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The Long, Obvious Path To Corporations Being People

We the Corporations jacket

The Citizens United decision, which ruled that the First Amendment allows corporations, unions and certain nonprofits to spend freely in support of political causes (though they can’t give directly to campaigns), has been called everything from a victory for free speech to a giveaway to multimillionaires. But whatever it was, it was the result of a long history of expanding corporate rights.

In his new book, “We the Corporations,” professor Adam Winkler argues that while racial minorities, women, gays and lesbians gained rights through both judicial victories as well protests, “corporate rights were won in courts of law.”

“Ronald McDonald and the Pillsbury Doughboy never marched on Washington or protested down Main Street with signs demanding equal rights for corporations,” he writes. Instead, judges and legislators expanded corporate rights through laws and constitutional interpretations.

We’ll talk to Winkler about how the nation went from “All men are created equal” to “Corporations are people, my friend”.


Adam Winkler, Author of “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights” and “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America;” constitutional law professor at UCLA; @adamwinkler

Edward Walker, Associate professor of sociology, UCLA; @edwardwalker

Caleb Burns, Partner, Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice

Stephen Spaulding, Chief of strategy and external affairs, Common Cause; @SteveESpaulding

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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