Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Bad Coincidence: The Hobby Lobby SCOTUS Decision And the 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act

This one is so bad you might think somebody made it up.  So, prior to the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago, many segregationists in the South defended their conduct on religious grounds, indeed this was used to justify slavery itself, that Africans were descended from Ham who was cursed in Genesis for having shamed his father Noah by not covering him up when he had too much to drink.  Barry Goldwater opposed the Act precisely on libertarian grounds of business owners ought to be free to serve whom or whomever they choose on whatever grounds.  The Civil Rights Act said no, you cannot refuse people service on the basis of their race.

So, now with this latest SCOTUS decision we have "closely held corporations" being allowed to not provide insurance coverage for birth control if it violates the corporation's religious views, with the personhood of corporations being extended to new lengths.  Heck, given the weirdly arbitrary definition of this, that not more than five people own more than 50% of the stock, why not just say all of them can do so?  I mean, how do we know who the heck  is making the decisions in these outfits?  At least with a single proprietorship, we think we do know, but even they were not allowed religious exemptions to choose not to serve African Americans.

Of course, as Justice Ginsburg warned in her dissent, who noticed the parallel with the Civil Rights Act, we now have a bunch of groups run by religiously oriented businesses demanding the right to fire gay people.  This is getting even closer to what the Civil Rights Act was all about.  I am sorry that Martin Luther King, Jr. and LBJ are probably rolling over in their graves on this one.

Barkley Rosser

No comments: