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‘Citizens United’ meets the carpool lane

This Californian might have come across one of the most brilliant, absurd and wonky ways to try to get out of a traffic ticket– by extending Citizens United to his morning commute.

Spoiler alert: He wasn’t successful (shocker, I know).

From a write up earlier this week in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Jonathan Frieman, a 56-year-old San Rafael resident and self-described social entrepreneur, failed to convince a Marin County Superior Court jurist Monday after he argued that he was not alone when a California Highway Patrol officer pulled him over in October while driving in the carpool lane.

Instead, Frieman admitted that he had reached onto the passenger’s seat and handed the officer papers of incorporation connected to his family’s charity foundation.

By Frieman’s estimation, if corporations are indeed persons as was first established in the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Co., and he offered evidence that a corporation was traveling inside his vehicle – riding shotgun, of course – then two people were in his car.

“The question of personhood is a very poignant one,” Frieman said before he entered the courtroom. “This is designed to bring a very strong point to bear upon the legal system. Corporations have grown into large, huge, fictional entities. Now I am taking their power and using it in order to drive in the carpool.”

If corporations can essentially give unrestricted amounts of cash to political campaigns, why can’t they tag along in a carpool lane?

And check this out — Frieman said he’s been driving in the carpool with corporation papers for a decade waiting to make this point, although safety wasn’t on his mind.

Again, from the San Fran article:

He noted, though, he had not buckled in the corporation papers.

“Would you buckle up your imaginary friend?” he asked. “That’s what corporations are – they’re not real, but they’ve been getting all this power.”

One Comment


  1. Cam Cover

    January 14, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Absolutely loved this.

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