But, Mr. Hume said, the court has recently issued decisions that could be interpreted as anti-business. Most notably was an opinion written by Justice Roberts in which the court said corporations do not have the same personal privacy when comes to freedom of information laws as people do.
In the case, AT&T challenged the release of any corporate document under the Freedom of Information Act, arguing that because the law includes corporations as part of its definition of “person,” its provision exempting the release of information that would violate “personal privacy” also should apply to corporations.
In an opinion filled with clever rhetorical flourishes, Chief Justice Roberts said that argument fell short because “two words together may assume a more particular meaning than those words in isolation.”
“‘Personal’ in the phrase ‘personal privacy’ conveys more than just ‘of a person,’” he wrote. “It suggests a type of privacy evocative of human concerns — not the sort usually associated with an entity like, say, AT&T.”
Chief Justice Roberts ended the decision with a witty quip: “We trust that AT&T will not take it personally.”
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Ben Conery is a member of the investigative team covering the Supreme Court and legal affairs. Prior to coming to The Washington Times in 2008, Mr. Conery covered criminal justice and legal affairs for daily newspapers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He was a 2006 recipient of the New England Newspaper Association’s Publick Occurrences Award for a series of articles about ...
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