“Never before in our nation’s history has the Court ruled that for-profit corporations share in the right to free exercise of religion,” Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel for the progressive Center for Constitutional Accountability’s told State of the Union.
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The Supreme Court ruled that family-owned corporations with religious objections are not required to pay for the contraceptive coverage of employees or their dependents. Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal offers background on the case and Judy Woodruff gets debate on the potential fallout from Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center and attorney Kevin Baine.
CAC's Elizabeth Wydra appeared on Background Briefing with Ian Masters to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
In the Roberts Court, the First Amendment is a powerful weapon, not for the street corner speaker, but for corporations and wealthy seeking to squelch regulation.
I’ll close by mentioning just how well corporations are faring at the Supreme Court this term. The Constitutional Accountability Center has been keeping track and says the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an 11–5 record before the court, bringing it to 32–8, or 80 percent, over the past three years.
The Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal group that has been critical of the court's pro-business rulings, said corporations again fared well, even if they didn't get everything they wanted. The Chamber of Commerce was on the winning side in most of the cases in which it was involved, said Tom Donnelly, a lawyer with the center. "The court continued to move the law in a business-friendly direction," Mr. Donnelly said.
"It would be surprising if the Court touted this alternative, apparently less-restrictive means of meeting the government's compelling interest in providing contraception coverage and then later ruled that it was too restrictive," said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel at the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center.
"Throughout our nation's history, corporations have been treated differently than individuals when it comes to fundamental, personal rights of conscience and human dignity," said lawyers for the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive public-interest legal group. "The First Amendment's free exercise guarantee has always been viewed as a purely personal liberty."
"As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained in a powerful dissent, the Court puts claims of corporations over those of its employees and allows a corporation's owners to override the federal rights of its employees, many of whom have a different set of religious beliefs," David Gans, civil rights director of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a left-leaning think tank, said in a statement.
The court has never recognized a for-profit corporation's religious rights under federal law or the Constitution. Indeed, if the court did here, the Constitutional Accountability Center's Elizabeth Wydra told Fox News this would be an "entirely unprecedented step."
"While the Court purports to limit its ruling to closely-held corporations on this issue only, the majority opinion invites a number of 'me too' religious objections by other companies on matters ranging from anti-discrimination law to other medical procedures such as blood transfusions or vaccinations," Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal think tank, said in a statement Monday.
As the dust begins to settle on the Supreme Court's term, at least one big winner has emerged: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business lobbying group saw favorable outcomes in 69 percent of the cases it was involved in this term, according to the Constitutional Accountability Center. Of the 17 cases in which the chamber was a party, represented a member company or filed an amicus brief, it received positive decisions in 11 and losses in five.