Monday, January 25, 2010
First, Kevin's post is very thoughtful, and I endorse nearly all of it, but I'd hesitate before adopting the view that the goods that corporations will promote through their political speech are any more likely to be "material, consumerist, and sensuous goods, ones fit for economic growth, but not fit for living authentic, effective human lives." It would be possible to overstate natural persons' tendency to engage in political speech for other-regarding ends, and it would be possible to understand the extent to which corporations can, and do, promote public, or general interests through their political speech. Also, it is crucial to recall that the laws at issue in Citzens United did not apply only to for-profit corporations, but also to groups that, we might think, exist in order to promote the common good (as they understand it). Much of the criticism of the decision has overlooked (or ignored) this fact.
Second, we have heard, in much of the criticism of the decisions, the mantra that "corporations are not people and only people have First Amendment rights." I am inclined to think that Catholic legal theorists should reject the latter half of this claim. Thoughts?
As an experiment . . . comments are open.