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Thread: Does the Hobby Lobby ruling now mean that Shareholders are no longer seperate?

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    Default Does the Hobby Lobby ruling now mean that Shareholders are no longer seperate?

    This questions is just about the legality of the ruling. I'm not interested in discussing the politics or social issue of it.

    My question is..

    Corporate protection is a separation of shareholders from liability of the corporation. That the corporation is a separate entity.

    Now that it has been ruled that the shareholders ARE the corporation therefore giving the corporation the same speech and religious rights of the shareholders, doesn't that mean that the liability is no longer separate?

    If they are now one and the same, how will any shareholder claim separate protection when it comes to legal action against the corporation?
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 07-07-2014 at 09:28 PM.

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    That's an interesting thought Harold. Due to not being American I don't know anything about this ruling, but based upon what you wrote, I don't know where the differentiation between a proprietorship and a corporation would lie.
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    Yes, the ruling was a mess, read it and you can easily poke holes in the "logic" that the majority used to justify its outcome. It was a political decision, not one keeping with any kind of legal precedent or concerning itself with how it opens the door to having a corporation -- a legal fiction to separate the liability between the entity and its owners -- somehow having the same rights as an individual, which is just silly.
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    It was about small closely held corporations, I think 5 or less shareholders. The idea being that in such a closely held situation the corporation and its shareholders are essentially the same. Somewhat akin to how a sole owner LLC is treated for tax purposes. Of course a corporation can be just one person, or a husband and wife. Widely held corporations don’t get the same protection.

    But I think the REAL ruling was more about the unusual severity of the penalty for non compliance. Millions in fines was way out of line with the issue at hand. Cruel and unusual punishment in a way.

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    So even for a closely held corporation, if the corporation takes on the personality and has the rights of the owners as such that it has free speech and religious rights then it's actions are a direct reflection of the owners behaviors, and therefore not legally separate anymore. Right?

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    I don’t see why extending some narrowly defined religious rights to a handful of people in a small corporation should result in losing the normal legal business structure protections. That would mean that those who hold that particular belief would be denied the opportunity to form a company with standard liability protections. That seems particularly unjust to me.

    The Hobby Lobby case was about a last minute inclusion of every form of birth control. As I understand it, Hobby Lobby had been providing health insurance that included most forms of contraception long before Obamacare. No matter which side of that argument you are on, opposing or supporting abortion is a very serious decision. Hobby Lobby was objecting to a very tiny sliver of a huge government mandate that was a clear affront to their historically held religious beliefs.

    In my humble opinion, the Government should not be imposing their own will, or punishing either side for their conscience driven position. Losing standard liability protection as a consequence of exercising a narrow religious based position is punishment and doesn't make sense legally to me.I don't see how exchanging one right to be able to exercise another right has any legal merit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    The Hobby Lobby case was about a last minute inclusion of every form of birth control. As I understand it, Hobby Lobby had been providing health insurance that included most forms of contraception long before Obamacare. No matter which side of that argument you are on, opposing or supporting abortion is a very serious decision. Hobby Lobby was objecting to a very tiny sliver of a huge government mandate that was a clear affront to their historically held religious beliefs.
    This isn't about abortion. No one mandated covering abortion. And none of the forms of birth control they opposed causes abortion.

    I can buy your argument that punishing corporations across the board because of Hobby Lobby's inability to separate the corporation from their personal life. So then, let's just say that Hobby Lobby themselves can no longer claim that the corporation and the shareholders are a separate entity now. This is what they fought for and won. They don't get to cherry pick.

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    Well, it is about abortion, that’s the point. That’s what Hobby Lobby objected to.Hobby Lobby objects ONLY to the birth control methods that may end a pregnancy after conception. They do not object to preventative contraception. It may not seem like a big difference but it’s a huge distinction for those with certain religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby did not want to be forced to participate in that, although they have provided preventative contraception for years.

    I still see no logic to Hobby Lobby losing their rights of liability protection under a long established law. What’s the point of that? To punish them? To keep religious persons from operating a business? They don’t need to cherry pick, they can exercise all of their rights. Our rights don’t come in a Chinese menu, one from column a and two from column b. Exercising one doesn't negate another.

    Personally, regardless of a position on the particular abortion subject, I’m very happy that there is one less arbitrary thing the government can impose on our society.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Well, it is about abortion, that’s the point. That’s what Hobby Lobby objected to.Hobby Lobby objects ONLY to the birth control methods that may end a pregnancy after conception. They do not object to preventative contraception. It may not seem like a big difference but it’s a huge distinction for those with certain religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby did not want to be forced to participate in that, although they have provided preventative contraception for years.
    Again, NONE of the methods they objected to ends pregnancy. That's NOT how any of those methods work. They started the whole argument based on a misunderstanding, or refusal to believe, the science of how they actually work.

    I really don't want to argue birth control or religion. Or your feelings about Government imposition on society. This isn't a personal battle, or about "punishing' anyone, and I'm not trying to solve the East Coast/West Coast rap beef in Congress.

    You'll probably say that you don't want the Government making your health care and insurance decisions, but you're OK with your boss doing it?

    I have no problem with religious exemption. If you tell me ahead of time. But to hire me and then after the fact impose your religious beliefs on me and the benefits that you pay me as part of my salary is a cheap shot. Employers aren't giving you heath care. You earn it. It's a part of your compensation agreement.

    My point is purely about how the lines that used to separate personal liability from that of the corporation, have now been erased if the corporation now takes on the behaviors and rights of the people running it. It isn't personal. I'm talking about liability going forward.

    I wouldn't care if it's the corporation claiming religious exemption over birth control, hiring gay people or demanding that all female employees wear burkas. The fact that the corporation is no longer a separate entity from it's shareholders personal feelings, religion, and behavior and that they can now impose that on their employees at will is significant for every employee. If the corporation is now unattached from it's owners, then aren't they both liable for any actions going forward?
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 07-08-2014 at 01:29 PM.

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    You can’t separate your legal “opinion” from the “religious rights” aspect of the decision. As I clearly said, it is not about anyone’s position on the abortion matter, but rather on the importance of being able to have a position and to be able to adhere to it based on religious beliefs.

    You also can’t separate it from the fact that it is about a government mandate. Without the mandate there would be no issue. It is my opinion that a government mandate, of any kind, should not result in anyone having to give up one right (corporate protection) to exercise another (freedom of religion).

    I just don’t see any legal correlation between the two “rights”. They are two very separate legal concepts.

    There is a reason it was somewhat limited to closely held/ family businesses. It is just a practical matter that small companies have few decision makers. They can’t avoid making company decisions, some of which may be in conflict with personal beliefs. They shouldn’t be forced to make religiously objectionable decisions by government mandate.

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