The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week, which apparently makes it ok for corporations to put big money into elections, is tied up in the longstanding legal notion of corporate personhood. This means that, for purposes of legal convenience, the law treats a corporation as if it was an actual person instead of a group of hundreds, or thousands, of investors, officers, employees, and customers. This legal principle allows, among other things, corporations to be charged with crimes, be sued in court, or to sue others in court, as if it was a single legal entity.
Now comes Ezra Klein, writing in the Washington Post, who immediately gets to the heart of the matter:
“If corporations are persons, they are — if they behave as Milton Friedman wanted them to — persons with mental and emotional impairments so severe that any decent judge would feel entirely justified in declaring them incompetent.”