Today, Free Speech For People is submitting an amicus (friend of the court) brief to the Supreme Court in the Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius court case. Click here to read the brief in full.
In this case a kitchen cabinet manufacturer, Conestoga Wood Specialties, is claiming that it has a constitutional right to disregard a legal requirement to provide its female employees with health insurance coverage for contraception, coverage to which they are entitled under the new federal Affordable Care Act. The company’s theory? It goes against the corporation’s religion.
Our brief argues that the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion is for real, live people—not corporations. We’re proud to be joined on this brief by two co-signers: Auburn Theological Seminary, an institute committed to building the multifaith movement for justice, and Hollender Sustainable Brands, the manufacturer of Sustain, the first sustainable, fair trade condom in the U.S. As Jeffrey Hollender, the founder and CEO of Hollender Sustainable Brands and founder of the Seventh Generation company, said so well in our announcement of this filing today:
“We all know that individuals, including business owners, enjoy the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. But as any business leader will tell you, corporations are not individuals – they are purely economic, state-created entities and they do not practice religion.”
On March 25th, the Supreme Court will hear argument in this case, Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, and its companion case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, brought by the Hobby Lobby craft store chain. This isn’t just about whether corporations can disregard the insurance coverage requirements of this new federal law. The broader question is whether corporations will now try to extend the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling to challenge other local, state, and federal laws, and threaten even further the basic promise of our Republic: government of, by, and for the people.