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WASHINGTON (RNS) The Hobby Lobby case could be yet another instance where Justice Anthony Kennedy provides the swing vote in the decision of whether a corporation has religious rights, and whether those rights have been trampled by the government's contraception mandate.

20 Comments

  1. Its kinda funny that for the most part Corporate America has been against Hobby Lobby. They find the shredding of the corporate veil distressing and potentially destructive to corporate existence.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/25/4_things_you_need_to_know_about_the_hobby_lobby_scotus_case/

    “.,..what a group of corporate and criminal law scholars had to say about the issue in a brief filed in opposition to Hobby Lobby:

    The essence of a corporation is its “separateness” from its shareholders. It is a distinct legal entity, with its own rights and obligations, different from the rights and obligations of its shareholders. This Court has repeatedly recognized this separateness.

    Shareholders rely on the corporation’s separate existence to shield them from personal liability. When they voluntarily choose to incorporate a business, shareholders cannot then decide to ignore, either directly or indirectly, the distinct legal existence of the corporation when it serves their personal interests.

    he separateness between shareholders and the corporation that they own (or, in this case, own and control) is essential to promote investment, innovation, job generation, and the orderly conduct of business. This Court should not adopt a standard that chips away at, creates idiosyncratic exceptions to, or calls into question this legal separateness.”

    In the same brief, these experts note how Hobby Lobby is effectively asking to have it both ways — protection from liability and an à la carte menu of individual rights:

    Hobby Lobby and Conestoga argue that they should be exempt from federal law because of the religious values of their controlling shareholders, while seeking to maintain the benefits of corporate separateness for all other purposes. These corporations have benefited from their separateness in countless ways and their shareholders have been insulated from actual and potential corporate liabilities since inception. Yet now they ask this Court to disregard that separateness in connection with a government regulation applicable solely to the corporate entity. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga want to argue, in effect, that the corporate veil is only a one-way street: its shareholders can get protection from tort or contract liability by standing behind the veil, but the corporation can ask a court to disregard the corporate veil on this occasion. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cannot have it both ways.

    • You are right that these corporations want it both ways. The problem is that they will probably receive the specialized treatment they seek. This Court has not been shy about trampling on the rights of individuals, only to secure the rights of specific corporations. Indeed, there is really no need for Alito and Thomas to even bother showing up any longer. Their observations (not that anyone is actually certain whether Thomas has vocal cords) are uninspired, self-interested, and represent the very definition of bias. The only decision they ever make is how to restate the same perspective. Fortunately, for them, they need not fill their heads with facts or burden themselves with genuine thought. Such activities are far too time consuming. We would do just as well by having cardboard cutouts of their faces in the Court chambers, with a looped recording blaring the phrase, “we love corporations.” They want corporations to be seen as “individuals”, whenever it comes to the receipt of benefits. On the other hand, they are limited liability business structures when it comes to the imposition of burdens. They have been giving corporations the right to have it both ways for as long as they have been on the Court. I think my dog could make more reasoned decisions on issues than these two gigantic rubber stamps.

  1. […] The statement also said the two men discussed immigration reform and “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection” among American Catholics — a veiled reference to Obama’s support of abortion rights and his strained relations with the American hierarchy over the administration’s contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act, which went to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. […]

  2. […] The statement also said the two men discussed immigration reform and “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection” among American Catholics — a veiled reference to Obama’s support of abortion rights and his strained relations with the American hierarchy over the administration’s contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act, which went to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. […]

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