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Standing Up for Corporations
By Martin S. Pinales
President's Column columns.
Corporations are people, too.
This statement holds truth in some obvious ways. Corporations are merely organizations made up of the people who own them and work for them; corporate entities are often popularly identified with their chiefs (Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca); and corporations are described as being healthy, robust, weak, ailing, fleet, or sluggish. By the same token, corporations can be, and have been, “villainized” into lead characters in any number of historical tragedies (Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska; Union Carbide in Bhopal; even whole industries, like tobacco).
It is not an obvious proposition, though, that corporations can and should receive the same constitutional protections as you and I do as individual citizens. In terms of criminal law and procedure, corporations have fewer protections than individuals. For example, a corporation has no Fifth Amendment right not to testify against itself. Further, beginning with a 1909 Supreme Court case, corporations have vicari
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