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View Diary: SCOTUS: Hobby Lobby oral argument, first takes (382 comments)

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  •  Conscientious objectors (2+ / 0-)
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    Stude Dude, wilywascal

    Did anyone bring up comparisons to conscientious objection to military service for religious reasons?

    Certainly, you ought to be able to object to being required to perform military service, but that doesn't mean that you ought to be able to decline to pay your taxes because they go to support a war (or a military-industrial complex) that you consider unjust.

    •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

      Well, there hasn't been a draft since RFRA, so that's not too helpful.

      As far as taxes go, I think that the court would find that the government has a compelling interest in funding itself, and the least restrictive means to do so is to require taxes irrespective of the beliefs of each payer.

      •  It'd suggest that there is a balancing test (0+ / 0-)

        Of the sort that Breyer is a fan of and Scalia despises.

        We don't have an absolute right to property, so the government has a certain freedom to impinge upon a technical right to property for the greater good (such as taxes).  However, as it comes closer to involving matters of life and death, the individual should have a greater ability to assert one's rights, even if it conflicts with the greater good.  So, we can't force someone into military service, especially if it puts them in a position to possibly take another human life or to be in material support of someone doing so.

        This will be an unpopular opinion in this particular forum, but I think that balancing this suggests that Hobby Lobby's owners should have the right to opt out of abortion-related requirements, but that contraception does not carry the same weight, so that they cannot opt out of providing contraceptive coverage.  The validity of their religious beliefs concerning abortion are irrelevant, since government should generally not be in the business of determining whether or not a religion is true.  There would be balancing within the balancing, so that legitimate health concerns may trump their concerns about abortion so that, ultimately, they can only refuse to cover abortions undertaken for primarily non-medical reasons.

        •  Well (0+ / 0-)

          There are no abortion-related requirements, so that's helpful.  

          But this isn't a constitutional case, it's decided under a federal statute.  Congress could have scripted the thing however it wanted, and it chose not to balance the scale of the burden on the believer against anything.  It just looks for a burden, and then goes and looks to see if the government has a compelling interest coming back the other way.  

          That could be repealed or re-written, even in passing the ACA itself.  But they didn't do that.

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