Ron Colombo on Corporate Free Exercise
In this episode, Ronald J. Colombo, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Distance Education at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, discusses his 2013 article "The Naked Private Square," which appeared in the Houston Law Review, as well as his recent scholarship on the right of business corporations to assert religious rights under the First Amendment. Colombo observes that charitable corporations largely uncontroversially assert free exercise and freedom of association claims, and argues that business corporations should be able to assert similar rights. Among other things, he points out that business corporations can and do express beliefs in much the same way as charitable organizations, and nothing prevents them from adopting religious purposes. Colombo suggests that a business corporation's claim to religious liberty should be decided on a fact-specific and context sensitive basis. He also reflects on the Supreme Court recent decisions in Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakeshop, and considers where the Court is likely to go next.