Sebelius v Hobby Lobby was decided in 2010… with Citizens United

Many people are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court decision on the Sebelius v Hobby Lobby case. But in reality, the case was already decided back in 2010 with the Citizens United decision.

The Hobby Lobby case centers around the First Amendment guaranteed right to the free exercise of religion. The free exercise of religion includes objecting on religious, moral, or conscientious grounds to being compelled or prohibited from performing certain actions by the government.

Basically, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, is seeking to use government force to compel the Hobby Lobby Corporation to provide abortion-inducing birth control medication to their employees as part of their Obamacare-approved health insurance coverage. Hobby Lobby, which was founded and is owned by deeply religious people, has objected to providing these certain abortion-inducing medications on religious grounds.

The government is arguing that Hobby Lobby can’t claim a religious objection, because they are a corporation. They are making the claim that corporations do not retain the freedom of religion.

Enter the Citizens United case. The Supreme Court decided in Citizens United that corporations have the First Amendment protected right to free speech, especially political speech. The majority argument claimed, in part, that corporations are nothing more than a collection of individuals and, therefore, retain the same rights that individuals do.

So one must wonder: If corporations are considered as people for the sake of freedom of speech, are they not also considered as people for other rights listed in the very same Amendment as free speech, particularly the free expression of religion as in the case of Hobby Lobby?

I would submit that Citizens United, whether one personally agrees that corporations are people or not, has in fact set the precedent that they should be considered as such. In as much, Citizens United then also sets the precedent that corporations retain all the same rights as individuals. Therefore, the corporation of Hobby Lobby has the exact same rights of freedom of religion as the corporation’s owners do.

Sebelius v Hobby Lobby is, in essence, a moot point. It was already decided nearly four years ago and should have never made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Hobby Lobby, and any other corporation, has the right to claim exception and to object on religious, moral, or conscientious grounds to any mandate imposed upon them by the government. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby should file a counter suit against Kathleen Sebelius for damaging their reputation; threatening their business and livelihood; and wasting their time, their money, and the taxpayer’s money while pursuing this case.

—Ben Marquis

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