On Hobby Lobby and Target

There were recently two major announcements regarding private businesses. The first from the US Supreme Court which ruled “the regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring employers to provide their female employees with no-cost access to contraception violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”

The majority opinion written by Antonin Scalia states, “In holding that the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate is unlawful, we reject HHS’s argument that the owners of the companies forfeited all RFRA protection when they decided to organize their businesses as corporations rather than sole proprietorships or general partnerships. The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs.”

The second announcement came from Target, Inc. The company issued a statement saying, “Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create. Starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.”

When asked by The Wire if Target will ask a gun-toting customer to leave. Target spokesman Molly Snyder she replied “Because this is a request and not a prohibition, we do not plan to communicate with our customers at this time.” Some people have made it clear that they will not comply with the request by Target, Inc. to not carry firearms on their property. Others have commented that corporations do not have “legitimate” private property rights.

Andy (no lastname given), a commentator on the website IndependentPoliticalReport.com, wrote, “A lot of Targets are built on land which was seized through eminent domain, and eminent domain is supposed to be for public use. Finally, there are multiple court rulings that say that when a property is open to the public to come and go, that the managers or owners of said property have to respect constitutionally recognized rights.”

In both cases, the main question is whether or not anyone is obligated to provide another person with any good or service. I believe the Supreme Court erred by previously upholding the PPACA as constitutional. That said, I do believe the Supreme Court made the right decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Furthermore, it should not matter whether a business is operated as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. Nor should it matter, in regards to law, if a person or business receives tax-payer funds. Few, if any, would argue that I have a legitimate right to be on Ted Turner’s property despite the fact that he receives millions annually from farm subsidies. No one should be forced to provide any good or service. This includes not only health insurance, but also a platform for exercising constitutionally-protected rights. As a member of the media, I am under no obligation to provide anyone a platform for exercising their freedom of speech. Nor should any private property owner be required to provide a platform for free expression or for possessing weapons.