A “New Front” For Corporate Personhood: The Free Exercise Clause

February 7th, 2013

A very interesting post from Tamara Piety about her new book Brandishing the First Amendment about the implications of the Hobby Lobby case and other RFRA challenges that have allowed corporations to bring free exercise claims.

The Hobby Lobby case is actually one of many cases brought on behalf of many companies and individuals seeking to undermine the Health Care Act on religious grounds. The ones brought on behalf of corporations open up a new front – the free exercise clause – on what I have described in my book Brandishing the First Amendment, as an agressive use of the First Amendment to repel legislation aimed at regulating business. However, with this new free exercise claim, proponents may have¬† have exceeded the bounds of what the public thinks is reasonable when it comes to anthropomorphizing the corporate “person.”

Whatever one thinks about the sincerity of the objections raised in these law suits, one thing that is notable is that they seek to elevate the free exercise claim of the corporate entity over constitutional and statutory rights of employees, many, if not most of whom may not share their employers’ interpretation of what their faith requires of them.

My previous thoughts on this topic are here, here, and here.