A Corporate Form of Freedom explores how courts and legislatures have decided which nonprofit groups can pursue their missions as corporations. For many years it was a privilege to hold a nonprofit charter. This view changed during the 1950s and 1960s. A new generation contended that legal theory, racial justice, and democratic values demanded that the nonprofit corporate form be available to all groups as a matter of right. As a result, nonprofit corporate status became America's corporate form for free expression. The new perspective did more than enlarge public discourse, however. It also reduced official authority to supervise or otherwise hold nonprofit organizations accountable for their activities. Norman I. Silber examines how the nonprofit world was transformed -- a transformation which refashioned political and social discourse, altered the economy, and created many of the difficulties the nonprofit sector faces today.
* Acknowledgments * 1. Introduction * 2. The Development of the Discretionary Model * Advantages to Nonprofit Status * The Divergence of Commercial and Nonprofit Corporate Chartering Practices * 3. Historic Excuses and Uses for Judicial Subjectivity in the Incorporation Process * The Emergence of Doctrinal Justifications for Special Treatment * Applications of the Discretionary Conception by Judicial Progressives * Interwar Characterizations of Permissible Nonprofit Activity * Wartime Applications * Protecting Consensus Values in the Postwar World * 4. The Corrosion of the Discretionary Conception * Student Impudence and the Legitimacy of Judicial Authority * Broadening Corporate Expression in an Interest Group State * Governmental Largesse As an Entitlement * A Roadblock in the Struggle for African-American Civil Rights * The End of Judicial Oversight As a Significant Means for Supervising Nonprofit Corporations * 5. Transition to a New Regime * The Judges Adjust to Their Subordinated Status * The Emergence of Administrative Surrogates for Judges * 6. The New World of Nonprofit Activity * Explosive Growth After the Change * Anemic Disclosure and Administrative Remedies * Misreliance on the Tax Scheme * In Search of a New Direction * Scholarly Assessments * Coda