The Law Is an Ass

Two recent decisions confirm that Charles Dickens’ Mr. Bumble was correct in declaring, “The law is a (sic) Ass.” In the first case, California’s Supreme Court dismissed a suit by workers who were damaged by solvents, only because the majority held stocks in the oil companies. In the second, case a federal appeals court dismissed a suit by four British citizens who claimed torture, abuse, and violations of their religious rights at Guantánamo because “Because the plaintiffs are aliens and were located outside sovereign United States territory at the time their alleged RFRA claim arose, they do not fall with the definition of ‘person,'” the court ruled.”

This decision is surprising, given the importance of religion in determining personhood. After all, a fertilized egg with only a few cells is considered a person in the United States. Surely these unfortunate creatures are more fully developed persons in a newly formed embryo.

The first case suggests that corporations could immunize themselves from legal actions merely by ensuring that judges had some stock in the companies. On second thought, perhaps many of these corporations are not really persons after all, despite the claim that corporations have all the rights of human persons. However, some of these fictitious persons have relocated their fictitious homes to other lands. If people tortured by the government are not really persons because they are located outside the United States, surely the fictitious persons, who currently rule this country, should not be counted as persons.

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