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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
In a widely-awaited-but-still-85 percent-as-sucky-as-you-feared 5-4 decision this morning, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that for-profit corporations are "persons" for purposes of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and that their religious rights were unduly burdened by the contraceptive mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Because the contraceptive mandate was not the least restrictive means available for the government to provide such coverage—in the Court's mind, the Government could just assume the costs itself, and already provided an opt-out for religious non-profit employers—the mandate on private employers violates the law.

The Court was careful to limit its opinion (in theory) to these facts. It applies only to closely held corporations, and not publicly traded ones. It applies to the contraceptive mandate and not religious objections to all laws in general, believing that the “compelling interest” struck a sensible balance between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests. But ... we'll see about that.

Justice Ginsburg, writing for the four dissenting Justices, refers to the decision thusly:

In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a “less restrictive alternative.” And such an alternative, the Court suggests, there always will be whenever, in lieu of tolling an enterprise claiming a religion-based exemption, the government, i.e., the general public, can pick up the tab....

[T]he Court forgets that religious organizations exist to serve a community of believers. For-profit corporations do not fit that bill. Moreover, history is not on the Court’s side. Recognition of the discrete characters of “ecclesiastical and lay” corporations dates back to Blackstone, see 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 458 (1765), and was reiterated by this Court centuries before the enactment of the Internal Revenue Code. See Terrett v. Taylor, 9 Cranch 43, 49 (1815) (describing religious corporations); Trustees of Dartmouth College, 4 Wheat., at 645 (discussing “eleemosynary” corporations, including those “created for the promotion of religion”). To reiterate, “for-profit corporations are different from religious non-profits in that they use labor to make a profit, rather than to perpetuate [the] religious value[s] [shared by a community of believers].”  

Much more, including the purple-est of Justice Kennedy's beloved purple prose, below the fold.

Let's be clear, explains Justice Alito for the five you'd expect, corporations are people too (for purposes of this statute):

As we will show, Congress provided protection for people like the Hahns and Greens by employing a familiar legal fiction: It included corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons.” But it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of this fiction is to provide protection for human beings. A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends. An established body of law specifies the rights and obligations of the people (including shareholders, officers, and employees) who are associated with a corporation in one way or another. When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people. For example, extending Fourth Amendment protection to corporations protects the privacy interests of employees and others associated with the company. Protecting corporations from government seizure of their property without just compensation protects all those who have a stake in the corporations’ financial well-being. And protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies
Indeed, the opinion claims, you can go back over 50 years and find the Court not questioning that a for-profit corporation's had religious rights—in that 1961 case, a kosher supermarket seeking the right to be open on Sundays despite Massachusetts blue laws. [To which the dissent counters, "The suggestion is barely there. True, one of the five challengers to the Sunday closing law ... was a corporation owned by four Orthodox Jews. The other challengers were human individuals, not artificial, law-created entities, so there was no need to determine whether the corporation could institute the litigation."]

The Court insists that this isn't something publicly traded companies are going to get involved in, and even if they did, well, we could use corporate law principles to suss out what their religious beliefs are:

HHS contends that Congress could not have wanted RFRA to apply to for-profit corporations because it is difficult as a practical matter to ascertain the sincere “beliefs” of a corporation. HHS goes so far as to raise the specter of “divisive, polarizing proxy battles over the religious identity of large, publicly traded corporations such as IBM or General Electric.”

These cases, however, do not involve publicly traded corporations, and it seems unlikely that the sort of corporate giants to which HHS refers will often assert RFRA claims. HHS has not pointed to any example of a publicly traded corporation asserting RFRA rights, and numerous practical restraints would likely prevent that from occurring. For example, the idea that unrelated shareholders—including institutional investors with their own set of stakeholders—would agree to run a corporation under the same religious beliefs seems improbable. In any event, we have no occasion in these cases to consider RFRA’s applicability to such companies. The companies in the cases before us are closely held corporations, each owned and controlled by members of a single family, and no one has disputed the sincerity of their religious beliefs.

HHS has also provided no evidence that the purported problem of determining the sincerity of an asserted religious belief moved Congress to exclude for-profit corporations from RFRA’s protection.... HHS and the principal dissent express concern about the possibility of disputes among the owners of corporations, but that is not a problem that arises because of RFRA or that is unique to this context. The owners of closely held corporations may—and sometimes do—disagree about the conduct of business. And even if RFRA did not exist, the owners of a company might well have a dispute relating to religion. For example, some might want a company’s stores to remain open on the Sabbath in order to make more money, and others might want the stores to close for religious reasons. State corporate law provides a ready means for resolving any conflicts by, for example, dictating how a corporation can establish its governing structure. Courts will turn to that structure and the underlying state law in resolving disputes.

So, what about the contraceptive mandate? Interestingly, the Court concedes for sake of argument that it serves a compelling state interest. But, still, that's not enough.
By requiring the Hahns and Greens and their companies to arrange for such coverage, the HHS mandate demands that they engage in conduct that seriously violates their religious beliefs.

If the Hahns and Greens and their companies do not yield to this demand, the economic consequences will be severe. If the companies continue to offer group health plans that do not cover the contraceptives at issue, they will be taxed $100 per day for each affected individual. For Hobby Lobby, the bill could amount to $1.3 million per day or about $475 million per year; for Conestoga, the assessment could be $90,000 per day or $33 million per year; and for Mardel, it could be $40,000 per day or about $15 million per year. These sums are surely substantial. ...

Are their religious beliefs loony? The Court's not going to look into that. The sincerity is what counts, and that creates a burden:
The Hahns and Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulations is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage. This belief implicates a difficult and important question of religion and moral philosophy, namely, the circumstances under which it is wrong for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but that has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another. Arrogating the authority to provide a binding national answer to this religious and philosophical question, HHS and the principal dissent in effect tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed. For good reason, we have repeatedly refused to take such a step. See, e.g., Smith, 494 U. S., at 887 (“Repeatedly and in many different contexts, we have warned that courts must not presume to determine . . . the plausibility of a religious claim”)
So, RFRA applies, there's a burden, and the contraceptive mandate fails the test:
The least-restrictive-means standard is exceptionally demanding, and it is not satisfied here. HHS has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion by the objecting parties in these cases. See §§2000bb–1(a), (b) (requiring the Government to “demonstrat[e] that application of [a substantial] burden to the person . . . is the least restrictive means of furthering [a] compelling governmental interest” (emphasis added)).

The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections. This would certainly be less restrictive of the plaintiffs’ religious liberty, and HHS has not shown that this is not a viable alternative. HHS has not provided any estimate of the average cost per employee of providing access to these contraceptives, two of which, according to the FDA, are designed primarily for emergency use. Nor has HHS provided any statistics regarding the number of employees who might be affected because they work for corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and Mardel. Nor has HHS told us that it is unable to provide such statistics. It seems likely, however, that the cost of providing the forms of contraceptives at issue in these cases (if not all FDA-approved contraceptives) would be minor when compared with the overall cost of ACA. According to one of the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent forecasts, ACA’s insurance-coverage provisions will cost the Federal Government more than $1.3 trillion through the next decade. If, as HHS tells us, providing all women with cost-free access to all FDA-approved methods of contraception is a Government interest of the highest order, it is hard to understand HHS’s argument that it cannot be required under RFRA to pay anything in order to achieve this important goal.

HHS contends that RFRA does not permit us to take this option into account because “RFRA cannot be used to require creation of entirely new programs.”  But we see nothing in RFRA that supports this argument, and drawing the line between the “creation of an entirely new program” and the modification of an existing program (which RFRA surely allows) would be fraught with problems.

And don't worry, Justice Alito insists! This is a really, really narrow holding, and doesn't create religious exemptions to good laws:
HHS and the principal dissent argue that a ruling in favor of the objecting parties in these cases will lead to a flood of religious objections regarding a wide variety of medical procedures and drugs, such as vaccinations and blood transfusions, but HHS has made no effort to substantiate this prediction. HHS points to no evidence that insurance plans in existence prior to the enactment of ACA excluded coverage for such items. Nor has HHS provided evidence that any significant number of employers sought exemption, on religious grounds, from any of ACA’s coverage requirements other than the contraceptive mandate. ...

[O]ur decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.

The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.

Justice Kennedy adds an additional concurrence to remind everyone that Justice Kennedy believes in the Court, America, and his own importance:
In our constitutional tradition, freedom means that all persons have the right to believe or strive to believe in a divine creator and a divine law. For those who choose this course, free exercise is essential in preserving their own dignity and in striving for a self-definition shaped by their religious precepts. Free exercise in this sense implicates more than just freedom of belief. It means, too, the right to express those beliefs and to establish one’s religious(or nonreligious) self-definition in the political, civic, and economic life of our larger community. But in a complex society and an era of pervasive governmental regulation, defining the proper realm for free exercise can be difficult. ...

“[T]he American community is today, as it long has been, a rich mosaic of religious faiths.” Town of Greece v. Galloway, 572 U. S. _, _ (2014) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 15). Among the reasons the United States is so open, so tolerant, and so free is that no person may be restricted or demeaned by government in exercising his or her religion. Yet neither may that same exercise unduly restrict other persons, such as employees, in protecting their own interests, interests the law deems compelling. In these cases the means to reconcile those two priorities are at hand in the existing accommodation the Government has designed, identified, and used for circumstances closely parallel to those presented here. RFRA requires the Government to use this less restrictive means.

Justice Ginsburg writes the principal dissent, and begins by reminding us of the importance of sexual autonomy, and the economic stakes for women in this litigation:
“The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833, 856 (1992). Congress acted on that understanding when, as part of a nationwide insurance program intended to be comprehensive, it called for coverage of preventive care responsive to women’s needs.

... The [ACA] had a large gap, how-ever; it left out preventive services that “many women’s health advocates and medical professionals believe are critically important.” 155 Cong. Rec. 28841 (2009) (statement of Sen. Boxer). To correct this oversight, Senator Barbara Mikulski introduced the Women’s Health Amendment, which added to the ACA’s minimum coverage requirements a new category of preventive services specific to women’s health.

Women paid significantly more than men for preventive care, the amendment’s proponents noted; in fact, cost barriers operated to block many women from obtaining needed care at all. See, e.g., id., at 29070 (statement of Sen. Feinstein) (“Women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men.”); id., at 29302 (statement of Sen. Mikulski) (“copayments are [often] so high that [women] avoid getting [preventive and screening services] in the first place”). And increased access to contraceptive services, the sponsors comprehended, would yield important public health gains. See, e.g., id., at 29768 (statement of Sen. Durbin) (“This bill will expand health insurance coverage to the vast majority of [the 17 million women of reproductive age in the United States who are uninsured] . . . . This expanded access will reduce unintended pregnancies.”).

And the dissenters deride as unfounded the Court's new recognition of religious rights for for-profit corporations:
Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities. As Chief Justice Marshall observed nearly two centuries ago, a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 636 (1819). Corporations, Justice Stevens more recently reminded, “have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 466 (2010) (opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part).

The First Amendment’s free exercise protections, the Court has indeed recognized, shelter churches and other nonprofit religion-based organizations. “For many individuals, religious activity derives meaning in large measure from participation in a larger religious community,” and “furtherance of the autonomy of religious organizations often furthers individual religious freedom as well.”  The Court’s “special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations,” however, is just that. No such solicitude is traditional for commercial organizations. Indeed, until today, religious exemptions had never been extended to any entity operating in “the commercial, profit-making world.”

The reason why is hardly obscure. Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community. Indeed, by law, no religion-based criterion can restrict the work force of for-profit corporations. The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.

But even if these for-profit corporations can maintain religious beliefs, this doesn't really burden them:
Undertaking the inquiry that the Court forgoes, I would conclude that the connection between the families’ religious objections and the contraceptive coverage requirement is too attenuated to rank as substantial. The requirement carries no command that Hobby Lobby or Conestoga purchase or provide the contraceptives they find objectionable. Instead, it calls on the companies covered by the requirement to direct money into undifferentiated funds that finance a wide variety of benefits under comprehensive health plans. Those plans, in order to comply with the ACA, must offer contraceptive coverage without cost sharing, just as they must cover an array of other preventive services.

Importantly, the decisions whether to claim benefits under the plans are made not by Hobby Lobby or Conestoga, but by the covered employees and dependents, in consultation with their health care providers. Should an employee of Hobby Lobby or Conestoga share the religious beliefs of the Greens and Hahns, she is of course under no compulsion to use the contraceptives in question. But “[n]o individual decision by an employee and her physician—be it to use contraception, treat an infection, or have a hip replaced—is in any meaningful sense [her employer’s] decision or action.” It is doubtful that Congress, when it specified that burdens must be “substantia[l],” had in mind a linkage thus interrupted by independent decisionmakers (the woman and her health counselor) standing between the challenged government action and the religious exercise claimed to be infringed. Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.

And let's be clear: these are truly compelling governmental interests:
To recapitulate, the mandated contraception coverage enables women to avoid the health problems unintended pregnancies may visit on them and their children.The coverage helps safeguard the health of women for whom pregnancy may be hazardous, even life threatening. See Brief for American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists et al. as Amici Curiae 14–15. And the mandate secures benefits wholly unrelated to pregnancy, preventing certain cancers, menstrual disorders, and pelvic pain.

... It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage; that almost one-third of women would change their contraceptive method if costs were not a factor; and that only one-fourth of women who request an IUD actually have one inserted after finding out how expensive it would be. See also Eisenberg, supra, at S60 (recent study found that women who face out-of-pocket IUD costs in excess of $50 were “11-times less likely to obtain an IUD than women who had to pay less than $50”); Postlethwaite, Trussell, Zoolakis, Shabear, & Petitti, A Comparison of Contraceptive Procurement Pre- and Post-Benefit Change, 76 Contraception 360, 361–362 (2007) (when one health system eliminated patient cost sharing for IUDs, use of this form of contraception more than doubled).

As for the "let the government pay" alternative, the dissenters find it lacking:
Impeding women’s receipt of benefits “by requiring them to take steps to learn about, and to sign up for, a new [government funded and administered] health benefit” was scarcely what Congress contemplated. Ibid. More-over, Title X of the Public Health Service Act  “is the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for safety net family planning services ... Safety net programs like Title X are not designed to absorb the unmet needs of . . . insured individuals.”

And where is the stopping point to the “let the government pay” alternative? Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work? Does it rank as a less restrictive alternative to require the government to provide the money or benefit to which the employer has a religion-based objection?...

Conestoga suggests that, if its employees had to acquire and pay for the contraceptives (to which the corporation objects) on their own, a tax credit would qualify as a less restrictive alternative. A tax credit, of course, is one variety of “let the government pay.” In addition to departing from the existing employer-based system of health insurance, Conestoga’s alternative would require a woman to reach into her own pocket in the first instance, and it would do nothing for the woman too poor to be aided by a tax credit.

In sum, in view of what Congress sought to accomplish, i.e., comprehensive preventive care for women furnished through employer-based health plans, none of the proffered alternatives would satisfactorily serve the compelling interests to which Congress responded.

And, in conclusion, the dissenters warn about what's next:
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga surely do not stand alone as commercial enterprises seeking exemptions from generally applicable laws on the basis of their religious beliefs. See, e.g., Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc., 256 F. Supp. 941, 945 (SC 1966) (owner of restaurant chain refused to serve black patrons based on his religious beliefs opposing racial integration); In re Minnesota ex rel. McClure, 370 N. W. 2d 844, 847 (Minn. 1985) (born-again Christians who owned closely held, for-profit health clubs believed that the Bible proscribed hiring or retaining an “individua[l] living with but not married to a person of the opposite sex,” “a young, single woman working without her father’s consent or a married woman working without her husband’s consent,” and any person “antagonistic to the Bible,” including “fornicators and homosexuals” (internal quotation marks omitted)), appeal dismissed, 478 U. S. 1015 (1986) ; Elane Photography, LLC v. Willock, 2013–NMSC–040, _ N. M. _, 309 P. 3d 53 (for-profit photography business owned by a husband and wife refused to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony based on the religious beliefs of the company’s owners), cert. denied, 572 U. S. _ (2014). Would RFRA require exemptions in cases of this ilk? And if not, how does the Court divine which religious beliefs are worthy of accommodation, and which are not? Isn’t the Court disarmed from making such a judgment given its recognition that “courts must not presume to determine . . . the plausibility of a religious claim”?

Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)? According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases . . . would have to be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test.” Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.

... There is an overriding interest, I believe, in keeping the courts “out of the business of evaluating the relative merits of differing religious claims,” or the sincerity with which an asserted religious belief is held. Indeed, approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be “perceived as favoring one religion over another,” the very “risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.” The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield by its immoderate reading of RFRA. I would confine religious exemptions under that Act to organizations formed “for a religious purpose,” “engage[d] primarily in carrying out that religious purpose,” and not “engaged . . . substantially in the exchange of goods or services for money beyond nominal amounts.”

More on this Term's conclusion in my next diary.

Originally posted to Adam B on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Well, no. (4+ / 0-)

      It's okay, but far from the best.

      •  Single Payer (0+ / 0-)

        No, of course it is not the best or the ideal, but we need to take every step in the right direction as a positive.  This decision was a serious negative.  However, I believe in the power of intelligent women, and those women realize that their entire lives are at stake here.  If the progressives can manage to get women riled up and mad, I don't think the regressives will be able  to stand up to them in a national election.  I am saying this with a look to the red states, of course.  Those women will never get on board, unless they have the ability to look across their borders at times.

        •  Red State Women (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The vast majority of "Red State women" are not represented by their red-state legislators, and they know it.  Unfortunately, women are as susceptible as anyone else to the trap of powerlessness, in which the oppressed give up trying to end their oppression.  I live in Texas, where our legislators campaign on economics and legislate on women's health.  Most women (actually, most Texans) here would vote Democrat -- if they voted, which they don't, because the state is so gerrymandered that unless there is huge turnout, the Republicans win.  People feel that their vote doesn't count, and that is pretty much true as long as they stay home.

          •  Women are never powerless (0+ / 0-)

            There is always the great refusal. Imagine a red state world with no female waitresses, secretaries, bank tellers, none of the traditionally underpaid professions, women simply sitting at home or going out shopping for things to maintain appearances, demanding their husbands support them as it appears that is the job they wish women to have, then expecting that they be paid for their work; laundry, dishes, cleaning, child rearing, and all the actions traditionally viewed as housekeeping at $15/hr, and none of the usual friendly persuasion till the idea sinks in.

            "la vida no vale nada un lugar solita" "The Limits of Control Jim Jarmusch

            by rktect on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 05:19:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Single-payer will never happen (6+ / 0-)

      The Democrats killed it last time.

      So long as the Democratic party occupies the "left" side of our political spectrum, we will never get single-payer. End of story.

      •  The Democrats are the leftmost in office. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They just are. The issue you're highlighting is that there's a wide ideological spectrum in the Democratic Party, such that there would never be anything passed without compromise (read: usually tax cuts) for the center and the right. That's just the way it is because there simply aren't enough liberals numerically.

        I think this would change considerably if more 'true' liberals convinced people to vote for them, instead of the centrist and conservative people. For some reason centrist and conservatives win so much, maybe because anti-government messages resonate with Americans.

        But who knows, perhaps people could actually organize and maybe get an up-or-down vote going from the non-Democrat Bernie Sanders. That way you know where the other Democrats stand and then can primary accordingly, letting the consequences fall where they may.

      •  Its inevitable (8+ / 0-)

        The health care system in the US can't survive into the future unless it does.  ACA, in its current iteration, is more of a band-aid to get more people and money into the health care system while (hopefully) pushing down costs.

        In the long term, the health care system can't survive unless everyone has health care coverage, regardless of age or income.  

        Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

        by Betty Pinson on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:38:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The argument of the majority (5+ / 0-)

        in this decision appears to suggest that there would be no constitutional objections, from this court, to single-payer healthcare.

        They appear to believe it okay for the government to pick up the tab, and that taxes to pay for it are established already.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:07:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, from Adam B's Dairy this morning with Alito's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, Smoh


          The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections.
          ..sure does confirms that

          And from HuffPo  (sorry if HuffPo isn't a favorite):
          The Hobby Lobby Case Shows Why We Need a Single-payer Option- June 30, 2014

          The answer to that question is simple. "The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers' religious objections." (p. 41)

          Alito is exactly right, but not only for the reason he cites. The problematic nature of the ACA is not that it happened to be subject to religious objections by business owners. The truly problematic nature of the law is that our Constitution is designed to separate public purposes from private liberties, not hold one hostage to the other.

          With a few corrections as to Alito's reasoning but in the end; this as a follow up:
          That's the real point that Justice Alito got right, even if he got there by accident.

          A single payer option is not just a less constitutionally restrictive means of providing public good, it is the only approach that is ultimately consistent with our dual constitutional commitments to a government empowered to pursue the common good and individuals shielded from interference in the expression of their religious commitments.

          Good argument for single payer indeed. It was good to learn this

          Thx Adam B for the expert explanation on this ruling

        •  I object to supporting their religion (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We do not have single payer.  If the government picks up the tab, that means I, as a taxpayer, am picking up the tab.  I object to being forced by the government to support someone else's religious beliefs when they are in such direct conflict with my own beliefs.

      •  conveniently ignores (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor

        the fact millions more Americans are covered under existing single payer laws.

        This ruling has only the slightest connection to employer provided healthcare.  Prior to the ACA, most states had private contraception coverage mandates, just fewer people covered.  The only thing ACA about it is because it was Obama, everyone raised a fuss.  

        Blaming it on the ACA in a way gives unwarranted credence to the claims of Hobby Lobby -- their burden here was applying employee earned benefits to a set of plans that insurance companies offered by law.  They were a conduit.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:28:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Simply Incorrect (0+ / 0-)

          The RFRA (passed in 1993) was found, by the Supreme Court, not to apply to states in City of Boerne v. Flores in 1997. The RFRA was subsequently amended in 2003 to explicitly indicate it applied only at the Federal level.

          So, it was only when the Federal Government mandated "morning after" contraceptives and substantial penalties for employers who didn't provide conforming coverage that the RFRA came into play. It simply didn't apply to any of the state laws you mention. As well, few states had employer mandates with substantial penalties so an employer could just elect not to make insurance available to their employees.

          So, no, it's not "just because it was Obama".

          •  Nobody asserted religious freedom objections (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Under state constitutions, either, nor any claims between the enactment of coverage mandates and Employment Div v. Smith that RFRA was to overturn. You also had the four year window between RFRA and Boerne.  You're right about the basis for federal court jurisdiction in this lawsuit (it being a federal law), but I was making the broader, non-legal point about why contraception is controversial all of a sudden.  I'm perfectly familiar with RFRA, and I repeat: nobody cared before Obama.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:16:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  And Same Sex Marriage Will Never Happen (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tronsix2, Eric Nelson, WillR

        And a black man will never be elected president for decades.

        SOME of the Democrats killed it last time.  And most of them are gone.

        It's not the "end of the story".  This is just the beginning.

        And yes, since we live in America, we have to FIGHT to get the single payer health care that is common in the rest of the First World.

        In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

        by Bring the Lions on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 01:46:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  single payer WILL happen (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Blue Silent Majority, groupw

        In 2017 we will all know that ACA is still not affordable. Its the biggest drain on states budgets. States will therefore go to a single payer system or go broke. Vermont has theirs ready to go.

        •  ACA will drive States to Bankruptcy (0+ / 0-)

          Can you explain to me How? The majority of the plans are paid by people privately or employers to its workers. The rest was the working poor that was paid by the rest of the "people" through the back door. Those are now covered by expanded Medicaid.

      •  Single Payer may still happen (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, Obama did kill single payer, and that was the beginning of a huge disappointment for me, together with his appointments of Wall Street insiders rather than Paul Volcker, for example.

        He was beyond naïve, and he will never catch up.  I remember this early $5B deal with Pharma, what ever happened to that?

        I do want to know why you think the Dems will kill single payer.  As the ACA moves on, I think there will be many more people who will use that way to get health care, including the women who work for Hobby Lobby and all the other closely-held companies who can now do whatever they want.


        •  Beg to differ (0+ / 0-)

          If Obama had gone for single payer there would have been no ACA. The closest thing to a single payer option ( the public option) was killed by Lieberman and some other DINO's. It was this or nothing amigo. As bad as you think this is this is the closest thing to universal coverage we have ever being

      •  Are you referring back to when Hillary could have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        implemented it - when she and Bill were in the WH? Or did the Dems kill it again more recently? I'm not certain about this.

    •  Yep (18+ / 0-)
      This decision.. reason ever for Single Payer and separating healthcare from employment.
      Absolutely.  The system tying health care to where someone happens to work is archaic and increasingly unworkable...a hold over from post-war America. If an employer wants to offer additional health insurance benefits to employees (as is done in the UK) that's one thing. But basic, universal health care should not be something tied to the employer.

      Unfortunately, the ACA doubled down on a broken system, and the results are decisions like this.

      Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

      by Pi Li on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:17:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The ACA is a Trojan Horse for the insurers. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lorell, RoyaltyBatty, wsexson

        It's a crummy corporate-friendly bill that has brainwashed millions of liberal Democrats into being willing cheerleaders for the insurance industry.  It's an amazing trick, and it worked like a charm.   Now the same liberals who were the industry's enemies are waving pom-poms for it.   That effectively eliminates any pressure for real reform for the foreseeable future.   I almost have to admire the industry douchebags for being skillful enough to pull it off.

        •  A Little Reality, Please (6+ / 0-)

          I think you missed the 2 million or so diaries on this subject on Daily Kos back when the ACA was being shaped.

          Liberal Democrats wanted single payer.  Liberal Democrats wanted a public option.

          For reasons that you probably know as well as I do, neither happened.  Instead we got the ACA as it is....or we got nothing.

          Liberal Democrats supported the breakthrough that the ACA was for laying the groundwork for future expansion into single payer.  If anyone who calls themselves a "liberal Democrat" is confused over the ACA's compromises and imperfections, I haven't met them in the last 5 years.

          I don't see the pressure being off for any reform in the foreseeable future.  In fact, I see the opposite.

          Oh, and the people that are benefiting from the "minor" victories of the ACA (no more "pre-existing conditions", no lifetime caps, kids being able to be on their parents' plan until age 26) say "thanks" as well.

          In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

          by Bring the Lions on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 01:52:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I remember too (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bring the Lions, salmo

            Liberal Democrats talking about how the ACA was going to lay the groundwork for single payer.  What nobody speculated about was what millenium that might be.

            What the public can't seem to wrap their heads around is that health care as an employer benefit after World War II might have been a good(?) idea then, but it quickly devolved into a nightmare for the insured.  Times changed, and our country didn't change or evolve to serve the needs of the population's health care.  Insurance companies, like pharmaceutical companies, big oil, etc., bought and sold politicians and cemented their power in our system.

            I hope we do go to a single-payer system in the very near future.  The crap that's going on right now with the HL decision is what happens with employer-controlled health care.  Change won't be easy, though, because insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to make sure single-payer does not ever happen.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

            by fedupwiththebs on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 04:45:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Also, I would put the onus on doctors as to why we never moved away from the employer-based health care coverage model to single payer.  It was the AMA that really led the fight against it, and most people will follow what their doctors say on health care coverage (as opposed to insurers or administrators).

              Given the huge fight over what the ACA is, you can imagine how hard it will be to get single payer through.  But analogies about the glass being cracked makes it easier to break through, and all that....

              In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man may be king.

              by Bring the Lions on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 12:18:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  SCOTUS decision is here on this link: (7+ / 0-)

      Read the actual decision on the SCOTUS website if you want.*

                HOBBY LOBBY STORES, INC., ET AL.
                No. 13–354. Argued March 25, 2014—Decided June 30, 2014* -------------

      -------------------  *  Together with No. 13–356, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. et al. v. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

               Every woman and every man who cares about any woman (every man has a mother and at least one X chromosome, most men have a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, sister-in-law, friend, co-worker) should be on boycott of Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., and Mardel.

      &  &  &  &  &

             Any Questions? .... Single Payer -- yes

      &  &  &  &  &

             Still open to "debate" is whether discrimination about an employee's sexual orientation, based on the owner's religious beliefs, yada-yada-yada.

      •  Shouldn't this redefine legal responsibility. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan Stike Conner

        I'm working through the logic extemporaneously, so bear with me, but if a company's religious beliefs are automatically the same as the owners', then the company and the owner are a sorrt of hybrid single entity.  Why, then, would the owner get any legal protection against losses in court that are based on the company's actions.  If the owners want to subsume the company's will into their own, extending it beyond traditional commercial arenas, they should have to share in the company's legal exposure for decisions the firm makes that have an adverse impact on other parties when those actions are deemed to be in violation of the law.

        Am I misssing something?

      •  These guys !!!!!!! *%*&$8&*^ them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Happy Independence Day From the Supreme Court: Unions and Women Lose, Koch Brothers Win" by By Bill Blum (former judge) 2014-06-30

        Catastrophic consequences of this decision: In this document it is said that "More than 90 percent of all US firms are close corporations, and these firms account for 51 percent of the private sector output and 52 percent of all private employment." These are 1997 numbers but doubtless little has changed in terms of overall percentages. Someone could probably look it up if it's a burning issue.

        Bill Blum wrote this 2014-03-27:

            Each year, Forbes magazine updates a list of the nation’s largest closely held companies. Ranked No. 1 on the most current list is the agricultural commodities giant Cargill Inc. with 140,000 employees and nearly $137 billion in annual revenue. Ranked No. 2, you guessed it, is Koch Industries with 60,000 employees and $115 billion in annual receipts. Just for the record, Hobby Lobby pulls down the No. 135 spot, raking in $3.3 billion a year and employing 23,000 workers. Conestoga, which is unranked, employs over 950 workers.

                Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are also Schedule S companies, as is—you guessed it again—Koch Industries. Other notable S companies include engineering conglomerate Bechtel and multimedia Tribune Co. In total, approximately 4.5 million businesses operate as S corporations.

               As long as the court recognizes the right of any for-profit corporation to religious liberty, there will be no way to contain the fallout to what any sane person might regard as small businesses. The right will apply to the minnows and the whales, including two of the primary architects of the relentless corporate personhood crusade, Charles and David Koch.

    •  Absolutely (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cooper888, RoyaltyBatty, eagleray

      They should have left ACA as it was originally passed by the House - with a Public Option and regs that made it easier for employees to buy insurance outside the workplace with employers helping pay the cost.

      The faux panic over employers dumping employees into the Public Option was only meant to protect private insurance companies.

      Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:35:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Single Payer is only answer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cooper888, amoverton

      Mass, California, Maryland, Delaware and many other states are filing for single payer health care system. The Court couldn't have a say in any of this, if we have that system.

    •  I hope and pray that you are right. (15+ / 0-)

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:56:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ... but how long is that going to take? (4+ / 0-)

      How many years elapsed between Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education?

      Please help to fight hunger in the U.S. by making a donation to Feeding America.

      by MJB on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:18:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know, the Supreme Court never made a (3+ / 0-)

      determination in a case before them that Corporations were 'legal persons' under the 14th Amendment, which is what railroads sued for in the late 1800s.

      The case referred to as the basis for corporate personhood is Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad.

      In that case, the railroad wanted to pay less taxes on easement land along the railways, the counties in California charged them a higher rate than they did individual persons.

      The SCOTUS Clerk at that time was a former railroad president. At the beginning of the case, one of the Justices made a comment that they would not be deciding whether or not corporations were legal persons for purposes the 14th Amendment Rights in the case, that the Court believed it was true already. The Clerk put this statement into the Headnote portion of the final ruling, which is a place to describe, in brief, the case but it has no legal weight and is not a part of the legal ruling.

      Future Supreme Court rulings reference that case, however, when ruling on further extension of "personhood Rights".

      While that long-ago Court said it believed that corporations are persons for the purpose of access to Constitutionally guaranteed Rights, they never actually made such a ruling in any case.

      Every case which references that case is thus dependent upon a legal decision which never happened.

      I would love to see the ACLU bring a suit over this. Perhaps they could challenge this #HobbyLobby ruling over this very thing.

      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:39:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It has nothing to do with this case. Nothing. (5+ / 0-)
        As we noted above, RFRA applies to “a person’s” exercise of religion, 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb–1(a), (b), and RFRA itself does not define the term “person.” We therefore look to the Dictionary Act, which we must consult “[i]n determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise.” 1 U. S. C. §1.

        Under the Dictionary Act, “the wor[d] ‘person’ . . . include[s] corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.” Ibid.; see FCC v. AT&T Inc., 562 U. S. _, _ (2011) (slip op., at 6) (“We have no doubt that ‘person,’ in a legal setting, often refers to artificial entities. The Dictionary Act makes that clear”). Thus, unless there is something about the RFRA context that “indicates otherwise,” the Dictionary Act provides a quick, clear, and affirmative answer to the question whether the companies involved in these cases may be heard.

        We see nothing in RFRA that suggests a congressional intent to depart from the Dictionary Act definition, and HHS makes little effort to argue otherwise. We have entertained RFRA and free-exercise claims brought by nonprofit corporations, see Gonzales v. O Centro Espírita Beneficiente União do Vegetal, 546 U. S. 418 (2006) (RFRA); Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 565 U. S. _ (2012) (Free Exercise); Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U. S. 520 (1993) (Free Exercise), and HHS concedes that a nonprofit corporation can be a “person” within the meaning of RFRA. See Brief for HHS in No. 13–354, at 17; Reply Brief in No. 13–354, at 7–8. 19

        •  So, this is where Ginsburg hits (0+ / 0-)

          the distinctions between a for-profit corp and the religious or non-profit corps the majority cites (and distinction elides).

          I do agree the Santa Clara RR thing is a total red herring shibboleth, but i think the fact that there's a corporation at issue in Citizens United and here should factor into the balancing test.  Because the corporate form creates certain advantages in capital accumulation, and is artificial, the state should have greater reign in regulating them they wouldn't have in other contexts.  The burden here is just the cost of doing business in a pluralistic society where one's employment opportunities or access to healthcare should be based on someone else's religious convictions; and in the C.U. case, you have the extra issue of spending shareholders' money on things of which shareholders may not approve (not to mention that appearance of corruption should still be a  compelling interest, no matter what the Roberts 5 want to be the case).  

          The immediate practical effect will be to push these employees on to exchanges, but the real lasting effect is to allow economic power to become religious or political coercion, and that's hand in hand with corporate law.  The Harris v. Quinn case is an interesting bookend, because there the "free association' rights of the employee are construed incredibly broadly and the interest of a union quite narrowly.  Difference in perspective and priorities.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:39:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was merely replying to the comment saying (0+ / 0-)

          Hobby Lobby would bring the death knell to corporate personhood.

          I agree, the Hobby Lobby case (and the related Canestoga case) has NOTHING to do with the wider issue of corporate personhood.

          "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

          by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 12:26:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  and I see where I put that in at the end of that, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, Leslie Salzillo

          wish I wouldn't have, it was early and I didn't have my coffee yet...

          /apology for idiocy

          "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

          by Angie in WA State on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 02:38:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  From your lips to dog's ears, Publius2008! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
  •  thanks for the clarity in this diary AdamB (32+ / 0-)

    you've captured some very important features here, and highlighted just how twisted the logic of the majority Court opinion is here.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:19:27 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Adam. And aaaaaargh! (21+ / 0-)

    Talk about the Pandora's Box.

    I guess that Roberts figures he's right up there with Roger Taney already, so he might as well wreck the joint.

    In other news, the ACA doesn't set a limit on deductibles when offered by employers who self-insure. So a plan can meet the 9.5 percent test and still be, essentially, unaffordable to low-paid employees because the deductible is so high.

    Watch for that loophole.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:21:22 AM PDT

  •  Well It's Simply Not True That Religious Organiza- (11+ / 0-)

    tions "exist to serve a community of believers." If that's some Enlightenment ideal, or a long-standing principle of English or US law, well it wouldn't be their only variance from reality.

    The very term "evangelical" which is found in the incorporated names of quite a few churches and denominations demonstrates that creating and expanding a community of believers is their central tenet; at its core all of Christianity is evangelical, there's no dispute that Jesus commanded recruitment, even if different sects give it very different emphasis.

    This is how the believers describe their own faith and how scores of millions practice it.

    Just looking as a legal lay person, that seems to be a priority of the Court at least by coincidence.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:23:41 AM PDT

  •  Here come the anti-gay laws. (13+ / 0-)

    Will they be upheld or struck down?

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:24:17 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, Bob, but no, you can't have a day off (8+ / 0-)

      to get married to your boyfriend. The Supreme Court just said so...

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  kovie - I am missing the logic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justanothernyer, coffeetalk, Mikey

        If someone has accrued vacation, or available PTO, why would an employee need to disclose the reason for requesting the time off? And how would it relate to this case?

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:36:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I meant if someone wanted an extra day off (3+ / 0-)

          for something the employer objected to.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:47:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If an employer gives so many days off (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sethtriggs, VClib

            the employee does not have to explain why he is taking a day off.  

            Our employees don't tell us what they are doing on their vacation days.  

            •  Our employees do NOW! (10+ / 0-)

              You wrote: "Our employees don't tell us what they are doing on their vacation days."  But that's so old school, pre-Hobby Lobby thinking.  Employees in the future WILL have to explain to their employers what they plan to do on their vacation, and with whom, and where, so the employers can decide whether that vacation offends the employer's religious views.  No Vegas; no fornicating; etc. Offending the employer's religious views will be grounds for termination.

              Not for male employees maybe, but definitely women.

              •  They can do that now (4+ / 0-)

                You're not obligated to give your employees vacation at all.

              •  That's just silly. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Justanothernyer, Pi Li, VClib

                Under basic employment law, it's not "off time" if the employer controls the employee's activities.  Under basic employment law, if we control what the employee is doing (even if it's simply that the employee must be on call and immediately available if we need him) we have to pay for that time.  

                This decision in no way says an employer controls what an employee does away from the workplace.  It discusses what an employer can be forced to buy as part of the compensation package.  In fact, one of the bases for this decision is that the employer cannot determine whether the employee can USE those four types of contraception and that the government has other alternatives for making those available to women if their employer-provided insurance doesn't cover them.

                •  You say silly, SCOTUS says willby (6+ / 0-)

                  You're not thinking sufficiently conservatively.  Distinguish:  telling an employee what they must do, from telling an employee what they CANNOT do on their off-time.  Employers can already tell employees not to smoke, even if they only smoke away from the place of employment.  Is it really that far to say an employer needn't finance (give vacation benefits) to fornicators?  First Amendment rights of the employer.  QED.

                •  Some company may offer additional vacation days (0+ / 0-)

                  for getting married.
                  Sort of like some company already offer parental leave for parents who're having children.

                •  Compensation. (5+ / 0-)

                  That's the key word. PTO is paid for as part of their compensation.  Health care is paid for as part of their compensation.  If they don't have to pay for birth control, they don't have to pay for anything they have a religious objection to.  That's the logic they will use as more and more of these objections are litigated.

                  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 Jun 30, 2014 at 10:52:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No employer is required to provide paid vacation (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    or personal time off with pay. For anything, except for a few cities who have legislated sick pay.

                    As is the norm on the Internet, and here at DKOS, when these major Supreme Court cases are decided the echo chamber of the absurd resounds.

                    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                    by VClib on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:38:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yeah, I know that—SF, D.C., & the state of CT. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      But right now, a company may be vulnerable to a discrimination claim if they offer different compensation to certain different groups than others.  Religious based exemptions provide them with a way to discriminate.

                      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 Jun 30, 2014 at 11:50:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I just don't believe that at all (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I see nothing in this ruling to support that view.

                        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                        by VClib on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 12:23:59 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You don't think other companies are going to (4+ / 0-)

                          see how far they can take this, particularly the religiously extreme?  I just don't see how the SCOTUS can not rule in favor of a plaintiff who is a "closely held corporation" with "sincerely held religious beliefs" on any similar objection with regards to health care, can you?  

                          I guess I'm just like the 70% of Americans who don't have confidence in the SCOTUS.

                          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 Jun 30, 2014 at 12:33:07 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I am sure the law will be tested (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            and we may see some cases in 2016, but I don't think those cases will win on the absurd topics being suggested in diaries and comments all over DKOS and the Internet.

                            "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                            by VClib on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 02:22:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  These are my concerns. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Old Sailor

                            They've been on my mind for some time. Since the decision, I have found others share my concerns.

                            Justice Ginsberg: "In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs."
                            CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra said, “While the Court purports to limit its ruling to closely-held corporations on this issue only, the majority opinion invites a number of  ‘me too’ religious objections by other companies on matters ranging from anti-discrimination law to other medical procedures such as blood transfusions or vaccinations.”
                            The Human Rights Campaign: "Religious groups have a long-established first amendment ability to operate according to their own beliefs," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. "Instead of protecting religious liberty, this ruling gives license for businesses to use their personal beliefs as a reason to deny people access to basic, yet crucial medical services."  

                            "We will remain vigilant in the event business owners attempt to use this decision to justify other forms of discrimination, including against LGBT people," the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement.

                            Are these absurd?  Are my concerns absurd?  I don't know which concerns you are talking about but these attempts by the SCOTUS to limit the scope of the decision have been proven to have little impact.   Bush V. Gore and the DOMA decision, both high profile and both made with supposedly strict limitations, have been cited in many decisions hence.

                            Sorry, but I think limitations on this law will have as much teeth as suggestion boxes at town hall.

                            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 Jun 30, 2014 at 02:52:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We'll rest easy knowing you're not concerned. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Old Sailor

                            What is that even supposed to mean?

                            Nothing to see here! VClib isn't worried.

                            Can't you do any better than that?

          •  There is a reasonable case that that would violate (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mikey, sethtriggs, Betty Pinson

            EEO protections.  

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:08:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  EEO protections (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Betty Pinson, Cassandra Waites

              which have similar exceptions for religious nonprofits as those the court just decided need to be expanded to for-profits.  Slope.  Slippery.

              222 house republicans support the Ryan budget that would convert Medicare to a premium-support program. In other words, they want to repeal Medicare and replace it with a system that works just like Obamacare.

              by happymisanthropy on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:30:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Unfortunately... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              ...federal EEO protections don't apply to gay people, so no protection from that.

              And, in any event, this case is about carving out religious exemptions to federal law, so even if gay people were covered, that doesn't ensure that we might not be the next exemption that the courts carve out.

              It's just unknown territory right now.

              That said, I've never heard of an employer who gives special time off for marriages -- that generally comes from whatever vacation or PTO an employee has accrued.

              If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

              by TexasTom on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:31:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Religion is a protected class (0+ / 0-)

                Denial of leave for religious reasons is religious discrimination.  

                Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

                by benamery21 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:31:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I personally know multiple people (6+ / 0-)

          who have been denied paid or unpaid time off for religious reasons, even though that is illegal unless accommodation creates undue hardship for the employer.  Many folks have no PTO, and many others work in circumstances in which denial of PTO schedules for business reasons is routine, hence protected reasons for leave must be raised.  In several of these cases the individual took the time off without permission, and was subsequently not formally disciplined, probably because the HR department told the supervisor he was on shaky ground.  Anyone who thinks that there will be no retaliation and it wasn't a career-limiting move belongs on the Supreme Court's VRA majority.

          I also know several people who have lost jobs over these issues and declined to pursue legal redress over a crap job.  It happens.  This will make it more common  by emboldening bigoted supervisors.

          P.S. I am agnostic, but have a fairly unusual religious background in a minority sect to which mainstream hostility is prevalent, hence the personal familiarity with the issue.

          Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

          by benamery21 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:19:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Part time workers don't get PTO. When they're not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          working, they're not getting paid.  If they work a different schedule each week, they have to request to not be scheduled for a day they need off.  Employers often do not honor these requests. If they're employed at will, which most employees must agree to when hired, you can quit if you don't like it or they can fire you if you don't show up.

          Anger and aggression mask fear and pain.

          by leftneckgirl on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:25:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Most part-time workers" (0+ / 0-)

            At least some part-time public library employees accumulate vacation time and sick time, as may some other government employees.

            Also, part-time secretaries for some non-profits, such as universities, are likely to be unionized (if they work over half-time) and most likely accumulate PTO.

            (Not at all disagreeing with the primary point, however.)

            •  Yes, public/government employees are usually (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              peregrine kate

              unionized and afforded some of these benefits and protections.  I was speaking of retail and food service workers who are mostly part time and in the private sector.  Also, these are the types of jobs that are increasing in numbers.  

              Anger and aggression mask fear and pain.

              by leftneckgirl on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:05:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Time off. Health care. What's the difference. (0+ / 0-)

          Except for San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Connecticut which require employers to offer some paid sick leave, no employer is required by law to provide paid time off to their employees.  PTO is a benefit.

          Given this decision, it not hard to see that employers might start offering time off in some other fashion where they can determine that if they are going to pay for it, you can't do something that they object to. The can easily offer unpaid time-off if you don't want to tell them.  Sound crazy, huh?  But if they have "sincerely held religious beliefs" and are a "closely-held corporation" than why not?  

          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 Jun 30, 2014 at 10:32:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I understood what you meant. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, sethtriggs

        Others may be missing your point.

        "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

        by stellaluna on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:10:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Is this still the same court that struck down DOMA and Prop 8?

  •  Good luck getting Congress to come up with (9+ / 0-)

    any funds so that the government can provide the service that these employers choose not to.  The Supreme Court is willfully blind to the dysfunction of the US Congress.

  •  First reaction? FUCK YOU to the low-life 5 (18+ / 0-)

    Supreme Court justices that voted in this manner. I really thought they'd make the right decision, but why would I? Why would anyone, after they sold our democracy to the highest bidder with Citizens United and McCutcheon - and after they allowed states known to be the most racist, to practice that racism with voting rights or lack of.

    I'm disgusted and ashamed to have the highest court in the land sucking up to greed and corruption. It's not about the money - it's about the MONEY. It's always about the money.

    "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

    by Leslie Salzillo on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:29:55 AM PDT

  •  well fuck (11+ / 0-)

    i honestly thought the conservatives would come out against this due to the massive number of spurious crazy as religion lawsuits that would come from this.  I was wrong, not uncommon.  

    I mean seriously, this ruling is gonna unleash some serious crazy.  Not to mention a shit-ton of good old fashioned sexism.


    So do I have it right that they specifically say that racism can't be justified, but implicitly say sexism is just hunky dory?

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:30:45 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Adam for yet another great summary (8+ / 0-)

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:31:47 AM PDT

  •  When I start my own closely-held business (17+ / 0-)

    I will absolutely refuse to pay the salary of anyone who eats pork or shellfish, as it violates my religious beliefs (and don't tell me that that's hypocritical of me because I regularly violate my own religious beliefs, because as a white male who intends to be rich I have special rights and you can't make me).

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:32:46 AM PDT

  •  This is probably one of the worst modern decisions (24+ / 0-)

    i've ever read.  A modern day Plessy v. Ferguson.  Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas and Roberts must be proud.  

    The flood gates have been opened. Prepare for the crazy.

  •  The sheer mean-spirited venal stupidity of (13+ / 0-)

    marijuana Prohibition shocks my conscience and is an affront to my religious beliefs.

    So I'll be smoking that shit whenever the fuck I feel like it and those who don't like it can kiss my hairy white ass.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:37:37 AM PDT

    •  That is something Doc... seriously (8+ / 0-)

      One could actually say they smoke marijuana for religious awareness and meditation and your rights are being violated every time you face fear of retribution.   Wonder what the supreme idiot 5 would say about YOUR religious freedom.  

      Also, I find it interesting that the safe buffer zones were unconsitutional and this is constituional.  We have no sane
      court in the majority.

      Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:10:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My question (7+ / 0-)

      The obvious blowback would be an out and out boycott of Hobby Lobby et al. Now can we actually stand by their doorways handing out flyers about how HL and the SC hates women. We cannot let this stand! Enough of this BS corporations are people.

      •  I have not shopped at Hobby Lobby since the start (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stellaluna, Old Sailor

        of this court case; then I learned about the owner's religious "curriculum."  Since my sincerely held religious beliefs clash with the owners of Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby will never see another penny from me.  

        If the polls are correct concerning mandated coverage of birth control and health care plans,  Hobby Lobby should lose 1/2  of its customers.

        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 Jun 30, 2014 at 10:29:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hobby Lobby customers clearly need (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        counseling by people most unqualified to counsel a duck.

        We need to be taking these fights to their doorways since THAT has been OFFICIALLY OKAYED.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:14:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Boycott + Start campaigns pointing out their (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        hypocrisy and call on them to stop buying goods from China and any other country that forces women to have abortions, or allows birth control methods they object to.
        They claim they will 'pray' for China? Not good enough, they could just as easily 'pray' for their employees who use I.U.D.'s! They shouldn't be able to have it both ways! If they want special treatment, they must prove they are committed to being 100% 'righteous' by refusing to buy or sell Chinese imports!
        This is patently about trying to pick apart Affordable Health Care and paving the way to force the religious right/conservative/wacko agenda. So call on them to be a wonderful example for human rights and tell them we expect them to walk the walk they chose the whole way!

      •  I've visited but never shopped (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kfunk937, wsexson

        at a Hobby Lobby. I would like to think that a boycott would shut them down, but how often are such endeavors  successful? I'd suggest "sidewalk counseling" to potential customers but most stores I know are in shopping plazas that are probably private property and able to impose large buffer zones around HL doorways.

  •  Is the present Hobby Lobby decision (6+ / 0-)

    of the SC one that could be reversed by a legislative act of Congress (at last theoretically)?

  •  I think all of those Scientology cases... (3+ / 0-)

    ...established that being a for-profit entity and treating your scriptures as "trade secrets" didn't preclude you from being a religion with the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining, to borrow something from off of my diploma which was most definitely not in Law.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:40:45 AM PDT

  •  I'm trying to understand what Alito is thinking (29+ / 0-)

    by pretending that this is a narrow decision, restricted to contraception.  He writes:

    [O]ur decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.
    This all sounds like a very arbitrary and frankly religious value judgement on the part of Alito regarding where the government (or public) interest stops and religious freedom starts.  I'm not being snarky - I am actually trying to understand and see it from his perspective.

    If I understand him correctly, there is insufficient compelling government interest in addressing health cost disparities between women and men, or the risk of higher mortality for women with certain gynaecological conditions (endometriosis, etc).  The religious interests of employers to assure the uterine implantation of employee blastocysts seems to trump the government's interest in reducing female morbidity and mortality, or in leveling health cost disparities.  OK, that's consistent.  It's wrong, but one could get there by prioritizing religious "freedom" to an exceptional degree...

    But Alito is not stupid and he realizes such an extremist vision of religious freedom won't fly unless it is restricted to female reproduction.  But he can't just come out and say it without weighing in on fetal personhood, and he's not ready to do that... yet.

    So, he needs to employ a little sophistry.  According to Alito, there is a government interest in seeing that immunizations are covered, presumably because not doing so increases morbidity and mortality, a legitimate government concern.  And he seems to allow that there is a government interest in preventing religious nuts from preventing health insurance plans from covering blood transfusions.  Presumably, the government has an interest in preventing needless deaths due to an over-rigid belief in God's healing power by extremist 7th Day Adventists and Christian Scientists.  And Alito isn't going to allow Scientologists from prohibiting coverage for psychiatric care.

    So what are Alito's criteria, then?  What is the difference here? Is there any difference, besides Alito's obvious but unwritten distinction between procedures that impact female reproduction versus those that do not?

    It seems that Alito is deciding, as a Supreme Court Justice, that access to treatment for endometriosis presents less of a public interest than access to a blood transfusion during necessary surgery.  Or prevention of pregnancy for a woman with a history of severe pre-eclampsia is less important than provision of measles immunization.  

    Unless SCOTUS wants to weigh in on fetal personhood, do we not now have a situation in which any medical procedure that results in less morbidity and mortality than endometriosis or pre-eclampsia is subject to the religious whims of the employer?  Or is it a matter of permitting case by case exemptions for medical procedures considered offensive to mainstream religions (i.e Catholicism), versus the ruling against the bizarre beliefs of fringe religions (7th Day Adventists)?  

    I'm searching for logic here, and I'm not finding it.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:51:11 AM PDT

    •  I wouldn't overread that (4+ / 0-)

      He actually does not say that there is no compelling government interest with respect to providing contraception.  He punts on that question later in the opinion, saying "We will assume that the interest in guaranteeing cost-free accessto the four challenged contraceptive methods is compelling within the meaning of RFRA."

      So we're proceeding here as though that interest is compelling, while Alito refuses to take a position on it.  

      What he bases the opinion on is that there were less-burdensome ways to resolve the issue.  He suggests that the government could just eat the cost - if it's already spending all this money on subsidies, the extra expense wouldn't change things much.  Or it could kick Hobby Lobby over into its scheme for religious organizations, where the insurers just pay for it directly.  

      He's also not taking an opinion on other forms of health care - vaccines, or anything else.  That case will have its own facts.

      So for the next one, he's not saying what the Court would do.  But for this one, since the government already had a plan for accommodating religious employers (who are not for-profit corporations), and since the government could easily pay for the treatment in question, he didn't see why it couldn't adapt.

      •  OK - thanks for insightful comment (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        merrywidow, Mikey, ranton, wsexson

        I remain a bit confused though...

        If Alito is suggesting that the government just cover the costs, does that not in effect provide a religious subsidy to Hobby Lobby?  Does the government not then provide a benefit, as it were, to a religious corporation versus one that is not explicitly religious?

        And I get that religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have a way out - that insurers cover the costs, and not the Church itself... but the same logic can apply to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses), no?  Does the Jehovah's Witness religious organization have to provide health coverage to its employees, and if so, what's the difference with the Catholic Church?

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:25:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Questions for another day (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ivorybill, benamery21

          It is like a religious subsidy to Hobby Lobby, but it's much more like a subsidy to women who need contraceptive insurance.  Still, if that was the issue, Congress could just provide it to everyone, and take the issue away from the moral debates of religious organizations.  And we already do give religious tax exemptions, so it's not unprecedented.

          It's hard to argue that requiring employers to provide it, and to enforce that requirement, is easier than just providing it.

          As far as the Witnesses go, they have not yet requested an exemption from any insurance mandates.  Their employees are covered for blood transfusions.  Alito's point was that while one can imagine all these problems, they haven't happened.  Employers could skip health insurance altogether before 2010, but Jehovah's Witnesses always provided insurance for transfusions, even with no obligation to do so.  Christian Scientists always provided coverage for vaccines.  Etc.  He doesn't think that this risk is so imminent it deserved consideration for this case.

          There are relatively few religious beliefs that speak to the morality of allowing certain acts by other people, and fewer still that touch on any government mandates on employers.  It's a rarefied situation, which explains Alito's bravado.  We'll see if he's right, but there are really very few cases of religious conflicts between employers and employees regardless of law.

      •  Does this imply they won't invalidate that plan (0+ / 0-)

        in the Little Sisters of the Poor case?  There the Sisters claim that to have to declare themselves entitled to the benefit infringes their religion somehow.  Like explaining your religious belief to a draft board to obtain CO status didn't.  

        Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

        by Mimikatz on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:36:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Try this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill, OrganicChemist

      1.  The government has a compelling interest in providing contraception, but there are interests, even in health care, which are more compelling.  So, if a more compelling interest comes up, we might rule differently.  In other words, this is not limited only to contraception but neither does it cover every type of health care.

      2.   If the government's interests are adequately served by setting up a complicated alternative scheme for non-profits, then they have to allow it for everyone.  If the government doesn't do that or can't do that you might have a different case.   If the interest was more important than contraception, any alternative might have to be much closer to perfect.  Again, this is not limited only to contraception but neither does it cover every type of health care.

      •  I get the second one, but not the first (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks, BTW, for a substantive comment.

        But how does the government decide that an interest in health care is more compelling than contraception?  This could make sense if there were some objective measure of the burden of morbidity and mortality...  Or is it the risk of communicable disease?  

        My point - which I still fear is valid - is that SCOTUS now is deciding on arbitrary religious grounds which medical practices reflect a compelling interest.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:29:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hobby Lobby's stake is infinite (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill, ranton

      You're thinking too hard, ivorybill.

      Hobby Lobby's employees will only suffer from this decision until they die - perhaps a few decades earlier than they might have. But if Hobby Lobby were to violate its religious conscience, its soul would be barred from heaven for all eternity after it dies.

      Once you recognize that as Alito's real underlying concern, it's obvious that, mathematically, he could have come to no other conclusion.  The trivial, only-on-earth and only-until-death concerns of a woman, or of millions of women, have been weighed in the balance against the infinite value of a single "person"'s soul, and found wanting.

      The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

      by nicteis on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:31:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The key seems to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      that the contraceptive mandate was not the least restrictive means of achieving the objective.  The nail in that coffin was that HHS created a workaround for non-profit religious organizations that was not available to for-profits.

      I see two good things in that ruling.  First, the court approved the workaround, which was not a sure thing.  Second, the workaround was administrative, which means that HHS could extend it to for-profits without the need for Congressional action.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:13:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would say that it's probably 100 percent (5+ / 0-)

    as sucky because there's no reason a publicly held corporation shouldn't try to go Christian Scientist.  Cost/benefit for a GE or a General Dynamics is too large for a corp not to try.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:53:50 AM PDT

  •  failing empire (8+ / 0-)

    this is what a failing empire looks like.

    •  My dad (RIP) used to say this too. (4+ / 0-)

      This country had a birth, a rise, and now a decline.

      It is ridiculous to pretend that firing teachers based on student test scores, starting charter schools, giving out vouchers or implementing merit pay will overcome the challenges facing a child living in poverty. -Jersey Jazzman

      by Desert Rose on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:06:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But (0+ / 0-)

        When were our glory days when all employers were required to provide contraception coverage?  Even with this ruling, we are far ahead of where we were in 2009.

        •  I'm speaking in general, not about contraception. (0+ / 0-)

          Public schools destroyed, skewed decisions that declare people are corporations, Deep inequality, dysfunctional congress,... I could go on, but I do not see things as better in America..

          It is ridiculous to pretend that firing teachers based on student test scores, starting charter schools, giving out vouchers or implementing merit pay will overcome the challenges facing a child living in poverty. -Jersey Jazzman

          by Desert Rose on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:34:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our past was much worse (0+ / 0-)

            Until the 20th century, most kids didn't go to school at all.  Until World War II, most Americans didn't graduate from high school.  We're in a battle for our public schools, but we are seeking to maintain 50 years of gains, not losing ground to our founders.

            As far as the courts, inequality and Congress go, well, thus was the domain of slaveowners for many years.  We do win many of these battles.  This is not the end of America.  We're still trying to overcome the flaws of our creation.

            •  But this is not then. This is now. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Old Sailor, MrBigDaddy

              More information available, yet superstition has precedence over science.
              And as far as education goes, I retired this year rather than implement the wrong headed policies that have infiltrated education. We are absolutely losing ground, and I doubt I will see it re-taken in my lifetime.

              It is ridiculous to pretend that firing teachers based on student test scores, starting charter schools, giving out vouchers or implementing merit pay will overcome the challenges facing a child living in poverty. -Jersey Jazzman

              by Desert Rose on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:56:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  exactly (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Desert Rose, mchestnutjr

                Its not just about this ruling, but this ruling of the symptom of the corporatism that has over taken this country.

                If you want to talk about education, I would say that the kids 150 years ago had a greater skill set than those of today.

                But the real problem is of course banking, the MIC, and all the rest. Our country is all held together by bullshit and lies, we are a country divided, one that is corrupt to its core. There is no question our future is bleak.

  •  The other shoe: Only the very rich (10+ / 0-)

    get to decide what women do or do not do with their lady parts, per this ruling.

    And while there are not many large publicly traded corps that are tightly held.... Wal-Mart comes to mind as a candidate.

  •  Environmental Laws? (12+ / 0-)

    Pshaw! God said the Earth is mine to do with as I see fit!

    (and every polluter, too)

    Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. - John Dickinson ("1776")

    by banjolele on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:58:49 AM PDT

  •  If, under this ruling, a closely-held (8+ / 0-)

    corporation were to assert its owners religious liberty interests, could that not be an entry into piercing the corporate veil in other matters?  Not that such an opening would be dispositive, but, its assertion could be said to provide an opening to a litigant.

  •  It's about what I expected (8+ / 0-)

    when I was musing about how it might be decided.

    It seems to me the whole problem here is the link between an employer and the employee's health insurance.  When the employer has to buy the health insurance (or, like Hobby Lobby, when the employer is self-insured) then that by its nature interjects an employer into the mix of the employee's health insurance coverage.  When an employer is mandated to buy something directly (as opposed to just writing a check for wages to the employee and letting the employee decide what product to buy and spend the money to buy the product), that employer is going to want a say in what product the employer buys.  This kind of claim was clearly foreseeable.  And,  the outcome at the SCOTUS was pretty foreseeable as well (I'm not a Supreme Court expert, but I could see it coming.)  

    It seems to me that the direction this country should be going in is to sever the ties between the employer and the employee's health insurance coverage.  The preferred system, in my view, would be to give the employee total control over buying her own health insurance (perhaps an employer provides a stipend and the employee can only use the money for that, like an HSA?  Perhaps there's a refundable tax credit?)  Instead, the ACA doubled down on it.  And that's what gives rise to claims, and decisions, like this.  

    •  Single payer (10+ / 0-)

      is the solution to all of this.  Sever the connection between employment and access to health care.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:05:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's one option, but not the only one (5+ / 0-)

        to sever the tie between an employer and health insurance.  

        We get other kinds of insurance without having to go through an employer.  There's no real reason that health insurance has to be provided by an employer.  

        •  I think a key part of getting ACA passed was to (0+ / 0-)

          have most all voters think ACA would not provide significant downside change for them.  So keeping the bulk of voters with employer based plans staying on them was essential in addition to the frequent, "If you like your insurance you can keep it."

          Telling the population we are going to force employers to terminate their insurance programs and you will need to purchase from an insurance company would have had too much uncertainty to have politicians stick their necks out.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 01:08:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  'Sincle payer' is not a solution to (9+ / 0-)

        anti-woman/anti-reproductive health care/anti-contraception/anti-abortion-rights/anti-science bigotry and assault on public health that is present in the policies contained in previous congressional legislative enactments and which is incipient in present right-wing continuing attacks..

        ..these religion-based attacks on personal rights must be directly confronted and there is no magic political fix that allows an easy out on these issues.

    •  Health insurance is part of compensation, of (6+ / 0-)

      course evil big biz has more rights than us lowly serfs.

      Too bad for us as lowly serfs.

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:10:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But why is it "part of compensation" is the (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mikey, dewtx, ditsylilg, valion, VClib, nextstep


        It's not something an employee gets "for free."  It's figured into the cost that employee represents to an employer.  When we decide how much to pay an employee, all types of compensation figure in, because all of that is what we are "paying" the employee.

        The one big advantage now to an employee is if we pay them $4000 in compensation as health insurance, they don't pay taxes on that $4000 as income, the way they would if we simply increased their salary $4000 instead of buying health insurance.  But there are ways to fix the tax code so that a certain amount of monetary compensation is not taxed as income but that it must be used for medical expenses including insurance.  The law could have mandated a certain "Health insurance account" that an employer must establish (on a scale based on the cost of certain kinds of health insurance in the community) and the employer simply deposits the funds into the account, leaving it to the employee to select the health insurance they want/need.  Then the employer has no say in the product the employee chooses.  

        There are several ways to reform the system to get the employer out of decisions on what health insurance to buy.  It's a pity the ACA doubled down on employer involvement.  

        •  There are numerous extant precedents for this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          For example, military retirees may elect a Survivor Benefit Plan (essentially an annuity for spouses for when the retiree dies) upon retirement, wherein the premium is paid with 'pretax' dollars.

      •  No, it just means that corporate people (5+ / 0-)

        have more rights than human people.

  •  What are the 4 methods they don't have to cover? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And what are the 16 that are still covered?

    I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

    by SocioSam on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:01:33 AM PDT

  •  Conservatives worry about non-citizens voting (12+ / 0-)

    (a problem that investigations have shown to be trivial). But, as a result of corporate personhood rulings like this one, the rest of us get only one vote on government policies, but business executives get a veto of those policies, making them more like members of Congress than voters. Where's the conservative outrage over that?

  •  Well, if Hobby Lobby is going to Heaven (12+ / 0-)

    it's just one more reason why I don't really care to end up there.

  •  So I was in church last Sunday (17+ / 0-)

    and I turn to the corporation sitting next to me ...

  •  Corporate Voting rights? (8+ / 0-)

    So when are they going to give Corporations the right to vote and claim the 5th, too?

    Seriously - in both CU and HL, they sure seem to be intent on expanding that Corporate Personhood fiction into reality.  It seems to me that if one were to take Alito at face value, his argument that "..  it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of this fiction is to provide protection for human beings. A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends." pretty dramatically undercuts the effect of the CU decision, as it allows the leadership of a corporation far more of a 1st amendment voice than "natural persons."

    Water which is too pure has no fish -- Ts'ai Ken T'an

    by mik on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:13:15 AM PDT

  •  Come visit my Church of the First Born steel plant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs, happymisanthropy

    It doesn't believe in medicine or doctors. We shouldn't be forced to offer plans that provide these things.

  •  Will today's 5-4 decisions FINALLY (10+ / 0-)

    put an end to the lie that it doesn't matter whether we elect a Democrat or a Republican as president??

    Stephen Colbert does superb satire. Pity those offended by it.

    by VirginiaJeff on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:14:19 AM PDT

  •  Hat's off to Justice Ginsburg! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    merrywidow, dewtx, ditsylilg, ranton, a2nite

    Her discent actually makes sense.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:19:52 AM PDT

  •  Outlaw religion (5+ / 1-)

    Religious zealots, and their religion, are the most dangerous people and organizations on earth.  We should never be making decisions in support of someone or something that is only make believe.

    This is what is going on with ISIS/ISIL - need more be said.

  •  Best thing to do (5+ / 0-)

    Boycott Hobby Lobby. Do not buy from them, work for them and encourage other to do the same.  They may have won the their case, but they still depend on you to make their profit.  They used their money and power to take their case all the way to the Supreme Court - but the decision does not make purchasing your products from them mandatory, and without you doing that Hobby Lobby will not be able to survive as a business.  Boycotting has worked in the past to change minds and hearts and it can do it again.  

  •  "Our Corporation, which art be 'closely held'... (7+ / 0-)

    ...hallowed by Thy Spreadsheet,...."

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:21:18 AM PDT

  •  Stem cell research could create life in the lab (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ditsylilg, a2nite

    from non-embryonic stem cells and if they did that, this whole discussion ends.

    they are making limbs and organs

    if "life" can be made without sperm and egg, than what is a sperm and egg? why protect them?

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:22:03 AM PDT

  •  I'm guessing then, that this ruling qualifies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, dewtx, ditsylilg, kfunk937

    as "bad precedent"?

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:23:06 AM PDT

  •  The really really narrow portion sounds (0+ / 0-)

    like Scalia.  As he tries to square his decision here with his 1990 opinion in Smith.  Just as I think he contributed to the narrowness of the holding in Harris v. Quinn because of prior statements.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:28:24 AM PDT

  •  Isn't the funds flow of this hiring discrimination (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites

    I will hire you. I will pay you, but only if you use your money and resources according to my religious preference.

  •  2014 Election Backlash? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolinacal, Old Sailor, ranton

    This Supreme Court is a joke now.  Zero confidence in their decisions.  Ideology has taken over the majority.  Makes you wonder how in the world ACA made it through the process.  Ginsburg is right.  Can't wait for the chaos about to unfold.    

  •  Can Hobby Lobby force someone to "pray" at work? (0+ / 0-)

    Say Hobby Lobby decides all their workers need to say a certain prayer, out load and in front of management, when they check in for work.  

    This might be a silly scenario, but under this ruling, does Hobby Lobby have the right for forces their corporate religion on their workers?

    This ruling might has so many unintended consequences it boggles the mind.

  •  A little disconcerting that Kagan and Breyer (0+ / 0-)

    essentially wrote "no opinion" on whether for-profit corporations can bring claims under RFRA: they'd dismiss the case on the merits alone (good!) but don't want to get into the bigger issue (less good!), which suggests they may be sympathetic to it in other cases.  So in effect, it may be only Ginsburg and Sotomayor who believe in drawing a clear line between for-profit entities and religious freedom.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 10:39:39 AM PDT

  •  corporation can be both closely held and public .. (0+ / 0-)

    There are corporations that are public (meaning that their stock is traded on a stock exchange) but also are mostly owned by their top five shareholders.  

  •  Consider the structure of judicial supremacy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Congress makes a law. The Roberts Court figures out a way to weaken it by using a movement conservative case to extend a seeming basic right like free speech or free religion. The law is now not only no longer the law, but is off limits to Congress forever behind a barrier that says For Court Only. The Court's supremacy applies to the minutest details, of even obscure township law as in Town of Greece. It requires no logic or explanation, e.g. Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

    Jefferson called the justices "sappers and miners" because they expand their jurisdiction to undermine potentially all of lawmaking, as the elected branches are displaced. The end of the doubtful case rule and the end of deference to the elected branches remains the enduring legacy of Dred Scott, which now guides the Court more than the Constitution. The Constitution is whatever the Court wants it to say regardless of text. Unless Congress uses checks and balances to push the Court back onto its side of the separation of powers boundary. Such a strategy defined the modern Democratic Party, see FDR fireside chat 3-9-37, charging the reactionary Court with violation of separation of powers by acting as a super-legislature. Again during the civil rights revolution LBJ empowered Congress to make a constitutional revolution on the New Deal model, unobstructed by a Court that was the opposite of today's Court dynasty started by Nixon.

  •  Did we just legalize discrimination? These are ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, belinda ridgewood, Old Sailor

    Did we just legalize discrimination? These are the same people who want the Bible taught in our schools. Hobby Lobby may say "religious freedom", but the intent is a Christian theocracy. And it looks like the gentleman from Oklahoma is well on his way to getting it.

  •  Did anyone expect anything different? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, ranton

    The Conservative movement has always been about  the dismantling of Government through privatization of its functions in an effort to render the election process moot. While the people have some ability to exercise accountability of Government through the election process, they have no ability, and never will have any ability, to exercise accountability of Corporations or privatized entities unless they are majority stakeholders. Hence, only the very wealthy will have control, and thus power.  The Constitution may provide for the separation of Church and State, but it does not provide for the separation of private entities and religion, in fact it protects their religious freedom. While todays decisions seem unquestionably archaic, they do serve to remind us all what is really at stake here, our commitment to maintain a Democracy, or to slowly evolve into a Plutocracy.

  •  We all pay for contraceptives and abortion. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    The tortured logic and denial this nation has for what they think they are paying for or not is completely undone by the simple fact that we all pay for everything one way or another.  It may not be direct, but everyone pays for abortion and everyone pays for birth control.

    Hobby Lobby et al will still be paying for the very birth control they don't want to pay for through the taxes they will pay to the federal government once the federal government starts paying for these contraceptives as the SCOTUS has suggested as the least restrictive way to meet the governments interests.  

    This very real government interest in providing contraceptives through the mandate that the SCOTUS was so kind in admitting existed is now made less effective and will make women's health care less effective.  And that effect on health care will only increase as more exemptions are sought by more companies.  We will all pay for the increase costs of that less effective care.

    Of course, Hobby Lobby itself pays very directly for these drugs in their matching contributions to the companies retirement plan which includes investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions.  All of which they used to offer coverage before until Obamacare.  

    All of this just to make a few hypocrites feel better at the expense of millions.

    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 Jun 30, 2014 at 11:12:54 AM PDT

  •  Corporations exercise religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Skip church - instead you can buy cheap plastic stuff at your favorite craft store...its the same thing.

    Dissent from RBG

    Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. 13 The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities. As Chief Justice Marshall observed nearly two centuries ago, a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 636 (1819). Corporations, Justice Stevens more recently reminded, “have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 466 (2010) (opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part).
  •  sick of the supreme nonsense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, ranton, kfunk937

    since when does religious freedom mean you can enforce your opinion on somebody else?  i am so sick of those pious bastards and they can shove this religious crap up their ass.

    i personally do not shop at any company that has a corporate religious voice, e.g. chikfilet, in and out, hobby lobby.

    President Obama needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:20:45 AM PDT

  •  In their next set (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, ranton

    The "Supremes" will sing a little song granting soulless corporations - souls.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:23:09 AM PDT

  •  Corporations can have a religion? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, ranton, a2nite

    They don't have a conscience.

    Seems like the repeal of corporation laws is in order.  The state has granted privileges to named associations and they have used those privileges to attack the state, corrupt democratic politics, and ensure the servitude of ordinary people.

    They act like they don't need corporation laws.  So repeal them.  Restore individual responsibility for actions.

    I wonder if a credible threat of repeal of corporation laws would start to focus some people's minds.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:23:44 AM PDT

  •  Change the composition of the court (0+ / 0-)

    I normally don't post, however, this particular issue is one I am following closely and have been doing some research about making the case to change the composition of the court.  I could go on about how women's rights are being trampled and it is getting worse with each SCOTUS decision. But this is broader issue.

    In an article by Matt Bruenberg from The Week, written May 15, makes the case for how ridiculous lifetime appointments to SCOTUS are.  He also cites a proposal originally made by law Professor Paul Carrington that would create staggered 18 year terms for justices, thereby creating a seat coming opening every two years.  This would seem, at least on the first blush to level the playing field as any sitting president would nominate a maximum of 4 judges, and it could possibly curb some of the ideological driven splits we've seen in the last couple decades.  The full article for Bruenberg is attached in case I don't get this right I also included it below.

    My first reaction was to envision that which Justice Ginsberg so eloquently put into words into her dissent.  Taking a 10,000 view of where we are possibly headed - and it is my fervent hope it isn't the case - we are seeing the erosion of separate of church and state, the return of feudalism and the rise of religion as a political power such as it was during the period of what most people think of as the Inquisition - 1190 to the late 1700's.  Not a good combination.  

     In general, the demographics of this country are changing in a way that the current situation may not last but it is likely to take a decades or two to see this change.  As has already been pointed out - getting out and voting - or not -  in mid term and general elections has consequences. Getting out and voting for democratic and/or common sense centrist (see democrat) candidates is more important than ever.  Can we really afford to wait until 2020 and the chance the demographics will change enough to overcome the extreme elements in the House?  

    Contacting our current congressional representatives to push this issue seems to be one way we can work to effect a change in the current demagoguery certain elements of the court seems to delight in.

  •  Can humans now disregard laws for religious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, kfunk937


    I genuinely appreciate your inclusion of so much of the dissent, which points to all the practical problems can can arise based on this decision.

    I also note that this decision, in effect, gives those Congresspeople who argued against inclusion of women's gender-specific health care in ACA a 'win', even though women's health care was voted in by Congress.

    But I keep coming back to this question:  If a (corporate) person can disregard laws (except tax laws, which corporate person can get around, anyway) that conflict with its sincerely held religious beliefs (with courts not allowed to determine the plausibility of the belief or the sincerity with which a belief is held), does that same freedom-to-disregard apply equally human persons?

    For example, and hypothetically, let's say that I am a firm believer in the FSM.  Let's say that last night, FSM appeared to me in a prophetic dream, weeping and wailing and wringing its noodly appendages because the laws of mere men were impeding its divine provision of THC through its divinely-provided fruits of the earth.  'Go forth', FSM said to me, 'Go forth, believer, and sow the seed freely, and harvest, and enjoy, and urge all human beings to enjoy at their will, if they choose, so that their sense will be opened to the enjoyment I intend for them, so they will be deeply thrilled by the taste of orange juice and have the first taste of a well-prepared meal fill them with bliss; and so they can see, with expanded vision, the absurdities with which I fill the  world, and laugh really, really hard at them, even unto the splitting of sides and gasping for breath with tears running down their faces.  For thus, believer, shall you in your small way help fulfill my Divine Creative Plan for the Earth and Humankind, opening the way to sensory joy and reductio ab absurdo.'

    And let's say that, after addressing me thus, FSM thus showed me the design for a particular kind of bong, and a particular kind of pipe; and with those visions came the knowledge of what kind of materials those devices should be composed of, their design and dimensions, and how the Holy Image of FSM's Ever-Full Spaghetti-Bowl should be displayed on them, for the edification of believers and non-believers alike,

    And let's say that, after that dream, I was filled with holy zeal and began obeying the FSM's divine orders, as revealed to me, planting and sharing as FSM had directed, and eventually I got into trouble with The Law.  Would my lawyer be able to point to this SC decision and my beliefs to show that the SC itself had given me the right to disregard The Law?

    Would it make any difference if, in fulfilling FSM's commands, I had formed the right sort of corporation for the production and distribution of the Holy Implements?

    If the rights of natural person extend to corporations, shouldn't the rights of corporations apply to natural persons?  If not, why?

  •  Two things pop out at me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, kfunk937, burlydee

    The first one is that I don't understand what legal principle can be articulated that distinguishes this case from a closely held corporation owned by Jehovah's Witnesses who don't want to provide health insurance that covers blood transfusions.

    The second thing was this line:

    The Hahns and Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulations is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage.
    Contraception does not destroy an embryo; contraception prevents embryos. Either the Supreme Court justices who wrote this are ignorant about this basic fact, or they are willing to humor the plaintiffs' factual error.  Either way, it's quite horrifying to me.
    •  The principle being cited (0+ / 0-)

      Is the least restrictive means standard.  From the perspective of the Court's majority, the presence of feasible alternatives that would provide greater accommodation for religious beliefs.  They believe that such a workaround exists for the contraceptive mandate.  They may not believe that it is as easy to implement for someone wanting an exemption for blood transfusions.

      It's needlessly pedantic to quibble about exact scientific terminology.  They may get the language wrong, but I always assume that their intention is to assert a belief that life begins at fertilization.

      •  There is no fertilization (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor

        when there is no egg released. That's how contraceptive pills work: they prevent ovulation. Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I thought Hobby Lobby objected to all forms of birth control, not just those like the IUD.

        I don't think it's pedantic to point out when someone's objection to something is not based in fact. Religious fundamentalists often object to birth control pills on this mistaken scientific ground.

        As far as the workaround goes, I don't see why asking an insurance company to issue a separate rider for blood transfusions or whatever would be any different than asking them to do so for contraceptives.

        Let's be perfectly honest here. Does anyone really think this Supreme Court would have come out this way on any medical treatment other than contraception? It seems clear to me that their own religious prejudice is showing.

        •  Hobby Lobby objected to four specific forms (0+ / 0-)

          Of contraception, two IUDs and two forms of emergency contraception (Plan B and Ella).

          The current FDA label for Plan B seems to include a claim that it may prevent implantation.  Even if the primary mechanism is something other than preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, if that is an occasional secondary effect, I can accept someone's objection as valid.

          I think that the Supreme Court would have come up with similar reasoning on other medical treatment, if only to appear consistent.

        •  They were apparently paying for all... (0+ / 0-)

          birth control at some point (even before ACA) and then modified their support to just pills that don't interfere with a fertilized egg. So I guess they have always paid for most forms of birth control and recently began objecting to the four types that prevent implantation or cause an abortion. This is kinda news to me, also. I thought they didn't provide anything, but that's apparently wrong.

  •  Used to be that one's private health concerns, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937, HCKAD

    diagnosis and treatment, were between patient and doctor.  Then it became patient, doctor, and insurance provider.  Now it has become patient, doctor, insurance provider, employer.  Next it will be patient, doctor, insurance provider, employer, employer's primary religious advisor.  Then we will see patient, doctor, patient's lawyer, employer, employer's primary religious advisor, employer's legal advisor, employer's primary religious advisor's mentor/supervisor/grand poobah, whatever..  At some point the patient will be dropped from this equation.  After all, at that point, the patient, being the least important figure involved, due to having no medical, legal, or religious standing of any real consequence, becomes an inconsequential impediment and is properly done away with.

  •  I am Catholic (0+ / 0-)

    and I had better see some corporations in the pews on Sundays meeting their Sunday obligations, if they claim to be Catholic! Or these corporations will be in a state of mortal sin.

    Not holding my breath.

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 11:46:25 AM PDT

  •  Next time one of these corporate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, a2nite

    persons commits a crime, we'll see all of the persons runnings the company in handcuffs, right?

  •  By Executive Order can PBO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, kfunk937

    Require insurance companies to offer the fully costed package without insurance to those religious corps that don't want the Birth Control.  The cost is going to be more.  It is cheaper to pay birth control than for a pregnancy which is why it is a basic part of the standard Health Care policy under ACA.

    I would love to see Hobby Lobby pay more but still have to insure.

    •  Type (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The post should read....

      Require insurance companies to offer the full cost of insurance policies without birth control to those religious corps that don't want the Birth Control.  The cost is going to be more.  It is cheaper to pay birth control than for a pregnancy which is why it is a basic part of the standard Health Care policy under ACA.

      I would love to see Hobby Lobby pay more but still have to insure.

  •  What I Find Interesting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, a2nite, stellaluna, HCKAD

    And hopefully will find time to write about this week, is the complete disregard (through lack of serious discussion in the decision, although it may be in the underlying briefing somewhere) of the potential impact of this decision on one of the most fundamental common law ideas in business law:

    That a corporation is a legally separate entity from its founders, with a legal veil between them that should never be piercable offensively by the principals/founders (i.e. the argument that a corporation is the same as its principals, such that the founders may extend their personal rights to the corporate entity in this fashion), but only by someone whose rights have been victimized by the corporation such that reaching the founders/principals is the only way to do justice.  

    Maybe this is discussed somewhere in the decision, which I admittedly have not had time yet to read? Surely, HHS must have raised this argument in some form...........

    At this point, I just want America to admit that it still doesn't want its Black citizens to live in any state other than terror, subservience and inferiority, under pain of death. I can handle American racism, but I can't handle American denial.

    by shanikka on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 12:05:31 PM PDT

  •  Question... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dan Schroeder

    I have only read the excerpts of the decision, so I don't know if this is addressed.  The RFRA is an act of Congress, the ACA is an act of Congress.  The ACA was enacted after the RFRA.  Why does the Supreme Court get to decide whether an law enacted by Congress after a previous law enacted by Congress violates said previous law?

    It seems to me than that the correct interpretation is that Congress enacted both laws and must be assumed to have knows of the earlier law when enacting the later law, therefore the court must assume that Congress intended for the later law to override the earlier law if conflict should arise.

    So, shouldn't the RFRA then be irrelevant for the decision, and only First Amendment grounds considered for the ruling?

  •  Possible silver lining? (0+ / 0-)

    If I understand this decision correctly, then I think that the status of certain corporations has been changed. “Closely held” corporations, mostly owned by a few people, no longer  enjoy the same degree of impersonalization as other corporations. Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but the existence of this dichotomy could serve as the proverbial camel's nose under the side of the tent. That is, if the owners of these corporations are going to enjoy the ability use their corporation to impose their personal religious beliefs on their employees, then for example, if the corporation is sued, why should their personal fortunes be separate from the coffers of the corporation? Why should they be shielded from personal liability to the extent the humans who control other corporations are? Just a thought.

  •  Unconsciounable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    This is such a blow to the gut.

    What's next? Hobby Lobby is going to refuse service to LGBTs because of their religious beliefs?

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 01:53:32 PM PDT

  •  Question... (0+ / 0-)

    The dissent quoted above:

    Until this litigation, no decision of this Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA.
    I've not read through the opinions, but from summaries I've read, it sounded like the majority relied on the RFRA rather than the free exercise clause for the meat of their decision.

    Is this the case?

    If so, a couple comments...

    The RFRA is relatively new -  having been passed barely over twenty years ago. In the absence of conflicting interpretations by the Supreme Court, the absence of any previous decision on this issue (the extent to which the RFRA "protects" closely held for-profit corporations) doesn't seem very relevant. Perhaps the Supreme Court has never been in a situation to answer the question before or, even, (less likely) the question never came up at any level.

    Since the RFRA is statutory law, it can be easily overturned through the political process by repealing or amending the RFRA. The question if the majority want this to happen, of course, is a question for the democratic process to resolve. Thus, it seems that there's more anxiety over this decision than necessary. (Elections, Consequences, all that...).

  •  SCOTUS on Hobby Lobby (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This sounds like an argument for a socialized health system - which, as an economist (and human being - non corporate version)  I strongly favor.  I was unaware that Roberts, Scalia, etc agreed with this position - will wonders never cease.

    "The most straightforward way of doing this [providing women with contraceptive coverage] would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections. This would certainly be less restrictive of the plaintiffs’ religious liberty, and HHS has not shown that this is not a viable alternative. " - SCOTUS

  •  So, SCOTUS.... (0+ / 0-)

    how's that Koch dick taste?  Corporations now not only have "a voice and a vote", they now have "a religion".

    Five of you have combined to make this the WORST Court in history.  You have effectively kicked the First Amendment in the nutsack.

    I'm done with ALL you fucking conservatives; stay the fuck out of my way.

    •  Oh you ain't seen nothin' yet!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

      It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to see where this is all going.  Corporations -- because they're "people," ya know -- will be soon be able to vote in local and federal elections.  And, to top it all off, however many millions or billions of dollars they're worth will equal that many votes.

      Doesn't matter that a corporation, according to the SC, isn't a "natural" person.  Apparently the fact that they're not living, breathing human beings is irrelevant.

      Sixteenth century, here we come!  Because things were soooooo much better then. (snark)

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

      by fedupwiththebs on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:37:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sincere? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HCKAD, Old Sailor

    Where is Hobby Lobby's sincere belief when they invest in companies that provide contraceptives and sell products that are made in countries like China that encourage abortion as a means to population control?  Or has the Supreme Court redefined "sincere"?

  •  so fucking wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, fedupwiththebs

    Thanks W for giving us the religious SCOTUS. You fucked America yet again.

  •  ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, fedupwiththebs

    It is my "deeply held belief" that SCOTUS is full of shit.

    No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

    by fjb on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 07:13:22 PM PDT

  •  One solution... (0+ / 0-)


  •  Hobby Lobby (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    What about a women taking birth control pills to cure acne? Or using them to regulate their periods so they can get pregnant? Or for estrogen supplements?
    And women do not get pregnant on their own. Why is a man's responsibility not brought into the question?
    Can a man get birth control pills for his partner if his Doctor deems it so?
    What kind of sexually related procedures are needed by men that involve a sexual drug,  uh, hello, Viagra? Or for sexually transmitted diseases? Will these too be withheld from men?
    There's probably more....oh yes what about a company that decides it will not let Hobby Lobby and the rest of them sit at their lunch counter or use their facilities because their religion is against all self-righteous, bigoted, racist and sexist zealots.
    Stuck your foot right in your mouth didn't you highest court in the land-what a misnomer that is in this day and age.

    •  Apparently... (0+ / 0-)

      Hobby Lobby has always paid for birth control pills and will continue to do so. This goes back to way before ACA I guess. They are only contesting 4 contraceptive methods that kill a fertilized egg. They will continue to pay for all other birth control pills. I just found this out myself.

      •  Please forgive me, but you are TOTALLY WRONG (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Old Sailor

        in your assertion that the four methods HL found reprehensible to their religious sensibilities "kill a fertilized egg."  THESE FOUR METHODS DO NOT KILL FERTILIZED EGGS.  Two are "morning after" pills and two are IUDS.

        These four contraceptive methods PREVENT fertilization.  They don't "kill" anything.  Also, they have NOTHING to do with abortion in any way, shape, or form.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

        by fedupwiththebs on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:08:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think all four methods.... (0+ / 0-)

          either do or could prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. For IUDs, that's not necessarily the primary method of contraception, but it could follow. I think the other two prevent the implantation or nurturing of a fertilized egg. That leads to its death which they consider a form of abortion.

          •  Yes, all four methods (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Old Sailor

            DO prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.  It's why they're called "contraception."  An IUD, implanted in a woman's womb by a gynecologist, prevents the egg from attaching to the uterine wall because the IUD is considered a foreign object.

            As far as any of these four methods being considered "a form of abortion," that is just scientifically NOT TRUE.  A "belief" is NOT A FACT.  Hobby Lobby doesn't know what the hell they're talking about.

            And if you're going down the road of the death of an egg, what about a woman's menstruation every month??????  By HL's logic, any expelling of eggs would be considered abortion too because -- wait for it -- "it's the death of an egg."  Do you see how stupid that is?

            And how about the cases where the woman (or parents), after soul-searching and deliberation with their doctor, chose to abort a child that will be born without a brain and would not live past its immediate birth?  It happens, you know.

            And what about the death of sperm?  Again, by HL's logic, sperm not fertilizing an egg means the egg dies.  Is that abortion, too?

            And what about miscarriage, for whatever reason, at any stage in a pregnancy?  As you may or may not know, miscarriages early in a pregnancy occur frequently, especially with first-time moms.  Is a woman's body spontaneously rejecting a fertilized egg abortion also?

            A woman's contraception method is none of Hobby Lobby's fucking business.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

            by fedupwiththebs on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:25:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hobby Lobby doesn't care about... (0+ / 0-)

              eggs or sperm. All they seem to care about is fertilized eggs. They consider the artificial prevention of implantation a problem. I don't agree with them, but that is their complaint. Whether or not that is technically an abortion is gonna depend on people arguing the semantics of the meaning of the word. I don't care about that. I don't really care about Hobby Lobby. I don't even know where any of their stores are.

  •  Hobby Lobby is not against abortion (0+ / 0-)

    If Hobby Lobby Corporation was a religious corporation it would not be buying its merchandise from China where there are millions of legal abortions done yearly since the Chinese are only allowed to have one child. Also they would not do business with any Chinese companies besides the millions of abortions, millions of girl babies are either abandoned in places they will die or outright killed because the Chinese families that make Hobby Lobby's merchandise only want a boy for their one child. Also it would not have the employees retirement fund which both employee and employer contribute invested in companies that make the 4 birth control items they object to and they have hugh sums invested in those companies. Would like for the Republican 5 to explain how a for profit corporation no matter who owns it can enter a house of worship to pray, put money in the collection, be involved religious activities at the place of worship, and do things like give blood, get arrested for breaking the law and all the others things that only human beings can do when it comes to religious services. Also how when all these other family held corporations sue because of their corporations religious beliefs how are they going to say no to them especially if they are not a  christian corporation?


  •  Ramadan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, a2nite

    So when a closely held company held by a Muslim can decide to make ALL employees take that month off, with NO pay, SCOTUS and the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention (no wonder my dad dropped out of that in the early 1970's) can have no complaints? When they can say, NO eating ham on Christmas and Easter because it offends my religion, and because I'M the employer, my religious rights trump yours, the employee, because I have the almighty dollar (which let us face it, is the golden calf in the room here) they'll be ok with that?

    •  This very scenario...... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor

      is what has been brought up repeatedly by commentators since the ruling.  Is the SC saying that the Christian religion takes precedence over other religions under the law? would seem so.

      The insanity and stupidity that the SC has unleashed will know no bounds, and there will be no end in sight to the stupid shit that will be in employers' lawsuits under the guise of "religious liberty."

      We are devolving as a nation, and frankly, it's very frightening.  I never thought in my lifetime that we would have people in power who would deliberately take us back to the 16th century -- and laugh hysterically while they're doing it.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

      by fedupwiththebs on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:16:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The thing that pisses me off the most, among many (0+ / 0-)

    is this:

    Arrogating the authority to provide a binding national answer to this religious and philosophical question, HHS and the principal dissent in effect tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed. For good reason, we have repeatedly refused to take such a step.
    HHS isn't telling HL their religious beliefs are wrong, they're telling them their SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING is wrong and that through that lens they're viewing something as against their religion which isn't. There is no, and can not be any, deeply held religious belief that contraceptives are an abortifacient (I was going to say "at all", because it's a scientific fact and not up to religious belief... but sun around earth, etc, let's just say we shouldn't be giving any sway in law to religious beliefs that are demonstrably false, rather than just unprovable) in any but the most recently contrived of religions... because they just weren't around when those religions had their sins set down.
    •  Also: (0+ / 0-)
      This would certainly be less restrictive of the plaintiffs’ religious liberty, and HHS has not shown that this is not a viable alternative.
      Introduce a bill in both houses to provide whatever funds are required by any person for any health care their employer objects to on religious grounds (i.e. one step away from single payer!), return to SC with republican vote tallies... decision will be overturned, right?

      i.e. that that wasn't going to be able to be funded was surely known by the SC... how fucking disingenuous of them.

    •  Science, schmience! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor

      We don't need no stinkin' science!  Religion trumps all, dontchaknow?  

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

      by fedupwiththebs on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:05:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does hobby lobby tithe 10%... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    does it sell ANYTHING that in any way encourages people to make clothes of mixed fabrics (like a poly cotton blend for making outfits for school plays)?

    Or does it pick it's deeply held religious beliefs al a carte?

  •  Something just occurred to me... (0+ / 0-)

    could this decision be used by a privately-owned pharmacy to justify refusing to stock and dispense contraceptive drugs and devices?

    In many rural areas, the nearest pharmacy is privately owned rather than part of a big box store like WalMart or Walgreens.  For some women, these pharmacies may be the only way they have to obtain the drugs prescribed by their doctor.

    In its decision, SCOTUS determined that allowing contraceptive coverage in an employee health plan presents a substantial burden to a closely-held corporation if such coverage violates the owner(s) religious beliefs.  

    If something so tenuous is a burden, how can having to actually stock and hand over those same contraceptives be anything but an even more substantial burden in the eyes of SCOTUS?

    And yes, I agree with the original poster that SCOTUS is living a pipe dream if they think this will remain confined to contraceptives.  All anyone has to do is show that the government has an alternative means of ensuring people get whatever it is the employer objects to and its a win.  

  •  Hobby Lobby's "Corporate Veil" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Old Sailor

    I hope that someone uses the Hobby Lobby case to destroy the concept of the "corporate veil".  In order to protect their personal assets from their corporation's creditors, owners are required to maintain their personal affairs completely separate from the affairs of the corporation.  This is known by lawyers as the "corporate veil", and when company owners fail to maintain the separation, it is called "piercing the corporate veil".  When this happens creditors can go beyond the assets of the corporation and collect from the owners' personal assets, not just the corporation's.  It seems to me that the Supreme Court has just wiped out this protection, because it has equated the owners' religion with the corporation's, which seems to me to equate the owner and the corporation.  How can the owner say "My religion is my corporation's religion -- but my assets aren't my corporation's assets?"  Of course, the sophistry of the Republican, oops, I mean "conservative" justices can probably find some way to say that corporations can have all the constitutional-rights goodies of human beings, while still having all the goodies of being legal fictions.

    But this raises a real problem of equal protection that someone should put to a court test.  I have constitutional rights, but I also can be put in jail, executed, tried for treason, and if a draft is ever necessary I could be drafted.  If a corporation has all the constitutional rights that I do, but is not subject to the responsibilities of citizenship that burden me, how am I receiving equal protection with Hobby Lobby?  Hobby Lobby gets the constitutional protections without the burdens, but I don't.  I think Occupy members should consider filing suit to test this.  I'd happily be a plaintiff.

  •  What report says $1.3 Trillion is the cost for the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor

    ACA?. Is this taken out of context? Does it take into consideration the positive effects like less trips to the emergency room, not going into bankruptcy for health related reasons and less indigent care.
    People have often pondered if it is possible to place a price on a human life. I think SCROTUS just did.

    "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

    by Cruzankenny on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:14:44 AM PDT

  •  Do they even understand the law? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor
    These cases, however, do not involve publicly traded corporations, and it seems unlikely that the sort of corporate giants to which HHS refers will often assert RFRA claims.
    They won't have to assert RFRA Claims, this ruling creates a condition of favoritism for one religion (Christians) which the constitution says we can not do.

    All they have to claim is equal protection. "Hey if Christians don't have to pay this, why do I?"

    Spoiler alert: The constitutional answer is, you don't

    New Plan: Obamacare Old Plan: Nobodycares

    by groupw on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:31:49 AM PDT


    28. “No religious doctrine shall be established by law.”
    ~Founding Father Elbridge Gerry, Annals of Congress 1:729-731

  •  Oh. (0+ / 0-)

    Oh I see. The court is demanding that the public pay a corporate welfare payment to Hobby-Lobby to cover insurance that guarantees women's health in a wide variety of ailments that all other companies have to provide. The way the public has to pay to feed and house Walmart employees.  Okay, got it.

    How much did Hobby-Lobby put in the conservative justice retirement account, in the Cayman Islands again?

  •  Constitutional Illiteracy..l.jt (0+ / 0-)

    Dred Scott; Bush v. Gore; Hobby Lobby
    vie for the title of 'The most corrupt decision
    in the High Court's history.'

    In American terms this is
    "Constitutional Illiteracy."

    This decision gives me a bit of respect
    for the Know-Nothings and nativists
    who would have sunk the boats
    my grandparents came on.

  •  Religious (and other) rights (0+ / 0-)

    For me, it is simple:  Do not do any business with anyone whose professed religious beliefs differ from mine and/or which restrict lawful beliefs and activities. Since the supreme court says that corporations are persons, the "anyone" in the previous statement applies to them, also.

    Since I do not know which corporations impose their beliefs on their employees, I need a verifiable list.

    How do I get such a list?

  •  blood transfusions and SCOTUS IMPEACHMENT (0+ / 0-)

    What if a closely held corporation is Jehova hWitness and the family does not believe in BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS -- can they demand that insurance NOT cover blood transfusions?  Would this not be detrimental to both men and women?

    Citizens United and Hobby Lobby court decisions boggle the mind.

    On Thursday, reportedly, there is yet another decision that religious entities (colleges) cannot be required to give the government info about the insurance it offers to its employees,


    those employees are still obligated to buy insurance, meaning this latest decision would impede on the ability of women employees to get needed insurance elsewhere.

    Clearly the allegiance of the SCOTUS's Catholic boys is to their Church rather than the US Constitution and for this all five of them need to be IMPEACHED.

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