By a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided today that some Americans still maintain at least a smidgeon of religious freedom—not all Americans of course, just those that own corporations the federal government deems small enough to meet the guidelines of the ruling. The decision smacks down for now one of the left’s favorite arguments, recently made by social justice attorney and California State Senate hopeful Sandra Fluke.
When the Hobby Lobby case was first heard in March, Fluke—who made a name for herself by pleading to Congress to pay for her birth control (a moment Rush Limbaugh found irresistible)—sounded the alarm in an opinion piece in The Washington Post about the potential implications of the decision, arguing that “corporations cannot have religious views” and that a ruling in Hobby Lobby’s favor would be devastating for women's rights.
After predicting “catastrophic” consequences for women, Fluke rolled out her central argument: “corporations are not people” and thus “cannot have religious views."
Corporations are not people. Corporations cannot have religious views. If religious rights are extended to corporations, it puts us on a slippery slope where any private company could argue that religious beliefs prevent it from offering vital employee protections.
After incidentally revealing that she’s not only against corporations having religious views, but also religious institutes like Georgetown University (about which her original complaint to Congress was made), Fluke added that the Supreme Court rebuking the left's corporations-aren’t-people argument would set a dangerous precedent:
Laws that include religious protection have never given corporations the right to have religious views, and it would be a terrible idea to make such an enormous change to our legal precedent now. Our laws protect individuals’ private religious beliefs, but when you cross over into the public sphere to become a corporation and make a profit off of the public, you must abide by the public’s laws.
The outcome of the case, she argued, could be the denial of "all forms of birth control" to millions of women, “limiting women’s ability to control their reproductive health, plan their pregnancies and manage their lives.”
Apparently five out of the nine Supreme Court Justices do not agree with Fluke's central premise. So, for now, one of the left’s favorite anti-corporation arguments is tabled. The federal government will tolerate Hobby Lobby and other similar corporations having select religious views—at least until Justice Kennedy retires.