• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court announced that corporations were “persons” within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In a relatively unimportant ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that the fences on railroad property could not be taxed under California law. However, the case was of constitutional importance because of Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite’sWaite, Morrison R.;Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.[Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.] statement, without argument, that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to corporations as well as to natural persons. The idea logically extended to the due process clause. Waite’s statement helped lay the foundation for the court’s later protection of economic liberties under the doctrine of substantive due process.Corporations;Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.[Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co.]

Corporations

Due process, substantive

Fourteenth Amendment

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