President Obama is in a war of words with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. I find it unseemly, but that’s not important.

I bring up the subject because I happened across this article in today’s New York Times, and attached to it was a (slightly off-topic) comment on the Supreme Court’s ruling of last January that essentially gave corporations the right to make unlimited campaign contributions. And it asked a reasonable enough question:

If Corporations and People Are The Same Thing, Do Corporations have the Right to Bear Arms?

I referred to this Supreme Court Ruling in a recent post, and now I’m thinking: why is it so important to pick the correct business structure? Are Corporations really the same as people? The Right To Bear Arms example shows pretty clearly that the answer, if there is one, is “no”. But legally, corporations enjoy the same rights as people, don’t they?

A corporation and a person aren’t really the same thing, for a simple reason; it’s illegal to kill a person, but the board of directors of a corporation can end its life any time.

That said: our laws say a corporation has the same rights as a person, so until that changes (not gonna happen!), we work within the system to create change. Business change in this context looks something like defining what “the right to bear arms”—or any other right, for that matter—means to your business.

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