At first blush, the government’s argument seems plausible. How can, say, General Motors or Intel be seen as exercising freedom of conscience? But Congress itself provided the counter-intuitive answer in yet another part of federal law that by its terms extends RFRA’s coverage to any individual or entity – including for-profit corporations.
Legal niceties aside, Hobby Lobby is, at bottom, the five Green family members. They are its nerve center and soul. They determine, with accountability only to and among themselves, whether to turn aside substantial profits by closing the doors of their 600 stores on Sundays; to greet Hobby Lobby patrons with strains of Christian music; to advertise Christian holidays, not the latest Hobby Lobby wares manufactured in exotic venues; and to donate millions of dollars of corporate profits annually to a variety of Christian missions. No Wall Street gnomes, corporate raiders or dissident shareholders can hold the five owners accountable, nor do they have any pecuniary interest whatsoever in Hobby Lobby’s business plans or the execution of its corporate strategy. Hobby Lobby is the Green family. To argue otherwise is a risible example of highly strained arguments that give lawyers a bad name.