Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

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Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:21 am

Here is a new addition to the debate. Can corporations traded in public domains make religious claims? Interesting possibilities emerge here.
Can a corporation exercise religion?
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:08 pm

It's an interesting question. From the article Dave linked:

That question was addressed in 2014 when the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other closely held corporations are eligible under RFRA for exemptions from Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged that corporate personhood is just a legal construct but argued that protecting a corporation’s free exercise amounts to protecting the exercise of the actual persons who own it. As for whether that rule also applies to publicly traded corporations with more diffuse ownership, Alito maintained that the question of their religious exercise was not on the table at that time.

It’s on the table now. The Trump administration also published new regulations allowing any employer to seek a religious exemption to the contraception mandate. If Hobby Lobby’s claim of religious exercise reflected the beliefs of the family with a controlling interest, now such a claim might be made on behalf of a company owned by millions of otherwise unrelated people, some of whom don’t even know what stocks they own. They have free exercise rights, so apparently the company does, too.


I'm not sure what the ramifications are but SCOTUS has already addressed it in part.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Sandy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:05 am

How would you decide, if some shareholders held a particular religious perspective, and others did not, which one prevails and how would the "religious identity" of the corporation be determined?
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Haruo » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:35 am

It would hardly be heaven without McDonald's! And if corporations can't make religious claims, how can it (McDonald's, that is) be saved? It's really that simple, folks! The pursuit of happiness.

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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:17 am

Sandy wrote:How would you decide, if some shareholders held a particular religious perspective, and others did not, which one prevails and how would the "religious identity" of the corporation be determined?


I'd try and apply the SCOTUS decision on it, that "closely held" corporations must be afforded religious liberty rights. Almost all businesses are corporations, some are publicly held, some privately. Win some elections. Get some more liberal-friendly judges. For now, Hobby Lobby sets the standard. Of course, that doesn't stop the chicken little talk but it's a free country.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:34 am

William Thornton wrote:
Sandy wrote:How would you decide, if some shareholders held a particular religious perspective, and others did not, which one prevails and how would the "religious identity" of the corporation be determined?


I'd try and apply the SCOTUS decision on it, that "closely held" corporations must be afforded religious liberty rights. Almost all businesses are corporations, some are publicly held, some privately. Win some elections. Get some more liberal-friendly judges. For now, Hobby Lobby sets the standard. Of course, that doesn't stop the chicken little talk but it's a free country.


Take a church denomination who has declared contraception is sin and only hires from within members. For that quite infrequent case, I can see they have a right to deny using a health insurance firm (perhaps self administered) that would not pay for contraceptives. For most corporations like Hobby Lobby, who should not be hiring based on religion, they should not interfere in any way with those employees's right to their religious scruples that very often allow for contraceptives. There are a lot more of those employees than self-righteous owners - so there are less “religious rights” being trampled on by requiring most all corporations to make contraceptives coverage available. All people have religious rights not just CEOs and corporations should not have religious rights (that is absurd, they are not people).

Contraceptives can be bought relatively cheaply and the extra cost for insurance for making contraceptives available is small. Thus this is a relatively minor “culture war hyped” issue compared to gun control or global warming or police brutality (all of which can affect life and death) or wage distribution (that is putting nearly 40% of American families in unlivable wages {<$15.84/hr for family of 4} and 14.3% below the poverty line) or having a mentally ill President (who in charge of the nuclear code, etc. etc. etc...)
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:01 am

Doesn't help your argument on religious liberty to toss in extraneous stuff. You can read the HL decision. A majority of the court was persuaded on the issue. If religious liberty isn't protected for a minority view then the whole concept is eliminated but the discussion here was on corporations being afforded such rights not the rights themselves. I don't think you are up to speed on this.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:46 am

Here's the Hobby Lobby argument: Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged that corporate personhood is just a legal construct but argued that protecting a corporation’s free exercise amounts to protecting the exercise of the actual persons who own it. As for whether that rule also applies to publicly traded corporations with more diffuse ownership, Alito maintained that the question of their religious exercise was not on the table at that time.

A broader religious exercise exemption for widely held corporations will have to be decided judicially, I expect. When we were under Obama, businesses had to fight to protect their religious exercise. Under Trump they don't. Elections have consequences...someone said. Like many church/state issues, there are competing rights here. We will see where it goes. Anyone can posit hypotheticals and build a case.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:16 pm

William Thornton wrote:Here's the Hobby Lobby argument: Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged that corporate personhood is just a legal construct but argued that protecting a corporation’s free exercise amounts to protecting the exercise of the actual persons who own it. As for whether that rule also applies to publicly traded corporations with more diffuse ownership, Alito maintained that the question of their religious exercise was not on the table at that time.

A broader religious exercise exemption for widely held corporations will have to be decided judicially, I expect. When we were under Obama, businesses had to fight to protect their religious exercise. Under Trump they don't. Elections have consequences...someone said. Like many church/state issues, there are competing rights here. We will see where it goes. Anyone can posit hypotheticals and build a case.


The question that ultimately comes into play here is whether the owners of a business have a right to apply their scruples to mine as an employee. That becomes a slippery slope on which the questions of religious freedom have many applications beyond whether a company pays for contraception. By the way, should Fox News be forced to deny Viagra coverage based on the misbehavior of executives who have violated the religious (and legal) rights of female employees?
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:38 pm

William Thornton wrote:Doesn't help your argument on religious liberty to toss in extraneous stuff. You can read the HL decision. A majority of the court was persuaded on the issue. If religious liberty isn't protected for a minority view then the whole concept is eliminated but the discussion here was on corporations being afforded such rights not the rights themselves. I don't think you are up to speed on this.

I don’t think you have thought through the implications of the SCOTUS’s HL ruling (and Citizen’s United for that matter) in light of the Constitution’s intended recipients of those rights. Corporations (or merely corporations owners) are not the intended recipients, period. And distinguishing between “afforded rights" vs "the rights themselves” is in practice meaningless.

As for the people involved, whose religious rights are being curtailed and in what number? Do the rich business owners deserve more religious rights? Nonsense.

As for adding the "extraneous stuff", it puts this minor “culture war” issue into perspective as to importance. By pointing these things out is to say I won’t fall on my sword over the contraceptive issue but I will (so to speak) over the other “extraneous issues”.

Your brush offs are not appreciated.

BTW you could “bring me up to speed” but you are either too lazy or unable.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:48 pm

Perhaps you could interact with Alito and the other four judges. See below. The broader issue will be litigated. For now, The HL decision decides it. Win some elections. Replace some judges. Or, just keep complaining about current law.

You call,it a brush off. I say you fail to approach the salient points of the HL decision.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Jim » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:33 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Here's the Hobby Lobby argument: Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged that corporate personhood is just a legal construct but argued that protecting a corporation’s free exercise amounts to protecting the exercise of the actual persons who own it. As for whether that rule also applies to publicly traded corporations with more diffuse ownership, Alito maintained that the question of their religious exercise was not on the table at that time.

A broader religious exercise exemption for widely held corporations will have to be decided judicially, I expect. When we were under Obama, businesses had to fight to protect their religious exercise. Under Trump they don't. Elections have consequences...someone said. Like many church/state issues, there are competing rights here. We will see where it goes. Anyone can posit hypotheticals and build a case.


The question that ultimately comes into play here is whether the owners of a business have a right to apply their scruples to mine as an employee. That becomes a slippery slope on which the questions of religious freedom have many applications beyond whether a company pays for contraception. By the way, should Fox News be forced to deny Viagra coverage based on the misbehavior of executives who have violated the religious (and legal) rights of female employees?

An employee performs work for which he is paid. The business-owner decides policy, to which if an employee objects he can quit or gnash his teeth. I engineered trains including many carloads of whiskey, which I despised and hated to transport so I could either quit putting food on the table or just be mad. I chose the latter and never felt any disruption to my speech/religion about the matter. The first amendment applies only to what government can/cannot do regarding speech and belief. The business-owner can put limits on everything from speech to uniforms to wages and not violate the 1st.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:11 pm

William Thornton wrote:Perhaps you could interact with Alito and the other four judges. See below. The broader issue will be litigated. For now, The HL decision decides it. Win some elections. Replace some judges. Or, just keep complaining about current law.

You call,it a brush off. I say you fail to approach the salient points of the HL decision.


William, thanks for you inconsistency. When SCOTUS said that Obamacare was the law of the land, you didn't applaud so heartily, did you?
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:32 pm

William Thornton wrote:Perhaps you could interact with Alito and the other four judges. See below. The broader issue will be litigated. For now, The HL decision decides it. Win some elections. Replace some judges. Or, just keep complaining about current law.

You call,it a brush off. I say you fail to approach the salient points of the HL decision.

Your approach to debate/discussion is to ‘agree with me' or go find out your points myself. If you don't want to enter the debate/discussion, then ignore what others say instead of saying your foil is "not up to speed”.

My point was that religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution is about personal (all people’s) religious freedom not corporate religious freedom or giving corporate owners the right to negate their employee’s religious freedom (even in minor ways).
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:39 pm

KeithE wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Perhaps you could interact with Alito and the other four judges. See below. The broader issue will be litigated. For now, The HL decision decides it. Win some elections. Replace some judges. Or, just keep complaining about current law.

You call,it a brush off. I say you fail to approach the salient points of the HL decision.

Your approach to debate/discussion is to ‘agree with me' or go find out your points myself. If you don't want to enter the debate/discussion, then ignore what others say instead of saying your foil is "not up to speed”.

My point was that religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution is about personal (all people’s) religious freedom not corporate religious freedom or giving corporate owners the right to negate their employee’s religious freedom (even in minor ways).


It is corporate, though limited in an as yet unspecified manner. SCOTUS says so. You have yet to interact with the rationale of the decision.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:00 pm

William Thornton wrote:
KeithE wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Perhaps you could interact with Alito and the other four judges. See below. The broader issue will be litigated. For now, The HL decision decides it. Win some elections. Replace some judges. Or, just keep complaining about current law.

You call,it a brush off. I say you fail to approach the salient points of the HL decision.

Your approach to debate/discussion is to ‘agree with me' or go find out your points myself. If you don't want to enter the debate/discussion, then ignore what others say instead of saying your foil is "not up to speed”.

My point was that religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution is about personal (all people’s) religious freedom not corporate religious freedom or giving corporate owners the right to negate their employee’s religious freedom (even in minor ways).


It is corporate, though limited in an as yet unspecified manner. SCOTUS says so. You have yet to interact with the rationale of the decision.


What on earth do you mean “It is corporate”? What is “it”?

I doubt you have interacted with the SCOTUS opinions (except perhaps from biased sources). So why only we both read the majority and dissenting opinions.

Majority Opinion by Alito

I do not find any consideration in the Alito syllabus at least (and I read all of the syllabus) about the religious rights of those who want contraceptives (and there are a lot more of them than the owners of the three companies involved). I do see it only applies to providing 4 forms of contraceptives - those that interfere after fertilization (I wonder if they are providing contraceptives coverage for other contraceptives - I do not know).

Dissneting Opinion by Ginsburg

The Ginsberg response does consider both the owner’s and the women’s employee religious rights as well as the right of women to "participate equally in the social and economic life of the Nation .... by their ability to control their reproductive life”. And she often points out there are thousands of women affected while only a few owners in these “closely held” corporations.

She also pointed out that the Senate explicitly rejected a “conscience amendment” that would have enabled any employer of insurance provider to provide coverage based on their asserted “religious beliefs or moral convictions”. One would think the SCOTUS would require Constitutional cover to deny any legislative law or rule and there is NO Constitutional mention of the rights of corporations - NONE.

She also points out that "even if Hobby Lobby and Conestoga were deemed RFRA “person(s)”, to gain an exemption they must demonstrate that the contraceptive coverage requirement must “substantially burden their exercise of religion” ". They have not done so and there are many other incidental operations of those corporations that would facilitate objectable actions from a religious ethical standard (e.g. equitable pay, tax avoidance). If this were not an American “culture war” issue, it would not cause a concern - it is not a concern overseas. Read Access to Contraceptives in the European Union

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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:17 am

Well, I'd already read those, bro, several years ago.

Notice that the most lib judges Ginsburg and Sotomayor aren't joined in one important section of the dissent, although Breyer and Kagan are dissenting votes.

Note also that the majority decision is limited to the contraceptive mandate. I think that the first amendment is important enough to make congress do a workaround if they think providing contraceptives to the populace rather than substantially burdening the FA rights of employers and forcing them to do so. And, please, we're dealing with the sovereign laws of the good old USA. What European nations do is irrelevant, though lib judges sometimes make that appeal.

More later.

Here's your problem: Dave raised a good question about the Trump admin expanding this. Your lower antitrump impulses compelled you to avoid this issue, which is prickly in many ways and on which you and I would agree in part, and to toss out the old standby culture war complaint along with the wage rate and even the last hope of ihatetrumpers, the 25th amendment. If your aim to to back up your garbage truck and dump all that out, I'll yield the field to you. OTOH, this narrow religious liberty issue is interesting and important and worth discussing.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:14 pm

William Thornton wrote:Well, I'd already read those, bro, several years ago.

Notice that the most lib judges Ginsburg and Sotomayor aren't joined in one important section of the dissent, although Breyer and Kagan are dissenting votes.

Note also that the majority decision is limited to the contraceptive mandate. I think that the first amendment is important enough to make congress do a workaround if they think providing contraceptives to the populace rather than substantially burdening the FA rights of employers and forcing them to do so. And, please, we're dealing with the sovereign laws of the good old USA. What European nations do is irrelevant, though lib judges sometimes make that appeal.

More later.

Here's your problem: Dave raised a good question about the Trump admin expanding this. Your lower antitrump impulses compelled you to avoid this issue, which is prickly in many ways and on which you and I would agree in part, and to toss out the old standby culture war complaint along with the wage rate and even the last hope of ihatetrumpers, the 25th amendment. If your aim to to back up your garbage truck and dump all that out, I'll yield the field to you. OTOH, this narrow religious liberty issue is interesting and important and worth discussing.


I have not “avoid(ed) the issue". You still have not realized that the religious rights of those many employees that have different religious scruples about contraceptives have been broached by the religious scruples of the much fewer business owners. You have not answered in anyway the obvious truth that corporations are not people and the Constitution preserves the rights of people not corporations - SCOTUS is wrong on this and the Citizen's United rulings. Those points are square on this “narrow religious issue” and you have not answered them in any way.

It would also be good if you brought up other points (you did bring up Beyer’s and Kagan’s partial dissent but didn’t elaborate) instead of just saying the SCOTUS has spoken or I’m not up to speed. Bring me up to speed - have a debate not just a war of putdowns/brushoffs.

As to my “garage truck”, you don’t get what I'm saying. I’ll try again. Neither side of this contraceptive issue is greatly financially burdened by the issue (contraceptives are relatively cheap) and thus is a minor “culture war” issue - interesting by not very important in light of other issues. I made that point by pointing out the far greater burdens of many other issues (which are discussed elsewhere and I’m not trying to discuss in this topic). Got it?

Your problem is you keep on saying several BL posters herein are just on an ihatetrump bandwagon and you use that (or your other standby- "get over it, she lost”) to counter all arguments. You often are not taking my (or many other herein) arguments seriously.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:27 pm

What religious right of employees was raised in the case and have employees filed a first amendment lawsuit in response to being denied those rights? You make an equivalence of employees being denied employer paid contraception and the employer being forced to do that which he says violates his FA rights.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:55 pm

William Thornton wrote:What religious right of employees was raised in the case and have employees filed a first amendment lawsuit in response to being denied those rights? You make an equivalence of employees being denied employer paid contraception and the employer being forced to do that which he says violates his FA rights.

The religious based view of many employees is that contraceptives are not immoral to use and in fact can prevent kids who end of not being supported well. Contraceptive coverage should be covered since the ACA/HHS call contraceptives “essential” services. These religious views come into conflict with the owners who religious based views say some forms of contraceptives are immoral (claiming it is equivalent to abortion - which is legal in this country). Sylvia Burwell (HHS) filed suit on behalf of employees when HL/Conestoga did not offer any options for those those contraceptives as required by the ACA.

I’m not making an equivalence of the employees' views and the employer’s view, in that there are many more employees who desire contraceptive coverage than those owners who don’t want it. HL ruling supporters have a blind eye to the employee’s religious views and only focussing on these owners.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:28 pm

I didn't ask about religious views of employees but their FA rights. I'm off to a church meeting and will reread the dissent but I didn't see a FA assertion by employees. Manifestly, employees were denied contraceptives which are easily obtained elsewhere. The court said that the burden on the FA rights of the employer was substantial and outweighed the loss to employees.

You are deep into error here by your test of which side has greater numbers that are harmed. The whole concept of RL protections fails if affected minority rights may be set aside by majority views.

I'll state again that you will have to point me to a FA issue with employees. Ginsburg wrote of women being able to fully participate in the economy, etc., but not that those whose moral views do not inform them that certain contraceptives are immoral should be given free contraceptives by their employer so that the former's religious views are protected. That might be your view but not one that was made in the case.

Taking your argument farther, surely you don't believe that employers should be mandated by government to pay for the abortions of their employees, since some employees have religious views that prebirth babies should be killed and if in the majority, these employees should have their religious views protected.

It's not an insult but it doesn't look like you understand either the hobby lobby case or first amendment religious rights.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby Sandy » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:01 pm

William Thornton wrote:It's not an insult but it doesn't look like you understand either the hobby lobby case or first amendment religious rights.


I think the Hobby Lobby case is the result of a court decision that applies the first amendment in a way that it wasn't intended to be applied, and defines "religion" in a much different way than it has been defined. In light of the way this has been applied, the SBC needs to come up with a way to evangelize corporations, because apparently, unlike pickles, they have souls and can be "religious."

What the ruling amounts to is giving a for-profit corporation the ability to claim a religious exemption in order to avoid compliance with federal law regarding employee benefits. Any time a company wants to cheat employees on benefits, they can say "that's against our religion" and get away with it. So companies with limited ownership can save themselves some money while their competition among publicly held companies can't, because Alito closed that door, at least for the time being.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby KeithE » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:41 pm

William Thornton wrote:I didn't ask about religious views of employees but their FA rights. I'm off to a church meeting and will reread the dissent but I didn't see a FA assertion by employees. Manifestly, employees were denied contraceptives which are easily obtained elsewhere. The court said that the burden on the FA rights of the employer was substantial and outweighed the loss to employees.

You are deep into error here by your test of which side has greater numbers that are harmed. The whole concept of RL protections fails if affected minority rights may be set aside by majority views.

I'll state again that you will have to point me to a FA issue with employees. Ginsburg wrote of women being able to fully participate in the economy, etc., but not that those whose moral views do not inform them that certain contraceptives are immoral should be given free contraceptives by their employer so that the former's religious views are protected. That might be your view but not one that was made in the case.

Taking your argument farther, surely you don't believe that employers should be mandated by government to pay for the abortions of their employees, since some employees have religious views that prebirth babies should be killed and if in the majority, these employees should have their religious views protected.

It's not an insult but it doesn't look like you understand either the hobby lobby case or first amendment religious rights.


Many people as a matter of religious belief, think that having an unwanted baby is morally wrong. I do not happen to concur (especially when it is an abortion - adoption is the better policy; but I’m ambivalent about a fertilized egg a few days old); but nonetheless they have that as a belief and their religious liberty is curtailed if they are not covered for contraceptives to prevent unwanted babies. Thus it is a FA issue of the religious kind when a corporation tries to limit that coverage. William, you have never seen that point.

As I have said repeatedly now, the burden to buy their own contraceptives is not high but neither is the burden for the HL owners very high for covering contraceptives. IMO, the “least restrictive option” (what the RFRA calls for when rights are in conflict) is to have the corporations provide the contraceptives coverage as part of their drug coverage.

Now I recognize that the owners can be bothered by enabling a contraceptive act that they have moral issues with (but they really do not have to suffer any guilt; after all, they cannot prevent sin anywhere in their companies or in the world as a whole). Likewise contraceptive-using employees can be bothered by HL (or other company) disobeying the ACA/HHS law (but they have the option to buy those contraceptives themselves and need not suffer greatly if they do so).

Comparing the religious rights of these two groups, I see that the contraceptive-using employees are more numerous than the closely-held corporate owners. In addition, contraceptive-using employees more clearly have a Constitutional FA personal right than the corporate employers. Corporations are not what the FA had or has in mind.

As far as the ACA/HHS demanding coverage for an elective abortion, that is not the ACA/HHS law with the exception of rape and/or incest. Read Does Obamacare provide federal subsidies for elective abortions?. Abortion coverage is not what this issue is about. I personally would have sided with HL (or even a non-closely held company) if the issue was elective abortion coverage since the very life of a fetus is at stake and that is a lot higher burden (life itself) than who pays for the abortion.

I see the technicality of a fertilized egg being a potential human being and some contraceptives techniques destroy that egg; but that egg is incapable of thought and far from a human being. Not all issues are black and white. But the potential that a paid-for contraceptive being used prior to some egg-to-fetus transition point means that contraceptives should be provided (that drug or technique can be used rightfully before the egg-to-fetus transition point, just as hydrocodone can be used rightfully for pain relief or wrongfully for getting high).
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:57 am

You're all over the lot with some interesting thoughts but you will have to show me where *in the case we are discussing* what *you* call a "FA issue of the religious kind" is so called by the government lawyers, Ginsburg or the other dissenting justices. Such may be in the docs linked but I haven't found it. If not, I didn't sign on to discuss your opinions of what you thought should have been the salient points of the hobby lobby case.

My question was: can you point me to where the *first amendment religious rights* of the employees was asserted in the hobby lobby case? I'm not much interested in your speculations about the religious *views* of HL employees or your armchair opinion of how "many people" view having an unwanted child. These are irrelevant to this discussion.mYou can speculate all you want and your ruminations are interesting about the morality of HL employees but I don't believe this was an issue in the case. Neither do I think that anyone has asserted a religious liberty right to receive contraceptives from their employer. What all sides have acknowledged is that employers being forced to provide contraceptives has raised a first amendment issue and SCOTUS felt the need to try and clarify the law on it.
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Re: Trump Admin and Corporate Personhood

Postby William Thornton » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:31 am

Sandy wrote:
William Thornton wrote:It's not an insult but it doesn't look like you understand either the hobby lobby case or first amendment religious rights.


I think the Hobby Lobby case is the result of a court decision that applies the first amendment in a way that it wasn't intended to be applied, and defines "religion" in a much different way than it has been defined. In light of the way this has been applied, the SBC needs to come up with a way to evangelize corporations, because apparently, unlike pickles, they have souls and can be "religious."

What the ruling amounts to is giving a for-profit corporation the ability to claim a religious exemption in order to avoid compliance with federal law regarding employee benefits. Any time a company wants to cheat employees on benefits, they can say "that's against our religion" and get away with it. So companies with limited ownership can save themselves some money while their competition among publicly held companies can't, because Alito closed that door, at least for the time being.


Sandy and I would disagree on this but I appreciate that he shows an understanding of the salient point in the case (and I don't mind a shot at Adrian Rogers who made a reference to pickles having souls). The HL decision does exactly what Sandy says it does, gives for-profit corporations the ability to claim a religious exemption in order to avoid compliance with federal law regarding employee benefits" after which he launches into his typical business/labor language. Alito wrote that the decision is narrow,
The court concluded by addressing "the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction". The court said that their decision "provides no such shield", and that "prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal."[54] The court also said that the requirement to pay taxes despite any religious objection is different from the contraceptive mandate because "there simply is no less restrictive alternative to the categorical requirement to pay taxes."[55] The court acknowledged the dissent's "worries about forcing the federal courts to apply RFRA to a host of claims made by litigants seeking a religious exemption from generally applicable laws ...", noting that this point was "made forcefully by the Court in Smith". The court responded by saying, "Congress, in enacting RFRA, took the position that 'the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests' ... The wisdom of Congress's judgment on this matter is not our concern. Our responsibility is to enforce RFRA as written, and under the standard that RFRA prescribes, the HHS contraceptive mandate is unlawful."[56]


Further, the majority opinion said that the government didn't show that forcing the businesses to provide these benefits was the "the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest". Gummit itself could, if it so determined that contraceptives were critical to its citizens, provide these rather than forcing closely held businesses to violate their owner's religious beliefs to provide them.

Kennedy, the swing vote on these things:
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion, responding to the "respectful and powerful dissent", by emphasizing the limited nature of the ruling and saying that the government "makes the case that the mandate serves the Government's compelling interest in providing insurance coverage that is necessary to protect the health of female employees", but that the RFRA's least-restrictive way requirement is not met because "there is an existing, recognized, workable, and already-implemented framework to provide coverage," the one that HHS has devised for non-profit corporations with religious objections. "RFRA requires the Government to use this less restrictive means. As the Court explains, this existing model, designed precisely for this problem, might well suffice to distinguish the instant cases from many others in which it is more difficult and expensive to accommodate a governmental program to countless religious claims based on an alleged statutory right of free exercise."


Simple, but fairly thorough treatment of the matter in the wiki article. Perhaps that would be easier to read rather than the actual opinions with the legalese, latin terms, and precedents.

My view is that the decision protects the religious liberty of some business owners and that the obama mandates were an overreach that impinged on First Amendment rights of citizens in some cases. Dave raised the question of the expansion of all this with the statement made, "Now any employer can avoid providing birth control—and perhaps avoid other rules as well." The assertion of "any" employer is based on rules released by the Trump adm, "The Trump administration also published new regulations allowing any employer to seek a religious exemption to the contraception mandate." The SCOTUS decision applied to "closely held" corporations, not "any" corporation. I didn't read the new rules but the alarm has been sounded on the expansion of the HL case to more than "closely held" companies. Although "closely held" is a common economic phrase it is not one that has a concrete definition as to, for example, the precise number of owners.

In none of this has anyone that I can find asserted a religious liberty claim of the employees to receive contraceptives paid for by their employer.
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