Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.
U.S. Case Law
118 U.S. 394 (1886), defined corporations as “persons” who are entitled to the same equal protection rights as individuals. While falling short of conferring citizen status on corporate entities, the Court nevertheless declared that such entities are constitutionally guaranteed the right to liberty, property, and due process of the law and for legal purposes may be regarded as persons. The case is viewed historically as marking a Court shift away from issues predominantly involving civil rights and toward those predominantly involving property rights and the doctrines of laissez-faire economics.