The Massachusetts court did not go so far as to accept appellee's argument that corporations, as creatures of the State, have only those rights granted them by the State. See Brief for Appellee 4, 23-25. Cf. MR. JUSTICE WHITE'S dissent, post, at 809; MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST'S dissent, post, p. 822. The court below recognized that such an extreme position could not be reconciled either with the many decisions holding state laws invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment when they infringe protected speech by corporate bodies, e. g., Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro, 431 U.S. 85 (1977); Time, Inc. v. Firestone, 424 U.S. 448 (1976); Doran v. Salem Inn, Inc., 422 U.S. 922 (1975); Southeastern Promotions, Ltd. v. Conrad, 420 U.S. 546 (1975); Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn, 420 U.S. 469 (1975); Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241 (1974); New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971); Time, Inc. v. Hill, 385 U.S. 374 (1967); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, supra; Kingsley Int'l Pictures Corp. v. Regents, 360 U.S. 684 (1959); Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495 (1952), or with decisions affording corporations the protection of constitutional guarantees other than the First Amendment. E. g., United States v. Martin Linen Supply Co., 430 U.S. 564 (1977) (Fifth Amendment double jeopardy); G. M. Leasing Corp. v. United States, 429 U.S. 338, 353 (1977) (Fourth Amendment)....In cases where corporate speech has been denied the shelter of the First Amendment, there is no suggestion that the reason was because a corporation rather than an individual or association was involved. E. g., Young v. American Mini Theatres, Inc., 427 U.S. 50 (1976); Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Comm'n on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376 (1973); Kingsley Books, Inc. v. Brown, 354 U.S. 436 (1957). Corporate identity has been determinative in several decisions denying corporations certain constitutional rights, such as the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, Wilson v. United States, 221 U.S. 361, 382 -386 (1911), or equality with individuals in the enjoyment of a right to privacy, California Bankers Assn. v. Shultz, 416 U.S. 21, 65 -67 (1974); United States v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U.S. 632, 651 -652 (1950), but this is not because the States are free to define the rights of their creatures without constitutional limit. Otherwise, corporations could be denied the protection of all constitutional guarantees, including due process and the equal protection of the laws. Certain "purely personal" guarantees, such as the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, are unavailable to corporations and other organizations because the "historic function" of the particular guarantee has been limited to the protection of individuals. United States v. White, 322 U.S. 694, 698 -701 (1944). Whether or not a particular guarantee is "purely personal" or is unavailable to corporations for some other reason depends on the nature, history, and purpose of the particular constitutional provision.
[ Footnote 15 ] It has been settled for almost a century that corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific R. Co., 118 U.S. 394 (1886); see Covington & Lexington Turnpike R. Co. v. Sandford, 164 U.S. 578 (1896).