Mistake # 1 of many in the article:
"The idea of 'corporations as persons' though, all started because of a headnote mistake in the 1886 case of Santa Clara County v. Pacific Railroad Co, 113, U.S. 394
While it is true that Santa Clara is the first time the Supreme Court reports mention corporate personality, the idea of corporate personhood is much older. Blackstone's Commentaries described corporations as "articial [i.e., artificial] persons" and relied on even earlier sources in doing so. Canon law, for example, likewise treated corporations as persons--fictional to be sure, but still persons.
Mistake # 2:
... other nations don't employ this "fiction", yet they've found ways to cope with these challenges.
In fact, corporate personhood is widely recognized in legal systems around the world. "The 20th century has witnessed the evolving role of the corporation as an artificial legal person under international law...." Cynthia Day, 84 Am. J. Int'l L. 799 (1990). "International human rights law provides a basis for corporate legal personality." Lucien J. Dhooge, Human Rights for Transnational Corporations, 16 J. Transnat'l L. & Pol'y 197, 208 (2007).
Corporate legal personality is well-established in national legal systems outside of the United States. For example, corporate personality is accepted throughout common law systems. Corporate personality dates back to the late nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. In Salomon v. Salomon & Company, the House of Lords established the principle that a company was a separate legal person from its creator and controlling shareholder and was not merely such person's agent. ... Other common law jurisdictions have followed the holding in Salomon in their legislation and judicial precedents.
Recognition of separate corporate personality is not restricted to the common law tradition. European law also recognizes separate corporate personality. ...
Separate personality is also a principal feature of Asian legal systems. Corporations have separate legal personality and resultant rights in the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. ...
Latin and South American legal systems also recognize corporate personality....
Lucien J. Dhooge, Human Rights for Transnational Corporations, 16 J. Transnat'l L. & Pol'y 197 (2007).
Back to Dvorsky for another misstatement:
By living in a world of make-believe, courts have extended other rights to corporations beyond those necessary.
Says who? That's opinion, not fact.
Mistake # 3:
Here's what Judge O'Dell-Seneca said last year in the Hallowich v Range case:
Corporations, companies and partnership have no spiritual nature, feelings, intellect, beliefs, thoughts, emotions or sensations because they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists...They cannot be 'let alone' by government because businesses are but grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of this Commonwealth raise, tend and prune at their pleasure and need.
Sigh. Once again the concession theory raises its damnably ugly head. The concession theory is commonly traced to Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion in Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 518 (1819), which held that “[a] corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” Id. at 636. Subsequent commentators understood Dartmouth College as establishing “the idea that corporations are created and empowered as a ‘concession’ from the state political authority.” Eric W. Orts, Beyond Shareholders: Interpreting Corporate Constituency Statutes, 61 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 14, 68 (1992). But it has been over half-a-century since corporate legal theory, of any political or economic stripe, took the concession theory seriously. William W. Bratton, Jr., The “Nexus of Contracts” Corporation: A Critical Appraisal, 74 Cornell L. Rev. 407, 433-36 (1989).
Back to Dvorsky for a sleight of hand:
Similarly, solicitor general Elena Kagan has warned against expanding the notion of corporate personhood. In 2009 she said: "Few of us are only our economic interests. We have beliefs. We have convictions. [Corporations] engage the political process in an entirely different way, and this is what makes them so much more damaging."
But we know that what has Dvorsky up in arms is the Hobby Lobby decision, in which the Court recognized a corporation's personhood in order to vindicate the rights of its owners to believe the way they choose rather than as the government tells them. So he's invoking Kagan to justify punishing people for exercising their beliefs, which seems odd at best.
Back to Dvorsky for another oddity:
I asked MacDonald Glenn if the concept of corporate personhood is demeaning or damaging to bona fide persons, particularly women.
"It's about sentience — the ability to feel pleasure and pain," she responded. "Corporate personhood emphasizes profits, property, assets. It should be noted that corporations were given legal status as persons before women were."
You will have guessed where he's going with that move. Right, to say that women should have the right to abort unborn persons (he dismissed fetal personhood as "crazy").
In sum, this is a series of factual misrepresentations, misstatements, sleights of hand, and so on deployed to advance a political cause. And a pretty awful one at that, as it's a political world view that is statist, secularist, and anti-life.