The Citizen United decision of 2010, effectively says, “corporations are people”, or that they have individual rights. Therefore, for campaign funding purposes, they must be treated similar to individuals. An awful verdict ! Maybe even an amateurish verdict, but at least, lacking foresight. But, the decision give a whole new twist to free speech.
Now, the Affordable Care Act, has opened new First Amendment challenges. This time, the Supreme Court will decide if corporate religious rights are equal to the corporate rights of free speech. One lower court has already judged in the affirmative.
Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma chain business and also a Mennonite company from Pennsylvania, wants exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that corporations provide certain contraceptives in their health policies. Hobby Lobby says it’s against their religion to offer such services. They are claiming First Amendment protection and thanks to the Citizen United decision, corporations are now people.
While, there are nuances in these Supreme Court cases; the ultimate decision rest on the wholeness of the First Amendment.