* This is going to be a very light day for me. I’m heading out of town soon, so we’ll have this post, the upcoming Illinois Supreme Court ruling shortly after 9, and then maybe one or two more.
This is from a very thoughtful Greg Hinz post that I think gets right to the heart of the real world problems with the Hobby Lobby case…
In his majority opinion, Justice Sam Alito argued that “closely held” private companies such as Hobby Lobby are close to a sole proprietorship in their mix of personal and business matters. “We do not hold, as the principal dissent alleges, that for-profit corporations and other commercial enterprises can opt out of any law,” he said. But Congress made it clear in a 1993 law that religious views of such a company will prevail when other means exist to protect those views — in this case, perhaps having the government or an insurance company pay for the contraceptives, rather than Hobby Lobby, Mr. Alito added. […]
In fact, [Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent], in what I found to be a truly insightful point, there is a huge difference between a sole proprietorship and an incorporated firm such as Hobby Lobby, which has 500 stores in 47 states.
“In a sole proprietorship, the business and its owner are one and the same,” she wrote. “But incorporating a business, however, an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obligations. One might ask why the separation should hold only when it serves the interest of those who control the corporation.” […]
Hobby Lobby’s owners got something special from society when they incorporated: exemption from personal legal liability, preferred tax treatment, etc. But when it comes to paying the dues of setting up shop in the public square — following the public’s rules — they’re supposedly no longer a corporation?
Mr. Alito tacitly concedes the point. The Obama administration “would put these merchants to a difficult choice: either give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits, available to their competitors, of operating as corporations.”
Go read the whole thing and discuss.