Corporate Religious Liberty

Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 30, p.277, 2015

32 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2013 Last revised: 7 Jul 2015

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2015


Do for-profit corporations have a right to religious liberty? This question was before the Supreme Court for the first time in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s “contraception mandate.” According to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the answer is yes: for-profit corporations are “persons” entitled to religious exemptions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

This Article argues that there is no principled basis for granting religious liberty exemptions to for-profit corporations. For-profit corporations do not possess the inherently human characteristics that justify religious exemptions for individuals. For-profit corporations also lack the unique qualities that justify exemptions for religious associations such as churches. Finally, corporate religious liberty risks trampling on the employment rights and religious liberty of individual employees.

Keywords: corporations, free exercise, religious liberty, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA, contraception, health care, reproductive rights, corporate rights, Citizens United

Suggested Citation

Corbin, Caroline Mala, Corporate Religious Liberty (February 1, 2015). Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 30, p.277, 2015, Available at SSRN: or

Caroline Mala Corbin (Contact Author)

University of Miami School of Law ( email )

1311 Miller Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

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