Is a corporation a person or property?

There's a level-headed reporter at the Center for Investigative Journalism named Dan Noyes. He's written a fantastic piece at Salon about Harriet Miers -- and her religious beliefs, abortion beliefs, Bush beliefs, get no mention. As they shouldn't. The real thing here is that Miers is going to be a ferocious cheerleader for the corporate state:


One thing Miers has left clear in an otherwise thin paper trail is that she built her career on defending large corporations. She did her best to fend off class-action lawsuits by angry consumers claiming to be ripped off by Microsoft, the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, and former mortgage industry giant Lomas & Nettleton. She also has experience with the delights of contract conflicts and other tiffs between companies. Though President Bush singled out other accomplishments while announcing her nomination, Miers has been a board member of Dallas' Better Business Bureau and the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Her past campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans (the lion's share to Republicans) may befuddle ideologues -- but they undoubtedly make sense to big business, which often likes to play both sides of the aisle....
Whether the Senate judiciary committee will wrest substantive answers from Miers during hearings remains to be seen, but the clearest indication of her legal outlook, at least for now, lies with the cases she tried for her corporate clients. When car buyers sued the Texas Automobile Dealers Association and hundreds of dealers in 1997, claiming dealers were fixing prices, breaking antitrust laws and ripping them off by passing on a state tax to customers, Miers stuck up for the car dealers.
A quick revisit to the recent history of John Roberts' nomination in the Senate judicial committee shows that the "liberals" were more abortion-focused than the social conservatives who have abandoned the New Deal coalition for more cultural pastures. This time around let Sam Brownback do the barometric questioning on the nominee's Roe v. Wade position (his best with Roberts was "Is a fetus a person or is it property?") -- if she says something nuts, then pursue it. Otherwise, just ask her about Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad and have her answer the question this country is literally dying over: Is a corporation a person or property?
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