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Anorak | There’s a reason companies are people: The ACLU v NSA proves it

There’s a reason companies are people: The ACLU v NSA proves it

by | 27th, June 2013

THERE much spluttering around about the fact that companies are people. However, there’s a damned good reason that they are: if they weren’t we couldn’t sue them. And we like  being able to sue companies when they stuff up or rip us off.

This particular example is more about the US than UK but the principle still stands:

If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed. ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”

Agreed that the ACLU is not a company: but it is an organisation, as are companies. And if the ACLU is an organisation but not a person then it cannot actually file any lawsuits. Because that’s one of the definitions of being a “person”. That you have the right to file lawsuits: and in turn, have them filed against you.

The distinction is between a “natural person”, which is a human being, and a “legal person”, which is someone or something which is not a human being but has the status of being allowed to go to law. That’s the whole point of the idea: that an organisation can turn up in court and file a suit: or again, have one filed against it.

Which means that all those howling about how companies should not be people are actually arguing that we shouldn’t be allowed to sue a company that has screwed up or ripped us off. Because if they’re not a legal person then we’re not allowed to sue them: because that very definition is that if they’re not a legal person then they can’t be sued. You can no more sue a “not a person” than you can sue my cat.

And that’s why compaies are people. So we can sue them.



Posted: 27th, June 2013 | In: Money Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink