Real Politik has already dedicated an entire article to criticizing the flawed logic that led to the Supreme Court's now-infamous Citizens United ruling. During Citizens United, the court channeled its inner Mitt Romney by ruling that corporations are people and that political advertising is the same as political speech. Therefore any limits placed on political advertising violate corporations' First Amendment rights and are unconstitutional.
Fast forward to 2014. The court is now weighing whether corporations can have religious beliefs, and if those religious beliefs should be protected by the First Amendment. The case was brought on by lawsuits from private-sector corporations - most famously Hobby Lobby - that are owned by religious Christians who are opposed to covering drugs, treatments and medical procedures that run contrary to their religious beliefs on contraception, birth control and the like, but are mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Several other editorial boards and columnists have weighed in on the misguided premise of granting corporations religious rights. For example, why would a corporation's religious views supersede those of its employees - who actually are people? What happens when a corporation decides that blood transfusions and other more mainstream medical procedures violate its religious liberty?
While these arguments have merit, they ignore the elephant in the room: The idea that "Corporations are People My Friend" is completely absurd.
Corporations are legal business entities. Humans are a member of the animal species that has evolved to the top of the food chain. One is plainly different from the other and our laws need to reflect that indisputable fact.
Yet, it seems that the "Corporations are People My Friend" school of thought continues to gain momentum within our highest court.
Your writer would like to alleviate this confusion by proposing a basic three-part test the judges can apply to determine if something is a corporation or an actual person. It is called the BFS Test, which stands for beer, fishing and sex.
Part One: Can you drink a beer with it?
If you can drink a beer with the entity in question, then you are dealing with a person, not a corporation. While corporations can market beer and own taverns, they cannot sit down and have a drink with you. Only a person can do that.
Part Two: Can you go fishing with it?
If you can go fishing with the entity in question, you are dealing with a person, not a corporation. While corporations can produce boats and fishing equipment, they cannot actually sit on a boat with you and catch a fish. Only a person can do that.
Part Three: Can you have sex with it?
If you can consummate the physical act of love with the entity in question, you are dealing with a person, not a corporation. While corporations can own match-making services, social gathering places (see test question No. 1), dating websites and produce a variety of bedroom party favors, you cannot actually have sex with corporations. You need a real person for that.
A seemingly logical conclusion
The BFS test does not seek to place a value judgement on corporations. Real Politik believes that corporations can use their resources for good and for ill, and, like people, most choose the former. However, there needs to be a fundamental shift with regard to how corporations are treated under the law.
Corporations are not people my friend. They do not deserve to be granted religious rights.
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