Friday, July 04, 2014

Crony Capitalism Has No Place in the Supreme Court

Despite the Hobby Lobby ruling, the word "corporation" is still nowhere to be found in the Constitution

Norm Ornstein, National Journal
July 2, 2014

Citizens United, Hobby Lobby, Walgreens, Medtronic, Stephen Schwarzman. If Ed McMahon had used these five as a setup for Johnny Carson's Carnac the Magnificent, Carson would have had a great punch line. Unfortunately, my punch line is not funny. I will get to it in a bit.

Monday's Hobby Lobby decision has understandably gotten a huge amount of attention, with its impact on women and its implications for religious freedom. I believe the most dangerous part of Samuel Alito's decision had to do with his definition of a for-profit corporation, and not just closely held ones. "A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends," he wrote.

"When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people."

He added, "Some lower court judges have suggested that RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] does not protect for-profit corporations because the purpose of such corporations is simply to make money. This argument flies in the face of modern corporate law.... While it is certainly true that a central objective of for-profit corporations is to make money, modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so. For-profit corporations, with ownership approval, support a wide variety of charitable causes, and it is not at all uncommon for such corporations to further humanitarian and other altruistic objectives."

(More here.)

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