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The First Amendment and the Business Corporation$
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Ronald J. Colombo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199335671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199335671.001.0001

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Corporate Personhood, Rights, and Responsibilities

Corporate Personhood, Rights, and Responsibilities

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter 4 Corporate Personhood, Rights, and Responsibilities
Source:
The First Amendment and the Business Corporation
Author(s):

Ronald J. Colombo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199335671.003.0005

As a predicate to exploring the book's associational approach to corporate constitutional rights, chapter 4 sets forth the prevailing approach. Currently, corporate constitutional rights are based on the concept of corporate personhood. This concept has deep roots in the history of the corporation, but received its most profound constitutional status in the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara Corp. v. South Pacific Railroad. Corporations have accumulated a robust set of constitutionally recognized rights since Santa Clara, including, most recently, freedom of speech. Unfortunately, this accumulation has proceeded without much regard to corporate theory, establishing a largely untheorized regime of corporate constitutional rights. One consequence of this is that the important phenomenon of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which ought to bear upon the question of corporate constitutional rights, has not generally been part of the constitutional discussion. This contravenes the perennial linkage between rights and responsibilities.

Keywords:   corporate personhood, corporate constitutional rights, Santa Clara case, corporate social responsibility, CSR

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