diversity is not a diversity of skin color or sex or ethnic background; true diversity is diversity of thought.

Saint Croix said...
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Saint Croix said...

I would also politely disagree and assert that he is not arguing that free and slave African Americans are not people. He is saying that they have no civil or political rights that the law must respect.

So you can kill him? You can steal from him? You can rape him? You can do whatever you want to him, because he's outside the law?

How would a strict textualist have viewed the right of the legislature to pass the Northwest Ordinance and restrict constitutionally protected property rights?

Where is this absolute right to own a slave? Where is this right to take a slave into a free state, or into a free territory? There is no such right.

Where in the Constitution does it discuss the Negro race or the white race? It's not there.

Where in the Constitution is an African defined as subhuman? It's not there.

Where in the Constitution does it say that slaves are not persons? It says "person" and "person" and "person".

Taney is not a textualist. He's a legal realist who is going outside the Constitution and saying, "we're a racist society and this is how it is."