It might make sense to look at this slightly different way. The Supreme Court decision does not pretend that legal entities are human.
It says that humans are free to pool their resources and exercise their freedom of speech through an organization they set up.
Individuals don't have to belong to 'media companies' to be able to organize to exercise their freedom of speech:
It's lucky for the New York Times Co. that the Supreme Court upheld its First Amendment rights. Otherwise, it could not have exercised its First Amendment right to denounce the court for upholding its First Amendment rights. Right?
Not quite. As Justice Anthony Kennedy noted in his opinion, the McCain-Feingold "campaign finance" law--which until yesterday's ruling made it a felony for corporations to engage in certain political speech--exempted "media companies" like the New York Times Co. (and News Corp., publisher of The Wall Street Journal and this Web site) from this restriction.
McCain-Feingold, in other words, granted a small group of companies, including the New York Times Co., the privilege to speak freely about politics, while denying it to all other corporations--not only "companies … that exist to make money," but also taxable nonprofits that exist to represent a point of view, including the advocacy arms of the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association.
As for Mitt Romney's statement, I believe Jack and Suzy Welch put it best:
Corporations are people working together toward a shared goal, just as hospitals, schools, farms, restaurants, ballparks and museums are. Yes, the people who invest in, manage and work for corporations are there to make a profit. And yes, corporations may employ some bureaucrats, jerks, cheapskates and even nefarious criminals.
But most individuals working in corporations are regular people, people just like you and your friends and neighbors. People who want to make a living and want to make a difference.
It might be instructive to look at the actual case that brought about the cries of "corporations are not people!" See Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In his concurrence, Scalia writes:
The dissent says that when the Framers “constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment , it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Post, at 37. That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women—not, for example, of trees or polar bears. But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons. Surely the dissent does not believe that speech by the Republican Party or the Democratic Party can be censored because it is not the speech of “an individual American.” It is the speech of many individual Americans, who have associated in a common cause, giving the leadership of the party the right to speak on their behalf. The association of individuals in a business corporation is no different—or at least it cannot be denied the right to speak on the simplistic ground that it is not “an individual American.” (emphasis mine)