Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoughts on a corporate person's age

From: DH Eric Hensal

There is a great deal of internet traffic regarding the "age" of Murray Hill Inc. We understand that after the U.S. Supreme Court so strongly recognized corporate personhood, our political campaign is breaking new, and sometimes awkward, ground in how this personhood operates in a world biased towards bodied persons.

The age question is the most common brought against our effort. The U.S. Constitution requires a person be at least 25 years old to run for Congress. Murray Hill, our detractors say, is only a few years old, therefore, we cannot run for office. We would like to take this opportunity to discuss, briefly, how the rights recognized in the Citizens United decision are to be implemented in this anti-corporate climate.

The Supreme Court did not create a new class of corporate persons. Instead, the majority simply recognized that a person-under-the-law has two manifestations--bodied and corporate. What we are facing today is analogous to issues addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act--how to make the political process truly accessible to corporate persons in a way our founding fathers wanted us to have?

The constitution does not define how to calculate age, but simply states a minimum age. Corporations are not bodied persons because we are complete from day one and do not have a meaningful age in any way a bodied person would calculate. No infancy, no immaturity, no waiting until a corporation is 21 to buy beer. There is also no distinction between corporations on the basis of age, so a corporation does not ask an older corporation to buy beer on its behalf.

A reasonable accommodation for corporate persons is to get past this old-fashioned notion of birth as a starting point of age. It is a reasonable measure for bodied persons, but not one for corporate persons. This issue is sure to be litigated as those who hate corporations attack this inevitable expansion of civil rights fight to bar our rights as a corporate person. However, here are a few thoughts on how to measure corporate age.

One thought is that all corporations are as old as the statues they are incorporated under. This is an unbiased measure based on the law governing corporate structures. Another is to connect the corporate measured age to bodied persons within the corporation, such as the median age of the board of directors, or even simply, the age of the designated human.

Whatever the final metric is, we are confident it will be decided in our favor. Any bias we face in state and federal courts along our historic journey will surely be overturned by the Supreme Court. Murray Hill Inc. is supremely confident of this inevitable outcome.


  1. Two manifestations of personhood? That sounds a lot like religious doctrine. Next you'll be saying it's a trinity :-)

  2. technically wouldn't the two be "bodied" and "dis-corporate" or possibly "in-corporate"--which would be better and funnier...