The 2010 Citizens United ruling has been widely reviewed from the lens of legal precedent. In this critique, the author suggests the need to examine the logic and effects of the ruling from a historical, philosophical, and linguistic perspective. He challenges the Court's basis for providing inanimate entities First Amendment protection to “invest” in politics by equating corporations with individuals and money with speech. He holds that Citizens United employs parallel logic to the syllogism embedded in the most repugnant ruling the Court ever made, the 1857 Dred Scott decision. To justify slavery, the Court in Dred Scott defined a class of human beings as private property. To magnify corporate power a century-and-ahalf later, it defines a class of private property (corporations) as people. The effect is to undercut the democratic basis of American governance.

This content is only available as a PDF.