Attorney Debbie Davidson (Morgan, Lewis & Blockius LLP) gives a detailed explanation of the recent Supreme Court case Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer. The case, which was decided on June 25, 2014, affects employee retirement plan stock options.
Yesterday’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case offers yet another chapter in the still-unfolding story of the extent to which corporations are “persons” for purposes of claiming constitutional rights. Judicial recognition that corporations might claim constitutional rights has a long history, dating back to the late nineteenth century. In recent years, the Supreme Court has sparked renewed attention to the issue, most notably with its 2010 decision in Citizens United in which a 5-4 majority held that certain campaign funding restrictions violated the First Amendment free speech rights of corporations.
In the Hobby Lobby case, one of the government’s arguments in defending the challenged contraception coverage of the Affordable Care Act was that the plaintiffs lacked the standing to even make this kind of religious freedom claim. Only Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor bought that argument (Justices Breyer and Kagan did not join that section of Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in which she challenged “the notion that free exercise rights pertain to for-profit corporations”).
On June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court decided one of the most closely-watched cases of the Term. In their ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Court held that the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate does not require closely held for-profit companies to provide contraception coverage in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Professor Christopher Schmidt (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law) explains the case, the ruling, and its implications in this video.
Although Justices Breyer and Scalia ended up on the same side in today’s landmark decision on the President’s recess appointment power, they offered starkly opposing views on the question of whether the past practice of the executive can resolve this constitutional question.