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AT&T Case Asks High Court to Assign Privacy Rights to Companies
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Bloomberg/Businessweek

Bloomberg/Businessweek, January 19, 2011
Posted: January 24th, 2011

A business privacy case that comes before the U.S. Supreme Court today may rekindle a debate among the justices over whether corporations are like people, even to the point of suffering embarrassment. The case ... pits the Obama administration against AT&T Inc. over the release of documents stemming from a government investigation of the company. The question is whether corporations can invoke a Freedom of Information Act provision that protects against invasions of personal privacy. In siding with AT&T, a lower court said companies can be embarrassed and stigmatized just like human beings -- a contention the Obama administration scoffed at. The courts divisions were on display when it considered whether to overturn decades-old restrictions on corporate campaign spending. During arguments in 2009, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that judges created corporations as persons and that they might have been wrong to have imbued a creature of state law with human characteristics. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that a corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights. The court majority disagreed, ruling in a 5-4 decision that corporations have the same constitutional right to spend money on campaign ads as individuals do.

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