The Legal Position of Corporations, and Why Corporations are Citizens in the Eyes of the Law:
There is a lot of confusion going around the internet about corporations and their status in the eyes of the law. It appears that this recent uproar came about May of 2013 when Hobby Lobby sued over Federal requirements for mandatory healthcare. After searching back through this “news” I have noticed a lot of misunderstanding and misperception in regards to a corporations or buisenss legal statues. The only case where I can find a corporation being considered people is during Mitt Romney’s speeches, and his thoughts on the matter are far from the truth and it all has to do with wording. To comprehend why a business is a citizen but not a people we need to look at some definitions.
Businesses and corporations are citizens, some people are citizens as well, or in fact nowadays most people. A citizen is a a “legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.” A legally recognized subject meaning subject to the jurisdiction of a higher authority, this jurisdiction may be imposed by force or just misinformation. We can also look at the definition of citizen found in the US Constitution, according to the 14th amendment we see a citizen is a person born or naturalized to the US and is subject to the jurisdiction. The 14th amendment clearly defines the citizen as being subject to the jurisdiction of the US.
A corporation created by and transacting business in a state is to be deemed an inhabitant of the state, capable of being treated as a citizen for all purposes of suing and being sued, and an averment of the facts of its creation and the place of transacting business is sufficient to give the circuit courts jurisdiction.
–Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston R. Co. v. Letson 43 U.S. 497 (1844)
A corporation or business is seen in the eyes of the law as a citizen or a person, this fact, establishes the governments control or jurisdiction over these entities. Without the recognition of a corporation as a citizen the government could hold no authority over them. Corporations however are not people, the people created the constitution, the government and breath life into the various states. The people command the government on behalf of their state to maintain dominion over the citizens, this includes corporations, business and persons. Without such limitation of business we would not have nearly as much control over a business that commits public wrongs as we do when they are titled as citizens.
People seem to take the recognition as corporations as citizens to mean that they are above the law or somehow above the people, this is simply untrue. In fact, quite nearly the opposite is the case, the recognition as an entity as a citizen makes it subject to the jurisdiction of the US government. Some people also make the claim that corporations are people, but this language is no where to be found because it is not a fact, and is a misinterpretation of the definitions. There is no law claiming a corporation to be a people.
It makes sense that a corporation is a person or citizen, and it also makes sense that they will make actions to acquire rights for themselves similar to those of the people that run them. A citizen is a subject of the jurisdiction of a higher authority, a US citizen is subject to the authority of the US government. A corporation being recognized as a citizen is a LIMITATION and not a benefit. If a corporation were not a citizen it would not be subject to the jurisdiction of our governments authority.
Corporations are citizens for a very good reason, if they were not citizens it could be more difficult to punish them for the crimes they commit. Look into the law before getting heated about a decision made in a court of law. State courts often violate the rights of the people, however the Supreme Court rarely does so, in fact they usually go above and beyond and ensure that rights are protected that were not even introduced in an individual case. If someone’s rights appear to be violated or the rights of the people diminished, it is important to study the wording of the law and the definitions of the words, often times a law may not mean what it immediately appears to mean, as some people use emotions to get us involved in the case, yet the emotions conveyed blind us to the truth.