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♦ CHAPTER NINE ♦The Court ReporterWho really decided the Supreme Court’s most important corporate case? (1886)

ALTHOUGH BOTH REACHED the Supreme Court, the two nearly identical cases that Justice Field had pinned his hopes on for extending the Fourteenth Amendment to corporations suffered different fates. San Mateo was quickly withdrawn from consideration and faded into obscurity. Santa Clara was decided by the Supreme Court in favor of the railroad, and it gained mythic status in American political culture as the decision by which corporations won personhood status under the Fourteenth Amendment.

But there’s a big problem with the traditional view of the Santa Clara case when it reached the Supreme Court. In fact, the ruling issued by the ...

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