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:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::

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    :: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 ::
    The Court has granted cert in two HHS Mandate cases focusing on the question of religious liberty rights of corporations.

    It chose for review the two cases that I chose to study with my First Amendment seminar, because they are the cases that stake out the most decisive position on each side: Hobby Lobby (10th Circuit, granting a preliminary injunction), and Conestoga Wood (3rd Circuit, denying one).

    Though Conestoga Wood is closely owned by the Hahn family, of Mennonite faith and conviction, the 3rd Circuit's opinion tried to assure them and us that when they provided, through insurance, the types of contraceptives that function as abortifacients, they needn't worry: it's not the Hahns doing it, it's Conestoga Wood!

    The corporate form separates the owners from the corporation for corporate purposes - but for all purposes? Would the 3rd Circuit's theory work in a human rights criminal trial ("It wasn't us supplying the lethal materials, it was our company")?

    I recommend Judge Jordan's dissent in Conestoga. One issue he flags that Judge Tymkovich's majority opinion in Hobby Lobby does not is, just what is the "Institute of Medicine"? It's a private entity. Click on that website link for information on how wonderful it is ("self-serving," Judge Jordan notes). So, Congress made the law, delegated the details to an agency, the agency re-delegated key details to a private entity, which returned them to the agency, which then made them law. Does that pattern remind one of anything? A.L.A. Schechter, but with the HHS Secretary in place of the President?

    :: David M. Wagner 4:18 PM [+] ::

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