February 28, 2014

Can a for-profit corporation have a religion worthy of protection?

Here's an essay by Elizabeth Wydra at SCOTUSblog saying the answer is no:
As a brief filed by corporate law scholars explains, “[t]he first principle of corporate law is that for-profit corporations are entities that possess legal interests and a legal identity of their own — one separate and distinct from their shareholders.”...

To be sure, the current owners of these companies have their own personal free exercise rights, but... [the Affordable Care Act] places requirements only on the corporate entities.  The individual corporate owners retain their own rights under the First Amendment and RFRA, but those rights simply aren’t available when the claimed burden is placed on the corporation itself....
Something's missing there. A corporation is a separate entity, and there is a long history of corporate law to refer to, but the question is the coverage of a statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says "Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion." No one can argue that "person" doesn't include corporations, since actual churches and other religious organizations are unquestionably covered. So if corporations are covered, what is the basis for reading some corporations out of the statute? (Keep in mind that Congress had the power to except the Affordable Care Act from RFRA and did not.)

It seems to me that the issue is whether a particular corporation can be said to have religion. A church has religion. No one argues against that. The argument is that the Court should adopt a bright-line rule interpreting RFRA that says no for-profit corporation can possibly have a religion, no matter what the facts are.

But the facts about Hobby Lobby are pretty strong. Here's the brief (PDF) for Hobby Lobby (the upcoming Supreme Court case).
“The Greens have organized their businesses with express religious principles in mind.” Pet.App.8a. Hobby Lobby’s official statement of purpose commits the company to “[h]onoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” JA134-35. The Greens operate Hobby Lobby and Mardel through a management trust they created, of which each Green is a trustee. Pet.App.8a; JA129-30, 134. The Greens each signed a Statement of Faith and a Trustee Commitment obligating them to conduct the businesses according to their religious beliefs, to “honor God with all that has been entrusted” to them, and to “use the Green family assets to create, support, and leverage the efforts of Christian ministries.” JA134.

“[T]he Greens allow their faith to guide business decisions for both companies.” Pet.App.8a. All Hobby Lobby stores close on Sundays, at a cost of millions per year, to allow employees a day of rest. Each Christmas and Easter, Hobby Lobby buys hundreds of full-page newspaper ads inviting people to “know Jesus as Lord and Savior.” E.g., Easter 2013, Advertisement, http://www.hobbylobby.com/assets/ images/holiday_messages/messages/2013e.jpg. 
Yo, lawyers, that URL is coming up "We're sorry, the page you requested was not found." [ADDED: The cut-and-pasted URL inserts a space, which I didn't notice, but a commenter did. Deleting that space gets you to the right place, here.] If you want to know what Hobby Lobby holiday ads look like, here are a whole bunch of them. Here's one — from Easter 2003 — that I chose to click on because the title, "All the tools," seemed to have potential in making a joke about lawyers. The text is comical — darkly comical — on its own: "Son, I need you to Build a Bridge, here are all the tools you will need. See you soon — Love, Dad." The tools provided are a hammer and 3 nails, the tools that will be used against the body of Jesus Christ in this bridge-building enterprise.

Back to the brief:
Store music features Christian songs. Employees have cost-free access to chaplains, spiritual counseling, and religiously-themed financial courses. And company profits provide millions of dollars every year to ministries. Pet.App.8a; JA134-39. Mardel primarily sells Christian materials and describes itself as “a faith-based company dedicated to renewing minds and transforming lives through the products we sell and the ministries we support.” Pet.App.8a; JA137-38.

Respondents also refrain from business activities forbidden by their religious beliefs. For example, to avoid promoting alcohol, Hobby Lobby does not sell shot glasses. Hobby Lobby once declined a liquor store’s offer to take over one of its building leases, costing it hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Similarly, Hobby Lobby does not allow its trucks to “back-haul” beer and so loses substantial profits by refusing offers from distributors. Pet.App.8a; JA136.
Now, does that corporation have religion? Remember, the issue is whether it has religion that is protected from substantial burdens by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could be repealed or amended by Congress, and from which Congress could have excepted the ACA.

The question to be answered is what does a particular statute mean now, not what religion really is and whether corporations really have it. Congress could amend RFRA whenever it acquires the political will to do so, and it could explicitly define "persons" within the meaning of that statute to exclude for-profit corporations. So the issue is whether the Supreme Court should do that political work for Congress.

Since I don't think Congress could gather the political will to put that exclusion into RFRA, I don't think the Supreme Court should interpret Congress's statute to mean what Congress would not be able to say directly. And I think Congress knew — if Congress has any brain capable of containing any thoughts — that it could put an exclusion from RFRA into the ACA, and that makes it even more apparent that the government in the Hobby Lobby case should not be able extract the for-profit-corporation exception from the Court.

72 comments:

RecChief said...

Since a corporation is a person, wouldnt a closely held corporation gets its religion from the emanations and penumbras of the owners' First Amendment rights?

I jest, I have no idea. But it seems to me that a family ought to be able to organize a company (that isn't publicly traded) in such a way as to protect themselves personally and individually from liability yet retain the right to run the company as they see fit.

traditionalguy said...

Of course the can and do. It's called worship of money.

Paco Wové said...

That URL is coming up bad because you've got whitespace in the middle of it.

The correct URL is
http://www.hobbylobby.com/assets/images/holiday_messages/messages/2013e.jpg

Yr. friendly local HTML pedant–

Monkeyboy said...

Not sure about religion but surely a business can have ethics, Starbucks, CVS, Zapatos all talk about it. Is it not OK if your ethics come from God and not the CEO?

Ann Althouse said...

@Paco Thanks. I'm guessing the readers at whom the brief is addressed will not do a better job than I did at getting to the page. I've done an update in the post.

Michael K said...

When I was first in practice, we had a lecture on incorporating, which had recently become legal for doctors and lawyers. The talk ended with the advice that, "There is only one thing a corporation cannot do as an individual. It cannot go to prison, the officers do that."

Birches said...

Of course Congress could have put an RFRA exemption for the ACA, but remember, for the people who passed Obamacare, the lack of exemption was a feature, not a bug.

Ann Althouse said...

"It cannot go to prison, the officers do that."

It cannot go to Heaven.

Ann Althouse said...

Or Hell.

Lyssa said...

Wouldn't the establishment clause really prohibit the court from even being able to determine at all whether any sort of being or entity could "have a religion"? I'm thinking of the line of reasoning that courts can't make any religious decisions or interpretations (i.e., the court can't question the church's determination of what employees are "ministers" within the organization), as those are left to the church itself to determine.

Nonapod said...

Legally I have no idea if a corporation can "have a religion". Logically (generally speaking) one might think that if all members of a given set share a particular quality, then that set should inherit that quality. But I guess that could just be anthropomorphizing non-human entities (an aggregate of humans is not itself human).

n.n said...

A corporation's "religion" (i.e. moral or ethical standard) is established in its charter. As is a nation's religion is established in its charter (e.g. The Declaration of Independence). There are no non-profit corporations before expenses are deducted.

The Godfather said...

The assertion is that a corporation cannot "have religion" if it's organized for profit. But what about a natural person, like, say, me? I have religion, but I also work for a living, i.e., I want to make a profit.

Pogo is Dead said...

Hilarious.

The courts will do whatever the hell they want, and find Sound Legal Reasoning to support it within the penumbras, umbrellas, umbilical cords, and mystic chords of memory of the Living Dead Constitution.

Why not use a Magic 8 ball with 20 Obama-approved answers?

Hagar said...

That one is easy: "If you disagree with me, you are in the wrong and should be punished."

jimbino said...

How is it that the Amish and Mennonitesn are exempt from Obamacare? This country is nothing inf not schizophrenic regarding religion.

I'm an atheist, lifelong non-believer in insurance,just like the Amish. Why am I not exempt from SS annd Obamacaren?

Matthew Sablan said...

If corporations can't have religion, can they have any other First Amendment rights? For example: Are corporations not allowed to petition government, by virtue of not really being a person?

What other things would we argue corporations can't do?

hombre said...

There was an article recently, perhaps linked by Instapundit, arguing that if corporations cannot take religious stands, they cannot take social stands, e.g., pro-gay rights, etc.

Unfortunately, I can't find it. Does anyone have the link? It's worth reading.

YoungHegelian said...

Why should it matter if a corporation is for or not for profit when it comes to a consideration of if it can have "religious expression"?

Unless the owners claim to be a member of X faith, and the doctrines of X faith explicitly prohibit for profit activities (e.g. Islam prohibits interests on loans), I can't see how the law can argue that the for profit designation could affect the status of a corporation's protected religious expression.

The idea that a for-profit corporation is morally suspect may be a foundational doctrine for Marxist derived ideologies, but it's not an attitude shared by many of the worlds faiths.

hombre said...

Here is the link to the article I referenced at 11:30.

http://calcorporatelaw.com/2014/02/44-law-professors-make-a-case-against-corporate-social-responsibility/

Very interesting.

YoungHegelian said...

@Matt,

If corporations can't have religion, can they have any other First Amendment rights?

I think you know the answer to that, Matt. There certainly is overlap between those on the left who argue that corporations have no religious expression & those who argue that corporations have no right to free speech, a argument often heard in regards to the Citizens United case.

tom swift said...

An organization can certainly have a religion. The Catholic Church, for instance.

A corporation is just a legal framework tacked onto an organization.

So the answer is Yes, a corporation can have a religion.

Is it worthy of protection?

As I read the Bill of Rights, that's not a question an American government should be asking.

PB Reader said...

To these people who don't know how to make their own money, but just live off the efforts of others, profit is evil. Except it's that profit which provides for their non-profit existence.

Michael K said...

Interesting discussion yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's show with Michael McConnell, professor of law at Stanford.

Andy Freeman said...

> If corporations can't have religion, can they have any other First Amendment rights?

It's actually fairly simple.

Whether or not a corporation has first amendment rights depends on what rights are being expressed.

For example, corporations have first amendment rights to tell AZ to comply with politically correct positions.

Corporations also have first amendment rights to express the correct opinion wrt climate change.

Corporations also have a first amendment right to promote liberal political figures and causes via complementary biographies and documentaries. They also have a first amendment right to denigrate conservatives via any means they please.

The opponents of Citizens United believe that corporations have no first amendment right to denigrate liberal political causes or politicians via any means.

In the present case, Hobby Lobby and incorporated churches have no first amendment rights (unless they're doing the correct thing).

PB Reader said...

This is just one religion battling another - mostly secularists battling Christians.

They don't want private individual's religious beliefs to impact commerce in anyway. Your right to buy a cake of your design from any baker shall not be infringed. Enslaving the baker to do your bidding is somehow right.

Soon OB-GYNs will be forced to perform abortions regardless of their religious objection.

traditionalguy said...

As a former member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (it was mandatory to work for pay in the Green Giant Cannery) I accepted that Pope Hoffa I was in charge of cash flows. But that must have been a hard job for the Union shop stewards...they had to rest all of the time that we worked.

cubanbob said...

As a brief filed by corporate law scholars explains, “[t]he first principle of corporate law is that for-profit corporations are entities that possess legal interests and a legal identity of their own — one separate and distinct from their shareholders.”...

To be sure, the current owners of these companies have their own personal free exercise rights, but... [the Affordable Care Act] places requirements only on the corporate entities. The individual corporate owners retain their own rights under the First Amendment and RFRA, but those rights simply aren’t available when the claimed burden is placed on the corporation itself…."

I can't believe this idiocy passes as legal scholarship. However lets take it to its logical conclusion and avoid fruit of the poisoned tree to forbid any for-profit corporation from gifting in cash or kind to any non-profit or charitable organization or social welfare entity that expresses any political speech. Naturally the fruit of the poisoned tree would have to include foundations, private non-profit universities among other since they derived their capital, contributions and investment incomes from for-profit corporations-the poison is fungible. Indeed any charitable or non-profit that has any endowments that are invested in for-profit corporations or lend to same since they too are subject to contagion by being invested. Of course the people employed by these charitable and non-profits are to be allowed to gift to the same extent individually as the counter-parts in the for-profit sector as per these brilliant scholars.

Hagar said...

I did not have to join the Teamsters in order to work for Green Giant in Dayton, WA, but did to work for Hunt's cannery in Puyallup, WA. Still have the card.

Hagar said...

"Not for profit" does not mean that you can't make a profit; it only means you cannot issue stock and pay dividends.

Revenant said...

Er, religious *people* do things for their own profit all the dang time. Why are we even talking about this?

Of course corporations can have a religion, and not all religions preach that profit is evil.

LilyBart said...


If the government wasn't trying to run our lives with 'one size fits all' solutions, this wouldn't be a problem.

David said...

I love looking up the biographies of these commentators.

Wydra is a Yale Law graduate, a 9th Circuit clerk and a former BigLaw (Shaw, Pittman, for those who care) associate. Supposedly she is a constitutional scholar and she's chief counsel of some organization called Constitutional Accountability Center. She has "participated in" (that's a weasel word) Supreme Court litigation.

All this and she can not present a legal problem competently or honestly. Or both.

"What's the issue in this matter, Ms. Wydra?" That's the question she was asked (or should have been asked) from the moment she arrived at Yale.

More miseducation.

gregq said...

Can a corporation have "social ideals", and act on those ideals, even when it costs the corporation (and therefore, its shareholders) money?

If the answer to that is "yes", then yes, a corporation can have a religion.

Fen said...

Wouldn't the establishment clause really prohibit the court from even being able to determine at all whether any sort of being or entity could "have a religion"?

No, see SCOTUS ruling US v. Seeger, and US v. Welsh:

A registrant's conscientious objection to all war is "religious" within the meaning of § 6(j) if this [p334] opposition stems from the registrant's moral, ethical, or religious beliefs about what is right and wrong and these beliefs are held with the strength of traditional religious convictions.

and

What is necessary under Seeger for a registrant's conscientious [p340] objection to all war to be "religious" within the meaning of § 6(j) is that this opposition to war stem from the registrant's moral, ethical, or religious beliefs about what is right and wrong and that these beliefs be held with the strength of traditional religious convictions

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/398/333

David said...

Ropes & Gray, a distinguished law firm dating back to the Civil War, filed the "corporate law scholars" brief. Based on a quick scan, they do not seem to address the issue that Althouse raised.

Pro bono?

Oh no no.

And they complain of reduced profitability.

MayBee said...

The funny thing is the Obama administration issued the birth control mandate to benefit Obama's campaign and the DNC financially.

Politicians have a religion, and it is The Church of Campaign Donations.

Steven said...

This might, sure, pass muster as a statement of the current state of corporate law. I'm not expert enough to express an opinion.

But corporations are mostly chartered by states. What happens if/when, say, Texas explicitly passes a state law allowing incorporation of specifically declared religious for-profit companies? What happens when there's a for-profit corporation that is specifically, explicitly declared, say, "Southern Baptist" in its charter?

Bruce Hayden said...

To me, the distinction between for-profit, and non-profit, seems a bit strained, esp. in this regard. A lot of non-profits seem to be run for the financial benefit of their management. Mention above was made of Hoffa and the Teamsters, but this isn't limited to labor unions, but rather, seems to be a strong trend with larger non-profits across the political spectrum (though, I suspect that it is even more so on the left). Non-profit status just means, in many cases, that there is more money to pay the management and top employees, not having to pay dividends.

I wouldn't be so antagonistic towards large non-profits, if they weren't often so self-serving. Instead of directing the money they raise for charity towards they charitable causes they espouse, they often just pocket it. Which, BTW, is a good reason not to contribute to United Way, since many of the "charities" supported typically spend much of the money raised on "overhead".

Revenant said...

Can a corporation have "social ideals", and act on those ideals, even when it costs the corporation (and therefore, its shareholders) money? If the answer to that is "yes", then yes, a corporation can have a religion.

If the answer is "no", corporations can still have a religion. It is entirely possible to believe that being in God's favor leads to earthly wealth and success -- many Christian sects throughout history have thought as much.

For that matter, simply being perceived as a Christian company can potentially increase profits, what with this being an overwhelmingly Christian nation and all. A "religious" policy that comes with a cost can potentially have the effect of a loss leader or a marketing strategy.

ken in sc said...

I read somewhere that there was a court case in the 1920s (don't remember where) that established that corporations could spend money on non-economic expenses like charity and religion. Before that it was considered a violation of their fiduciary responsibilities. Before that, corporations were supposed to pass on all profits to the shareholders, who made their own charity and religious contributions. It seems to me that this is the decision that needs to be revisited. I think corporations should be considered as agents of the shareholders, not necessarily as persons.

Jane the Actuary said...

So, tell me this: is there any legal principle which requires a company and/or corporation and or corporate entity of any kind (including a university) to provide contraception for its employees, that cannot also be used to compel such organizations to provide abortions? Are we all truly at the mercy of "how far Obama wants to push things"?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Douglas Laycock's entry in the same symposium puts it well: "[T]he government’s argument is a shell game. Only the individuals have religious-liberty rights; only the corporations are regulated. And more: Even the individuals have no rights when they act or refuse to act as directors, officers, or managers of the corporation. Not only are the individuals separate persons from the corporation, but the individuals are divided into additional separate persons, depending on the capacity in which they act. This is formalism in the extreme."

SJ said...

To tie this in with the comments about the Arizona Law:

What if the corporation/businessperson claims a Religious-Freedom basis for denying certain customers?

How is a Christian photographer who wishes not to do wedding photographs for a same-sex couple any different from a Muslim taxi driver who doesn't want alcohol as cargo?

Does the form of business count? (sole-proprietor, limited-liability corp, privately-held corp, etc.)

As another point:

Assume that a corporate entity can't claim religious protection (as a business) under the First-Amendment and related laws.
Does this imply that the corporate entity might also be denied Free Speech rights under Amendment 1 (and related laws)?

damikesc said...

As has been pointed out elsewhere, government is constantly asking corporations to act as good "corporate citizens". If corporations are incapable of that, as this allegation indicates, then those requests are just dumb.

They're asked to do things that are unprofitable for the "greater good".

RecChief said...

"Does the form of business count?"


to put it gently...that isn't what counts in this environment. A company can refuse to do business as long as it hews closely to the leftist line.

you didn't see anyone with the position that the NFL threat of pulling the SuperBowl out of Arizona as hurting all the employees (waitresses, stadium vendors, bartenders, hotel staff, etc.) that would suffer from losing out on that did you?

Alex said...

It's fascinating and funny to watch fundies thrashing about. They're like dying fish.

tim maguire said...

If Hobby Lobby is so religious, then how come I never see it in church?

tim maguire said...

A corporation is a creation of the state and it can have as many or as few attributes as the state wishes to give it.

Corporate personhood is not a constitutional principle. It may be a questionable judicial creation, but it is a judicial creation. And as has been pointed out in this thread, corporations are only people where the government finds it useful to make them people--they can be sued but they can't vote, they can pay taxes but they can't get married.

I don't see any first amendment right for a corporation to be religiously observant, probably because it can't be. It has no conscience to exercise freely.

Revenant said...

Before that, corporations were supposed to pass on all profits to the shareholders, who made their own charity and religious contributions. It seems to me that this is the decision that needs to be revisited. I think corporations should be considered as agents of the shareholders, not necessarily as persons.

The problem there is that it means that people who wish to both profit AND meet religious and charitable needs are denied a means of doing so. E.g., even if 100% of the shareholders are 100% on board with JesuCorp diverting part of its profits to running a day-care center for the indigent, they would be explicitly forbidden from doing so.

The mandate that all profits be passed along actually limited the rights of the shareholders themselves.

Revenant said...

I don't see any first amendment right for a corporation to be religiously observant, probably because it can't be.

Problem: how can you force the owners of a company to pay for birth control without forcing its owners to pay for birth control?

The money you're forcing the corporation to spend is money diverted from the shareholders. If the end result of a policy is "the shareholders are poorer and employees now have birth control", how can it be claimed with a straight face that the shareholders aren't being made to pay for birth control?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

tim maguire said...

I don't see any first amendment right for a corporation to be religiously observant, probably because it can't be.

True, but irrelevant. The purpose of a corporation is to allow a group of people to engage in actions that otherwise could only be done by individuals. The corporation has no rights, but the individuals still do. If the government orders a corporation to act in a way that violates the individual's religious beliefs, the individual can violate their beliefs, or they can choose to not be part of a corporation, and instead do everything as an individual. Either one is an undue burden under the RFRA.

Andy Freeman said...

> The purpose of a corporation is to allow a group of people to engage in actions that otherwise could only be done by individuals.

What actions can corps and individuals do that not-corp groups of individuals can't do?

eric said...

Ignorance is Bliss wrote;

"The corporation has no rights, but the individuals still do."

This is incorrect. Corporations do have rights. This is why there is something called Corporate Personhood.

Granted, they don't have all the same rights and individual has (For example, they don't have a 5th amendment right not to incriminate itself) they do have 14th amendment rights, however.

So yes, corporations do have rights.

Kirk Parker said...

Bruce @ 12:46pm,

Yeah, what sort of salary the top folks at United Way and the ARC make?

Kirk Parker said...

Rev,

"How can it be claimed with a straight face that the shareholders aren't being made to pay for birth control?"

"Shut up!" At least I think that's how the argument goes.

Bryan C said...

By design none of this is any of government's business. Everybody has the same innate and inalienable rights and enjoys the exact prohibitions on government action which infringe on those rights. Nobody's rights are less "worthy" of anybody else's in the eyes of the government. When people associate with one another, perhaps via incorporation, they don't cede the right to their religious beliefs in return for the privilege. The Constitution does not require us to pick just one right from Column A and one from Column B.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What actions can corps and individuals do that not-corp groups of individuals can't do?

Enter into contracts. Yes, it would be possible for every member of the group to sign each contract, but it would quickly get unwieldy.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

eric said...

This is incorrect. Corporations do have rights. This is why there is something called Corporate Personhood.

I would argue ( quite persuasively, I might add ) that corporate rights are only a shorthand for describing the relevant legal rights of the individuals that make up the corporation.

Fen said...

Alex: It's fascinating and funny to watch fundies thrashing about.

I wasn't aware there were any "fundies" here at Althouse. Can you name them?

Or is this mere posturing from a guy with Jack high in his hand?

Sigivald said...

"the first principle of corporate law is that for-profit corporations are entities that possess legal interests and a legal identity of their own — one separate and distinct from their shareholders"

Thus, as suggested elsewhere, this equally would prohibit "Corporate Values Statements" and the like.

After all, the shareholders have no "identity" they can push at the Corporation, like "caring about Green things" or "Doing Good Politically", right?

Goose, Gander.

(Me, I think corporations, as the agglomeration of their shareholders or owners exactly have a "viewpoint" that reflects whatever the owners can agree on.

They equally have every other legal protection of the Bill of Rights, because the human beings that own them do.)

Revenant said...

They equally have every other legal protection of the Bill of Rights, because the human beings that own them do.

And not just their owners -- their employees, too.

Do corporations have freedom of speech? Freedom of the press, i.e. freedom to publish? Freedom of religion?

Well, that's an interesting question. Corporations can't speak. A corporation has never uttered so much as a single word, written a single letter, recorded a second of video or audio footage, aired a broadcast... nothing of the kind.

When you say "it is illegal for a corporation to air a political ad" -- which is exactly what the law prior to Citizens United said -- what you are ACTUALLY saying is "the act of accepting a paycheck causes you to forfeit your right to make a political statement".

Banning an TV spot censors the people who created it. The corporation doesn't care; corporations are just a legal fiction. But real, flesh-and-blood people have just lost their first amendment rights for the sin of having been paid.

Craig said...

Nonapod:

"Logically (generally speaking) one might think that if all members of a given set share a particular quality, then that set should inherit that quality."

That's the fallacy of composition. Think of the set of ingredients of pizza. All of them have the particular quality of not themselves being a pizza. But, of course, the set of ingredients can be a pizza.

If you don't like that (perhaps because you think a pizza is more than just the set of its ingredients), think of a set of 100 pennies. Each of the individual pennies has the particular quality "worth less than 2c". But of course the set lacks that particular quality.

Or, if still don't like that, think of any abstract set of simple, non-set elements. Each of the non-set elements has the particular quality, "not a set". The set itself, of course, lacks that quality.

(This isn't exactly precise, but it should at least provide grounds to be cautious about composing like that. Back to the discussion.)

paminwi said...

Is there a difference in how this could be decided based on that HobbyLobby is a privately held corp versus those a that are publicly held?

Kirk Parker said...

Rev,

"And not just their owners -- their employees, too."

But... but... but...

If we just let random groups of self-selected people get together and do stuff, how do we know what they'll do???

</CassSunstein>

Edmund said...

@paminwi asked:
Is there a difference in how this could be decided based on that Hobby Lobby is a privately held corp versus those a that are publicly held?

IANAL, but from what I have read, yes. The fact that it is closely held makes all the difference.

Steven Bainbridge of UCLA ha written a critique that addresses this idea that the corporate veil prevents them from expressing religious views. He's a specialist in corporation law.

Steven said...

A corporation is a creation of the state and it can have as many or as few attributes as the state wishes to give it.

Cool. In that case, the state passes a law explicitly denying corporations any Constitutional rights, and then the government can ban the ACLU from criticizing the government, install censors who have final approval on anything the New York Times publishes, prohibit the Archdiocese of Boston from holding masses on corporate property, and seize all GM plants without compensation. After all, all four of those are organized as corporations . . .

Real American said...

PEOPLE HAVE GOD GIVEN RIGHTS RECOGNIZED BY THE CONSTITUTION. THEY ORGANIZE THEMSELVES INTO CORPORATIONS. THEIR RIGHTS DON'T DISAPPEAR WHEN THEY DO. THIS ISN'T DIFFICULT.

julia mottram said...

So if a corportion can have religion does that mean that a bakery which is incorporated can have religion, too, which would prevent its owners from having to service gay weddings?

kentuckyliz said...

Dave Ramsey is for profit (although he has a non-profit wing of the organization). It's Christian financial counseling and education. It's explicitly Christian. Just for an example.

dr know said...

Doesn't Religion require a consciousness and a soul? So how can a corporation have religion. It can't. The question is, Is Hobby Lobby a religious institution?

Of course as is typical we are only speaking of the burden of the owners and not the employees. Insurance is part of mandated compensation for work. it's not given freely by one entity to another. It's required in exchange for work. Why are the owners the only ones who can claim a burden.

Fen said...

Alex: It's fascinating and funny to watch fundies thrashing about.

Fen: I wasn't aware there were any "fundies" here at Althouse. Can you name them?


/just pointing out that upthread Alex was called and he folded