Joe Six-Pack doesn’t know, but it seems awfully strange given the Supreme Courts rulings about corporate personhood, and the rights thereunto pertaining. The Citizens United case comes to my mind.
This is what dislodged the thought above in my very average brain,
DETROIT, MI – On Friday, September 28, 2012, Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland, of the Eastern District of Michigan, heard oral arguments in Thomas More Law Center’s (TMLC) motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop implementation of the HHS mandate. Judge Cleland heard arguments and fully engaged attorneys on both sides in the 2.5 hour long hearing.
TMLC’s Lead Counsel Erin Mersino presented TMLC’s argument on behalf of Plaintiffs, Legatus, Weingartz Supply, Inc., and its owner and President Dan Weingartz. Ethan Davis, attorney for U. S. Department of Justice, gave the Government’s argument.
TMLC attorney Erin Mersino presented a forceful argument supporting Plaintiffs’ claims that the HHS Mandate violates their religious freedom. Mersino noted, “On January 1st, our clients will have 2 choices: violate the law and incur steep penalties or violate their conscience. We are hopeful that the Court will render a decision that protects religious freedom and our rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.”
The Government attorney, on the other hand, argued that because Weingartz was a secular corporation it had no constitutional right to free exercise of religion or free speech. The Government also contended that the organization Legatus lacked standing, as the group was a non-profit company potentially eligible for a one year safe-harbor from the law.
Judge Cleland told both sides that whatever ruling he grants, the case will continue to be litigated. He pressed the Government’s attorney as to whether or not the Plaintiffs in their motion for preliminary injunction faced ‘imminent harm’. Judge Cleland noted that come January 1, 2013 “the axe is going to fall on Weingartz,” referring to the fact that after January 1, 2013 Weingartz will be subject to fines of $2,000 per employee, which for Weingartz amounts to a fine of $340,000 annually.
Read the rest. Legal eagles, sea lawyers, and arm-chair quarter-backs want to know. Because corporations, regardless if they are ‘secular’ or not, have Constitutional rights, as SCOTUS found in the Citizens United case,
Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.
But what do I know? Stay tuned.