Most Supreme Court watchers are fixated these days on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby—the important challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate scheduled for argument Tuesday. And why wouldn’t they be? With its potent mix of religion, sex, Obamacare, and prayerful corporations, it’s the blockbuster case of the term. It is also a crucial test of Chief Justice John Roberts’s leadership on the Supreme Court.
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The Supreme Court this week will hear arguments on whether corporations have the same right to exercise religion as living, breathing persons. That is the key issue in the upcoming challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court has never invested corporations with basic rights to freedom of conscience and human dignity. To do so would be a profound mistake.
Alexander Hamilton wrote, “all men of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic Executive.” That statement tells us what Hamilton would have thought of House Republicans, who last week passed the Enforce the Law Act, legislation directed at President Obama for, in the words of the House Report on the bill, “stretch[ing] his powers beyond their constitutional limits.”
Are secular, for-profit corporations free to violate the rights of their employees by claiming that the law violates their corporate religious conscience? That's the big question at the heart of the two blockbuster challenges to a key provision of Obamacare that will be heard by the Supreme Court next week. In its 225-year history, the Supreme Court has never held that secular, for-profit corporations are entitled to the free exercise of religion. It should not start now.