Religious Freedom’s Trojan Horse

The Trojan HorseThe religious freedom bills, regardless from which state, how they are worded, and whether they’re currently being proposed or have been on the books for twenty years have one thing in common – they are each a Trojan Horse lying in wait. All that is needed is for one of them to be involved in a case that makes it to the Supreme Court.

Consider Justice Ginsberg’s comment from July 2014 following the Hobby Lobby decision.

“Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”

Justice Ginsberg is both frustrated and giving fair warning that this is just the beginning. We as a country have not learned our lesson from five years ago with Citizens United. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions. In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the United States Supreme Court took their original Citizens United decision and extended it when they invalidated aggregate contribution limits as violating the First Amendment.

In between those two decisions came AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, where the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 preempts state laws that prohibit contracts from disallowing class-wide arbitration. By permitting contracts that exclude class action arbitration, the high court’s decision allowed businesses to prevent consumers with whom they contract from filing class action lawsuits. By April 2012, Concepcion was cited in at least 76 decisions sending putative class actions to individual arbitration.

Corporations are people, but individual people cannot ban together to bring action against corporations who are people. Dismantle unions and individual people cannot ban together to bring action against corporations who are people. The pattern is obvious. The conservatives on the Supreme Court knew those types of cases following Citizens United would come; all they had to do was set the wheels in motion. An easy task when you have a lifetime to wait.

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