For those following Citizens United and Hobby Lobby, you may be hearing that there could be a period of legal challenges that will ask courts to "pierce the corporate veil." The "veil" is pretty much a euphemism for a shield to protect owner/gamblers from incurring personal losses from their mistakes, miscalculations and misdeeds. This would take aim at the "free ride" that corporate owners have been getting from corporate debts and criminal liability, I'll try to give some additional context:
When you own a business, you have two basic choices.
- You can form a corporation, which is not a person, and that will shield you from liability for debts and wrongdoing of the corporation, holding you personally unaccountable for your actions, or
- You can remain a person, as in a partnership or sole proprietorship and assert your personal control and be accountable for your actions.
You can't have it both ways, in my opinion. If you incorporate, your religious views can not excuse you from obeying the laws that apply to similar employers. You have taken your personal beliefs and liabilities out of play. Of course, things get much more complicated than this (there are lots of lobbyists and lawyers who make a living in the grey areas), but these two choices are the crux of what corporate law involves.
The Supreme Court majority has messed with this separation of person-hood from Corporate-hood. Of course, they almost always favor the wealthy person, limiting their accountability for their actions. That's the flip side of the "free market" scam. The system works so that the market is easily manipulated to protect the wealthy - not to balance supply and demand, or to put dangerous corporations out of business. The free market works for those in the 1%, perhaps the top 5%, but never for the majority.
But, now the pseudo-conservatives on the Court have gone too far with Citizens United and Hobby Lobby. There will be many lawsuits in the future, where it will be claimed that the basic structure of the corporation has been changed by these decisions, calling it "piercing the corporate veil." It will take years for this to play out, and eventually get back to the Supreme Court. However, there are now some strong arguments that the owners of corporations can no longer count on being shielded from personal liability for the debts and crimes of the corporation. Some lower courts are likely to side against corporate personhood. Yep, this is getting personal.
Now, those of you who are already scared about the destabilizing impact of this strange direction of the Court's majority, you don't need to read further. My concern is that there may be method to the madness (extreme judicial activism) of the Court. Destabilizing corporate law may undermine the desire of corporations to remain based in the U.S. I'm wondering whether the Court is seeking to drive more American corporations offshore, further damaging the tax base of the U.S.A. and undermining the viability of our government.So, perhaps the Supreme Court majority is actually a lot smarter and more diabolical than we give them credit for. Perhaps they are just starting a diversion or a backfire to draw our attention from the tremendously pressing needs we have as a society and as a planet. In the process, they would create confusion and scare the corporate and finance people into doubling down on the war against unions, women, minorities and liberals. If there is method to their madness, we'll need to figure out what they are up to - and quickly.