More fun from the Corporations Are People My Friend Department:
As you may or may not have noticed, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to take up a case called Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., which is guaranteed to provide entertainment to us all, as I shall explain.
Hobby Lobby operates more than 500 stores around the country, selling items used mostly in the furtherance of arts-and-crafts pursuit. The corporation reportedly employs more than 22,000 people, is worth in the billions of dollars and is owned through a trust by several members of the Green family, starting with founder and CEO David Green.
Green and his family have often been portrayed as extremely active evangelical Christians, and it will come as no surprise that they are dead-set against abortions. They also are not thrilled with the law also known as Obamacare, because part of that law mandates that employers as large as Hobby Lobby must offer employees subsidized health insurance that meets certain basic coverage standards defined in the law. This includes contraceptives. The Greens were upset to learn this, as they believe some types of contraception amount to abortion.
So they went to court to argue that Obamacare provisions violate the Greens’ right to free expression of religion. Except, um, they and Hobby Lobby are two different things, or so one might think. In order to get around that fine distinction, the Greens, in the hopeful corporate personhood of Hobby Lobby, are arguing that Hobby Lobby is a “person” under the law (in this case, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which says the government can’t “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless said burden is the least-restrictive way of furthering a “compelling government interest.”)
In other words, the Greens don’t want Hobby Lobby to subsidize the cost of contraception for its 22,000 employees, because they feel doing so is against the Greens’ religious beliefs. So they’re going to court in order to have their company in essence declared a person with religious views of its own, so that the corporation Hobby Lobby can be disgusted by Obamacare and also declare that providing subsidies for contraception is against its religious beliefs and thus should not be required.
As an aside, it must have been quite a shock when, according to this court brief, the Greens took a look at the fine print on the insurance plan they already were offering to their employees and found that contraception was part of the coverage package. Apparently the Greens ended that coverage before suing.
Now here’s the thing. The sitting Supreme Court is real big on granting corporations all manner of constitutional rights just as if corporations were real people and not just contrivances for allowing groups of mostly men to take big risks without ever having to take personal responsibility for anything adverse that happens as a result. I understand, and have owned a corporation or two myself.
As I noted only yesterday, The conservative majority on the current Supreme Court is the same bunch that declared corporations have First Amendment rights to free speech, and can spend an unlimited amount of money on the likes of political advertising, because “money” and “free speech” are one and the same.
So is there any doubt these fine justices will rule that corporations are so much like people that they can get in touch with God and accept Jesus Christ as their one true savior and lord?
Assuming that ruling is made, here’s what happens. You’ll see a flurry of corporations declaring, through their owners, that they are no longer offering contraceptives as part of their health care packages to employees. (The fact that health insurance costs might decrease through such action is sheer coincidence.) Next, corporations will no doubt find all manner of other types of coverage in the Obamacare mandate that violate their religious beliefs.
Fine, bad enough, nickel-and-dime your employees to death, we’ve seen that movie before. But it gets worse. Because if for-profit corporations are allowed to operate as religious organizations – which is after all a logical extension of this probable ruling – then there are many interesting things religious for-profit organizations can start doing that only their religious non-profit brethren have been allowed to practice to date.
One of those is religious discrimination. It’s like this: a non-profit religious organization can, because of its beliefs, limit employment to, say, only practicing Methodists, or Mormons, or Catholics, or Hindus. Soon, we can look forward to Hobby Lobby stores run entirely by Baptists, and restaurant chains, oil companies, insurance corporations and software houses all can catch a case of the religions and start replacing heathen employees with the faithful from whatever church the board of directors recommends.
I practice snark and sarcasm, boys and girls, but the Pandora’s Box SCOTUS is about to open is for realsies.