Suzanna Sherry

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Notre Dame Law Review

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There is a joke making the rounds that purports to explain the Supreme Court's 1998-1999 Term, especially the three federalism cases decided on the last day: The Y2K bug hit the Court six months early, and the Court thought the year was 1900. Like most good jokes, this one has a kernel of truth. The Court's fin de siecle decisions-- both sets of them--seem oddly focused on expanding the constitutional definition of personhood. At the end of the nineteenth century, corporations became people. At the end of the twentieth, it was states. Americans have not always viewed corporations kindly. In the first half of the nineteenth century, they were feared and therefore legally limited.

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