Examples Of Corporate Personhood Essay

One of the biggest yet most overshadowed issues or arguments of today in the business world is probably Corporate Personhood. Observing many cases that rule in favor of corporate personhood, history reveals that the problem derives from times as early as the 1800s. Looking at the Constitution, the document that grants rights to all people recognized by the American government, does not officially mention anything specifically on what corporations are permitted to do under the law. Which leaves the courts to determine what rights corporations have and which ones will be permitted to have those certain rights.

Even the classification of what a corporation is can be a little vague in itself, going from examples such as massive worldwide selling companies like Coca-Cola, NAACP, The National Rifle Association, and even small churches and local nonprofit organizations. So that just makes it even more difficult to determine which firms are allowed to do what in the eyes of the law. In the case called City of Los Angeles v. Patel it was up to the Supreme Court Justices to decide on whether one of the Los Angeles statutes was constitutional or not.

This case, among the Hobby Lobby case involving employee supplied birth control, and the Citizens United case involving public political expenditures, in regards to recent Corporate Personhood cases, was one of less popularity. The issue was when the Los Angeles Municipal Code broke the law, by establishing an unconstitutional statute that allowed the Police Department to perform warrantless searches in motels being managed by the Patels.

Two people named Naranjibhai and Ramilaben Patel run quite few motels in Los Angeles, and the two business owners are required by law according to the LAMC to keep records about the guests that check into their motels. That part of the regulation alone is completely fine and stays within constitutional range. Although when it comes to the second part of the law, which allows the police to conduct warrantless searches and seize any of the collected motel records at any time, it becomes unlawful. So in noticing this issue clashing with the motel regulations, the Patels decide to file a suit claiming that their business’ Fourth Amendment rights were being broken.

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution specifically states that it is “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ” The entire goal of this Amendment was to protect people in keeping their privacy, and not be subjected to arbitrary governmental intrusions.

To simply be able to stand within the protection of this Amendment there must be an established expectation of privacy, which cannot just be subjective. The established expectation of privacy must be societally accepted and seen as reasonable. This exact case does not actually have anything to do with these facts, and this case is actually consistent in respects to these arguments, but the issues actually lie with the simple fact that motels/ businesses/ firms/ corporations/ buildings, are not technically actual “people”, so technically they should not be guarded under this Amendment.

The argument with the whole case stands not for the reason that the law made by the LAMC was not judicially reviewed, but because a business itself is able to claim Fourth Amendment Rights. None of the owner’s personal rights were violated in this case, but they were able to take the issue to the highest court in the United States because their business’s “rights” were. On one hand, the Patels side is relevant because firms such as the police cannot just freely inspect everything they feel fit, and if they can, it can slide into a slippery slope of unlawful along with unethical searches and pursuits.

On the other hand, because the Fourth Amendment specifically states that it protects “people” from becoming insecure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, etc. , and technically speaking, a business is not a person, it is easy to say that the Patels shouldn’t have the right to claim protection under that. In my opinion, I am against the fact that corporations are classified as people under the law. Although taking a personal stance on this case is a bit difficult for me to do. That is most likely because I can see both sides being problematic in themselves.

Simply, city laws cannot be relevant without being approved, and they cannot attempt to break the rights that people are entitled to. I will just be mostly neutral standing on this case for the reason that ethically both sides make relevant sense to me. At the end of the case ruling the Supreme Court concluded in a 5-4 decision that the statute could not stand and was in fact unconstitutional. This ruling was mainly decided on the fact that the law was not first passed through judicial reviewing.

Without the judicial review, no new laws or bills can be passed or governmentally recognized. It is hard to know for sure what the Supreme Court would do if the law had been judicially reviewed, approved and ratified, and it still had been tried by the Patels. Looking again at other cases based around the rights of corporations and corporate personhood, it seems as if the business would still be in favor, as corporations are apparently governmentally considered to be people. This creates a lot of issues and was the basis of this case.