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Honny Lobby Store
Is this store exercising religion?
On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in two cases, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius where the exercise of religion by or through secular for profit corporations will be considered. (I'll be providing a recap of the argument tomorrow.)

Two years ago, I wrote a series of posts criticizing E.J. Dionne and other progressive men for urging the continued accommodation of religious organizations engaged in secular activity by the Obama Administration. In an earlier post I wrote:

Consider this possibility -- what if the Catholic bishops say that since their employment of persons is the means by which persons are eligible for birth control under the Obama accommodation, then they should have the right to prohibit their employees from getting contraception care? How can Dionne distinguish this "religious liberty" claim from the one he is arguing in favor of? There is no logical difference in the positions.

A progressive would understand this and not argue for a "religious liberty claim" that a religion should have "the right to deny even its employees of other faiths the health-care services of which it doesn't approve on strictly doctrinal grounds." Yet this is what Dionne is arguing for. It is a betrayal of progressive values.

And here we are, facing precisely this argument before a Supreme Court which seems eminently capable of agreeing and accepting this argument. On the other side, I will discuss the legal issues raised in the cases to be argued on Tuesday.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

In its moving brief (PDF) in Hobby Lobby, the government describes the issues as follows:

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest. 42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1(a) and (b). The question presented is whether RFRA allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are other wise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.
The government notes that:
The implementing regulations [of the Affordable Care Act] authorize an exemption from the contraceptive-coverage provision for the  group  health  plan  of  a  “religious  employer.” 45 C.F.R. 147.131(a). A religious employer is defined as a non-profit organization described in the Internal Revenue Code provision that refers to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, conventions or associations of churches, and the exclusively religious activities  of any religious order. Ibid. (cross-referencing 26 U.S.C. 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) and (iii)).

The implementing regulations also provide accommodations for the group health plans of religious non-profit organizations that have religious objections to providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services. 45 C.F.R. 147.131(b). After such an organization accepts an accommodation, the women who participate in its plan will generally have access to contraceptive coverage without cost sharing though an alternative mechanism established by the regulations, under which the organization does not contract, arrange, pay, or refer for contraceptive  coverage.  78 Fed. Reg. 39,870, 39,872, 39,874-39,886 (July 2, 2013).

Thus the issue is not about Catholic hospitals or charities, churches, religious orders or anything like that. It is, pure and simple, about owners of a for-profit corporation seeking exemption from secular laws that they believe conflict with their PERSONAL religious faith.

The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood argue that certain requirements of the Affordable Care Act upon employers of 50 or more persons are in conflict with their religious faith and thus violate RFRA. The government describes the argument thusly:

[the Hobby Lobby parties] contend that the requirement that the Hobby Lobby group health plan cover all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives as prescribed by a physician violates rights of the corporations and the Greens under the Religious  Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government  “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest. 42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1(a) and (b). Specifically, respondents contend that RFRA entitles the Hobby Lobby plan to an exemption from the contraceptive-coverage provision because the Greens object to “facilitating” coverage of four FDA-approved contraceptives (two types of IUDs and two emergency contraceptives, Plan B and ella). Pet. App. 14a.4
The government responds by first denying that for-profit corporations can exercise religion for RFRA purposes:
Granting the relief respondents seek for profitmaking corporate entities engaged in commercial activity would expand the scope of RFRA far beyond anything   Congress contemplated; would disregard deeply engrained principles of corporation law that should inform the interpretation of RFRA as they do federal statutes generally; and would deny to thousands of employees (many of whom may not share the Greens’ religious beliefs) statutorily-guaranteed access to benefits of great importance to health and well-being.
Under traditional corporation law, the corporation is treated as a separate legal entity whose actions do not legally reflect upon the shareholders or officers of the corporation. Thus, under this analysis, the corporation does not act as the shareholders. The most common manifestation of this principle is that the acts of the corporation do not create liability for the shareholders or officers of the corporation. They are, in the eyes of corporation law, completely distinct and separate entities. The government states:
[Hobby Lobby's] RFRA claim fails [as] it attributes the religious beliefs of the corporate shareholders to the corporate respondents themselves. That approach violates the long-settled principle of corporation law (against the backdrop of which RFRA was enacted) that “incorporation’s basic purpose is to create a distinct legal entity, with legal rights, obligations, powers, and privileges different from those of the natural individuals who created it, own it, or whom it employs.” Cedric Kushner  Promotions,  Ltd. v. King,   533   U.S.   158,   163
A related argument made by Hobby Lobby is that the ACA violates RFRA by impinging on the exercise of religion by the owners of the corporation. The government responds:
Respondents’ alternative suggestion that the Greens [the owners of Hobby Lobby] may challenge the contraceptive-coverage provision in their individual capacities likewise suffers from threshold defects. The challenged provision imposes no personal obligations on the Greens; it instead regulates only the corporations they own and the group health plan the corporations sponsor. The provision therefore does not burden the Greens’ individual exercise of religion in any cognizable sense, and RFRA does not entitle them to an exemption for the corporations based on their individual religious beliefs.
This is the mirror image of the previous argument, the individuals are not the corporation, and the corporation is not the individuals.

The government further argues that even if the ACA requirements were attributable and impactful on the individual religious exercise of Hobby Lobby's owners, the ACA provisions do not impose a substantial burden on such exercise of religion:

The particular burden about which respondents complain also does not qualify as a substantial burden within the meaning of RFRA. A group health plan covers many items and services, and participants and their dependents, in consultation with their health care providers, decide which ones to use. Those decisions by independent third parties are not attributable to the employer that finances the plan or to the individuals who own the company, and the connection is too indirect as a matter of law to impose a substantial burden
Finally, the government addresses Hobby Lobby's rather ironic request that the government provide the disputed contraceptive care directly:
Respondents’ [...] proffered alternative—direct government provision of contraceptive services to corporate-respondents’ employees—is not a less restrictive means within the meaning of RFRA. The less-restrictive means test under RFRA cannot  be used to require creation of entirely new programs. Moreover, in both the preventive-services coverage provision and the Act generally, Congress built upon the system of employment-based coverage and private insurance, rather than replacing it with government-provided benefits. Respondents’ proffered alternative would conflict with that goal. [Emphasis supplied.]
It's rather funny that Hobby Lobby argues that the answer is government-offered health insurance and care. Certainly many of us agree that this would be good policy, but surely it is not required to defend the Greens' exercise of religion.
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Comment Preferences

  •  so a corporation can (27+ / 0-)

    require circumcision? I don't know. The whole thing is way beyond the normal understanding of America. This would be a step toward fascism.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 05:56:37 PM PDT

  •  Let's be clear: these wild-eyed religious freaks (19+ / 0-)

    do not want to operate businesses, open to the public. They want to operate private clubs, for which the entrance requirements are to be (1) white; (2) heterosexual; (3) an adherent of whatever religion the club operator subscribes to; and (4) oblivious as to what 'Murica's freedums' actually entail.

    Most of us would not care to be members of such a club. But club it is--it's certainly not a business.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:01:30 PM PDT

  •  Baptism? (19+ / 0-)

    Hmm- is Hobby Lobby truly Christian? Has it been baptized? Sprinkled or dunked? These things matter to Southern Baptists and evangelicals.

    I demand to see the long form baptismal certificate!

  •  I don't understand how (16+ / 0-)

    the courts can draw a distinction between a Catholic employer that wants to block contraceptive coverage for religious reasons, and a Christian Scientist employer that wants to block all medical care for religious reasons.  Or rather, I don't see how you draw a distinction without ruling some established religions in and others out.

    I realize that a big part of this case is the absurdity of a "Catholic corporation".  But the establishment problem seems to be there anyhow.

    •  I don't see how they could distinguish this (9+ / 0-)

      from some jackass pseudochurch that believes miscegenation is wrong, and refusing to hire anyone who is married to someone of a different "race" -- however the managers of the corporation chose to define that.

      It. Can. Not. Work.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:08:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  RFRA only deals with religious beliefs and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Debby

        racism isn't a religion (insert joke here).  If the case is decided on RFRA grounds, I don't think it opens the door to what you're describing.  

        •  Oh please. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader, anon004, Rogneid, chrisculpepper

          Religious principle is anything anybody wants to claim it is. I could start a religion tomorrow whose fundamental creed is that anyone with JD cannot be admitted to the church and it would be exactly as valid as any other dumbass dogma.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:40:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And, that's not more valid or less, compared to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            anon004, robweisser

            a long-running religion, IMHO.

            They're all made-up ideologies to reflect the feelings of leadership and/or followers, regardless of the fact that people supporting them live in the USA.

            And, to me, that's the point: your personal desire to create and/or follow a religion does not enable you to use the country's healthcare laws for potentially harming others due to your desire to worship money, a moon-goddess, a leper king, three stars in the Orion Nebula, etc.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:07:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, there's tons of precedent that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            says that racism isn't a religious belief.  It comes up frequently in the context of Title VII.  You can keep your "oh please."

            •  People like you can torture any "logic" you like (5+ / 0-)

              out of language and reality in order to create whatever law you like. The fact that people like you do so, regularly and with extraordinary arrogance and hubris, is one of the reasons that ordinary people managing along with simple reason and common sense find the legal system baffling and infuriating and comically stupid.

              Any judge (Feel free to cite) who ever decided "in the context of Title VII" or any other goddamned thing that "racism isn't a religious belief" would have been an idiot. In doing so, said judge would break, forever, any sort of consistent, coherent, and most critically, predictable legal understanding of what can or can't be a religious belief, since a religious belief is now to be defined, not by what the actual believer believes, but by what any judge anywhere decides to allow them to believe.

              I'm not saying it hasn't happened. It wouldn't surprise me too much. Either way, it so epistemologically broken that it shames 6000 years of western civilization that we might have arrived at such a foundering of the human enterprise.

              However, when the Supreme Court smacked down Bob Jones University over their opposition to miscegenation, they did not assert that "racism isn't a religious belief". Rather, they asserted that, in this particular conflict between the apparent first amendment rights of BJU, and the overall interests of the public good, the first amendment rights of BJU didn't measure the fuck up:

              The Government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest.
              Chew on that bone for a while, beagle, please. Perhaps in the intervening 30 years some micro-cephalic judge has decided according to your claim, but the critical precedent rejecting the claim that religious liberty excuses egregiously anti-social behavior is based, not on an epistemologically indefensible redefinition of "religious belief", but on a more general principle of the basic decency that government owes to the governed.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:55:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not torturing anything—I'm telling you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                WHAT THE LAW IS.  I don't even agree with the law as it stands, I was just, you know, giving you an assessment of the state of the law.  

                Your rudeness is completely uncalled for.  I'm sorry that complicated words like "Title VII" freak you out so much and that people like me intimidate you so badly.  

                •  I'm sorry that you ignored my cited precedent (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TwoSolitudes, chrisculpepper

                  while failing to provide one of your own.

                  On the other hand, it's trivial to turn up case law establishing that employers cannot fire someone for being racist, if that racism is founded in the person's religious beliefs. This rather strongly suggests that you don't know what the hell you're talking about, since, with what now amounts to a total investment of about 6 minutes of research, I, mere layman, wholly untrained in the legal art, have now found both a Supreme Court decision and a lower court decision that contradict your expert opinion. I also stumbled on this law review article that examines the thorniness of the problem.

                  My rudeness is more than called for, given your condescension -- a rhetorical affect of which I begin to suspect you are not even aware -- and I've no intention of dialing it back, even if you do turn up a precedent that is in conflict with the cases I have found myself, given that such precedent would, after all, only prove that the law is both unsettled and insensible.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:30:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  How about a Muslim corporation (4+ / 0-)

      that expects all female employees to wear a chador and walk three paces behind their male bosses?

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

      by MadScientist on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:48:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  here is my counterargument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anon004, chrisculpepper

      If it is ok to not pay for contraceptive based on religious beliefs, then it should be ok to set lifetime limits on benefits.

      Here is why.  Lets say that lifetime limits begin at 50.  The lord tries to take you with a car accident at 57.  Then the lord tries to take you with two heart attacks by the time you 65.  Then you have cancer.  Honestly, at what point are we doing the devils work by keeping the lord from taking one of his creations.

      I know the lord gave us brains and curiosity, but really, how much money can we spend keeping someone away that the lord so clearly wants.  And why would any religious person want to go through the pain of all these treatments.  The only reason is that the person has sinned so much that they are afraid of their judgement.  By allowing such a person to live, as I said, we are certainly doing the devils work.

      •  Aren't you supposed to label "snark"? (0+ / 0-)

        No way this could be a serious argument.

        Damn the Regressives, full speed ahead!

        by Nautical Knots on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:33:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The nutjobs are saying,in part, that only sluts want birth controls, and by paying for birth control they are encouraging sinful bahavior.  I am saying that old people who are asking for unlimited health care are probably murderers or rapists or something like that, and by not setting lifetime limits we are encouraging this behavior.

          I see both arguments as equally serious.  There are no 'snark' arguments for the supreme court.  If a major corporation and a major religion thinks they have the right to label every women who wants birth control a slut, then why can't an individual label every religious person who wants unlimited medical care a rapist.

          •  OK, I see your point... (0+ / 0-)

            but why would you want to suggest a similar line of thinking? There was no logic there to begin with. Their argument was stupid to a point of embarrassing. So let them live on their own island.

            Damn the Regressives, full speed ahead!

            by Nautical Knots on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:53:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Elwood - neither plaintiff is Catholic (0+ / 0-)

      so I am having trouble understanding your "Catholic corporation" statement.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:05:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I used "Catholic" because (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, chrisculpepper

        that religion opposes contraception, has clear lines of doctrinal authority (making an owner's claim that his objections are religious rather than personal easy to support), and cannot be dismissed as a small new cult.

        I'm aware that the Hobby Lobby people are not Catholic, but the whole point of my question is, how can you draw a line that works in other cases?

        And there should be an extra sensitivity on the Court about  striking down laws based on Catholic doctrine (whether the plaintiff is Catholic, or happens to share that doctrine), given the strong Catholic majority of Justices.

  •  what about the religious rights of the employee? (10+ / 0-)

    for Hl to act on their beliefs in this manor they are infringing on the rights of the employee, they are also placing a burden on  that employee.

    there are many medical practices that will find opposition from many religions. do all employers get to decide what religion they want their employees to practice?

    make no mistake this would indeed be an employer forcing their religion onto their employees.

    and i dont see this stopping at the door of a workplace. this would spread to who they "choose"  to do business with.
    women, LGBT will be targeted.

  •  More wingnut terrorism..Just what we need. nt (5+ / 0-)

    I write a series called 'My Life as an Aspie', documenting my experiences before and after my A.S. diagnosis as a way to help fellow Aspies and parents of Aspies and spread awareness. If I help just one person by doing this, then I've served a purpose.

    by Homer177 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:04:41 PM PDT

  •  It would be a long shot. (8+ / 0-)

    For decades, religious objections (such as Jehovah's witnesses refusing to pay SS taxes) were routinely rejected. In 1990, Justice Scalia wrote an opinion that established an even stricter standard making it almost impossible to get a religious exception. Congress responded by passing a law restoring the pre-1990 situation.

    I have a feeling that the opinions might not split directly on typical ideological lines, and that it might be like Hollingsworth.

  •  The idea is simply crazy. (7+ / 0-)

    You can't create individual loopholes to federal legislation based on a particular flavor of religious superstition.

    Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in transfusions.  Should employees of for profit entities owned or controlled by Witnesses?

    Some Christian Scientists believe in prayer only medical treatment.  Will employees of Scientists get only prayer in their health plan?

    Fundamental Hindus don't believe in taking life.  Is life-virus vaccination covered?

    What about Wiccans?  Tree worshippers?  Druids?

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:10:50 PM PDT

  •  It seems to me that corportations (17+ / 0-)

    are asking to be granted rights but definitely expecting to be able to avoid responsibilities.

  •  I have not spent one penny in a Hobby Lobby store (10+ / 0-)

    since this suit was first filed. Even if Hobby Lobby loses, they have lost my business.

    Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    by ranton on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:13:35 PM PDT

    •  Political Point vs Religious Bigotry (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anon004, Debby, chrisculpepper, ranton

      They have built a beautiful Hobby Lobby near the town I live in.  Never went to it,never will.  People who have gone said they are very expensive and everything they saw was imported from overseas.  
      They are using religion as an excuse to make a political point.  They covered contraception before the ACA but do not like the coverage of the morning after pill.  It is a form of contraception not an abortant pill.  They really should study facts more.  We are supposed to have separation of religion and state.  That is why they are tax exempt.  We would be much wealthier if they taxed churches. Imagine if the $600,000 that was stolen from Osteens church was taxable every week.  Anyway,I rattled off subject but they should not be pushing their religious principles off on their employees.  Whatever happened with Freedom of Religion?  This Supreme Court has shredded it. If anyone takes away rights it is them and the so-called religious right.  They want a Theocracy.

      •  Sincerely held religious beliefs can and will be (0+ / 0-)

        used to justify every reprehensible action imaginable if the Conservative wing-nuts rule in their favor.  

        Hobby Lobby better hope like-minded religious customers up their crafting and home decorating spending; I find it hard to believe that the lost business from appalled women who are just now learning about Hobby Lobby's case can be made up by the religious right who were already customers of this well known "Christian" corporation.

        We are in agreement on taxing ALL organizations with tax-exempt exemption is a concept that has been used and abused.

        Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

        by ranton on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:33:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm with you... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apimomfan2, chrisculpepper, ranton

      Ditto here... and that's even after the other craft store stopped carrying supplies for my particular hobby.

      I will -never- step foot inside another Hobby Lobby ever again.  And believe me, I used to spend a LOT of money whenever I went there.

      It helps I can now find my supplies from like-minded, individually owned companies... and even individual artists... on the Internet.  And they don't even have to be in the USA.  

      I bought some candle molds from an individual in British Columbia and was amazed when she called me to explain she made each per request and needed more info.  (These were Pagani-type molds.)  Not only could I NOT have found those in this city... certainly not from a place like HL!... but I've never had such wonderfully personal one-on-one with a supplier.  And the prices weren't out-of-sight, either!

  •  This will be a showdown (9+ / 0-)

    between the Commerce Clause and the First amendment.  I suspect that the ruling will be that one's private religious beliefs will not trump Congress's authority to oversee one's public commercial practices.  

    If one doesn't want to be in business with the public, then one doesn't have to.  But if you want to be in business, then Congress has the authority to regulate that business in a way that is deemed fair to the public as a whole.

    So if you're a baker and you want to sell wedding cakes, you're going to have to sell them to whoever wants one.  If you don't want to run the risk of having to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, then open a pie shop.  But be prepared to sell pies to people whose identities you might not be comfortable with.  If your religious beliefs lead you to insulate yourself entirely, join a monastery.  

    •  I'm with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Incredulousinusa, gailwax

      but how about loony bin scalia and thomas?

      A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

      by onionjim on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:17:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eh…the commerce clause doesn't have much (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Elwood Dowd, WillR, VClib

      to do with this case.  Hobby Lobby doesn't want a federal law struck down—it wants robust enforcement of a federal statute (RFRA).

    •  SD - I don't see the Commerce Clause playing (0+ / 0-)

      a role in this case. Is this your personal analysis or did one of the very many briefs submitted in this case raise this issue?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:51:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Merely my opinion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The commerce clause defines the role of Congress to oversee interstate and intrastate commerce.  The last SCOTUS ruling on ACA came down to the commerce clause, and I would expect a related logic to apply.

        The Hobby Lobby case is only one of the 1st amendment objections to comply with laws.  Another is the objection to provide secular services related to marriage equality.  In both the clash between personal religious beliefs and public commercial activity (which is explicitly secular in these instances) will come down on the side of open commerce.  In the current case,  the identity of corporations as distinct from their directors and stockholders will play a role as well.

        •  SD - in the ACA case the SCOTUS ruled that (0+ / 0-)

          the law failed the Commerce Clause test and was legal under the taxing power. The ruling surprising many on both counts because the Democratic Congressional leadership and the Obama administration were adamant during the legislative process that the ACA was NOT a new tax and were relying on the Commerce Clause.

          I don't see the Commerce Clause playing any role here. I haven't read all the briefs in this case but neither of the primary parties have raised this issue. The key statute is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Hobby Lobby is asking for a novel interpretation of how the SCOTUS has historically viewed corporations so they have the uphill challenge in this case.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:18:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Next thing you know ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, Egalitare

    religions will want to considered corporations so that they can be people too.

    A mirror is facial recognition hardware. Your narcissism is the software.

    by glb3 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:16:51 PM PDT

  •  Hobby Lobby Likely to Win (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misslegalbeagle, VClib

    First, the issue isn't whether employees of Hobby Lobby are able to get contraceptives or abortions.  The issue is whether the government can compel H/L to pay for insurance policies that mandate that coverage when H/L's management and owners have religious objections.  Because the case deals with religious freedom as outlined in the first amendment the government's regulation must be "compelling" and "be tailored as narrowly as possible to achieve what is compelling as narrowly as possible."

    If H/L refused to pay for the coverage, nothing would stop the employee from paying for additional insurance on their own.  

    Throw in that the ACA is applied only to companies with more than 50 employees and the question logicaly becomes "if it is compelling for employers to pay for abortions/sterilization/contraception insurance coverage - why isn't it compelling for women who work for companies with 49 employees?".

    Kind of hard to explain away.

    So, between the fact that we're talking about insurance -- not the underlying action; and applying the limitation to only certain companies I think this section of the ACA goes down in flames.

    •  "Management and owners" (6+ / 0-)

      NO - it isn't about that at all.

      The management and owners did not bring suit. Hobby Lobby Inc. brought suit.

    •  you didnt explain how this would p[lay out on a (4+ / 0-)

      corporate level. will corps execs now lose their rights not to be sued for corporate actions.

      some of which have caused loss of life. if they can exercise their religious rights how can they now claim they are a separate entity fro the corp?

      •  Because.... (0+ / 0-)

        One thing doesn't have anything to do with the other.

        The Gov't authorizes the creation of limited liability entities such as Corporations because they believe it will spur business creation.  They don't have to allow corporations to exist they do it because they think it will create jobs and increase tax revenues.  Which it, in fact, does by making the process safer for investors and entrepreneuers.

        In fact, I would venture a guess that if the gov't expressly said you could form a limited liability company, but only if you agreed to give up constitutional rights to do it that would pass.  What would be the compelling reason for the restriction.

        Bottom line, I don't think the Court will find choice of business entity makes a bit of difference to constitutional rights.  If it did you'd end up with the strange concept that a partnership could raise constitutional objections, but a limited liability company formed in the same business by the same people couldn't.  Doesn't make legal sense.

    •  I don't think that's right (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, gailwax, Debby, Danali

      because isn't part of the ACA that ALL insurance has to cover contraception. Employers do not have to pay for contraception but have to provide insurance. In a separate part of the law, the insurance companies are mandated to include contraception in all policies. Isn't HL asking, as a corporation, to change the statutory regulation of insurance companies?

      •  I think what you're getting at is the idea (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Danali, chrisculpepper

        that HL's religious beliefs (to the extent they exist) aren't REALLY violated by purchasing insurance for their employees, yeah?

      •  Wed Biz - there are already exceptions carved (0+ / 0-)

        out of the ACA for churches and some church affiliated entities. Hobby Lobby is asking for the same treatment.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:11:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wed Biz - Hobby Lobby is self insured (0+ / 0-)

        There is no third party insurance company involved.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:15:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No. (0+ / 0-)

        They are saying they shouldn't have to pay for something that violates their religious beliefs.  If the ACA has the impact of banning all insurance policies that don't offer contraception, and in particular abortifacients (drugs that prevent a fertilized embryo from implanting on the uterine wall - causing the embryo's death) then to the extent that law infringes on the First Amendment the law would likely fail as unconstitutional.

        Constitution trumps all laws/regulation.

        •  In what way is this different: (0+ / 0-)

          If my employer provides insurance that includes contraception coverage, and my wife and I choose to use that coverage, how is that different than me taking my personal wages, which are paid to me by my employer out of my employers funds just as is the insurance, and using it to purchase contraception?

          Would this not mean that employers could also dictate that employees spend their wages on things that the employer approves of?

          Insurance is part of the compensation package.

          •  Intervening Agent (0+ / 0-)

            1.  If they pay you and you in turn use that money for something the employer disapproves of - like an abortion - then the gov't isn't requiring an employer action.

            So no worries.

            Could the employer require you to spend your money a certain way or not spend it a certain way.  in most cases, yes they could.  Most people are "at wil" employees who can be fired for pretty much anything.

            There are notable exceptions - of course - can't fire you for being Irish, or Jewish or Black, et al.

            But there the laws are viewed as compelling and narrowly tailored.

            Here, different facts - probably different outcome.

        •  Hobby Lobby's argument isn't based on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the First Amendment though.  It's pretty well settled that their First Amendment argument would lose—you don't get a pass from generally applicable laws because they require you to do something that violates your religious beliefs.

          •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

            Provided the law in question is considered necessary to uphold a compelling gov't requirement AND the law is tailored as narrowly as possible to uphold that compelling interest.

            If you are referring to objections to taxation that is settled law.  

            Here, the field is wide open.

      •  Just to clarify... (0+ / 0-)

        the "that's right" was in response to the above poster's assesment of the situation, not my ethical stance on Hobby Lobby's position.

    •  Healthcare of millions of women IS a compelling (4+ / 0-)

      interest of the government.  Part of the problem here is that far too many believe that birth control is a minor issue and really not all that expensive.  Yet more than 1.5 million women in the US take it for other reasons than birth control.  For these women, it IS the only way to address their health care needs.  Is that not narrow enough?

      And what happens when religious dogma becomes a tool of the bean counters at corporations.  You know, the ones who find every which way to make you pay more for less?  You think they're going to stop at birth control?  Given the wide variety of religious objections to all kinds of medical procedures you're looking at a very long list that will likely effect every American at some point in their life.

      But at the root of this is that none of these people want to accept that we all pay for all healthcare one way or the other because the cost of healthcare is not slice and dice-able.  If the religious zealots stop paying for something en-mass it WILL have an impact on the cost for that kind of care and it's related services.  And that kind of action has a ripple effect of huge proportions.  Certainly that is in the interests of the government.

      America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

      by Back In Blue on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:01:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right & you're wrong (0+ / 0-)

        The creation of such an exception could have a huge impact.

        So, did Roe v. Wade, Brown v Board of Education, and Dred Scott.

        If the gov'ts interest was compelling why is it they take the position that only women working for companies with 50+ employees need the coverage?

        And, again HL isn't objecting to women getting procedures - or at least not looking to interfere with their decisions - they just don't feel they should be compelled against their religious beliefs to pay for the insurance.

        •  The government is not taking that position. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miira, CaffeineInduced

          The ACA regulations require ALL insurance plans to cover birth control.  Employers (with the exception of religious institutions and religious non-profits) who have 50 or more employees are required to provide insurance for their employees. The combination of these independent regulations does create the situation that HL doesn't like, but there is no one arguing that only women working for companies with 50+ employees need birth control coverage.  Companies who have fewer than 50 employees that decide to provide insurance for their employees (with or without subsidies) will have to provide plans that cover birth control as well.

          HL most definitely is looking to interfere with women's decisions in this matter because that is the result of their actions.  It's naive to think that this won't make getting birth control harder for women who work for such companies. And it will only get worse.  

          Employees also, with rare exception (of which I doubt you'll find any of at HL), pay a large part of their insurance costs.  What's the difference between paying for insurance and paying the employee's salary or wages?  Insurance from the employer is a form of compensation. When a company accounts for your cost to them as an employee they combine your salary, benefits, incentive pay, stock options, etc. into your TOTAL COMPENSATION.  The employee should be able to choose what to do with that compensation weather it's their salary, benefits, company stock, or whatever compensation they get. The only exception being made here is for employers to have a say in this one form of compensation.  If this goes through, where does that stop?

          The argument that these employers are directly paying for something they object to is entirely self-indulgent obsession on their part.  They will never be able to prove that monies paid by them and not by the employee were used for birth control unless they are paying 100% of the insurance costs, and we know that's not likely anywhere.  And because of that, it's 100% guaranteed that if this exception for the employer (and that's who is getting the exception, same as for religious institutions) that this will only be the beginning of employers interference in not only health care, but all forms of compensation (including salary and wages).  There's simply no history to support such restraint on their part.  Only history of the people fighting to get their rights back.

          America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

          by Back In Blue on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:20:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's not really the case (5+ / 0-)

      that the employee can "pay for additional insurance on their own." The product isn't sold that way.

      Moreover, much of the ACA and other law strongly pushes an employee into an employer's coverage if it is offered, especially when there is an employer subsidy.

      Truly, the best outcome if Hobby Lobby doesn't want to be involved in reproductive health care would be for them to pay the fine and send their employees into the exchange. It's probably a net win for their employees.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:04:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hobby Lobby is self insured (0+ / 0-)

        and is large enough that the fine would be hundreds of thousands. One number I read said the fine would be half a billion. Plus their employees could be worse off going to the exchanges, unless Hobby Lobby provided some kind of subsidy. It's hard to know without more information.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:20:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Product (0+ / 0-)

        First, I'm sure you could purchase add'l insurance to supplement your present policy to cover all/some of the exposure.

        But, if H/L wins the case there will then be a clear market for such coverage.  And, the insurers sensing a profit opportunity would no doubt make such coverage more easily acquired.

        •  How is it there's market? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anon004, Miira, Danali

          Having been in the situation of being a young woman purchasing insurance on the individual market, I can assure you that the only reason anyone ever sold me any policy is because they were obligated to by law. My insurance cost almost double what my male friends paid when I was a fresh graduate.

          To sell insurance for birth control only makes no sense. Why would a company want that deal? Birth control if you're covering the woman for pregnancy is a huge win for you. Otherwise, there's no upside to create a discount for it.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:16:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nope (0+ / 0-)

      HL should lose. Employees of employers with fewer than 0 employees are more than likely either medicaid or exchange policy eligible. Contraceptives are provided as a matter of course to these people.  

      THe larger than 50 argument fails for this very reason.  Congressional intent governs. Congress clearly intended for comprehensive preventive care to be a part of all insurance plans. There was never any intent for ala care insurance to be a part of ACA. (with the narrow exception of the Stupak amendment for abortion coverage.)

    •  So, what you are saying is that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Danali, Celestia89

      the Court could rule that companies owned by Jehovahs Witnesses would be within their rights to deny coverage for blood transfusions, companies run by Scientologists could deny coverage for metal health treatment, companies run by Hindus could deny coverage for illnesses linked to the consumption of red meat like colon cancer, Muslims could deny coverage for heart surgery involving pig valves, and Mormons could deny coverage for cirrhosis of the liver, which is linked to excess alcohol consumption?

  •  This whole thing is just ludicrous (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wednesday Bizzare, wader, apimomfan2

    I'd love to hear Hunter explain corporations other rights under the Bill of Rights - or is it the 10 Commandments - I forget.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:27:17 PM PDT

  •  Who would Jesus incorporate? eom (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, apimomfan2

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:29:52 PM PDT

  •  Employer's religion should have nothing to do with (13+ / 0-)

    what health care benefits employees receive.

    Nothing whatsoever.

    The opportunities for abuse of giving employers such a right are endless and seriously detrimental to women's health and healthy families.

  •  Keep religion in church....., home&shut thy trap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That should be about enough religion for anyone. If they don't want to buy any birth control or whatever, then it is a free country-don't use it. More religious loon logic by loons for loons. Enough with the religion. Do I drive around with a pitchfork decal on my car? No, because I am secure enough in my beliefs I do not need to tell everyone else about it. Give me a break with crazy people in this country. Yes, I know many Christians are great people and I still feel the same way, before anyone brings it up.

  •  yo, hobby lobby... (5+ / 0-)

    ... go fu*k yourself.


    every adult is responsible for every child

    by ridemybike on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 06:45:26 PM PDT

  •  When Hobby Lobby dies (7+ / 0-)

    or whatever the equivalent of death is for a corporation -- Does it believe the corporation will go to heaven?

    I guess I am confused as to how a corporation can have a religious "belief".  

  •  Even the image tilts heavily to the right n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, Danali

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:00:38 PM PDT

  •  "Hi! My name is Hobby Lobby." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anon004, Rogneid

    "I sure do love babies. And Jesus! I especially love Baby Jesus, which is why I'm happiest around Christmas. You should see the little plastic messiahs I sell around December. Hooray!"

    "But some no-good liberals want to take that away from me. They've come up with these pills that kill babies by making sure they're not made in the first place. And they want me to help them distribute those pills to anyone that wants them."

    "I say 'no!' Those pills are a violation of my beliefs! I love babies, and Jesus, and I want my employees to have as many babies as Jesus wants them to have, as long as they don't ask me for a raise in order to help make sure their babies have enough food to eat. What am I, a socialist?"

    "Now, if you'll excuse me, we're getting low on little plastic messiahs, and I need to contact my Chinese distributor to obtain more of them. I thank God for my Chinese distributor, for they provide me with cheap little plastic messiahs, and do not spend my money on contraception. Not at all. Nope. Not one cent. Hooray!"

    We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.

    by EighteenCharacters on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:14:16 PM PDT

  •  I get it, actually (0+ / 0-)

    It isn't what religious or secular employers or employees believe or want. It is the government compulsion to make them PAY for - and therefore endorse said practices or services- against their religious beliefs. There could have very easily been a carve out for this.

    •  One problem is that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rogneid, Danali, Celestia89

      Hobby Lobby's objections aren't fact-based.  The coverage they want to refuse to provide doesn't even violate their alleged religious beliefs -- they believe the so-called morning after pill acts an abortifacient, which had been demonstrated by actual science not to be true.  The case is spurious on that basis alone.

      The second problem is that Hobby Lobby is claiming the right not not provide coverage for any doctor's appointment where contraception is discussed, which would mean at least every annual checkup and most postpartum care.  It would act as a gag order over what the physician could say to the employee.  Strange religion, that.

      •  Well actually (0+ / 0-)

        Plan B does destroy the embryo.

        As for a gag rule are you sure that they are asking that no doctors visits mention contraception? They are only talking about a few types of contraception (that destroy the embryo).

        I think we were discussing the on a noter thread?

        •  We were discussing this (0+ / 0-)

          and Plan B does NOT destroy an embryo.  It prevents ovulation, which, of course, prevents and embryo from forming.  The idea that it prevents  an embryo from implanting was something that was put forth as a possible explanation of how the drug worked when it was first developed and later debunked by scientific studies.

          So, Hobby Lobby is objecting to providing a treatment based upon an erroneous belief.

  •  There's a simpler argument (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misslegalbeagle, Armando, Rogneid

    related to basic statutory construction.

    The RFRA was passed in 1993.  The ACA was passed in 2009.

    Both are parts of the United States Code.

    Wouldn't, under basic rules of statuory construction, the later legislation (that would be the ACA) overrule and supercede the earlier in any place they come into conflict?  After all, the RFRA is not part of the Constitution or otherwise higher or more controlling law; it's just part of the Federal code.  

    The suggestion that it should prevail over laws passed afterwards simply makes no sense.  The RFRA simply ought to have no bearing on this case.  If the ACA is held to conflict with it, the ACA should win such conflicts.

    •  SCOTUS really hates implied repeal, although (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Rogneid

      I think that's a good instinct.  What you're saying is normally correct—the later in time law prevails.  This is less true when the earlier law purports to bind later acts by Congress/the Government.  In those cases, SCOTUS usually wants to see some indication in the later statute that it intended to repeal the earlier statute.  

    •  ES - nope not unless the ACA was specific (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      on this point, which it is not. In fact the ACA makes accommodations for religious exceptions, and Hobby Lobby want that exception applied to it.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:45:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Corporations are people, my friends. (0+ / 0-)

    They go to church on Sunday and everything!

  •  then it stands to reason (0+ / 0-)

    I can with hold 10% of the cost of the items I purchase from HL, because my religion says I should do that and give it to the religious group as a tithe? I mean, if they want to impose their religious dogma on others, then what is stopping me from imposing mine on them? Can I also beat them if I catch them eating shrimp, or wearing two kinds of cloth, or touching a pigskin football?

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:12:21 PM PDT

  •  'Incorporation of a business establishes the newly (0+ / 0-)

    formed corporation as a separate legal entity from the people running the business.'
    How is it possible that a corporation has individual rights?

  •  I'm eager to file a suit (0+ / 0-)

    stating that it's against my religion for my employer to pay me less than a living wage.  Think the Supremes will be interested in that?

    Reading DailyKos is like getting the newspaper two weeks early. But without the lottery results.

    by jazzmaniac on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:45:19 PM PDT

  •  Does it matter at all that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what Hobby Lobby claims isn't factual?

    They maintain they don't want to cover birth control that acts as an abortifacient, when in fact the birth control they object to covering doesn't actually act in that way.

    Doesn't the factual basis of their case being spurious make their entire case moot?

  •  I have no problem with the Catholic position. (0+ / 0-)

    A religious employer, by it's very nature, should be able to expect its employees to abide by its beliefs. As an atheist, I believe that an atheist organization should be able to require that all of its employees be free of primitive superstition, or at least pretend to be so inclined while under their employment.

    I don't expect that with a for-profit commercial enterprise. I don't believe there is a religious perspective in knitting, crochet, or quilting. Certainly, one can have a religious theme in one's projects, but a Christian does not need a different pair of shears to cut fabric than a pagan does. Though I suppose a Christian is less likely to sell their soul for satin.

    Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

    by rhonan on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 01:04:40 AM PDT

  •  I want to know what proof is required from (0+ / 0-)

    corporations to show that they "exercise" their study during breaks?  Do they have a chapel that workers attend?  Do they feed and clothe the poor?  Visit prisoners and give them comfort?  Give away all their money to serve God?  GMAB on this shit.....they want to call the shots, pay no taxes and do whatever they want......

  •  Piercing the corporate veil (0+ / 0-)

    A (liberal) lawyer friend noted something interesting about all of this: it has potentially serious repercussions for corporate law that many wealthy executives might not like.  Corporate owners -- shareholders, that is, and many CEOs own lots of their company's shares -- are largely shielded from personal liability by the existence of the corporation.  If corporate owners are allowed to exert this kind of control, it weakens that protection.

  •  What happens if some Christian Scientists ... (0+ / 0-)

    runs a company?  Can they require the insurance to only pay for going to a Christian Science Practitioner for all medical problems?

  •  What about the separation (0+ / 0-)

    of church and state don't people get?

    Rose Schneiderman (1866-1972). "The life of men and women is so cheap and property is so sacred."

    by lyvwyr101 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 01:16:25 PM PDT

  •  This is all about the cash and nothing else (0+ / 0-)

    Employers have to kick in their contribution to healthcare coverage for all employees. Traditionally, insurance coverage for women is more expensive and covers less. Companies with a lot of female employees in low paying jobs will finally have to abide by the new law regarding offering coverage. They do not want to pay and will do the usual tea party GOP dance to not pay their share, as usual.

    Usually these female-heavy, low paying, service sector employers take the usual dodge and will push everybody into part time hours to avoid paying in. Walmart does this to prevent ever paying into any benefits. Their employees have no options since the GOP opposes jobs and jobs plans, so they end up on federal/state/county Medicaid plans which shift the cost to the taxpayer. Since pay is so low, employees have no other options if they intend to ever have any access to healthcare.

    This is a longstanding tradition in retail which also opposes any unionizing. Retail used to warn its employees that any attempt to start a union or affiliate with a union would result in firing. That was the way it was back in the 1970's and I am sure nothing has changed since women and minorities are still regarded as disposable by employers.

    Whenever we have to hear about "religion" being used as an excuse for not paying bills, it tends to come from the same old sources. Calling this a Christian issue is bogus. When it comes to allowing employees to save their own lives by buying insurance, employers will do anything to stop that. That is why the GOP is paid off by the financial services industry to repeatedly file nonsense cases in court using our tax dollars, to please their insurer sugar daddies.

    This cost shift is the same way everything is done by this GOP. Whatever the issue, they refuse to pay bills. That is the reason they exist at all. These are not Republicans or Democrats. These Congress members, state officials, etc were installed by outside cash to make sure that Americans have no affordable access to lifesaving healthcare and essential prescriptions.Big Pharma also pays Congress very well.

    The ruse about contraceptives would be just as true if a diabetic employee joined the pool and bought insulin. If an employer can deny a prescription, that employer can deny any prescription for anything and at any time. Diabetics would not be hired.

    This is not about women or about them having sex. The long term GOP obsession with hating women and encouraging rape and opposing VAWA is a habit for them. They have decided to use women and people of color as targets. Historically these groups of working Americans have less money since they are routinely underpaid. The GOP may incorrectly see these groups as therefore less able to defend themselves. This GOP strategy has backfired on them and we can finally look for a day when informed voters show up at the polls and get rid of these useless petty criminals in office.

    Until Americans bother with getting informed, we will see more unqualified petty criminal tools who take bribes from industries while occupying office, living off of our tax dollars at the same time. Deadbeat Daddy Joe Walsh was a great example of this type of GOP creature.  

  •  Thanks, Citizens United...FOR NOTHING. (0+ / 0-)

    Lest we forget, thanks to the SCOTUS's favorable ruling on Citizens United, corporations are now considered people, too. This unfathomable, terrible decision by the High Court has bastardized the election process and made a mockery of our country's ideal of one person, one vote. Politicians can sell their votes to the highest bidder. We The People don't have the chance of a snowflake in Hell to decide who our elected government representatives, at the local, state and federal levels, will be. It it any wonder that today's members of Congress don't work to further the best interests of their constituents? Hell, we're lucky they work at all, especially considering that these lazy, lying, thieving bums will be in session for less than one-third of the year in 2014.

    If the SCOTUS rules favorably on the Hobby Lobby case, a decision that would permit corporations to avoid providing coverage under their health insurance plans for birth control measures based on religious principles, then this would open up a whole can of worms guaranteed to flood our courts with lawsuits, motions and appeals. If companies can deny their employees coverage for contraception under their health insurance plans for religious reasons, then what's next? What if a corporation has an aversion to people with disabilities, or those who are atheists, or people with red hair? I reiterate, a favorable decision handed down by the SCOTUS on the Hobby Lobby case will be akin to opening Pandora's box.

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