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NOT JUST FOR PROFIT (Does Hobby Lobby have a right to hold their beliefs?)
First Things ^ | 3/27/2014 | Travis Weber

Posted on 03/27/2014 4:13:18 AM PDT by markomalley

Post-argument predictions will continue to pour out regarding Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, cases in which business owners (the Green and Hahn families) have voiced religious objections to being forced to pay for certain types of contraceptives. The truth is, no one knows what will happen; what should happen is somewhat clearer.

Certain justices’ opposition to Hobby Lobby’s position predictably centered on what other claims corporations might bring should the Court rule for the Green family and against the government. Justices wondered whether a ruling for Hobby Lobby would lead to corporations objecting on religious grounds to providing vaccinations, blood transfusions, and the like. Hobby Lobby’s attorney Paul Clement responded that the Court would still rule on each case as it arose under the standard set forth in the relevant federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA, and there is no guarantee the religious claim would win. Furthermore, if the “parade of horribles” is so likely to occur, where is it? RFRA has been around since 1993.

The justices’ questioning of the government’s lawyer suggested that its attempt to distinguish between for-profit and other corporate forms did not make sense, at least in the case of a closely-held family business. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli was pressed by the justices about why the government insisted on hampering corporate religious exercise but not other religious exercise, which the government exempted from the mandate. Even Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer piled on at points.

When Verrilli said the Court had never ruled that corporations had a right to exercise religion, Justice Samuel Alito “wondered if there was something wrong with the corporate form that it would not be accorded” religious freedom, and asked whether “the only reason for a corporation to exist was to ‘maximize profits?’” Verrilli said no. Later, when Verilli said the Court had never granted a religious exemption to a for-profit corporation, Justice Antonin Scalia reminded him that the Court had never denied such an exemption either.

For-profit businesses often take on a variety of causes and charities through their operation. “Corporate social responsibility,” “green practices,” and “sustainable supply chain practices” are only a few examples of modern corporate priorities or “values.” These goals are set as those running the business freely choose to set them. This is something business owners in America have always been permitted to do. For example, TOMS shoes, well known for giving away one pair of shoes for each pair it sells, recently announced that it would start selling coffee, with each bag financing a week’s worth of clean water for one person.

Business owners’ beliefs may guide them to provide shoes for children, supply water for those who need it, provide special attention to the environment, ensure their suppliers are not committing human rights abuses or—need it even be said—run their businesses in accordance with their faith. American business owners only want to be left free to work and live as they wish.

The holes in the government’s argument in Hobby Lobby are widened by all this generous corporate social responsibility and the fact that many corporations, for-profit and non-profit, work toward many different goals and objectives besides making money. Even aside from the lack of support in the law for such a distinction, “for-profit” status is beside the point when it comes to the freedom to run one’s business as one wishes. Non-profits are often thought of as somehow more “noble” in their aims, but that view is silly. Whether “for-profit” or “non-profit,” businesses are directed by those at their helm. As the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro points out, “the reality is that any organization can act only at the direction of human beings. In a very real sense, the compulsion of a corporation is felt by the individuals who direct its affairs.”

A family business owner’s aims, hopes, and aspirations don’t somehow magically disappear if the government taxes his or her company as a “for-profit” instead of a “non-profit.” Despite being “for-profit,” TOMS and Hobby Lobby still express the views of the human beings who run them. And companies like these often voluntarily put in place practices that benefit employees. For example, Hobby Lobby starts its full-time hourly employees at a salary 90 percent above the minimum wage and has long provided a generous employee health-insurance plan. Such companies don’t need the “assistance” of additional government regulation like the intrusive employer mandate to operate in a manner that benefits their employees. Nevertheless, the mandate demands that American business owners like the Greens and Hahns violate their principles or stand up for their civil rights and be punished.

American businesses have always been free to accomplish a variety of purposes—purposes, like Hobby Lobby’s high starting wage—that are often very beneficial to society. Such freedom thus more starkly reveals the government’s acts of targeting and singling out families that simply want to operate their businesses according to their consciences. The HHS mandate puts the jobs, livelihoods, and healthcare of millions of Americans at risk by forcing those who stand up for their consciences to choose between paying crippling fines that could shut down their businesses or dropping the healthcare of their employees. Such coercion has no place in our religious liberty jurisprudence. We can only hope the Supreme Court will agree.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government

1 posted on 03/27/2014 4:13:18 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

The camel has his nose in the tent. It is just a matter of time before his whole body will be in the tent and the tent will come crashing down.

2 posted on 03/27/2014 4:17:46 AM PDT by DeaconRed (We must save our country. We owe it to our brave founding Fathers & Mothers. . . .)
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To: markomalley

>> Does Hobby Lobby have a right to hold their beliefs?

EVERYONE DOES. F the Commies. Every last one of them. Compulsion to contract is ILLEGAL.

3 posted on 03/27/2014 4:26:35 AM PDT by Ray76 (Profit from the mistakes of others, you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself.)
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To: markomalley

Run a “non-profit” if Hobby Lobby would be permitted to be a non-profit.

However, let’s point out that the NFL (Natl Football League)is a “non-profit.” Let’s also point out that the NFL commissioner was paid over 40 million dollars last year for running his “non-profit”.

4 posted on 03/27/2014 4:30:43 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: markomalley

One argument I’ve never seen on this case is economic.

Birth control isn’t really insurance in the true meaning of the word, i.e., shared payment for unlikely risks. If you use birth control, you use it regularly, so it’s a pay as you go expense.

So, it follows that either a person buys birth control, or the insurance company buys it for them with the premium. If the insurance company doesn’t cover it, then it also follows that the premium should be slightly lower, and therefore the amount the business has available to pay the employee would be slightly higher.

It should be a wash, except for two factors. First, this is female birth control, and if the insurance company pays, ultimately this is paid for by both male and female workers. So, it’s cost shifting from women onto men. Also, there are tax deductibility issues that favor running the payment through an insurance entity, so the payment is made with pre-tax dollars.

5 posted on 03/27/2014 4:30:46 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: markomalley

The RFRA says, “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability...” The question is whether a corporation is a person. Romney said it was. The courts have said it is in rulings concerning free speech. So if the court rules for Hobby Lobby and says that corporations are people in respect to First Amendment rights then what about the right to associate with whomever we please?

6 posted on 03/27/2014 4:32:45 AM PDT by DoodleDawg
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To: markomalley
Well, I've seen two pointed argument from them. One is this: where is the line drawn and two: that it would make the whole system a hodge-podge... Which I find laughable. Let's deny someone their freedoms so it's less inconvenient for Government to administer a law. It floors me that this is coming out of the mouths of Supreme Court justices.

MY point is... that's what happens when you mix our constitution, that is based on individual freedom and sovereignty, with a law that is unconstitutional and allows government to mandate such things that are contrary to it's ideals.

Doesn't look like a simple "tax" now, does it?

7 posted on 03/27/2014 4:32:51 AM PDT by FunkyZero (... I've got a Grand Piano to prop up my mortal remains)
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To: markomalley
“What kind of a constitutional structure do we have if Congress can give an agency the power to grant or not grant a religious exemption based on what the agency determined?” Kennedy asked.

Kennedy then came back at Verrilli, noting how many companies—including secular ones—had received exemptions. “I still don’t understand how HHS exercised its judgment to grant the exemption to nonreligious corporations if you say it was not compelled by RFRA.” In other words, if you’re so confident that RFRA doesn’t apply, then why give so many exemptions, waivers, and accommodations?

If it's a tax, its application (and exemptions to Friends of the DNC) is the most egregious form of legislative discrimination ever inflicted upon this once free nation.

8 posted on 03/27/2014 4:43:00 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: xzins

I did not know the NFL was a non-profit. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard!

9 posted on 03/27/2014 4:45:11 AM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: ilovesarah2012

Yep. The teams are for-profit (but rely on ripping off taxpayers), but the League is non-profit. Like most non-profits, it overpays executives and spends most of its time lobbying various units of government.

10 posted on 03/27/2014 4:52:45 AM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: DoodleDawg

They’re dragging you into the weeds to screw you and leave your remains. Whether a corporation is a person or not is irrelevant - compulsion to contract is illegal. PERIOD.

11 posted on 03/27/2014 4:55:56 AM PDT by Ray76 (Profit from the mistakes of others, you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself.)
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Don’t operate within the confines of their parameters.

12 posted on 03/27/2014 4:56:53 AM PDT by Ray76 (Profit from the mistakes of others, you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself.)
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To: markomalley

Careful what they wish for...then they’d have to go after halal food stores and restaurants..they’re businesses too, you know. Muslims tend to get upset in other ways..

13 posted on 03/27/2014 5:03:39 AM PDT by jughandle
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To: markomalley


USSC verdict against HL. Just pay the tax to avoid violating your religious beliefs.

Writing for the majority, Roberts.

14 posted on 03/27/2014 5:04:33 AM PDT by Para-Ord.45 (Americans, happy in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own dictators.)
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To: Para-Ord.45


15 posted on 03/27/2014 5:10:24 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: markomalley
They didn't build that company! </sarc>
16 posted on 03/27/2014 5:32:49 AM PDT by Gamecock (Atheists: There is no God and I hate Him.)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Justice Anthony Kennedy questions on the Hobby Lobby case ping ...

17 posted on 03/27/2014 6:06:45 AM PDT by Servant of the Cross (the Truth will set you free)
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To: markomalley

**(Does Hobby Lobby have a right to hold their beliefs?)**


18 posted on 03/27/2014 6:40:46 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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