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Corporate Freedom

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Lee Carleton's recent Back Page editorial (“Unincorporated Rights,” Feb. 24) was endearing in a high-school, social-studies essay kind of way. He naively believes that corporations have “the same rights and protections that we have as individuals.” It's true that some constitutional rights enjoyed by individuals are extended to corporations and they probably should be. For example, a corporation is allowed to own property, enter contracts and it is protected from unreasonable search and seizure. Yet other rights are denied to corporations: They can't vote, they can't claim Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination and they don't have the right to bear arms. It's cute that Carleton doesn't think corporations should have the right to free speech. His essay was published by Landmark Media Enterprises, Style Weekly's owner and a multibillion-dollar corporation. Does Carleton think that Landmark, or The New York Times, or Fox News should be denied free speech rights? Should the Richmond Times-Dispatch be able to opine on the health-care debate, but not Bon Secours?

Jim Mitchell
Midlothian

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