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letters | debating citizens united

‘Corporations are people’ notion is misplaced

Jim Leach’s critique of the Citizens United court decision leaves me with the impression that he has read neither the decision nor the First Amendment (“Democracy for sale,” Op-ed, Oct. 14).

Contrary to Leach’s claims, the court did not rule in Citizens United that corporations are people. It noted that corporations are associations of people. It also noted that the First Amendment, which allows the people “peaceably to assemble,” has always allowed groups of people to engage in political activity.

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A quick reading of the First Amendment, however, reveals that it wouldn’t matter whether a corporation is legally a person or not. The amendment says that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” The amendment does not grant a right of free speech to individuals; it prohibits Congress from restricting any speech.

Finally, it’s ironic that Leach should complain about corporate political speech on pages that are filled every day with the political opinions of a newspaper corporation.

Bob Alexander

Bedford

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