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The Boston Globe



As it happens, Citizens United does have a connection to slave history

I did not read Representative Edward J. Markey’s comments about the Dred Scott and Citizens United Supreme Court decisions as equating the horrible evil of slavery with the distorting effects of unlimited third-party campaign spending on elections (“Edward Markey holds firm on his analogy to slavery ruling,” Feb. 21). Instead, I understood the remarks to suggest only that both decisions imperiled basic rights of citizenship, including the fundamental right to self-determination.

It is worth adding that there is an important, if ironic, legal connection between the two cases. Citizens United built on the court’s 1886 decision that effectively extended to corporations the rights of persons as established by the 14th Amendment, the constitutional provision passed to guarantee citizenship rights to African-Americans following the abolition of slavery.

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