The U.S. Supreme Court’s concept of corporate “personhood” apparently means that corporate religious rights – corporate gods – trump “the religious or secular beliefs of working people – specifically, working women.”
The U.S. Supreme Court acted with reactionary zeal, this week, to accelerate the march of corporate power into every nook and cranny of American life. The High Court handed down three decisions that most dramatically affect women, but are mainly intended to buttress the rule of the moneyed classes. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the justices ruled that private corporations owned by religious fundamentalists have the right to eliminate contraceptive services from employee health plans, thus establishing the supremacy of corporate gods over the religious or secular beliefs of working people – specifically, working women. Thanks to the High Court, overwhelmingly female and non-white home health care employees – who have historically been among the country’s most poorly paid and oppressed workers, often laboring long hours with no benefits, no sick leave, and no security – will find it much harder to unionize. And, the Supreme Court decreed that women considering abortions at the dwindling number of clinics that provide such services will have to run the gauntlet of anti-abortion crazies, who can no longer be kept at a physical distance from the targets of their venomous free speech.
With every passing year, the federal courts become more firmly the domain of right-wing lawyers, whose mission is to set in stone the legal basis for a dictatorship of the rich. These judicial political hit men, including some women and lawyers of color, are chiefly organized under the banner of the Federalist Society. Formed in 1982 at the elite law schools at Yale, Harvard and the University of Chicago, the Federalist Society is most zealous in defending the rights of property and corporations. It now boasts 30,000 lawyers and 10,000 law students as members, including four of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and chief justice John Roberts. That means the Federalist Society, a cabal of corporate conspirators, is always only one vote away from an outright majority on the nation’s highest court.
Money’s Unlimited Right to Speak
They are a devilishly clever crew, who revel in using the Bill of Rights as a weapon against the people. “Freedom of speech” was key to the Supreme Court majority’s arguments in the three recent cases. Justice Alito wrote that freedom of speech means workers cannot be forced to subsidize the speech of unions with whom they disagree. The ruling is a boon to corporate investors who want to corner the home health care market, which is projected to grow by 48 percent in the next eight years. Fewer unionized workers means higher profits. The High Court is super-sensitive to the free speech rights of anti-abortion activists, even as it typically sides with the State in creating vast zones where no free speech is allowed for those who oppose U.S. wars and corporate globalization. And, the Court’s recognition of corporate religious rights is based on the same bogus principle of corporate “personhood” that underlay its decision to allow virtually unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns as a form of freedom of speech.
The Supreme Court’s legal logic grows clearer every year: The people have no rights that corporations are bound to respect.