Are corporations people, too? Several recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have considered whether constitutional protections that are typically reserved for individuals also extend to corporations. While corporations are considered “persons” in a legal sense, a unanimous Court decided in FCC v. AT&T that this legal fiction does not entitle corporations to “personal” privacy rights under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Without delving into more controversial constitutional questions, Chief Justice Roberts reached this conclusion largely by analyzing the ordinary and legal usages of the words “person” and “personal.” This Comment examines the Court’s ruling and argues that while the Court answered a specific question regarding a corporation’s privacy rights in the context of FOIA, it missed a valuable opportunity to further clarify how constitutional rights apply to corporations. Indeed, despite the Court’s holding in FCC v. AT&T, more challenges to the idea of corporate personhood will likely follow.
Rethink “Personal”: AT&T and the Grammar Clamor at the Court,
45 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 499
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/llr/vol45/iss2/5