Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company is well-known as the Supreme Court case that established corporate personhood, the legal notion that a corporation, separate from its associated human beings, has some of the legal rights enjoyed by natural persons including Constitutional rights.
In practice, the Supreme Court has used the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to guarantee some of the most fundamental rights and liberties we enjoy today. It protects individuals (or corporations ) from infringement by the states as well as the federal government. In Griswold v.
In effect, the U.S. Supreme Court had granted the attribute of personhood to the corporation ; as a result, corporations enjoy the same rights as ordinary people . Yet corporations do not behave as persons , and lack many defining characteristics of biological persons .
To this day, the Supreme Court has been of at least two minds when it comes to corporations —they are treated as “persons” who are covered by the Equal Protection Clause (and Contracts Clause among others), but they are excluded from the definition of “citizens” under the Comity Clause.
In the United States and most countries, corporations , as legal persons, have a right to enter into contracts with other parties and to sue or be sued in court in the same way as natural persons or unincorporated associations of persons.
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868, granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States—including former slaves—and guaranteed all citizens “equal protection of the laws.” One of three amendments passed during the Reconstruction era to abolish slavery and establish
The 14th Amendment established citizenship rights for the first time and equal protection to former slaves, laying the foundation for how we understand these ideals today . It is the most relevant amendment to Americans’ lives today .
Corporations cannot have exactly the same rights as individuals , nor should they. Even as he explained the traditional view that a corporation is a kind of legal person, Hamilton acknowledged that certain kinds of legal rights cannot attach to such a person.
Corporations must be treated as corporations , for many purposes, in order to preserve the rights and protect the interests of the persons involved with them. Owners, customers, employees, and creditors would all be worse off if corporations were not treated by courts as persons .
A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. 1 Corporations enjoy most of the rights and responsibilities that individuals possess: they can enter contracts, loan and borrow money, sue and be sued, hire employees, own assets, and pay taxes. Some refer to it as a ” legal person .”
The 14th Amendment contained three major provisions: The Citizenship Clause granted citizenship to All persons born or naturalized in the United States. The Due Process Clause declared that states may not deny any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law .”
The major provision of the 14th amendment was to grant citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States,” thereby granting citizenship to former slaves . Not only did the 14th amendment fail to extend the Bill of Rights to the states; it also failed to protect the rights of black citizens.
—The Fourteenth Amendment , by its terms, limits discrimination only by governmental entities, not by private parties.
By considering a corporation to be a sort of artificial person , a company gains legal standing. A corporation can bring a lawsuit or be sued, for example. Limited Liability: The corporate entity is legally responsible for debts and other responsibilities. Individual shareholders are shielded from such responsibility.
Another example of the distinction between natural and legal persons is that a natural person can hold public office, but a corporation cannot. A corporation or non-governmental organization can, however, file a lawsuit or own property as a legal person .
A corporation is a legal entity that is created to conduct business . Like a person , the corporation can be taxed and can be held legally liable for its actions. The corporation can also make a profit. The key benefit of corporate status is the avoidance of personal liability.