Do Human Beings Have Equal Protection Under the Law?

I have been reading quite a bit about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. I had thought to write a post about how not all “sincerely held religious beliefs” are created equal, (the Amish can’t get out of paying social security and fundamentalist Mormons can’t practice plural marriage, but Quakers and Mennonites can opt out of military service) and how non-belief as a sincerely held moral value is unprotected by the court. 

Today I have a different question. If corporations are “people” with the same rights as biologically created people, why do they not have the responsibilities of biological people? Justice Ginsberg brought this up in her dissent:

“By incorporating a business, however, an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obligations. One might ask why the separation should hold only when it serves the interest of those who control the corporation.”

Corporations are shielded from debts and/or crimes of the corporation. A Corporate person cannot be sent to jail if its actions cause the death of a biological person and yet a biological person can be sent to jail if it does something damaging to the Corporate person such as stealing trade secrets.

If Corporations are just people like us, with religious beliefs and all the rest, aren’t we biological people being disadvantaged under the law as a class and denied equal protection? If one class of person can walk away from its debts, why can’t all of us?

It seems any debtor born of woman would have standing to challenge his or her unequal treatment under the law. Is this coming?


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