Earlier this week, the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George, wrote the following in a letter to Chicago priests:
"Civil laws that establish same-sex marriage' create a legal fiction [..] The state has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible."
The first thought I had as I read the cardinal's statement was that The Catholic Bishop of Chicago is a corporation. A corporation is definitely a legal fiction, and wouldn't nature tell us that corporate personhood is impossible? Yet, impossibly, the state created the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, A Corporation Sole.
I could riff on these thoughts at length, but it isn't my intention to start a discussion of the Catholic Church and same-sex marriage. It's just that I was reminded of my thoughts about the cardinal's statement and corporate personhood while reading a post by Jonathan Turley.
Professor Turley writes about a California man who was determined to get a traffic ticket for driving in the carpool lane without passengers. His planned defense? A corporation was on board and corporations are people.
Mr. Frieman was pulled over for driving alone in the carpool lane. He argued to the officer that he did actually have a passenger. In the form of articles of incorporation. Upset (and reasonably so) over the Citizens United ruling, Frieman says he had been trying for years to get pulled over, ticketed and get a chance to take his argument to court that corporations and people are not the same. His mission was accomplished in October when he was pulled over for driving alone in an HOV lane, ticketed and slapped with a $481 minimum fine.
It’s a common sense argument based in the reality that corporations are a legal fiction and not a real person. We’ve seen this argument in play here and in other media since the controversial – many if not most might say ridiculously bad – decision of Citizens United was rendered in 2010. But will it work in traffic court?
Professor Turley doesn't think the argument will fly.
Mr. Frieman has also written an article explaining his argument.