By Matthew Rothschild on June 30, 2014

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court once again expanded its doctrine of corporate personhood with its ruling on Monday in the Hobby Lobby case.

Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said:

“Protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies.”

And while the Court limited its decision to tightly held private companies, its argument applies to all corporations.

“No known understanding of the term “person” includes some but not all corporations. . . . No conceivable definition of the term includes natural persons and nonprofit corporations, but not for-profit corporations.” (Italics in the original.)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg jumped all over this in her dissent.

“Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private,” she noted.

“There is in the case law no support for the notion that free exercise rights pertain to for-profit corporations,” she wrote. “Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law…. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial entities.”

She added that “the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood…invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith.”

She noted that employers could claim “religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists): medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others).”

She concluded, pithily: “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

She also argued that the majority on the Court minimized the compelling state interest in “public health and women’s well-being.” 

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Comments

the take away is VOTE... and don't spend $$$ at Hobby Lobby.... !
As sunrise came the other morning, I awoke feeling angry. At the end of June a decision of the United States Supreme Court, BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL. v. HOBBY LOBBY STORES, INC., ET AL., seemed to be the cause of that angry feeling. It was not only the majority opinion, but also the dissenting opinion that angered me. One can read the good reasons of these justices and argue with their rationalizations, but that quagmire is theirs. A tomato will still be a fruit even when served in a lettuce salad. The real reason for this decision is patriarchy. It is the reason that women are not allowed to be trusted with their own bodies. It is the reason that the expression Trust Women is so rarely spoken or heard. Women must be heard and must become a foundation stone of our social order for it to achieve its objectives of equality and democracy. Liberty, Equality, and Solidarity
Why are the religious rights of a few more important than the human rights of thousands? Their rights to proper health care? A corporation is not a person! This is so absurd, and needs to be changed. This assumption benefits corporations at the expense of taxpayers, employees, all of us in any role. We do enough to prop up corporate profits - they give nothing back! Only funnel profits to huge salaries at the top, gains to shareholders then cut jobs, cut benefits, pay little or no taxes back. Now we have a politicized Supreme Court- I thought I'd never see- which blatantly works with the right wing. BOYCOTT Hobby Lobby and the other companies in this lawsuit, then all corporations which (not who) pay no taxes!

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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