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Corporations Are People, Too (And They Should Act Like It)

BC Law professor Kent Greenfield’s latest book delves deep into the debate that began with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, where the court found that corporations can claim the same free speech rights as humans. In Corporations Are People, Too (And They Should Act Like It) (Yale University Press, October 2018), Greenfield asks whether corporations should be treated as people. His answer? Sometimes.

The reason for his answer lies in the complex range of rights claimed by human beings, from religious freedom to due process to property. He argues that while some make little sense–such as the right to vote or the right to serve on juries–others are essential to run a business. Greenfield explores both sides of the discussion, and argues that the resistance to granting (at least some of) the rights of personhood to businesses is misguided. The problem with Citizens United, he says, is not that corporations have a right to speak, but for whom they speak. The solution is not to end corporate personhood but to require corporations to act more like citizens.

Greenfield will hold a reading and signing event at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA on October 16 at 7 pm.

Kent Greenfield is a professor of law, a former Supreme Court clerk, and an expert in constitutional and corporate law. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and on CNN. He lives in Cambridge, MA. Full bio

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