Following the overturning of a lower court decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, many debates ensued. For many, the judgment in favor of Citizens United was an achievement, while some were equivocally dissenting to the judgment. In his dissention, Justice Stevens feels that the term corporation is rife for inaccurate interpretations. According to Stevens, drafters of the American constitution had a problem differentiating between a corporation and a human being. 


According to Webster, a corporation means a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person although constituted by one or more persons and legally endowed with various rights and duties including the capacity of succession. Black’s Law dictionary defines a corporation as an association of shareholders created under the law and regarded as an artificial person by the courts, and having a legal entity entirely different from those who compose it, with capacity for continuous succession and existence, and having the right to sue or be sued


According to Black person means a human being in the normal usage, and associations, corporations, legal representatives, organizations, and partnerships in statute terms. According to Webster, a person means an individual group that is allowed by law to take legal action as plaintiff or defendant, and may include natural as well as fictitious persons.


According to Black, individual means a single person as distinguished from a group, corporation, or partnership, and in some proper cases includes artificial persons. According to Webster, an individual means existing as an indivisible whole or as a distinct entity.

Corporation not in constitution

According to the judgment, the constitution cannot tell the difference of the media and a corporation (Wikipedia, 2012). In addition to averting this possibility, the ruling also effectively eliminated the limits on the amount corporations and unions can use for electioneering communications, according to the statutory definition. From the legal definitions of the term corporation, it is apparent that the term can be twisted to mean many things. Therefore, the meaning can be used in later cases to protect other interests completely different from those similar to this case.

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Congress should fight for fair elections

The congress has a role to defend the conduction of free and fair elections, by not passing laws, which prevent fair election processes such as limitation on media freedoms. The court’s decision in this case helped advance this theme of free and fair elections. Many congress members were against the ruling, especially because it lifted the ceiling on campaign fund spending. The ruling also ensured that the use of candidate’s names could be used in advertisements even within 30 days to the election period. Some of the documentaries affected by this law had absolutely no campaign affiliations, for instance, Citizens United, and consequently, there was no reason to limit the freedom of expression by individuals whom the law did not target in the first place.

Individual and corporation

An individual and a corporation, even from a legal and a language dictionary are indistinguishable, so it is unclear whether the law, in protection of the freedom of speech was talking about a human person or a corporation. The difference remains a matter of speculation, even among the judges. Consequently, the undefined definitions create possible loopholes through which manipulations of precedents is done in order to serve ends for which they were not intended.


The SCOTUS was therefore overall for the good of the American people. Not only did it not avoid setting a very bad precedent, it also lifted unnecessary regulations on the freedom of individuals to articulate their agendas during election periods. The constitutions indefinite meanings on the term corporations could have also opened the media to attack by some individuals with agendas to muzzle the media. As the definition of corporation and individual stands, it is not distinguishable which means that, one can only presume what meaning was intended. 

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