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The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

Ronald J. Colombo

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199335671
Published online November 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199361915 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199335671.001.0001
The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The role of the business corporation in modern society is a controversial one. Some fear and object to the use of corporate power and influence over governments, legislation, and culture. Others view the corporation as an opportunity to harness the private initiative of like-minded individuals to further important goals and objectives in common. A flashpoint in this controversy has been the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as evidenced by the U.S. Supreme Court cases Citizens United (2010) and Hobby Lobby (2014). For the extent to which a corporation can avail itself of the First Amendment's rights to freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and freedom of association goes a long way in defining the corporation's role. Those who oppose corporate influence over society and politics wish to see these rights restricted; those who champion the corporation's ability to serve as a vehicle of collective human action and expression wish to see these rights recognized. Fortunately, a path forward that honors the concerns of each perspective can be found. It lies in the simple realization that profound, constitutionally relevant differences exist among corporate enterprises. Critically, some corporations are genuine communities, “associations” as Alexis de Tocqueville used that term. A denial of First Amendment freedoms to these corporations is tantamount to an infringement of individual liberty, because it is through such corporations that certain individuals choose to express themselves and, at times, exercise their religious liberty. For other corporations, application of First Amendment rights would be unnecessary if not dangerous.

Keywords: First Amendment; corporation; association; Alexis de Tocqueville; free exercise; religious liberty; freedom of speech; Citizens United case; Hobby Lobby case; postmodern corporation

Book.  256 pages. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; Company and Commercial Law

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Table of Contents

Associations and Freedom in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The Modern Business Corporation in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The Postmodern Corporation in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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Corporate Personhood, Rights, and Responsibilities in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The First Amendment in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The First Amendment in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The First Amendment in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The First Amendment in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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A Taxonomy of the Corporation in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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The Problem of Discrimination in The First Amendment and the Business Corporation

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