Wow! Supreme Court Says AT&T is not a person!

Jump to Last Post 1-7 of 7 discussions (9 posts)
  1. Mighty Mom profile image82
    Mighty Momposted 7 years ago

    Source: The Hill

    Since this article is not long I decided to post the whole thing. Man, those SCOTUS justices have a tough job, don't they!

    Supreme Court finds AT&T isn't a person
    By Sara Jerome - 03/01/11 12:44 PM ET
     
    After checking into it, the Supreme Court has concluded that AT&T is not a person.

    The justices unanimously rejected an argument by AT&T in a decision handed down on Tuesday. They ruled that corporations do not meet the "personal privacy" standard in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    The provision prevents the government from releasing certain documents about individuals in response to FOIA requests.

    The opinion reverses a decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which came down on AT&T's side in a surprise to legal observers. AT&T had essentially argued that it has the legal status of a person on this issue, and therefore its documents should not be made public.

    Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (Vt.) immediately hailed Tuesday's decision. He said the American people (as in, not you, AT&T) "have good reason to cheer" the result.

    "The Supreme Court’s well-reasoned decision is a timely boost that will help ensure FOIA remains a vibrant and meaningful safeguard for the American people’s right to know," Leahy said.

    The decision is not a huge surprise because the justices had revealed a strong skepticism about AT&T's stance during oral arguments.

    Part of the company's argument surrounded a mention of "person" in the statute, which was defined to include other entities and corporations. That suggests "personal privacy" should also extend to corporations, the argument went.

    Chief Justice John Roberts made that sound laughable during oral arguments. Here is what he said:

    "I tried to sit down and come up with other examples where the adjective was very different from the root noun. It turns out it is not hard at all. You have craft and crafty. Totally different. Crafty doesn't have much to do with craft. Squirrel, squirrely. Right? I mean, pastor -- you have a pastor and pastoral. Same root, totally different."

  2. knolyourself profile image60
    knolyourselfposted 7 years ago

    I'm confused. This is a corporation appointed court or not?
    "In the United States, corporations were recognized as having rights to contract, and to have those contracts honored the same as contracts entered into by natural persons, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, decided in 1819. In the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, the Supreme Court recognized that corporations were recognized as persons for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment."
    Does this still apply or not?

  3. Mighty Mom profile image82
    Mighty Momposted 7 years ago

    Hmmm. Well, given that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals finding in favor of AT&T came as a surprise to legal observers AND that this is the SCOTUS and it UNANIMOUSLY decided that AT&T is NOT a person... then it must be correct.
    The ruling is only with respect to treatment of corporations vis a vis the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
    I'm not a legal observer or scholar, but what I take this to mean is that AT&T cannot hide behind its corporate status to have its information protected by FOIA.

  4. knolyourself profile image60
    knolyourselfposted 7 years ago

    Still a person, just can't hide from the freedom of information act, I take it.

  5. Mighty Mom profile image82
    Mighty Momposted 7 years ago

    No, NOT a person. Can't hide from the freedom of information act.

  6. weholdthesetruths profile image62
    weholdthesetruthsposted 7 years ago

    This is bogus.  There is no "right" to demand every item of information from a company. 

    AT&T may have erred in claiming "personhood" as a reason to retain the right to hold your own information, but in no way does every company fall under the idea that "all your information are ours".

    1. junkseller profile image84
      junksellerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      The FOIA is used to request information from the government, not companies. In this case it was information that AT&T had submitted to the FCC. The request was made by an AT&T competitor, which to me doesn't seem to be what the FOIA was meant to do.

  7. Evan G Rogers profile image75
    Evan G Rogersposted 7 years ago

    I'm paying those 9 idiots to decide that a telephone company is NOT a person?

    what a horrible investment.

    1. junkseller profile image84
      junksellerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Corporate "personhood" is not as simple as you make it sound. Technically, according to the law a corporation is a person. See U.S. Code Title 1, 1 which says "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise-- the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals". It is a pretty complicated topic and has been an ongoing debate since the founding of the country.

      The question in this case was whether a corporation can claim a personal privacy exemption in a FOIA request. I actually find it pretty interesting - and potentially pretty important. And if you compare it to last years Citizens United v FEC, it almost seems contradictory. I don't know, I'm no law expert, it just seems like it could be a bigger deal than it is given credit for.

 
working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)