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Are corporations and people the same in Maryland?

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court went in favor of the corporation Hobby Lobby, giving it some rights under the Constitution that would usually be retained for individuals. One of the justices on the Supreme Court said that the reason for this was basically that the corporation's rights needed to reach to the point where the owner's rights were being respected. Therefore, the rights that the owners had in relation to their religious views had to be given to the family-owned business that they started.

This raises a very interesting question about the state of businesses in Maryland and elsewhere, at least as they are viewed under the law. Are they actually supposed to be the same thing?

The way that they have been looked at over the years has changed. At times, it has seemed like the corporations were being looked at as people almost in their own right; in fact, a record from 1819 referred to the fact that the corporation was not a tangible thing, but just something made under current laws, and so it said that the corporation therefore could hold the properties that those who created it gave to it.

The ruling for Hobby Lobby seems to fall into line with this view.

However, the government has been quiet intrusive in the way that regulations are carried out at other times, such as when the New Deal went into effect. Business owners in Maryland should be very interested in this ruling and the impact that it will have on business litigation in the future, as it could limit the amount of intrusion that the government is entitled to, meaning that the government will have less control.

Source: Constitution Daily, "Constitution Check: Are corporations the same as the people who own them?", July 1, 2014

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