It has become a sign of belonging to a certain "school of thought" to blast "corporations" - all of them - for about anything wrong that may happen in society.
I've encountered that approach by the young intellectuals in the American law school where I went at the same time as my oldest child went to college. "Corporations" are bad - said the young people with starts in their eyes. "We should not serve the interests of corporations" was the motto of the day among a large number of my classmates (of course, that changed rapidly once student loans, graduation and the necessity to provide for the family set in).
I see this same approach in, let's say, Bernie Sanders' supporters.
Yet, a corporation is simply a legally available way to protect the assets of individuals doing business - so that the obligations and liabilities incurred by the business do not wipe out the participants' personal assets.
A "Mom and Pop", or a small family, or a small "group of friends out of a garage" business can still incorporate - simply to protect assets, sometimes very small assets, the only residence or car, for example, that business owners/ entrepreneurs have.
Yet, once a "Mom and Pop" business incorporates, the protection of assets comes at a hefty price of having to hire and pay an attorney to represent the corporation in court, because in both state and federal courts, corporations are not granted personhood in order to represent themselves pro se.
In New York, such prohibition operates through a statute called Judiciary Law Section 495, which states, in part:
"495. Corporations and voluntary associations not to practice law. 1. No corporation or voluntary association shall (a) practice or appear as an attorney-at-law for any person in any court in this state or before any judicial body ..."
So, for purposes of self-representation in court, a corporation is not a "person".
Yet, corporations have been given political free speech rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment as a person for decades:
And, through the case Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, decided in 2010, corporations were given a right of political donations in election campaigns - also as an exercise of their political free speech right, even though corporations are not allowed to vote as persons in those same elections.
I am not aware of any challenges brought in court yet by corporations of the prohibition on pro se representation in court because corporations are, apparently,
- persons enough to SPEND money - pour funds into the coffers of political candidates, and that rule favors, naturally, big businesses and their donations to political campaigns,
- but are not persons enough to SAVE money where a corporation is a very small business and hiring an attorney to represent such a corporation in court may very simply be such a drain that having to hire an attorney alone may end the business.
Somehow legislators and judges (all of whom are sworn to protect the U.S. Constitution in its entirety, not by bits and pieces, based on what benefits it provides to them and those close to them) overlooked the fact that when they give a corporation enough "personhood" to exercise free speech in an election campaign, that same "personhood" must be enough for self-representation.
The only corporations that would even want to represent themselves pro se are small businesses with not many assets. For large corporations, an expense of legal representation will not put them out of business, as it my happen with small corporations.