We trust that AT&T will not take it personally
Part of an e-mail from Beverly Mann on additional expansion of corporate personhood concept at the Supreme Court:
I agree that, as the article at Raw Story says, the decision is a striking contrast to the court’s ruling in Citizens United, which upended decades of campaign finance regulation, allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns without having to identify themselves.
Some commentators are amused by the last sentence of the final paragraph of Roberts’ opinion in the case. The paragraph reads:
We reject the argument that because “person” is defined for purposes of FOIA to include a corporation, the phrase “personal privacy” in Exemption 7(C) reaches corporations as well. The protection in FOIA against disclosure of law enforcement information on the ground that it would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy does not extend to corporations. We trust that AT&T will not take it personally.
The line strikes me as a nod to a hilarious Supreme Court Dispatch article that Dahlia Lithwick wrote in Slate, reporting on the oral argument in the case in January, in which she treated AT&T as an actual human and said “he” was in court that day to watch the argument.
But there’s really no mistaking that Roberts and some of the others are feeling burned by the massive criticism of the Citizens United opinion last year.
This decision makes me wonder what makes corporations human enough to benefit from Ist Amendment protections but not sufficiently human to possess a right to privacy? Splitting hairs doesn’t touch it. NancyO