In the United States, the extension of civil liberties to corporations is transforming democracy through rights adjudication. Best known in this regard is Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission, the 2010 Supreme Court decision permitting corporate funding to flood the U.S. electoral process on the basis of corporate rights to free speech. In 2014, Burwell vs Hobby Lobby granted firms the right to the free exercise of religion, and hence the ability to withhold insurance coverage of abortions and abortifacients for their employees.
This lecture explores the neoliberal logic of the Hobby Lobby decision, makes an argument about the transformations of democracy these decisions entail, and concludes with a critique of Foucault’s formulation of the relation of law, state and economy in neoliberalism.
Wendy Brown is Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley.
Recorded on 1 July 2015 at LSE