February 09, 2010
Incorporated Americans
Posted by Erik Gerding

A friend of mine sent me this cartoon on Citizens United. (I’ll leave you to decide if my friend is more real than the Canadian girlfriend I had in high school; she had trouble getting a visa, so didn’t make it down to New Jersey all that much).

This got us thinking – what should we call corporations now that the Supreme Court has recognized their First Amendment rights to participate in the democratic process?  “Non-natural person Americans” sounds divisive.

At first, I liked “Corporate Americans” or “Incorporated Americans.” But this excludes all those LLCs, LPs, LLPs, LLLPs who also have free speech rights. I tried out “Incorporated and Unincorporated Americans.” Too cumbersome. Forget about "Corporate and Uncorporate...": Larry Ribstein might insist on royalties

“Business Association Americans” frankly sounds ridiculous. So does “Business Entity Americans.” Plus an entity doesn’t need to be a private sector business to have First Amendment rights. Otherwise, that would silence all our major banks and investment banks.

Here is the genius idea my friend came up with: “Americans who experience limited liability.” What about general partnerships you ask? Or entities who have their veil pierced? My response: don’t you have something better to do?

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