Given lots of my other views, it would be very natural for me to be supportive of the outcome in Hobby Lobby. I tend to have expansive understandings of both religious liberty and corporate rights, and indeed for related reasons.

But I’m not on board with this.

Citizens United was right that “freedom of speech” doesn’t differentiate among speakers, and an artificial corporate person like the New York Times has it as much as a natural biological person does.

The general doctrine of corporate personhood is right: corporations can enter into contracts, own property, and be held liable for wrongdoing or debts *as separate entities* from the various natural biological persons involved– and this is a necessary and valuable organizational innovation.

The particular doctrine of corporate persons as holders of constitutional rights is right: the corporation qua property owner has, for example, 4th Amendment rights against its property being unreasonably warrantlessly searched, and 5th Amendment rights against it being taken for public use without compensation, or against being deprived of it without due process of law.

All of these has to be true, and a great deal of nonsense has been written by people who don’t like the outcome in Citizens United thoughtlessly and needlessly denying one or more of these. (Note that all of these could be true and corporate spending on political speech might still be limited; the “compelling state interest” test might well be met by the interest in preventing corruption and the appearance of corruption.) Corporations are persons; the creation of a distinct artificial legal person is and always has been the meaning and the point of the corporate form.

Hobby Lobby seems to me to stand for a very different proposition: “[P]rotecting 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.”

This isn’t about the person of the corporation. Remember Mitt Romney’s clumsy stumble around this question:

“Corporations are people, my friend … of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.”

Yes, corporations are made of people. But that’s a different point, nearly the opposite point, from saying that they are themselves persons. The judgment today maintains that a closely-held corporation like Hobby Lobby is so close to the natural persons behind it that it’s not really a distinct corporate person at all; it’s just a costume that the Green family puts on and takes off as it suits them.

Notice that the right of a corporation to freedom of the press or to be secure in its property against searches or expropriation makes perfectly good sense in terms of the corporate person’s own interests, regardless of who its owners happen to be. Corporate religious liberty isn’t like that. The reason we have the emphasis here on “closely-held” corporations is because the corporate veil is being pierced in order to look directly at the natural persons behind it.

I think that as soon as the argument for corporate rights you’re making only makes sense for closely-held corporations, it means that it’s a bad argument; it’s a corporations-are-made-of-people rather than a corporations-are-persons argument. Corporate personhood is ultimately justified in terms of the interests of natural persons– their interest in being able to pursue joint enterprises, their interest in being able to educe transaction costs, their interest in being able to interact with stable long-term entities, their interest in the economic benefits of a system in which capital can be pooled and put to long-term use, and so on. But a particular claim of corporate rights shouldn’t require immediate recourse to natural persons to describe it and make sense of it. It makes more sense to say “The New York Times has freedom of the press and the right not to have its offices searched without a warrant” than it does to try to redescribe it in terms of the moral interests of the Sulzburger family, the various employees, the various investors, and so on. The same is true for the corporate religious liberty of the Catholic Church or the Little Sisters of the Poor or the Salvation Army.

But the entity that is Hobby Lobby, a for-profit corporation like IBM, can’t be described as itself having a religious belief. Making sense of that idea requires making the corporate person disappear from the description and talking about the Green family, treating the “closely held” corporation as if it were a partnership or sole proprietorship that doesn’t have a corporate-style separateness from the natural persons. Try as I might, I can’t persuade myself that that’s right. Corporations are persons, or corporations are made out of people– the two thoughts lead to very different conclusions, and I think protecting the former requires rejecting this kind of easy recourse to the latter.

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  • HH

    I imagine someone could argue that there are certain rights than can plausibly be held by corporations (e.g., rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, free speech rights), and certain rights that can’t (e.g., religious beliefs), but that the rights in the latter category *can* be held by the people who make up the corporation, and therefore will be relevant in constitutional/legal analysis in the way that rights held by corporations directly are relevant to those analyses.

    • ThaomasH

      Whatever rights a corporation has it gets from its owners. But this does not mean that a corporation should be able to exercise and enjoy all the rights that its owners have. Corporate governance has evolved to aggregate the rights that owners can be presumed to wish unanimously to hold — not to have its property taken, to be able to enter and contest suits. Political speech and exercise of religion are not those kinds of rights.

      • Libertymike

        Corporate governance is first and foremost a matter for the corporation – not you or me or some progressive, socialist regulatory body like HHS.
        First things first: what constitutional provision explicitly gives the feds the right to mandate that corporations must furnish contraceptives to its female employees?

        • Novus Ordo

          The same constitutional provision that prevents a corporation from providing coverage only for a right fractured femur.

          • Theresa Klein

            That must be the same one that prevents grocery stores from selling only halal food.

          • Kurt H

            That must be the same provision that forces all people to go to one grocery store, mandated by their employer, or pay huge additional costs.

          • Theresa Klein

            Who knew the constitution had so many interesting provisions?!

          • Bryan C. Winter

            Technically speaking, there is no constitutional provision that prevents that. Coverage is offered as is, and your corporation does decide what coverage is offered to you. Companies don’t say ‘ Look on the internet and pick any coverage you want’. They say “Here is the group plan we have, and here is what you have to pay. Do you want a job?”

        • Farstrider

          It’s actually first and foremost a matter for the state — because it is a creature exclusively of the state. Take a spin through Delaware’s General Corporation Law if you don’t believe me.

          • Libertymike

            Actually, you are wrong.
            First, there is no power granted to the federal government to regulate internal corporate governance. NONE. Show me the specific grant of power set forth in the constitution that specifies that the federal government shall have the power to regulate internal corporate governance. It ain’t there.
            Second, most state statutes governing internal corporate governance, including Delaware, provide default provisions if the charter or articles of organization or by-laws of the corporation are silent on the issue.

          • Farstrider

            I said it was first and foremost a power for the STATE, and pointed to the DELAWARE code. Last I checked, Delaware was a state, not a country. So, how am I wrong again? In any event, federal law typically borrows the law of the state of incorporation when dealing with internal corporate affairs. Here, SCOTUS should have done what it would have done in every other context: examine the law of the state of incorporation to see if they are legally separate entities, and once it saw that they were, it should have affirmed the Tenth Circuit.

            Also, states provide both default in the case of silence, as well as certain requirements that are non-waivable.

          • headlight

            It’s the commerce clause. This is a business that is involved in interstate commerce (few are not). Combine that with the supremacy clause. Then add the holding in McCulloch v. Maryland. I don’t think even a transparently political hack like Scalia would overturn McCulloch.

        • ThaomasH

          The origin on Congress’s power to regulate employment contracts was not at issues in this case.  My answer would be the commerce clause.
          Your argument would be more credible if you gave evidence of knowing what “socialistic” means.  Nothing in this case dealt with public ownership of productive assets.

        • headlight

          The commerce clause.

  • Sean II

    One way to to solve this problem is to start with the idea: no rights shall be harmed in the forming of this business.

    In that case, you preserve both the individual rights involved (which are admittedly clearer, easier to see in a closely held corporation), and the rights of the corporate person which emerges in the forming.

    This argument has one key virtue. Legal blather aside, it answers the argument the other side is actually making: that the act of forming a business reduces one’s rights and increases one’s duties.

    The left is pretty consistent about this. They treat employers/shareholders as a legally inferior class of people, who cannot freely associate, speak, etc.

    One clear and consistent way to answer them is by saying “No, bad kitty. If you can’t force a person to do X, then neither can you force a group of people, nor indeed a corporate person.”

    • Farstrider

      You’ve misread both the law and the post. It is not about “groups of people” but about the rights of an entity that is necessarily different than the “groups of people” who own it.

      Also, it is not a question of rights being harmed. It’s a question of what you are willing to give up in order to gain the benefits of being a corporation. Mr. Green could have opened Hobby Lobby as a sole proprietorship, and if he had done so, he would have a much better basis (perhaps not a winning argument but a better argument) for objecting to the ACA, or any other law targeted at a business. Instead, he wants it both ways: he wants the benefits of incorporation without incurring the costs.

      • Libertymike

        “he wants the benefits of incorporation without incurring the costs”

        What were the specific benefits Mr. Green wanted at the time his family incorporated Hobby Lobby? What were the specific costs he wanted to avoid at the time his family incorporated Hobby Lobby?
        Are you aware that the Green family incorporated in 1977 – some 33 years before the passage of Obozocare and some 35 years before the contraceptive regulations in controversy were issued by HHS?
        Are you conversant with Hobby Lobby’s charter? Did you know that, ab initio, the company was committed to “honoring the Lord in all we do by operating our company in a manner consistent with biblical principles?”
        I trust that you know that the text of the First Amendment is unitary in its scope of protection. Put another way, there is no exception for corporations.
        The text of the FA also admits of no exceptions for the edicts of analphabet alphabet soup regulatory bodies.

        • Farstrider

          This is pretty basis corporations 101 stuff, but I’ll explain it anyway.

          Benefits: the company and the person no longer share an identity, so, for example, the individual is not liable for the company’s debts (there are others, but this is the primary one)
          Costs: the company and the person no longer share an identity, so, for example, the company has to do things that an individual would not be required to do (ditto)

          Now that you understand how corporations work, you’ll see that your timing argument and charter argument are nonstarters. (Also, if you could point out the bible passages referencing abortion I’d appreciate that. I’m sure they are right next to the portion of the bible where Jesus praised the profit motive.) If a business owner does not want to be bound by laws governing corporations, he can simply decide not to form a corporation.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “unitary in its scope of protection.” The First Amendment actually does not say anything about who is protected and it who is not. It only says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” That text offers no support for your argument, which is probably why the Court relied primarily on RFRA, not the First Amendment, in reaching its decision.

          No one said that the First Amendment exempts regulatory agencies. That has been settled law for a long time (although not as long as you might think).

          • Libertymike

            The framers had a unitary conception of rights. The protection of rights was not to be bifurcated depending upon the nature of the right in question or the actor’s status.
            Put another way, the right to own a firearm was not to be considered to be deserving of less protection than the right to confront one’s accusers.
            The FA does not, in any way, restrict the universe to whom its protections shall benefit. Given that the text does not restrict whom it protects, why would you even begin to consider the proposition that the Framers did not intend to protect the religious practices of voluntary associations? If they had so desired, they would have so said.
            Remember, the constitution is one in which the powers granted to the federal government are limited. This means that in this case, one should start with the basic question: upon what basis can the dictates of a regulatory body override the operative proposition that the federal government can only act where the specific power has been granted?

          • Farstrider

            “The framers had a unitary conception of rights. The protection of rights was not to be bifurcated depending upon the nature of the right in question or the actor’s status.”
            – This is total nonsense. You mean the slaveholding framers? I suggest you read Article 1, Section 2 too see just how crazy this is. Of course they thought that some people had more rights than others.

            “The FA does not, in any way, restrict the universe to whom its protections shall benefit. Given that the text does not restrict whom it protects, why would you even begin to consider the proposition that the Framers did not intend to protect the religious practices of voluntary associations?”
            – For the reasons stated: because corporations cannot have religion. The First Amendment also does not say that it is inapplicable to mushrooms. Ergo, by your logic, mushrooms have Free Exercise rights?

            “Remember, the constitution is one in which the powers granted to the federal government are limited. [blah blah blah]”

            – The ACA is plainly authorized by Congress’ power under Commerce Clause. The Lochner Era is long over, but even the Lochner court would be unlikely to go the other way on that question.

          • Libertymike

            No, the framers did have a unitary conception of rights and that fact that some of them were slaveholders does not thereby negative this.
            When referencing “the framers”, I did not cabin my reference to those who were present at the Philadelphia convention nor is there anything in my post that suggests such a limitation. The framers include those who urged secession from the Crown; those who challenged the Townsend Acts; those who challenged the Stamp Act; those who supported jury nullification; those who refused to quarter filthy red-coated “veterans”; those who argued against the general warrants; those who wrote the state constitutions; those who were present at the First Continental Congress; those who wrote and those who assisted in the writing of the Unanimous Declaration and all those who furnished the intellectual rationale undergirding the spirit of 1776 along with all of those who attended the state ratifying conventions.
            If corporations can not have religion, they certainly cannot have opinions or positions or policies or mission statements or profits. Selective anthropomorphic treatment for corporations predicated upon progressive pet peeves is the real absurdity.
            Yes, you know that you are really reaching when you offer such a sorry reductio ad absurdum regarding mushrooms relative to the textual absence in the FA for the proposition that Congress somehow has the power to regulate the religious practices of corporations.

          • headlight

            Mike: this is actually not a case interpreting the Constitution. It’s interpreting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Supreme Court allows constitutional rights to be limited all the time, and if the RFRA were not law, this case would have been a slam dunk in favor of the Government. All your talk about the Constitution is embarrassingly shallow. Read the opinion, maybe, rather than just spouting your own crazy version of what you think the majority held. If they’d said what you’re saying, even the Republicans would be calling for their impeachment.

          • Artifex

            Sigh, this intellectually bankrupt argument just won’t die.

            Sorry, No. It does not matter how much progressives argue in a post-hoc fashion that because I avail myself of the limited liability structure of a corporation my basic human rights are somehow forfeit to their designs. The irony here is that it is mostly progressives insisting that corporations are people simply so they have a convenient strawman to knock down.

            It really doesn’t matter that the company and the individuals are separate entities. It is a neat accounting fiction to allow partnership and limited liability. The individuals making up the corporation, be they shareholders, officers or employees still retain their full set of constitutional rights no matter how much it rankles progressives.

            The fundamental issue is that you do not get to post-hoc decide that taking advantage of a government set of laws or methods removes constitutional rights from individuals.

            … or maybe you going to be happy with the outcome when the neo-con types argue that acceptance of welfare waives your 5th through 8th amendment rights ? After all, you could always not take welfare just like you could choose not to form a corporation and give up your 1st and 4th amendment rights.

          • Farstrider

            Sure, if you assume your argument — that making a corporation do something is the same as making a person do something — then you win the argument. A=A and therefore A=A. Everyone who disagrees is bankrupt!
            But it ain’t so. It’s never been so. The fact that corporations are not their owners is their primary (if not sole) purpose. Everything else a business entity can do, an individual can also do. (Also, I don’t know of any progressives who would say corporations are people, either. I’m not sure where that comes from. Most progressives have been railing against Citizens United from day one.)
            So, it’s not about post-hoc rationalizations. And it is not about removing constitutional rights from people. No individual lost a right under ACA. Rather, it is a recognition of the entire purpose of the state-created entity known as the corporation: to not be its owners. If you don’t want your business to be separate from you, don’t make it a corporation. Pretty simple, really.

          • Artifex

            if you assume your argument — that making a corporation do something is the same as making a person do something –

            That would be your deliberately strawmanned argument not mine. Obviously the things the corporation is doing is different than the individual. You are free to regulate the corporation any way you want as long as you do not restrict the rights of the individuals in ANY way.

            Also, I don’t know of any progressives who would say corporations are people, either.

            Oh Please. The rights of the individual has pretty much always been the libertarian line. The corporations are people meme was started as political spin by the disenting side of the court. It’s a nifty absurdity that the left assumes as argument so that they can easily knock it around like a pinata because it is politically inconvenient to argue against free speech and religion rights of the individual. A corporation is fundamentally a group of individuals operating with mutually agreed upon rules given limited liability as a perk because it was deemed beneficial by the regulators, nothing more, nothing less.

            As to ownership, my shares do confer ownership in the corporation and if I were to claim otherwise, the IRS would be most unhappy. If I and those with opinions like mine choose to spend our cash in a specific fashion governed by the terms of our mutual agreement and you try to implement censorship or coercion by restricting use of my property, my rights as an individual are indeed violated no mater how much you try to deny it.

            Claiming post-hoc that I have waived my rights due to limited liability is simple progressive wishful thinking. I (and the majority of the court) think this is absurd.

            You seem to think that by saying over and over that no rights were violated you can make it so by force of will. Sorry, I don’t buy your redefinition of violation of rights.

          • shawn_non_anonymous

            Which individuals are you referring to here? One of the owners? All of the owners? The employees? Corporations are collections of individuals, each with their own rights, and often with rights that are at odds with each other. When two individual’s rights are at odds with each other, one or both of them is going to have their rights “restricted” in that particular instance. And it is this balance of individual rights that courts are primarily responsible for.

          • Artifex

            Shawn, for the most part I wouldn’t argue any of these points. The interplay of the individuals is exactly the dialog we should be having and hopefully we can move on to something that actually has some intellectual heft such as the nature and balance of rights instead rationalized arguments that seek to step around this discussion.

          • Farstrider

            “You are free to regulate the corporation any way you want as long as you do not restrict the rights of the individuals in ANY way.”
            – Making a corporation pay for something does not violate the rights of any individual. Therefore, you agree that SCOTUS erred in its decision, right? I’m glad we got that squared away.

            “A corporation is fundamentally a group of individuals operating with mutually agreed upon rules given limited liability as a perk because it was deemed beneficial by the regulators, nothing more, nothing less.”
            – This is what I mean by assuming things to be true, and then making a circular argument to justify your initial assumptions. This assumption is not — and has never been — what a corporation is. You made it up, unencumbered by any understanding of law whatsoever. Instead of guessing, or fabricating accusations about “progressive wishful thinking,” why don’t you educate yourself (try reading the first sentence here for starters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation) and then come back when you know something.

            The Green family can exercise their religious and other rights however they please. The corporation — which is not the Green family — has no religious rights to exercise.

        • shawn_non_anonymous

          This argument works better if the law in question was not a mere Act of Congress (versus a Constitutional question) that is not much older than the ACA.

          It’s a good thing Hobby Lobby doesn’t follow all the Biblical principles, too, as stoning homosexual men, disobedient daughters, and women in their second marriage (adulterers) would be bad for business.

          • Libertymike

            There was a constitutional question, namely the free exercise clause; the court, in view of having decided in favor of Hobby Lobby on the statutory question, passed on it.
            My post should in now way be read as an endorsement of following biblical principles, en toto or stoning adulterers or homosexual men or disobedient children, in particular.

      • Theresa Klein

        They didn’t incorporate to avoid liability. They incorporated to spread the equity out among family members.

        • Farstrider

          You can do that with a partnership. Wonder why they didn’t do that?

      • Sean II

        1) “You’ve misread…the law”

        I don’t give a damn about the law. Legal reasoning is the most corrupt racket there is.

        2) “Also, it is not a question of rights being harmed. It’s a question of what you are willing to give up in order to gain the benefits of being a corporation”

        It turns out the thing people are asked to give up is their rights. So yeah, it absolutely is a question of rights being harmed.

        • Farstrider

          You should probably refrain from commenting on a post about legal reasoning, if it is a a racket.
          Again, no individual lost a right.

          • Sean II

            Then what did you have in mind when you said: “…what people are willing to give up…”?

            You meant something other than giving up rights and freedoms they would otherwise enjoy?

          • Farstrider

            Well, fair enough. They are giving up the rights they would have if they chose another business form, like a partnership or sole proprietorship
            Surely, you recognize that rights can be voluntarily relinquished, correct?

          • Sean II

            “Surely, you recognize that rights can be voluntarily relinquished right?”

            Not when you don’t know you’re relinquishing them.

            Not when the other party holds a monopoly on rights protection.

            Not when “voluntary” means the state gave you only two bad choices, and you picked one.

          • Farstrider

            First of all, until today, everyone knew that corporations and their owners were separate. So it was known and voluntary.
            Second, why is sole proprietorship a “bad choice?” There is no natural right or even a constitutional right to form a corporation. It’s a right granted exclusively by state statue. But the states do not have to allow any corporations at all. They choose to allow them for public policy reasons – because more people will form and/or invest in businesses if liability of investors is limited. But they do not have to do that. No one’s rights would be violated if Delaware said tomorrow: hey, guess what, new rule, no more corporations. But once you decide to accept the state’s offer to incorporate, why should be able to renege on that when you suddenly find it inconvenient? After all, the Greens could have unincorporated and made a partnership or sole proprietorship tomorrow if they felt strongly enough about their beliefs. But doing that would have meant giving up the sweet sweet asset protection that corporations provide.

          • Sean II

            So your idea of voluntary is:

            A enters agreement with B.

            B thereby gains the right to change terms any time it likes.

            And since B holds a monopoly on agreements of that type, A’s only choices are: withdraw completely or accept all of Bs variable terms.

            That seems fair to you?

          • shawn_non_anonymous

            Where “A” is the female employee and “B” is the religious employer?

          • Sean II

            Nice try, but Hobby Lobby isn’t a monopoly, so that doesn’t work.

          • Farstrider

            You forgot that A can withdraw from the agreement at any time, including at any time that B changes the agreement.
            In another context — let’s call it “employment” — you would vigorously defend the fairness of that deal. Why the sudden reversal?

          • Sean II

            The difference, which I made perfectly clear, is that B holds a monopoly on agreements of that type.

            This is not true of normal employers.

          • Farstrider

            Ah, but B has no monopoly here. The Greens could form a partnership without any involvement from B at all. Wonder why they didn’t do that in 2012, instead of suing?

          • Theresa Klein

            Why does the fact that they are separate for the purposes of liability necessarily entail that they must be separate in every other respect? Is there some overriding moral principle that makes that necessary? Does limited liability impose some sort of burden on society that forces us to restrict the corporation from exercising religion or speech?

          • AP²

            I think this is asking the wrong question. The question is not whether society should prevent corporations from exercising religious rights, it’s whether it has the right to do so. The fact that corporations have separate legal status indicates that they can be restricted. Why should they be is a different question, but presumably it’s because – barring constitutional restrictions – the democratic will of the people who elected those lawmakers should be respected.

          • http://www.crapulousmass.com/ Crapulous Mass

            Concentration of power.

          • Theresa Klein

            Why should they be forced to give up any rights or freedoms to become a corporation?

            I mean, morally, not legally. Is there any good moral argument for why people should give up their religious freedom when they form a corporation?

          • Farstrider

            Because that’s the deal offered by the states. They say: you can do business as a legally separate entity, in order to protect your assets. We offer this not because we have to, but because we think it will foster business and the economy.
            You say, I accept your offer and I will make a legally separate entity to protect my assets.*

            *But not when it comes to my god-fearin’. Then that legally separate entity and I are one in the same!

          • Theresa Klein

            Why should the state offer someone a deal that says “you can be protected from liability, but only if you give up your 1st amendment rights”? Why would that be something that is morally okay for the state to do? Would you want to live in that state?

          • Farstrider

            That wasn’t the deal. The deal was separate entity.

          • Artifex

            Because that’s the deal offered by the states.

            … so if the state says take welfare, and you waive your 5th through 8th amendments rights. you are good with that ? Are all, it is the deal offered by the state.

          • Sean II

            I predict Far’ will suddenly be unavailable for comment now.

          • Farstrider

            Another bad analogy, because again, a corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners. I’ll keep saying it (like Jacob did above) until someone understands it…

          • M S

            This comment makes no sense to me. Why is the fact that a corporation is a separate legal entity relevant here? Your whole argument is that the government provides a benefit to the Greens in exchange for the Greens waiving some rights. The government isn’t providing the deal to Hobby Lobby.

          • Barnaby

            This may be besides the point but I was wondering whether as a separate legal entity, who gets to decide what religion the hobby lobby corporation is?

            I’m not that familiar with US business law, should it not have to be included in the articles of incorporation?

          • headlight

            For profit corporations have never been held to have any religion, or right to exercise a religion, in U.S. history, until now. That’s why this opinion is considered so radical.

          • AP²

            They didn’t lose any rights, and the corporation never had them.

    • good_in_theory

      Yes, the left is pretty consistent about people in positions of power and authority having less free reign over the terms of their relationships with their subordinates. Thankfully.

      • Libertymike

        Unless you want to define the “left” in whatever way you desire, your assertion is false, as a matter of fact.
        Just one example: Immunity.

        • Farstrider

          Do you mean qualified immunity, absolute immunity (like judicial immunity), testimonial immunity, or something else?

          • Libertymike

            Yes to both qualified and absolute immunity.

          • Farstrider

            I think you’ll find very few on the “left” that support either of those doctrines, as they are major impediments to enforcement of various civil rights laws.

          • Libertymike

            Ah, we agree!

          • Farstrider

            Finally!

        • good_in_theory

          A statement about what is “generally” the case doesn’t really care about your “one example.” I’m not sure how to define “the left” but I doubt the majority of people who self-identify as “leftists” would consider your views that representative.

          • Libertymike

            Care to clarify.
            A, do statements care? Are ascribing anthropomorphic qualities to linguistic entities?
            B, if statements can care, why would they not care about “one example”? Would it be because the “one example” upsets the narrative?
            C, regarding the “one example”, why the quotes?
            I offered the legal doctrines of qualified immunity and absolute immunity as examples counter to your post about the left “thankfully” being consistent about preventing people in power from having too much free reign over the terms of their relationships with their subordinates. There can hardly be a more dramatic example of people in power seeking to control the terms of their relationships with whom they consider to be their subordinates.
            If a SWAT team mistakenly breaks into your house at 3 AM by throwing flash grenades through your window, employs a battering ram to open your front door and shoots your dog and generally terrorizes your family, you have, as a practical matter, no recourse.
            If a judge purposely violates your constitutional rights, you absolutely have no recourse against the judge.
            What has the “left” done to stop this?

          • good_in_theory

            Jesus, the boring pedantry.

            Figurative language, how does that work?

            Since you need it spelled out: the statement’s soundness is not comprimised by a proof-by-contradiction, which applies to universal, not quantified, statements. So the statement “does not care” about your example.

            Now, you really ought to stop living in your fantasy land where “the left” are pro-police. Democrats and soi-disant liberals, maybe. It doesn’t take much to find “left” groups protesting prisons and the police. Prison abolition, “take back the city” style urban activists, anarchists and black-bloc groups, even run-of-the-mill ACLU style legal activism. All pretty anti-cop.

          • Libertymike

            Perhaps it is not helpful to argue over what constitutes the “left”. Regarding the police and the prison complex, the groups to which you refer are my allies.

          • good_in_theory

            Well, you can come up with some theoretical edifice which divides left and right and argue so and so ought to be considered left and so and so ought to be considered right. Or you can see who calls themselves of the left and who gets called of the left and by whom. Depends what you want to do.

      • Theresa Klein

        Really? They seem to be pretty on board with regulators having free reign over the businesses they regulate.

        • good_in_theory

          “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” might seem like a really thought provoking paradox when you’re 14, but eventually one ought to be able to figure these things out without help.

      • Sean II

        I understand you guys think of yourselves as countering a prior imbalance of power, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re calling for various forms of legal inequality.

        Indeed, legal inequality is the means you’ve chosen to accomplish your goals.

        • good_in_theory

          Yes, “the left” calls for legal inequality on the basis of inequality of material circumstances and authority. Not really shocking or damning unless you’re unhinged.

          • Libertymike

            Particularly “the left’s” support for the doctrines of qualified and absolute immunity.

          • Sean II

            In a rare moment of seriousness, Sean asked…

            Do you really not care about legal inequality? Let’s play a game. In this game are three pieces

            1) An Orthodox Jew homophobe
            2) A flamboyant gay male atheist
            3) A small business owned by one or the other of them

            What if I tell you that either 1) or 2) is refusing to buy something from either 2) or 1)? Can you tell me if that seems wrong to you?

            No, you can’t. Not if I don’t tell you who owns the business and whether the thing he’s refusing to buy is labor!

            How can this be fair? You would praise a gay man for refusing to buy goods in the shop of an Orthodox Jew, but you would see the Jew dragged into court if he refuses to buy labor from the gay man?

            This doesn’t bother you?

          • good_in_theory

            No, it doesn’t bother me that through deliberation one can distinguish acts of discrimination qualitatively and that formally similar abstractions are, substantively, treated differently. Judgement – it’s a bitch, but we’re stuck with her.

          • Sean II

            You don’t feel any need to, you know, like…come up with a reason why the act of buying labor reduces a person’s legal rights while the act of selling labor entitles the seller to an additional set of rights?

          • good_in_theory

            I guess your imagination is limited in scope to your caricatured visions of the left. You really can’t figure this out?

            There’s a pretty simple starting point: buyers necessarily have access to assets and credit, sellers don’t necessarily so.

            Here’s one primer, no doubt out of date:

            https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/wage-labour/ch06.htm

            Warning: You may see that economic illiterate Marx make obviously ridiculous assertions completely contrary to libertarian and economic orthodox, like saying that capital growth also increases demand for labor and wage levels, and increasing efficiency enriches workers by lowering prices.

          • Sean II

            Oh, so having access to assets and credit is what causes people to lose their rights. Got it. Sounds fair.

          • good_in_theory

            This whiny line about rights you keep repeating is pretty weak tea. “But what about the rights!”

            Entering into a relation of superiority over someone else and putting the other person into a position of dependence relative to you causes you to have increased obligations.

          • Sean II

            Problem: if those obligations increase enough, then you are no longer in a position of superiority.

            Other problem: if A comes to B and asks him for job, why do you describe B as “putting” A into a “position of dependence”?

          • good_in_theory

            What a silly bit of sophistry. “If you give someone a handicap in golf, the two players are now equally likely to make par, so why give the person a handicap!”

            Yes, “putting” is too active if we’re going to be technical. The hierarchical character of the relationship is structural/systemic.

          • Sean II

            “The hierarchical character of the relationship is structural/systemic.”

            What you’re missing is that the hierarchy comes after the relationship is formed. The employee first decides to become an employee, and then finds himself at one end of a hierarchical relationship.

            Your trick is to make it sound like the subordinate status precedes that arrangement. It doesn’t.

          • good_in_theory

            Actually, the need for employment in order to guarantee sustenance does precede “that arrangement.” The distribution of property and investment in human capital is prior to the employment contract.

  • TheBrett

    Citizens United was right that “freedom of speech” doesn’t
    differentiate among speakers, and an artificial corporate person like
    the New York Times has it as much as a natural biological person does.

    Except that corporations don’t have any “opinions” or “speech” separate from whoever happens to be controlling them at the time – saying that they do is saying that the people controlling them are entitled to have their freedom of speech rights represented twice, both as their own and as representative/owners of the corporation. A corporate entity that’s just sitting there without owners or employees is a mindless shell.

    Are you going to argue that they deserve to have voting rights as well? It’d be the same thing, with the people controlling them effectively getting multiple votes because the corporations they create vote the same as they do personally.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      I disagree with that because there are some interests of companies which are indeed separate from those of the directors. In the case where a corporation faces regulation from government. Those regulations would not directly effect it’s employees or shareholders but could effect the company as a whole, therefore the company has a right to redress government in it’s own name. Granted there is plenty overlap in the interest of the parties involved but under your reasoning employees and shareholders would have to petition government directly.

  • frank

    i think you’re misreading the opinion. The parts that you quote provide justifications for why we accept the legal fiction in the first place. I don’t think that the opinion’s reasoning is depedent on its focus on the people behind the corporate veil. And the emphasis on the “closely-held” nature of the corporation is simply narrowing the legal breadth of the opinion. Judges do this when they admit that more briefing would be needed before they come to a conclusion on an issue that isn’t relevant to the case at bar.

  • DB

    Could you explain further why it is OK for a non-profit corporation like the Salvation Army to have corporate beliefs that are protected, but a for-profit corporation like Hobby Lobby cannot. (At least that’s what I read you to be saying). The corporate form, where your argument is focused, is the same. Let’s be clear here that Salvation Army is profit seeking. And that Hobby Lobby as a corporation is free to use profits to contribute to charity.

    • Sean II

      Great question. I believe our bones will freeze in the heat death of the universe before you get even a halfway decent answer.

      • http://www.crapulousmass.com/ Crapulous Mass

        Non-Profits are supposed to provide a public service?

        • Sean II

          Well, first…that is just a supposition. What a lot of non-profits really do is provide the decidedly private service of giving jobs to over-educated, under-skilled twenty-somethings. So that won’t wash.

          But more importantly, libertarians who understand markets are supposed to regard for-profit enterprises as the most effective kinds of public service…because in each voluntary, win-win exchange we can be sure that at least two members of the public were in fact served.

          Libertarians are not supposed to run around thinking “Non-profits use nice words and claim nice motives. Let’s just believe them and to hell with the results”.

          • http://www.crapulousmass.com/ Crapulous Mass

            I’m just talking about the consideration that garners non-profits their tax-exempt status, which may translate into some kind of a legally acknowledged “soul”, so to speak, which may translate into acknowledged, and protected, beliefs. Something a mercenary for-profit biz could never claim.

          • http://www.crapulousmass.com/ Crapulous Mass

            I agree with incorporation on the grounds that a biz can live beyond its founder(s), but the granting of any other supernormal rights/burdens just seems to be asking for trouble.

    • Farstrider

      Yeah, I agree with that. HHS never should have let the non-profits opt out either. It leads to bad results (like this one).

    • headlight

      Sure. It’s described in the dissent. A for-profit corporation is created for the purpose of making money. A religious non-profit corporation is created for the purpose of spreading religion. Remember, these are statutorily-defined entities that exist for specific purposes.

      Oh, by the way — this may not be the end of the discussion on Hobby Lobby. Businesses are not allowed to discriminate by gender in the terms of employment. If their goal is to deny medical treatment options that disproportionately affect their female employees, they’ll be defending against state and federal discrimination suits by female employees. It’s quite a different question whether an employer’s right to exercise his religion overrides his employees’ rights to be treated without discrimination. Or would you argue that a person who has a sincere religious belief in white supremacy can legally discriminate against African American employees?

  • Kevin Vallier

    You’re not saying you agree with the mandate should be applied to Hobby Lobby, though, right? Or are you endorsing the claim that if the mandate is going to be applied to publicly traded corporations, that it should be applied to Hobby Lobby? Or are you just rejecting this particular part of the SCOTUS’s reasoning?

    After all, you could argue that free exercise is burdened, that government lacks a compelling interest and didn’t use the least restrictive means – the standards RFRA is understood to endorse – without endorsing the passage you cite. So you could get the result that applying the mandate to Hobby Lobby is unconstitutional in lots of other ways. So I’m choosing to read you narrowly!

    • jtlevy

      Well, the post said what I meant it to say, and so the narrow reading is correct; it doesn’t reach issues that it doesn’t reach!

      But I think my view is that, with the special exception of “benefit corporations” in states that allow them, for-profit corporations don’t have religious liberty that can be burdened, so the RFRA analysis never gets started, so the mandate should be applied to Hobby Lobby.

      • Kevin Vallier

        Ah, good clarification. That said, I lost the referent in “But I’m not on board with this.”

      • Libertymike

        You have not presented a coherent rationale in support of your position.
        You neglected to address the meaning of “person” for purposes of interpreting the RFRA. Given that the statute does not define “person”, what would you have the court do?
        Well, the court turned to the Dictionary Act, 1 USC sec.1. That statute defines “persons” as including “corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies and joint stock companies, as well as individuals”. In deciding cases regarding a statute that does not define a term at issue, the Supreme Court will almost always turn to the Dictionary Act to ascertain the definition.
        The court noted that there was not anything about the RFRA that suggested that “person” should be defined differently for purposes of construing the meaning of the statute. There was nothing in the legislative history which suggested otherwise; to the contrary, the RFRA was enacted in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) (court reversed Oregon supreme court’s decision that failure to provide unemployment benefits to members of the Native American Church who were fired for using peyote violated Free Exercise Clause). As the court noted, the RFRA was designed by Congress to provide “very broad protection for religious liberty”.
        Given that (1)you did not define “person” for purposes of your OP and that (2) the RFRA does not define “person” and that (3) the RFRA was designed to provide “very broad protection for religious liberty” and that (4) the Dictionary Act unequivocally defines “person” to include corporations and many other entities, you can not logically be heard to complain about the basis for the court’s decision.
        Should the court abandon the meaning of person in this instance? If so, why? Is a corporation less of a person if it is profit minded? If so, why? Is a corporation deserving of fourth amendment protection from the state’s credentialed emissaries of violence? If so, why shouldn’t a corporation’s first amendment rights merit protection? As Justice Alito wrote, “[n]o known understanding of the term ‘person’ includes some but not all corporations.”

        • Farstrider

          A few points.
          First, I agree that the HHS’ accommodation of non-profit corporations was a tactical mistake. They should never have done that. Let that be a lesson: if you give the religious an inch, they’ll take the mile.
          Second, it is a fundamental tenet of statutory interpretation that you should try to interpret the statute to avoid an absurdity. SCOTUS forgot that here. A corporation (whether for profit or not), has no soul, cannot sin, cannot attend services, cannot pray, cannot confess, cannot go to Mecca, cannot observe the Sabbath, cannot baptize or be baptized, cannot be born, cannot die, cannot meditate, cannot achieve enlightenment, cannot be ordained, cannot covet, cannot worship, etc. Therefore, it is absurd in the first instance to assume, as SCOTUS did, that corporations have religion and then look to see if RFRA’s definition of “person” denies them the Free Exercise rights you just assumed into being.
          Third, not all rights are the same, and there is a long tradition of corporations having some rights and not others. By way of example only, corporations have Fourth Amendment rights, some Fifth Amendment Due Process and Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendment rights because they can have privacy (4th), property (5th) and be sued (7th) or criminally charged (6th & 8th). But they have no self-incrimination rights, because it makes no sense to protect a corporation from self-incrimination. I presume they will never have Second Amendment rights, because it makes no sense to allow corporations to stockpile weapons. The same result should have happened here.

          • Libertymike

            Corporations are born every day. Corporations also die every day, although sometimes, their deaths are involuntary.
            We both know that there are corporations that absolutely covet…..your money and mine.

          • Farstrider

            No, those are people.

          • Theresa Klein

            the HHS’ accommodation of non-profit corporations was a tactical mistake. They should never have done that. Let that be a lesson: if you give the religious an inch, they’ll take the mile.

            Damn those religious people, wanting to not pay for things they find morally impermissible.

            Those subhumans don’t deserve rights.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            I wonder if he would feel the same about Ben And Jerry’s being forced to provide a product that polluted the environment ?

          • Farstrider

            Of course companies are compelled to do things they (or their owners) would rather not do all the time, like pay taxes. That is an argument against the SCOTUS decision, not for it.

          • AP²

            Lots of people are forced to pay for things they don’t like, that some people should have an exemption just because they believe in supernatural beings is just discrimination.

  • Mark Rothschild

    This legally narrow decision was not a victory for libertarian principles, but rather was a victory for deferring to the legislative branch. The entire legal context in which anyone is compelled to subsidize choices of others – in this case an employee, is illegitimate.

    In my view, the reason given (in this case religion) is irrelevant. This is not a victory for any principle except for the principle that the law is what Congress says it is.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      But that is a big victory. as I said, an agency of the government sought to just ignore a law. They were checked by the court so in some sense it is a libertarian victory.

      • Libertymike

        Les, both you and Mark get an upvote.

    • ThaomasH

      No one is being required to subsidize anyone (except in the sense that those who do not benefit from contraceptive coverage “subsidize” those who do just as those who have appendectomies are subsidized by those who do not). The employer is not subsidizing it employees; it is paying part of their wages in kind because that’s the only way before ACA that people could receive the tax subsidy for health insurance in the same way as they receive a tax subsidy on the amount of their wages that the employer “pays” as SS and Medicare tax.

      It looks to me like the court flunked Econ 101.

  • Jonathan Cast

    I think that all it takes to accept that Hobby Lobby is a Christian business is to step into one of their stores. Hobby Lobbies are more saturated with Christian items and Christian symbols than most Protestant churches. And, remember, Hobby Lobby isn’t the only brand operated by the corporation — this is the same company behind Mardel’s, which is a Christian bookstore. It’s like arguing that a Jewish deli can’t have a religion. But to argue that Hobby Lobby has to be a secular corporation like IBM or GM because they’re both for-profit is like arguing that Egypt must be a secular society like the United States because they both have elections. I.e., it’s picking out one irrelevant similarity and using it to ignore the blindingly obvious differences.

    • DamienLi

      It’s not obvious to me that a Jewish deli has a religion. It may be owned by Jewish people or sell food that observant Jews are required to eat, but that still doesn’t mean that the corporation is itself Jewish. My local supermarket sells both halal and kosher products too, that doesn’t make it Muslim or Jewish. Perhaps it is because the Deli only carries kosher food, but why would that make the corporation Jewish? This is only obvious if you only consider that corporations can have a religion.

      • Theresa Klein

        If people think that corporations now are mindless soulless entities that are destroying society, just wait until corporations are officially banned from having moral beliefs.

        I *LIKE* the fact that businesses are allowed to have a mission beyond robotic profit-making.

        • Libertymike

          I thought the fact pattern sounded familiar and voila:
          Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961)

          • Farstrider

            Braunfeld and the other appellants were Jews, not corporations. And they lost. (The case should have gone the other way, but on Establishment Clause grounds, but that’s an argument for another day.)

      • taxman10m

        Ditto. A business can have a character that is religious.

  • http://bigplayar.com/ Morgan Warstler

    Labor has no claim here. No one is arguing an employee should be able to sue to stop his bosses company from providing abortions.

    Owning property, economic activity, forming corporations is an inherent RIGHT that USG was formed to establish and protect. The kind of people who form corporations are the very people who set this thing up and WROTE the damn document in the first place. The rules naturally skew to this outcome.

    Anyone who privately wishes things weren’t written this way, tacitly understands the USG EXISTS, as it is currently construed, to enforce this reality. it just makes them mad.

    One man owns the thing. The other chooses to work for him. The former will have more political power than the latter, because voting is not everything.

    It’s not big deal. There are plenty of ways the state and the majority of it’s citizens can provide abortions without saying their interest in providing them is so great to step on the fundamental economic activity of the individuals – who have religious freedom.

    If that’s hard politically to do, too bad.

    Amend the Constitution. Get over the fact that many votes, for real deep changes, require far larger majorities.

  • Les Kyle Nearhood

    However Hobby lobby didn’t win on constitutional grounds, it won because an agency of the government ignored a law which was specifically passed to protect companies in just these situations. So I do support the decision.

  • Jerome Bigge

    One major difference between corporations and people is that people can face criminal penalties and jail or prison time for their actions. A corporation can’t be jailed, sent to prison, or executed as a person could be. Corporate “personhood” is actually a “legal fiction” which I understand came about because a Supreme Court clerk apparently at some time added this to the court’s record. Perhaps this is only a “urban myth”, but as corporations were originally created as a means of limiting liability for investors, it might be worthwhile to determine actually “what” a corporation actually is.

    • http://bigplayar.com/ Morgan Warstler

      Wait. The criminal things you mention a company can do, get done by people, who must be held criminally liable.

      A corporate veil is a legal truth the government admits: the “personal” assets of the shareholders (wealth beyond the shares) were obtained after income taxes were paid, and AS SUCH those assets are not to be attached if the company fails.

      There’s nothing tricky about it. The government (made up by people) is agreeing that wealth outside companies (made up by people) is “safe.”

      Even then corporate veils aren”t iron clad.

      But let’s be clear, these rules don’t come from nothing, one rule is not as good as any other…

      The folks who are likely to create companies also are likely to want to create governments, and vice versa.

      MOST of these people want to be able to extend their personal moral universe via their economic dealings, not via the government bit.

      You are a mind (commerce) and you are a body (government), don’t fret that we generally expect the mind to run the body.

    • Farstrider

      Corporations can be and are criminally prosecuted.

  • wm13

    I can’t accept the essentialism behind this post, that a corporate person has some “true” purposes beyond those of its governors. To see the fallacy in this reasoning, imagine that there are two kinds of entities. One is “corporations” which operate solely for business purposes, and therefore can’t have free speech interests (unless they are media corporations, or with respect to their business interests) or free exercise interests. The other is “schmorporations,” which are formed by their owners under general incorporation statutes, but exist to serve the owners’ religious, political, or other goals. Note that Delaware GCL Sec. 101 provides that a corporation may be formed for “any lawful . . . purposes,” so the incorporators have every right to form a corporation under Delaware law to promote the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, if that is their desire. Surely the schmorporations are protected by any statutory or Constitutional reference to “persons,” since they are persons in the eyes of the law, just as much as corporations formed solely for business.

    • Les Kyle Nearhood

      We don’t have to imagine it, it already exists. Non-profits, formed under a different charter, are deemed by the courts to have a broader range of action than for profit entities. Personally I do not think this should be the case. I think any company should be free to pursue any goal at all.

  • Theresa Klein

    I don’t see why you are tying yourself into knots over this.
    Just put yourself in the shoes of the Green family.

    You start a business. The business is run according to the principles of your religious faith. This is your right as a human being, to pursue happiness.
    The business becomes successful. You hire employees. You hire your children to help run it. You want to give your children an equity stake in it. The corporate form is an appropriate tool to do that.

    Why is it that the instant you decide to become a corporation, you suddenly are no longer permitted to run the business according to your religious faith?

    Suddenly, your employees rights to have certain morally objectionable products provides to them supercedes your human right to operate a business that conforms to your faith. This is just crazy.

    There is nothing particularly complicated about this issue. it is morally wrong to force people to do things that violate their conscience. We shouldn’t even be mandating that employers provide specific products to their employees in the first place. The terms of the employment contract are between the employer and employee and agreed to before they are hired. This wouldn’t even be an issue if the ACA didn’t mandate that employers pay for their employee’s health care.
    The whole thing is entirely a creation of the demented way in which the government chooses to regulate the health insurance market.

    • Farstrider

      “Why is it that the instant you decide to become a corporation, you suddenly are no longer permitted to run the business according to your religious faith?”

      Because a corporation is not you. It is an artificial construct created by the state and it exists at the sufferance of the state. And its primary if not sole purpose is to limit your personal liability for the debts of your business, i.e., to be separate from you. If you don’t like that, don’t incorporate in the first place, or change your corporate form later. End of story.

      Once again, because apparently it cannot be said enough, no person was being forced to do anything under the ACA. Only a corporation was.

      • Theresa Klein

        I get it. It’s convenient for you to think of corporations as entirely morally distinct from the human beings who own and run the business, because that makes it easier for you to dehumanize them and deprive them of rights.

        • Farstrider

          This is not some crazy construct I just came up with to argue with you. This is something like 200 years of law. Corporations are distinct from their owners as a matter of law, because owners find it convenient that they be so. Except for the Greens, who want all of the benefits of that separateness but none of the cost.

          • Theresa Klein

            Where it is written that the cost involves giving up your religion?

          • Farstrider

            Where is it written that your business organization which is legally distinct from you, and which materially benefits you by being materially distinct from you, is not legally distinct from you for First Amendment purposes?
            In other words, where is it written that you can disregard the corporate when it is convenient for you to do so?

          • Theresa Klein

            Because, in general, in this country, we don’t have a rule that everything not explicitly permitted is forbidden.

          • Farstrider

            That’s a non-answer. Because the answer is “no where.”

          • Theresa Klein

            I fail to see how the liability issue is even relevant to this case. Why should limited liability have any bearing on what sort of health insurance you provide?

            Do you think that Hobby Lobby is going to be bankrupted in a massive class-action lawsuit brought by pregnant ex-employees who claim that they couldn’t afford to purchase birth control? Do you actually think the courts would hold Hobby Lobby liable for their employees getting pregnant?

          • Farstrider

            No, you are being silly. People incorporate because they want limited liability. That is the purpose and benefit of incorporation. The mechanism by which they get limited liability is to pretend that the corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, with its own debts and obligations that the separate entity — but not its owners — are liable for. Indeed, the only way you can break down that wall between the corporation and its owners (called piercing the corporate veil) is by proving certain kinds of very bad conduct on the part of the owners. And now, for the very first time in the history of the corporate form, when religion is involved.

          • Theresa Klein

            Why should being protected from liability entail a moral, or legal obligation to pay for one’s employees contraception?

          • Farstrider

            I’m really not sure if you are missing the point on purpose at this point.
            1. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is a separate legal entity from Mr. Green.
            2. Therefore, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.’s debts are not Mr. Green’s debts.
            3. By the same token, Mr. Green’s religious views are not Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.’s religious views.
            4. This is not an accident.
            5. This is on purpose.
            6. Mr. Green made Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. to run his business because he WANTED it to be a separate legal entity.
            7. He wanted it to be a separate legal entity because he wants the advantage of Point 2 above.
            8. But when the subject matter is religion, Mr. Green suddenly does not want Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. to be separate legal entity anymore.
            9. When the subject matter is religion, he wants Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. to be the same as him.

            10. He wants this so he can claim Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. – a legal fiction that has no soul and cannot worship – has a religion.
            11. This is called being disingenuous. On Monday, when it is time to pay the electric bill, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is not the same as Mr. Green. On Friday, when it’s time to pay the insurer, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. suddenly IS the same as Mr. Green.

          • Theresa Klein

            I do not see how, or why, 3 should follow from 2.

          • Sean II

            It doesn’t. Far’s actually working from a hidden premise:

            2b. The price of limited liability is forfeiture of all rights.

            But…because that sounds super shitty, and would force him to bite some nasty bullets, he doesn’t say that. Hence the big unexplained leap from 2 to 3.

          • Theresa Klein

            Bingo. That’s what I was boxing him in to.

          • Farstrider

            Is it a choice with consequences? Yes. Such is life. Corporations have to do things that people don’t.
            Do the Greens want the choice without the consequences? Again, yes.

          • Sean II

            Indeed. Hard to imagine how those miserable hicks failed to foresee that forming a corporation would, 40 years later, leave them subject to a federal contraception mandate.

            Hell, they were practically asking for it!

          • Farstrider

            Let’s not pretend that these were naive people taken in by some swindler. These are savvy business people, and this suit was a coordinated political operation from day one, and not even you are naive enough to believe otherwise.

          • Sean II

            “Day one” was sometime in 1972, when the company was formed.

          • Farstrider

            No, I meant September 2012 when the suit was filed.

          • Sean II

            No, not according to you. As you have it, “day one” is when the corporation was formed.

            Your claim is: the owners should have figured out then and there that they might one day be forced to buy contraception against their will, and too fucking bad if they didn’t.

          • Farstrider

            I said “political operation from day one,” the political operation being the lawsuit.
            And that is not my claim. My claim is that the owners should have figured out upon corporation (and they certainly did) that the corporation was not them, and therefore it did not have the same legal rights or duties they have.

          • Farstrider

            I’ve said a thousand times that limited liability has a price. That price is that the corporation is not you. The premise is neither hidden nor (until this morning) controversial.

          • Sean II

            As many times you’ve failed to answer: what rights, if any, do people retain after paying that price?

            Are they all gone? Or is it just the unfashionable rights that only mean people want anyway? Do you lose all your rights immediately? Or do they get peeled away over time? How does it work?

          • Farstrider

            “what rights, if any, do people retain after paying that price?”

            As I’ve said a thousand times now, all of them, except for the right to treat the corporation as an extension of you. Because it is not an extension of you. It is a separate legal entity. It therefore does not have your rights. And it does not have your religion. You have your religion. And thankfully, you do not have the corporation’s debts. Unless you are Mr. Green. He, unlike every other shareholder in the country, gets to treat the corporation as an extension of himself, because of his religion.

            But look, I give up. I’ve said a thousand times that a corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners. Even Jacob said it in the original post, set off by asterisks no less. I don’t know how many more times I would have to say that “that a corporation is a separate legal entity” before you get that a corporation is a separate legal entity, but apparently more than I have patience for tonight.

          • Sean II

            And I’ve only said this once, but I’ll gladly say it a second time: “separate legal entity” does not get to mean “legally rightless non-entity”.

          • Farstrider

            No one said corporations are rightles or that they are nonentities. In fact, I said exactly the opposite. So once again, you are making things up.
            What I actually said was that they don’t have religion, and therefore, do not have religious rights. Jacob said the same thing above.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            And apparently you have been wrong a thousand times.

          • Farstrider

            3 follows from 1, not 2. Come on people!

          • Sean II

            If that’s true, then one could stop a church or synagogue from publishing a newsletter on the grounds that it is separate from all the individuals who worship within.

            I think you’ve confused “being a separate legal entity” with “being a rightless non-entity”. Hardly the same thing.

          • Farstrider

            There is an argument to be made that organizations have free speech rights. I don’t know if I buy it, but it is at least non-crazy. There is also an argument that some organizations (particularly churches) have religious rights (although they are probably better pursued as the religious rights of the members rather than the organization itself). I get that too.
            And there are a lot of rights that organizations undoubtedly have, as I’ve said elsewhere in this post, including rights under the Fourth, Fifth (somewhat), Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments (not to mention many many nonconstitutional rights), because these rights make sense in the context of the corporate form. (I’ve never said they were rightless entities. You are just making that up.)
            None of that means that corporations can have that old time religion, which is the only point up for debate here.

          • Sean II

            “There is an argument to be made that organizations have free speech rights. I don’t know if I buy it, but it is at least non-crazy…”

            And there it is! Now we find out that the beautifully transparent and logical flawless legal theory behind it all is: every bullet Farst won’t bite is a right the corporation can keep, every bullet Farst finds edible is a right they can’t. So for example, free speech = good, free exercise = bad. Privacy under 4th Amendment = good, gun rights = bad.

            See, earlier I thought you were just reverse engineering a bullshit legal theory to serve whatever happens to be your current set of policy preferences. How crazy of me.

            Now I see the true clarity of your position. No further questions on my end.

          • Artifex

            I don’t Farst really even comprehends the type of damage his line of argument can do if consistently applied. He is arguing that he can construe a government perk such as limited liability to indicate a post-hoc waiver of rights.

            Just wait until when/if the other set of goofballs are in power. How about an argument of the form:

            A marriage is fundamentally a different thing than an individual. By having the government recognition of your marriage, the government obviously has additional regulatory capability over your joint property. Please cease and desist spending joint funds on any political causes we disagree with. You didn’t have to get married so you agreed to the restrictions along with the marriage contract, so now your support of gay rights is legally curtailed.

            Somehow I think his tune would fundamentally change.

          • Sean II

            Excellent analogy.

            I love you.

          • Libertymike

            You want another analogy?
            Can you say Lois Lerner?

          • Farstrider

            That is an exceptionally poor analogy, because you don’t understand what it means to be a separate legal entity.

            Let me put it in terms you might understand: do corporations have a right to marry? Why or why not?

          • M S

            It’s actually a good analogy. The fact that a marriage isn’t a separate legal entity isn’t relevant since that’s an entirely contingent feature of marriage. It could easily have been the case that history developed such that a marriage license created a separate legal entity. In fact, marital property used to have a number of protections that resembled those inherent in the corporate form (see, e.g., tenancy in the entirety).

            The point is this: let’s say it was the case that joint property held within a marriage was treated the same way that property held by a corporation is treated today. Let’s say that when two people get married, a new legal entity is created such that if creditors want to go after the marital home or the joint bank account, they need to deal with that legal entity instead of one or the other of the spouses. And let’s say that that’s the only form of civil marriage that’s available. Would you have a problem with the government stating that you can’t hold prayer meetings within the marital home or that you can’t use money from your joint bank account to support political causes?

            More directly: is there anything the government can’t ask you to give up in exchange for some benefit?

          • Farstrider

            You misunderstood my question. The question is not whether a married couple is like a corporation. The question is whether a corporation can actually get married. The answer, unless you are a crazy person, is “of course not.” Because corporations do not have all the same rights as natural persons.

            Your analogy also does not make sense because there is nothing like what you are describing going on here. In your analogy, the married couple lose actual rights. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Greens are not losing any rights at all. It is the CORPORATION that is required to spend its money on birth control. The Greens are neither required to do anything nor spend any of their own money.

          • M S

            First, I didn’t misunderstand your question. I ignored it. Just like you ignored my question about how many rights the government can demand in exchange for some benefit.

            Second, no one contests that corporations don’t have all the same rights as natural persons, so that gets you nothing. But you seem to think “corporations don’t have all the same rights as people” —> “Obviously corporations have the exact bundle of rights I believe they have, no more and no less, and anyone who thinks they have a different bundle of rights doesn’t understand what it means to be a separate legal entity” But that clearly doesn’t follow, and you haven’t yet given any justification for your preferred bundle.

            Third, I’m not sure you understood the question that Artifex and I asked. It seems clear to you that the married couple are losing rights in my analogy, but as Artifex pointed out, you could easily say instead: “No individual is losing any rights; they can still dispose of their individual property however they want. Only the separate legal entity known as The Marriage is losing the ability to freely dispose of its property. And since The Marriage is entirely an artifact of the state, the state can change the rules how it wants. If people don’t like those rules, they don’t have to get married.” From what you’ve written so far, it seems like you think that quote would be entirely fair if you substitute The Corporation for The Marriage. So what’s the difference? Why can the state demand things of people to create certain legal entities, but can’t demand those same things when creating other legal entities?

            Finally, it does you no good to say that the individuals aren’t losing any rights, since you’ve already acknowledged several times on this page that people give up rights when they form corporations:

            “Also, it is not a question of rights being harmed. It’s a question of
            what you are willing to give up in order to gain the benefits of being a
            corporation.”

            “[Mr. Green] wants it both ways: he wants the benefits of incorporation without incurring the costs.”

            “Well, fair enough. They are giving up the rights they would have if they
            chose another business form, like a partnership or sole proprietorship. Surely, you recognize that rights can be voluntarily relinquished, correct?”

            [In response to Theresa asking "Why should they be forced to give up any rights or freedoms to become a corporation?"] “Because that’s the deal offered by the states”

            So since you’ve already acknowledged that the government demands that people (not corporations) give up rights to form separate legal entities, I’ll ask again: What’s the limit?

          • Farstrider

            “Why can the state demand things of people to create certain legal entities, but can’t demand those same things when creating other legal entities?”

            – Because marriages are not separate legal entities and there are very good reasons why the should not be.

            “So since you’ve already acknowledged that the government demands that people (not corporations) give up rights to form separate legal entities, I’ll ask again: What’s the limit?”

            – They give up the right (assuming such a right in the first place) to treat the business like an extension of themselves. That is the limit.

          • adrianratnapala

            Nitpick, I, the court majority, and I think you (but not the original poster) believe that corporations are indeed rightless non-entity except in so far as they are vehicles for the projects of their owners.

          • Sean II

            Except for not Cyberdine Systems, Inc.

            Now there’s a corporate person which will one day command the respect even of hysterical leftists on Twitter.

          • Libertymike

            What you do not seem to grasp is that it is neither conceptually nor logically incongruous for Hobby Horse to have debts separate and apart from Mr. Green while the religion of the latter to be the religion of the former.
            What you also do not see to grasp is that the concept of limited liability pre-dates the nation state and does not need the state for it to operate.
            Two voluntary associations of people can agree to look only to the assets of their respective voluntary associations, and not the assets of the individual members of the associations, for satisfaction of any claims one association may have against the other.

            It happens every day. Of every week. Of every year. Many times the parties agree that their claims will be resolved exclusively by means of arbitration and that there shall be no right to judicial review of the arbitrator’s decision.

          • Farstrider

            “What you also do not see to grasp is that the concept of limited liability pre-dates the nation state and does not need the state for it to operate.”
            – I’d like a cite for this nonsensical statement please. Thanks.

          • Libertymike

            Where is it written that the framers and the founding generation desired to prevent voluntary associations from exercising first amendment rights?

          • Farstrider

            Where is it written that the that the framers and the founding generation desired to protect the religious rights (a subset of first amendment rights) of corporations (a subset of voluntary associations)?

      • Les Kyle Nearhood

        Well, we and the supreme court think your argument is weak.

        • Farstrider

          Right, and SCOTUS has never been wrong before!

    • Kurt H

      It’s not the mandate that caused the conflict, it’s the tax advantages for providing health coverage through an employer. If we’re lucky, this ruling will lead to further health reforms that severs the employer insurance link and puts everyone into a system like the ACA’s exchanges.

      Still though, it makes no sense to pick the “religious liberty” of the Greens to believe false things about birth control over the need of their employees to have access to health care without paying extra costs. The latter interest seems far more compelling given that it involves an actual harm.

      • Theresa Klein

        I agree that at this point, it would be better to just get rid of the employer mandate and push everyone onto the exchanges. I mean, the exchanges work just like a group plan anyway, so what’s the difference?

        Then we deregulate the exchanges, get rid of the individual mandate, and voila, we’re back to a well functioning insurance market.

        • good_in_theory

          When, exactly, did we have a “well functioning” insurance market? What are the halcyon days to which we’re returning?

          • Theresa Klein

            Prior to Roosevelt’s wage and price controls.

          • good_in_theory

            Which Roosevelt? Teddy or Freddy? I’m assuming Freddy because “everything went wrong with FDR” is a pretty convenient, mindless historical narrative to use. Of course private insurance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries pretty actively excluded anyone with known health problems, but that’s the price of not thinking ahead.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            Yes all insurance excludes prior conditions or else it is not insurance it is something else. And that is what we have now thanks to ACA, something other than insurance.

          • good_in_theory

            Good.

          • Kurt H

            Prior to WWII, most people didn’t have health insurance. The most common pre-war health coverage was through fraternal lodges and mutual aid societies. FDR’s tax changes *created* the modern health insurance industry. It’s not really clear whether a genuine free market would have health insurance at all. It seems like a subscription based system would be more likely.

      • Theresa Klein

        it makes no sense to pick the “religious liberty” of the Green’s to believe false things about birth control over the need of their employees to have access to health care without paying extra costs.

        This just sounds insane to me. You’re seriously arguing that the right not to pay “extra costs” for one’s birth control TRUMPS the right not to be compelled to act against one’s conscience.

        OMG! I didn’t get a discount on my birth control! Eat some pork, Jew!

        • Farstrider

          Religion (even sincerely held beliefs, which I doubt these are) doesn’t trump everything. Sorry. And I missed the part in the ACA about the force-feeding of pork. Cite please?

          • Theresa Klein

            How is forcing Jews to eat pork morally different than forcing the Greens to pay for their employees morning-after pills?

          • Farstrider

            Cause the Greens ain’t paying. Cause the Greens ain’t Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

          • Theresa Klein

            They own all the stock and they collect all the profits. They make the decisions about who to hire and what the compensation should be. In any other company, a board officer who morally objected to the company’s policies could quit. The green’s can’t quit, the only way they can quit is to close the business.

          • Les Kyle Nearhood

            Then why are the left now boycotting hobby lobby?

          • Farstrider

            “Then why are the left now boycotting hobby lobby?” Same answer: Cause the Greens ain’t paying. Cause the Greens ain’t Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

          • good_in_theory

            The Greens are forced to pay their employees.

            This is, perforce, paying for the immoral dalliances of their employees.

            But then I’m sure you have no problem with employers discriminating against employees based on their private conduct.

          • Theresa Klein

            The payment is part of the original employment contract. The greens never agreed to provide their employees with morning-after pills when they hired them.

          • good_in_theory

            They don’t provide them with morning-after pills. They provide them with a compensation package. This compensation package allows them to elect to get morning-after pills, whether in the form of cash or health insurance. The pills are provided by a pharmacist. The money is fronted by an insurance company. The greens don’t get to control what their employees can and can’t use their compensation for.

            Though I’m sure you’d have no problem with the Greens paying their employees in Hobby Lobby Bucks which can only be used for morally appropriate purchases. And if they tried to use those Hobby Lobby Bucks to acquire immoral things, then go send the state after them for breaking their employment contract. After all, state power is fine so long as it’s a matter of employers exerting control over employees.

        • Kurt H

          There are multiple problems with that argument:

          1) I doubt you would allow Hobby Lobby to dock the wages of employees who paid cash for birth control. Which means you think (wrongly) that health insurance is not part of the employees compensation.

          2) Hobby Lobby’s “conscience” involves the scientifically false belief that certain birth control methods are abortifacients. So, their “harm” is purely delusional.

          3) Even if Hobby Lobby was directly objecting to birth control, are there any limits to this “conscience” exemption? Can a Christian Scientist refuse to cover surgery? Can a Jehovah’s Witness refuse to cover blood transfusions? Can a Scientologist refuse to cover mental health? Can I join the First Church of Minimal Health Care and fuck my employees completely while still getting a tax break?

          4) People are forced to pay to violate religious conscience all the time. Quakers and Jainists have to pay taxes, and those taxes, in part, fund the military. Now we do have conscientious objection, but that’s to prevent the aforementioned pacifists from having to do the actual killing themselves. Similarly, I would not support the Green family being forced to perform abortions. However, if purchased with their employees compensation, then they need to suck it up and remember how civilization works.

          • Theresa Klein

            1) Money is fungible. Health insurance isn’t. Coupons for abortion pills are not ethically equivalent to cash.

            2) Whether their beliefs are “false” is irrelevant. The government shouldn’t be involved in deciding which religious beliefs are “false”.

            3) No, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. You shouldn’t be forced to pay for your employees health insurance in the first place.

            4) Whether it is consistent or not, the law has always drawn a distinction between paying taxes and purchasing products in the market.

            Civilization is not about fucking over everyone whose beliefs you don’t share.

          • Kurt H

            1) It isn’t the employees fault that the tax code makes it so that insurance is best provided through one’s employer. Why do they get punished?

            2) Actually, findings of fact are often relevant to whether a harm has occurred. Now if Hobby Lobby objected to contraception in general, then your argument would have merit.

            3) I’m surprised you bit that bullet. If religion allows you to ignore any law you want, we should all immediately found a religion that supports exactly the politics we would like to see enacted and *poof* anarchy has arrived! Obviously, you would like to see a situation where there is no insurance mandate. It’s nice that you think employers should have massive power to control the availability of health care while you wait for the mandate to go away. It’s not like anyone might be harmed by that in the meantime.

            4) It’s weird how on every point except this one, you stand on rigid principle, and *now* it’s all about precedent and “how we do things.” Cherry pick much?

            As for civilization, it is ultimately based on the notion that some people do not get to have their beliefs enshrined in law, because everyone can’t have their beliefs enshrined simultaneously.

          • Farstrider

            “Money is fungible. Health insurance isn’t.”
            This is nonsense. The Hobby Lobbyists would not passing out morning after pills in the break room. They would be paying that fungible money to the insurers.

    • good_in_theory

      “Suddenly, your employees rights to have certain morally objectionable products provided to them supercedes your human right to operate a business that conforms to your faith. This is just crazy.”

      That’s what happens in a free marketplace when you pay people in money for services rendered. Horrible, I know.

      • Theresa Klein

        Yes, you pay them MONEY. Not contraceptives, not health insurance. Those things only enter the picture because the state mandates them to be there. Why should the state be mandating any specific type of payment, other than money, at all? Much less one that many people have religious objections to?

        • good_in_theory

          Look, you support employers exercising authority over their employees’ healthcare decisions. Just roll with it. You’re for the authority of employers to curtail the liberties of their employees. It’s fine, it’s well understood that libertarians don’t actually care about liberty unless it’s that of someone with power over other people.

          • Bryan C. Winter

            The same libertarian’s who are cheering this decision will be the same one’s cheering decisions that allow gay people to get married.

            Personal attacks on peoples morality is unnecessary. That kind of rhetoric makes me glad we have a balanced democratic society.

            Take your political opponent, dehumanize him, turn his position and turn it into a moral failing. Since it’s a moral failing, you can castigate it freely and without thinking deeply about the values the other person is trying to advocate for. The psychological switch is triggered, mix in a bit of group think, and now you have wars.

            Personally, I became a libertarian the day i realized the Cell Phone, sold for profit, by a huge corporate conglomerate had done more alleviate human poverty and suffering than 50 years and trillions of dollars of poverty reduction programs. I’m pretty sure that qualifies me as a moral person.

            I just think the line about weak powerless people vs powerful corporations is, while not always inaccurate, is sometimes oversold, and corporations don’t get an auto-matic lose because they are corporations. Law should be neutral. In this case it’s pretty clear …. Hobby Lobby is not Coiercing anyone. That would be forcing decisions on people. Instead they are being coerced. The distinction I make is being coerced for a good cause is still coeirsion.

            Though if you really want to help the weak, then join libertarians in advocating for OTC for more drugs. Prices would drop 90% in a decade, and this whole debate would be moot because it would be cheap and available for everyone.

          • good_in_theory

            Hobby Lobby wants to poke its nose into how its employees use their compensation and limit their options. The wonders of the cellphone are irrelevant.

          • Theresa Klein

            I’m sorry, but you are morally in the wrong on this issue, and we have the moral high ground. I know it is painful for you to understand that , which is why you must twist my position and do mental contortions to turn it into something it isn’t, but it’s true. No amount of cognitive dissonance and rationalization is going to change that fact. Change your mind instead.

          • good_in_theory

            The Greens want to control how their employees use their own insurance. End of story.

      • adrianratnapala

        The Greens draw a moral line somewhere between paying people’s normal salaries and paying for this kind of insurance. I think that’s a reasonable, you might not. But our opinion does not and should not matter to the court because the it’s the religious objector who gets to decide what she is objecting to. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/06/30/the-religious-freedom-restoration-act-and-complicity-in-sin/).

        • good_in_theory

          Adjudication is practically impossible if you let individuals act as the arbiter of the reasonableness and validity of their own claims. The Green’s objection is blatantly ridiculous sophistry which doesn’t deserve consideration.

          • adrianratnapala

            You are claiming that individuals aren’t able to “adjudicate” what their own beliefs are.

            You are confusing the correctness of the belief with the sincerity of the belief. Religious views are not protected because judges agree they are correct.

          • good_in_theory

            No, I’m not confusing anything. “Sincerity” is not a workable standard. It’s a recipe for encouraging deception and rewarding extremism.

    • AP²

      The employer doesn’t provide contraceptive products, it provides an insurance plan that includes them. It also provides them money, which will certainly be used to buy such products. Why is the latter not against their religious beliefs, but the former is? Seems to me the argument is valid against any kind of compensation.

  • Roderick T. long

    Problem is that corporate decisions are made by individuals. There’s a moral hazard problem if the individuals aren’t liable.

    • Roderick T. long

      I grant there’s a case for shareholders being immune; but in that case managers should be liable. Someone needs to be.

      • Roderick T. long

        The fact that the corporation by its nature is a recipient of special privilege is a reason (not necessarily decisive, but a reason) to oppose Hobby Lobby’s claim; but also a reason to oppose corporate structure itself.

        • Sean II

          Wouldn’t it be better to say:

          1 – Limited liability is bad (at least the unlimited kind)
          2 – Forcing people to buy things is bad
          3 – 1 doesn’t excuse 2, nor does 2 change 1

          • Roderick T. long

            Right, but the more privileges a nominally private firm receives, the closer it gets to becoming part of the state, and thus the weaker its claim to a right to discriminate gets.

          • Sean II

            Agreed in principle, but on a spectrum of statish-ness that has, say, Halliburton on the far right (in every way that counts, really just part of the state), and Honeywell in the middle (substantially dirtied by the lucre of state-enforced patents and contracts), I’d put Hobby Lobby WAY over to the other side…in the neighborhood of “almost innocent, almost truly private”.

            Most firms are net losers in their relationship with the state. They gain a few things like limited liability, free security (sort of), and a chance to externalize the cost of roads. But when you calculate what they lose, what they pay, what gets taken from them, those few gains look like chump change.

            Hobby Lobby seems clearly in the category of statism’s net losers. That matters, when it comes time to judge an argument that says one of their remaining rights should be taken away.

          • Libertymike

            Even the limited liability, in practice, is not all that ironclad. I know that you do not particularly like legal reasoning, but if you want to have some fun, just check out the jurisprudence governing when a court can “pierce the corporate veil” and hold the individual stakeholders liable. You will discover that “equity” and “the interests of justice” can be the basis upon which to disregard the corporate entity and reach the individual shareholders.

      • Farstrider

        The corporation itself is liable. Because it is a separate legal entity, as I’ve said a bajillion times by now.

        • Roderick T. long

          But if it goes bankrupt, it’s not liable, and the managers can run off with plenty of money and not be liable either.

    • Theresa Klein

      Yes, but in what way is that relevant to this particular issue? Is Hobby Lobby supposed to be held liable if their employees have unprotected sex and get pregnant?

  • Steve Applebee

    This guy calls himself a Libertarian? No wonder I don’t come to this site.

    • K.P.

      The “Bleeding Heart” qualifier basically means with exception to libertarian principles.

      Except when it comes to immigration, of course.

  • Fernando Teson

    No one has a right that others give them contraceptives, or that third parties subsidize their contraceptives. People can buy them in the market, like any other product, and of course no one, especially the government, should block these transactions. Period. Religion and corporate status are irrelevant.

    • Farstrider

      Did you mean this as a prescriptive or descriptive statement? Because it fails as the latter. Employees have exactly that right, under the ACA, unless their employer is religious (or claims to be), apparently.

      • Sean II

        He clearly meant that as a prescriptive statement, and you know it.

        You do not honor yourself by pretending otherwise.

  • awp

    I would like to see your argument that it would be better that the legal corporation has its own natural rights as opposed to the natural rights that flow from the individual members of the corporation, because you did not do that here.

    Your discussion of the efficiency of the corporation does not do this.

    On the whole, corporations are just the assembly of multiple people to pursue a common goal. None of the people should lose their natural rights by joining with others in this common goal. In the specific case, the legal corporation is a creature of legislation not natural rights, although the members still have their natural rights. Even more specifically in the case of the limited liability company, you are correct about the economic/organizational efficiencies, On the other hand I have heard many arguments that the limited liability corporation is necessarily a violation of the natural rights of those who the LLC offends because it limits just recourse.

    I reject the claim that corporations have rights. I also reject the claim that individuals lose their rights as soon as they organize their activities using a particular type of standard legislated contract.

  • Farstrider

    Since many people here have accused me of some kind of progressive hysteria for suggesting that corporations are legal entities that are separate from their owners (the same point Jacob made above), I’ll just leave this here.

    “A corporation is a separate legal entity that has been incorporated either directly through legislation or through a registration process established by law. Incorporated entities have legal rights and liabilities that are distinct from their employees and shareholders,[1] and may conduct business as either a profit-seeking business or not-for-profit business.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation

    • Libertymike

      You just can’t let go of that straw, man.
      There isn’t a person here who does not grasp the basics:
      (1) A Corporation, like a Limited Liability Company, is a separate legal entity.
      (2) A Corporation has legal rights and liabilities that are distinct from their employees and shareholders.
      (3) The owners of a corporation enjoy some, though by no means absolute, limited liability protection.
      You just do not seem to grasp that it does not necessarily follow that, given 1,2 and 3, a corporation can not, in your words, “do religion”. By your logic, how can a corporation express a point of view? Or publish an editorial? Or own property? Or be protected from searches and seizures?
      What you advocate is an ad hoc selective anthropomorphic treatment of the corporation depending upon how you feel about the exercise of the underlying right in question and the effect you perceive it will have upon your progressive weltanschauung.

      • Farstrider

        By your logic, how can a corporation express a point of view? [I'm not sure that it can, but it is a close case.]
        Or publish an editorial? [Because it owns the publishing apparatus to do so]
        Or own property? [Because the state allows it to do so.]
        Or be protected from searches and seizures? [Because it can have "papers and effects," again because state law allows it to.]

  • JesseForgione

    And somehow no one is dying of shock…

  • Pingback: BREAKING NEWS:Hobby Lobby birth control case! Court sides with the company! - Page 48 - Christian Forums

  • http://www.crapulousmass.com/ Crapulous Mass

    Could the comprehension barrier between certain views hinge on parties’ understanding of the target of the ACA? Arguing that all corporations/LLCs are separate legal species’ with finite, concrete, universal sets of supernormal benefits/burdens – seems to miss that the ACA isn’t a mandate for a sentient corporation, but for the managers/directors/owners. The reason why the ACA mandate is an infringement on the Greens’ religious freedom, is because it is not meant to be for a corporation to somehow make itself provide its employees with abortion juice. Instead, the mandate is a direct manipulation on the Greens’ management of their corporation. Of course, the case is “v. HOBBY LOBBY”, not “v. GREEN”, so it’s probably just an overstep by SCOTUS, ruling with its gonads.

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