Corporations are people? It's a real legal concept

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Associated Press

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 5:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 3 at 5:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — These are boom times for the concept of "corporate personhood."

Mitt Romney got mocked during the 2012 presidential campaign for suggesting that corporations are people.

But it turns out the principle has been lurking in U.S. law for more than a century, and the Supreme Court gave it more oomph this week.

The court ruled that certain businesses are entitled to exercise religious rights, just as people do.

Four years earlier, the corporations-as-people idea got another big boost when the court voted to expand the free speech rights of businesses and labor unions.

In that ruling, the court struck down limits on political spending by corporations and unions.

The rulings have triggered renewed debate over the idea of treating corporations like people.

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