Exclusive - Dahlia Lithwick Extended Interview Pt. 3

  • Aired:  07/14/14
  •  | Views: 33,596

Dahlia Lithwick talks about the Supreme Court's extraordinary decision to apply the language of personhood in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to corporations. (3:47)

>> Jon: IS THIS ALL BASED ONTHIS RFRA, THIS RELIGIOUS

FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT THAT WASSIGNED IN 1993? IS THE IDEA THAT

BECAUSE THAT WAS IMPLEMENTED,THERE ARE REALLY ARE NOW

RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS?

I GUESS, FOR ME IT'S NOTEVEN THE INDIVIDUAL.

IT'S SUDDENLY APPLYING THATRIGHT TO A CORPORATION IS

STUNING TO ME THAT WHEN YOU GOTO WORK FOR A CORPORATION, YOU

NOW OWN ALL OF THEIR BELIEFSYSTEM THAT THEY WANT YOU TO

OWN.

BUT WITH NONE OF THE RECOURSE.

THEY DON'T HAVE ANY OF THERESPONSIBILITY, BUT THEY GET ALL

THE PROTECTIONS.

>> RIGHT.

AND THIS CASE IS EXTRAORDINARYIN MANY WAYS, BUT THE SINGLE

MOST EXTRAORDINARY WAY IS THATTHEY READ RFRA, WHICH HAS THE

WORD PERSONS IN IT TO INCLUDENOT JUST CORPORATIONS RIGHT?

THIS ISN'T THE LITTLE SISTERS ORWHEATON COLLEGE.

THIS IS A FOR-PROFIT CORPORATIONTHAT SELLS SCRAPBOOKING

MATERIALS.

THEY'RE PERSONS FOR THISSTATUTE.

AND THAT'S VERY DRAMATIC.

BUT THE THING THAT YOU'RE SAYINGTHAT IS SO RIGHT AND THAT I

THINK FALLS OUT OFTHE CONVERSATION...

>> Jon: OH, LET'S HEAR THIS.>> THIS IS A SENTENCE MY HUSBAND

HAS NEVER HEARD, BY THE WAY.YOU'RE SO RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING.

>> Jon: I'M EXCITED. I'MEXCITED.

>> BUT WHAT FALLS OUT OF THECASE AND WHAT'S REALLY SCARY IS

THIS IS FRAMED AS A CASETHAT'S ABOUT HOBBY LOBBY'S

RIGHT'S AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT'SRIGHTS.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> BUT THERE ARE THESE THIRDPARTIES. THEY HAVE 15,000

EMPLOYEES WHO DO NOT SHARE THEIRRELIGIOUS BELIEFS

AND THE COURT HAS NEVER HELDTHAT YOUR RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE

CAN TRUMP THE RIGHTS OF THIRDPARTIES WHO ALMOST FALL OUT OF

THE CASE AND ARE NOT EVEN TALKEDABOUT.

>> YEAH. IT'S GONNA BE A VERYINTERESTING TO SEE HOW

CORPORATIONS THEN EXPANDWHATEVER THEIR RIGHTS ARE.

I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO SEEHOBBY LOBBY GET A CHANCE TO OPEN

CARRY. YOU KNOW,

YOU'RE GOING TO SEE STORES NOWWITH GIANT RIFLES ON TOP OF

THEM.

SCARING PEOPLE.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS... IS THEREANYTHING DOWN THE PIKE COMING

THAT YOU LOOK AT AND GO, THATWILL BE THE NEXT CRUCIAL TEST OF

THESE PRINCIPLES?

>> YEAH, BECAUSE THERE'S A WHOLEBUNCH OF CASES THAT GOT KICK

BACKED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS,INCLUDING, YOU KNOW,

AN EDEN FOODS CASE. THERE'SA WHOLE BUNCH THAT THE COURT

SAID, WAIT WHILETHIS IS PENDING.

AND SO THOSE ARE ALL GOING TOOCOME BACK IN.

>> DOES THIS PUT THE ONUS ON THEGOVERNMENT NOW IN A

PICK-AND-CHOOSE TERM?

IF I'M A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORAGAINST THE IRAQ WAR, DO I THEN

SAY, NONE OF MY EMPLOYEES OR

MYSELF HAVE TO PAY TAXES DURINGTHAT PERIOD BECAUSE I DON'T WANT

MY MONEY USED CONSCIENTIOUSLY TOBOMB IRAQ?

>> IT GOES BACK TO... IT GOESBACK TO THE SAME... YOU KNOW,

THERE IS A LONG STRING OFEMPLOYERS WHO HAVE OBJECTED

FROM DEEP, DEEPLY FELT RELIGIOUSFAITHS TO A LOT OF THINGS...

>> Jon: RIGHT.>> AND WE HAVE GENERALLY

SAID, YOU KNOW, THAT NEUTRALGENERALLY APPLICABLE LAWS, THEY

APPLY TO YOU WHETHER YOULIKE IT OR NOT.

THE SOCIETY CANNOT FUNCTION IFEVERYBODY GETS TO OPT OUT OF

THINGS THAT OFFEND THEM.

AND SO I THINK THAT THE WHOLEQUESTION OF HOBBY LOBBY, AND

IT'S A THING THAT WE'RE GOING TOFIND OUT IN THE NEXT COUPLE

YEARS, IS WHETHER THE COURT CANCABINET AS SMALL AS THEY TRY TO.

>> Jon: IS THE REAL TRAGEDYHERE THE RHYMING NATURE OF...

[LAUGHTER]BECAUSE WHEN YOU THINK OF A

COURT CASE, MARBURYVERSUS MADISON, YOU THINK OF

THESE, THE DRED SCOT DECISION,THESE ARE SEMINAL COURSES IN

AMERICAN HISTORY,THESE ARE STATEMENTS OF

PRINCIPLE, BEDROCKS OF THEJUDICIAL SYSTEM, AND YET IT

SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULDORDER AT A DENNY'S.

>> YEAH.

>> Jon: I'LL HAVE THE HOBBYLOBBY.

[LAUGHTER]>> IT'S A PROBLEM.

>> Jon: YOU DO FEEL LIKE WHENYOU SAY IT YOU HAVE TO WEAR A

CHILD'S HAT.

WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FORCOMING ON AND EXPLAINING A LOT

OF THIS BECAUSE IT'S AWFULLYCONFUSING.

PLEASE READ DAHLIA'S ARTICLE,SLATE.COM.

DAHLIA LITHWICK, THANK YOU SOMUCH.

>> THANK YOU.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

Loading...