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There are so many things wrong with the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case - from the impact on women's health, to the second class citizenship it confers on women, to the bizarre notion that corporations are people.  

But there's another small aspect of the ruling that will accelerate the death of functional political discourse in this country.  

Namely, Samuel Alito makes clear in his decision that, according to the Supreme Court, it no longer matters in America if something is actually true as long you believe it to be true.

Follow me below the jump.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said:

"You are entitled to your opinion.
But you are not entitled to your own facts
"
In the era of Republican misinformation, this has become a big point of contention in America.   Fox News, right wing talk shows, the Tea Party, and Congressional Republican talking points all spew with great conviction things that they believe to be true, but which plainly are not.

Members of the "reality-based community" are often frustrated that Moynihan's maxim no longer seems to apply. It seems, today, that we can no longer agree on facts, let alone opinions.

That brings us to Samuel Alito and his wacky "corporations are people who are more important than women" decision.

In it, he writes:

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”)

note: emphasis added by Adam B

So what's he saying?  That even if the birth control methods don't actually do what the corporate person believes they do, it doesn't matter.  It only matters what the corporate person believes.

That is a remarkable statement by the court.  Truth doesn't matter any more.   Truthiness is now the official law of the land- so long as your belief in your facts can be claimed to be grounded in religion.  

Somewhere Daniel Patrick Moynihan is rolling in his grave.  And Stephen Colbert's character is drinking champagne.

The embedding doesn't seem to be working, but watch this Colbert video to see what the Supreme Court just codified into law:

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's In a Nutshell the Termination of Probably (48+ / 0-)

    the most fundamental premise of the entire Enlightenment.

    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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:16:53 AM PDT

  •  A brand new (huge) liquor store just moved into (18+ / 0-)

    the shopping center where a brand new (huge) Hobby Lobby moved in a year before.

    Waiting for Hobby Lobby to sue, claiming that the liquor store violates local zoning regulations as it is too close to a "house of worship."

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:31:31 AM PDT

    •  It's not just their being able to practice their (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, FindingMyVoice, nellgwen

      religion, but also to dictate to others how they practice their religion.  That's what they claim with being able to deny birth control to women and it's what keeps losing in court when states try and keep gay marriage illegal.  I'm just not sure how these states can co-exist.  Seems like a paradox.

  •  That's what bothers me most about HL (39+ / 0-)

    Yes, the corporations as religious people is horrid.  But the complete disregard for scientific understanding of human reproduction is appalling to me.  It's assumed that since people believe that the morning-after pill is an abortion in a pill,  it LEGALLLY IS an abortion in a pill.  Even though that's not what the pill does.

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:40:37 AM PDT

    •  Yep. That seems likes a slippery slope all on i... (20+ / 0-)

      Yep. That seems likes a slippery slope all on its own. Will all drugs now be classified according to what corporations believe they do instead of what they actually do? Can this truthiness test apply to anything a person or corporation doesn't like or just drugs for women?

      •  You can't just out of the blue say (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nellgwen, Pi Li, VClib

        "this is my religious belief."  The SCOTUS developed a test largely during the Viet Nam war era.  People who had a religious belief that all war of any kind and for whatever reason is wrong (I think some Quaker sects, for example, had that religious belief) essentially were given a religious exemption from the draft laws.  Of course, that provided the opportunity for people who just didn't want to be drafted to suddenly say, "I have a religious belief against all war."  Hence the need for some standard to differentiate between a longstanding, "sincerely held" religious view and an after-the-fact invention to gain an advantage.  

        See the ACLU explanation here.

        •  So why didn't the SCOTUS use this test? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryduck, nellgwen

          Why would it be applied in future cases if it wasn't in the landmark?

          "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

          by Teiresias70 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:15:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Supreme Court isn't a finder of fact, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            it's ruling entirely on the legal question and setting forth the framework that trial courts will apply to disputed facts.  For purposes of the suit, the court had to presume the allegations to be true as long as they are "plausible."  

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:47:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, if you read the briefs, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pi Li, VClib

              The Administration did not contest that the religious views met the "sincerely held" test.

              Briefing here.

              •  Brief doesn't actually say that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil

                it says the belief that life begins at conception is sincere, not the conclusion that the contraceptives at issue are coextensive with abortion.  (Brief of Resp. at 8).  It's entirely possible they waived objection to this claim at the PI hearing stage in the district court, but even if they hadn't, the Supreme Court wouldn't revisit a factual finding of the district court, especially when preliminary injunctions are highly discretionary.  This wouldn't prejudice opposing in an IRS proceeding to enforce penalty, i wouldn't think.  It's just a loser argument in this case.

                Now, as to whether Hobby Lobby has genuine religious beliefs distinct from its owners, this should not have been conceded, and was not.

                 . . . am familiar with scotusblog, but i see i did presume the posture was motion to dismiss not preliminary injunction.  Point remains, Scotus not a factfinder.

                Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:59:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  great (11+ / 0-)

        the people who 'sincerely believe' that vaccines cause autism are going to have a field day with this.

        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

        by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:29:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Religious views that are appalling to you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li

      are still protected under the First Amendment and RFRA.  

      We don't need constitutional or statutory protection for religious views that everybody agrees with.  

      •  Here's the thing (4+ / 0-)

        While I grant that the Greens are constitutionally entitled to their religious beliefs, whatever they may be; when a person holds (sincerely) a belief which is provable to be a false belief, why then is the government supposed to support that belief?

        Even under RFRA (42 U.S. Code § 2000bb–1 - Free exercise of religion protected)  the rule is -

        (a) In general
        Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
        (b) Exception
        Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—
        (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
        (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
        Hence he Government is abjured from actions which would deny the person the right to believe what they want, but it's not required by any directive to act on behalf of those beliefs, either. Just not to burden the Right "substantially".

        Otherwise it would be ok to ban premarital sex because Catholics believe it's a sin, or being gay, likewise believed to be "sinful" by many religious persons in the US.

        So we can grant that the Greens believe that, for instance, IUDs are abortifacients, when in fact they prevent implantation and thus prevent pregnancy. But while the Greens may be free to believe this, no one else is required to share their belief.

        The only burden laid upon the Greens if they Court had decided against them? That no one else was required to do something OR do without something as a result of the Green's beliefs. Which affects ONLY the other people, and not the Greens.

        The Government, while supporting the Right to believe, should not be in the business of supporting the Right to use that Belief to enforce it on others who may not share it with you.

        Which is exactly what they seem to have done in Hobby Lobby, and what the diarist speaks to.

        The court did in effect say, "Yes, you are entitled to your own facts.


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

        by Angie in WA State on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:02:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Burdening" a religious belief means (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, VClib

          to prevent a person from acting in accordance with those religious beliefs.  

          The clause in the First Amendment is not the "free belief" clause, it's the "free exercise" clause.  That's where the language in RFRA comes from.  If Government prevents you from doing something that your religious beliefs would say you should do (or makes it more difficult to do that), or if Government coerces you into doing something your religion says you should not do (like fines you if you don't do it), that's legally a "burden" on your religious beliefs.

          You don't just have the right to believe something.  You have the right to act on those religious beliefs. The test in RFRA is what test Government must meet to "burden" your right.  

          •  but you don't have the Right to act on behalf of (0+ / 0-)

            others, and that is what this ruling did.

            Enforced the Greens "belief' upon their employees.


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

            by Angie in WA State on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:41:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, the question was whether HL had to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, Pi Li

              buy insurance coverage for four types of contraception when it had a sincerely held religious belief that to do so meant it was facilitating "killing babies."  

              This case was not about them acting on behalf of someone else.  You can read the briefing yourself.    In fact, this case was decided the way it was precisely because the majority found that there were other ways available to Congress of assuring that women had access to contraception coverage without making their employer buy it in violation of sincerely-held religious beliefs.  

              Nobody argued that HL was "acting on behalf of its employees" in deciding whether the employees could use these four types of contraception or not.  Everyone -- even HL -- agreed that the employees could.  The only question is whether Congress could make the employers pay for it.  

              •  This was a bad decision and I'll go to my grave (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil

                believing that four extremely conservative, religious Justices made a bad decision based on their personal religious views.

                I listened to the same sort of mamby-pamby word salad when the SCOTUS in 2000 made an historically bad decision and while making it, told the rest of us it was so special it applied only to this one case and no one could use it in the future for precedent, just like they did here.

                You see, the thing is, both of these things which the Court have done were done badly, for bad reasons, and to the detriment of the nation.

                I hope I live long enough to see a Court majority of Justices appointed by someone other than a overtly-religious, ultra conservative nincompoop. Ronald Reagan and George Bush both allowed and supported shit which turns my stomach: Invading other nations, trading weapons for hostages to be used against our own military at a later date, supporting the CIA selling drugs to fund a war in central America, fucking TORTURE.

                If you think for a moment I hold an ounce of respect for the men these two fools installed in the Court, then you are an idiot.

                America has lived through eras with Courts populated by Scholars and Thinkers. Social justice has been won in large part for the various classes of Americans through court cases heard by a SCOTUS. But these men who sit there today? They are not Thinkers and the only legacy which this Court will leave is a stain on our Judiciary which will last for decades.

                You can try and make the obscenity they inflicted on The People with this decision sound like reasonable law, but you will never succeed. Because it isn't.


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

                by Angie in WA State on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 04:11:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Their problem is the willful ignorance and refusal (0+ / 0-)

        to accept scientific fact.  That they believe something does not make it so.  The USSC seems to have just said that it doesn't matter whether HL is correct in the facts, and yet I agree with Tracker - if HL is refusing to understand the facts and they're trying to make decisions for other people's lives based upon that willful ignorance, they should not be allowed to.

        •  That's their First Amendment right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li

          That they "believe" it does not make it factually or scientifically so.  

          But religious beliefs do not have to be factually or scientifically supportable.  They never HAVE been.  There's no factual or scientific support that a little-known man rose from the dead over 2000 years ago.  Believing it does not make it factually or scientifically so.  However, believing it as a matter of religion DOES mean that it's constitutionally protected.  

          It seems that your fundamental problem is that the Constitution and RFRA protect religious beliefs that are contrary to known facts or science.  Certainly you can argue that religious beliefs should not be entitled to constitutional protection.  But before that becomes the law in this country, you'll have to change the Constitution.  

          And the problem in this case is that the ACA, but "doubling down" on the connection between an employer and the employee's health insurance, means that health insurance affects two sides -- both the side that pays for it and the side that uses it. The law says you have to pay for x, y, and z or suffer a fine.  If even paying for "z" violates your religion (even if someone else is going to USE the "z" that you paid for), then the law "affects" you.  

  •  It is just mind-boggling. (7+ / 0-)

    In our criminal justice system, a Republican is presumed innocent until the 2nd Coming. - Gooserock

    by ExpatGirl on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:02:11 AM PDT

  •  Same as any other RFRA/Free Exercise Case (4+ / 0-)

    Whether Jesus was god, the world was created in seven days or the Ten Commandments were given on Mt. Sinai is not something a court can determine.

    Similarly, a court does not decide whether working on the Sabbath (whichever day that is) or drinking alcohol or eating pork is actually immoral.  Or whether the Sabbath starts at sundown or hard cider counts as alcoholic.

    The factual correctness of religious belief  can't be relevant in these kinds of cases.

    •  Your interpretation is completely flawed. The r... (8+ / 0-)

      Your interpretation is completely flawed.

      The religious belief is that abortion is murder. Therefore, they do not want to provide medicine that violates their religious beliefs.

      However, the drugs in question do not actually cause abortion. That's a scientific fact, not an opinion. Therefore, the court can and should dismiss their objection without casting judgment on the factual correctness of the religious belief that abortion is wrong.

      (Or maybe I just missed the part of the bible that refers to the pill)

      Otherwise, what you are saying is that if my religion tells me that anything which causes cancer is immoral and I (mistakenly) believe that hearing human speech causes cancer that I can forbid my employees from exercising their right to free speech because it would violate my religion and the courts aren't allowed to say that because speech doesn't cause cancer, my religious objections are moot.

      •  The court in your example can't say (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle, coffeetalk

        your religious belief is wrong because hearing human speech does not actually violate your religion, which is what you are trying to have them do.

        How you get there, whether torturing facts or biblical verses is  not relevant.

        •  In my example they wouldn't be (0+ / 0-)

          The religious belief is that anything that causes cancer is immoral.

          The court would be saying human speech is not one of those things, therefore there is no right to a religious objection to speech. They would not be casting any judgment on the religious belief that anything that causes cancer is immoral, just on whether speech meets that religious test.  

          "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

          by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:23:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And that's the thing. Would be interesting to see (5+ / 0-)

      if a Muslim owner of large, say, hi-tech corporation decided to restrict the practices of some of their christian workers.

      I imagine there's a scenario in there somewhere.


      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:17:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But facts are facts... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx, Mopshell, kfunk937, ColoTim, blueoasis

      The planet is more than 6000 years old and this is fact, if anything is fact.  So, if religious nuts insist that park rangers at the Grand Canyon include information on the flood in federally-supported exhibits and interpreter walks, the correct response is: "bugger off". Likewise, believing that certain birth control methods cause abortions can be proven to be false. A court can determine fact in either of these situations, if facts can be known at all.

      Now the example you cite of the Ten Commandments... Nobody can disprove it. True. It lies outside the realm of fact, though with respect to probability, it is vanishingly unlikely that it happened. But that is different from a stated reality about the world that can be tested.

      “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:21:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  maybe on a personal level (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, ColoTim

      but you should have no right to use those believes to effect others.

      Their rights end where another's begins

      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, it's a twofer of illogic. (12+ / 0-)

    Geez, this is hard. I'm a teapot agnostic, but I have no problem with people believing what they want. Using their beliefs to influence the law is beyond my tolerance level.

    I can't separate the illogic of their claims that birth control is abortion from their illogic that their magic sky fairy (and only theirs, no other need apply) gets to influence our governance. It's all a piece to me.

    The cynical side of me (well, that might be both sides) can't help but think that Hobby Lobby, which has been shown to be hypocritical in their actions, (Chinese products, investment in contraceptive companies, etc) is simply seeking corporate power and the further control of the working class. The fact that women are being hurt by their actions is just a bonus for them.

  •  This is so off-base. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pi Li, misslegalbeagle, VClib

    The whole POINT of religion is that people believe things that are not necessarily supported by science.  

    You can't have a Free Exercise clause if the only religious beliefs that are protected are religious beliefs that are supported by science.  

    The whole PREMISE of the First Amendment is that Government does not decide which religious views are valid and which are not.  

    The notion of when human life begins is not a scientific notion, it is a religious/moral/philosophical one -- when does the entity become a separate human life, worthy of protection in its own right -- at fertilization?  when the egg is implanted in the uterus?  when brain activity is detected?  when the heart starts beating?  at viability?  at birth?  That's not a question science can answer.  That's a moral/religious/philosophical answer.  

    So, if you are going to protect religious beliefs at all, you CAN'T base it on a notion of what is scientifically provable.  

    The SCOTUS has, for decades, adopted a test - if it's a sincerely held view that holds a place in your life that religion traditionally holds, then it is, by law, a "sincerely-held religious belief" and entitled to protection.  The test was developed in large part to deal with the conscientious objectors in the Viet Nam war.  Sincerely held religious beliefs against war -- all war, no matter what it is based on -- was generally sufficient to excuse
    someone from the draft.  The SCOTUS devised a standard to prevent people from inventing such a "religious view" only after they became eligible for the draft.  

    In the Hobby Lobby case, all parties -- including HHS -- agreed that the religious views of Hobby Lobby's owners met that test.  That was not even an issue.  The Court -- even the dissents -- accepted that premise.

    •  You're missing the point: (2+ / 0-)
      The SCOTUS has, for decades, adopted a test - if it's a sincerely held view that holds a place in your life that religion traditionally holds, then it is, by law, a "sincerely-held religious belief" and entitled to protection.
      It's the protection that's changed: now, it's not just whether you fit into a statute that allows a draft exemption for sincerely held belief.  It's whether you are going to be "protected" from ANY law of general applicability that DOES NOT have an exception.

      The law that states that religious belief won't be examined wasn't a problem until the "protections" were expanded to every law.  

      Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

      by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:29:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except that's not the test at all. When the (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, coffeetalk, hopeful, dewtx, Loge, VClib

        federal government (not the states) does something that burdens a person's religious beliefs, they have to do so in the way that burdens those beliefs the least.  You don't get an exemption from all laws just because you're religious.  That's simply not how it works.

        •  How it workED. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kfunk937, Mopshell

          The fact is, they found that there was a burden to religious beliefs in having someone else pay for the birth control of other people.   The belief is not that the shareholders should not use, pay for or facilitate birth control; it's that nobody should use it.

          Quite simply, "religious belief" now includes a belief of what other people should be doing.

          Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

          by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:25:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it's still how it works. nt (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk, dewtx, VClib

            The fact that the Court found a burden on their beliefs is the beginning, not the end of the analysis.  

            •  Yeah, and the SCt only held a right to own guns (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kfunk937

              for self defense in the home.  It was the Seventh Circuit that struck down the prohibition on carrying relying on the reasoning of the opinion.  Took about six months.

              So please, let's not be naïve about the future.  The purpose of these opinions is to have expansive results.

              Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

              by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:32:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Once they find "substantial burden," (0+ / 0-)

              it's much more difficult to sustain the law.  A lot of the dispute will be over the articulation of the state's interest - is what's compelling providing contraception or ensuring that men and women each receive employer-based health coverage that is adequate to their likely medical needs?  Majority framed it as the former, and they argued the least restrictive would be to pay for directly.  Under the latter articulation, which is probably right about the purpose of administrability and equality, the burden - assuming it to be met - is the most tailored.

              I think the point about burden isn't so much the particulars of the belief, it's that the money is really the employees', and even the closely-held corporation is legally separate.  If Hobby Lobby ever winds up in bankruptcy as a result of boycotts, lenders' counsel is using every affidavit and public statement about religious conviction to recover from Mr. & Mrs. Lobby, personally.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:52:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that this is disputed. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pi Li, VClib
                it's that the money is really the employees
                Certainly, the wages Hobby Lobby pays are the employee's, and the employee gets to spend it the way the employee wants, and HL has no say.

                That's probably also true with respect to, say, a 401(k) account, where the employer just hands over money to the employee's account, and the money belongs to the employee, and the employer has no control over managing it.

                It's more difficult to argue that "the money" is really the employee's when the employer is not handing over money, the law says that you must by a product for your employee to use, and that product must include "x, y, and z" and buying or paying for "z" violates your religions beliefs.  

                •  Health premiums are an earned benefit, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tonedevil

                  and treated as compensation for both the employee and the employer.  Hobby Lobby is a conduit - even as a self insurer, their role is to hire a third party claims administrator.  The religious sentiments of the owners are their business, but they are seeking to make decisions on behalf of their employees.  They have certain fiduciary obligations to the same employees - to monitor claims, to ensure adequate capitalization, and that means they have to act on behalf of the interests of the employees while wearing the health benefit administrator hat.  Congress made factual findings that the benefit of the employees and to the government in cost savings is to provide full access to 20 contraceptive devices, which are used for purposes other than birth control in millions of women per year, some of whom will work or seek work at Hobby Lobby, and all of which at least one church or religious institution objects to, which objection the Court now vitiated.   The alternative is to sell the business to one who can do the job, not ignore one's fiduciary duties to effect the legal entitlement Congress created to contraception and preventative reproductive health.  This corporate governance issue is precisely why RFRA should not have been found to apply to a for-profit corporation.  The religious convictions of the owners are economically rationalized as an agency cost, and therefore an inefficiency.

                  There's no endorsement of contraception by the owners simply to comply with the law, and no prevention of the exercise of a sacred ritual.  That's what ordinarily governs accommodation claims.   But even if one found a burden in the form of filling out paperwork, the compelling interest is in not conditioning employment opportunities on access to the full range of women's health, so the inclusion of x,y, and z is properly regarded as compelling.  (Does a pro-life clerk at a federally chartered bank or, say, the Navy Federal Credit Union, now have a statutory right against termination for not processing checks to Planned Parenthood?)

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:25:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You may think that buying insurance coverage (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, nextstep

                    that includes these four types of contraception does not amount to facilitation of the use of these four types of contraception.  But your belief isn't at issue. It's enough that THEY have a sincerely held religious belief that if they buy insurance coverage for these drugs, they are facilitating "killing babies."  

                    Your employee at a bank is a whole different issue.  Let's say he had a sincerely held religious belief that touching checks from Planned Parenthood or any other pro-choice organization made him unclean and sinful.  Let's say that he's held that belief long enough and he's lived by that belief all his life, and there's enough to meet the test that this belief is sincerely held.

                    If that's the case, that belief probably is protected.  If he's working in a government entity, it's constitutionally protected.  If he's working at a private employer, it's protected by the employment laws.  Either way, he'd probably be entitled to seek a reasonable accommodation for his religious belief.  That's an entirely different area of the law.  

                    •  I do think that, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tonedevil

                      and it's not enough that they have a sincerely held belief.  That bootstraps whether their belief is substantially burdened in any way. RFRA shouldn't mean that other people can be compelled not to do things you don't like in capacity as claims administrator.  That overlooks the ex ante question of RFRA applicability, and it ignores the fact that the majority articulated the compelling interest prong too narrowly to make it appear that the law wasn't least restrictive.  It may not be the least restrictive if the goal is to narrowly provide contraception, but the mandate is as least restrictive as it can possibly be in order to make sure the woman entering the workforce has access to contraception rendered a non-factor in seeking employment, and that social equality and facilitation of worker privacy is compelling.    

                      I am aware of accommodation law, thanks, as I referred to it explicitly.  I don't think it's automatically met in that case, either, though the balancing test from accommodation cases is what RFRA applies to laws of general applicability (reversing the exception to Sherbert the Court found in Employment Div. v. Smith).  

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:08:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  The ONLY thing that changed is that (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, BachFan, Pi Li, VClib

        a protection that was previously given to the religious beliefs of the owners of a nonprofit corporation is now, as a result of Hobby Lobby, being give to the religious beliefs of the owners of a for-profit corporation.  That's the ONLY thing Hobby Lobby changed.  

        And it is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE that is ruling did this:  "the 'protections' were expanded to every law."  

        The First Amendment, and RFRA, always applied to "every law."  A business that was a sole proprietorship, or a nonprofit corporation, prior to Hobby Lobby, could challenge "every law" if they felt their religious views were violated.  So the idea that this decision put "every law" at risk is just not true.  This decision gave to a closely-held for-profit corporation the ability to make the same challenges that a nonprofit corporation, or a sole proprietorship, could make before the decision.  

        For a lot of those laws (like tax laws) the issue has been definitively decided by the SCOTUS.  For newer laws, the test under RFRA will be whether (1) the law advances a compelling govenrment interest (this was assumed to be true in Hobby Lobby); (2) whether law burdens a sincerely held religious belief (the Court assumed the religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby's owners to be sincerely held; and (3) whether the law is the "least restrictive" way of meeting the Government interest.  T

        Item (3) is why the majority ruled against the Administration.  The Court noted that the Administration had a "work around" when nonprofit corporations had religious views that were violated by covering certain contraception, and said since that the Administration did not show any reason why it couldn't use the same work around for a for-profit corporation that had the same religious objection.  

        •  Item 3 is the excuse. Catholic doctrine is why. (6+ / 0-)

          The SCOTUS decision that the administration developed the work around to involved a conservative Roman Catholic order. The 5 justices that voted for this decision and that one are conservative Roman Catholic men. The liberal Catholic woman justice and the 3 Jewish justices opposed this decision.

          This is a case where members of the court imposed their conservative religious beliefs on all Americans. The logic was ginned up to fit the preconceived conclusion, IMO.

          “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

          by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:24:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The opinion vs the holding: (5+ / 0-)
          And it is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE that is ruling did this:  "the 'protections' were expanded to every law."
          The holding is limited, but the reasoning is not, and it is the reasoning that will be applied to other situations.

          Here, the "religious belief" was that the owners of Hobby Lobby was that OTHER PEOPLE were committing sins.  They weren't asked to use contraception, or pay for contraception, or facilitate the use of contraception.

          There's no way in hell that this is not a huge expansion of the concept of "religious belief".  Focusing on the fact it's being applied to an organization that is organized for profit is only half of it.

           

          Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

          by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:30:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is just factually wrong. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, nextstep, VClib
            They weren't asked to use contraception, or pay for contraception, or facilitate the use of contraception.
            Hobby Lobby is self-insured.   So, yes, it WAS being asked to pay for the four types of contraception that violated the religious beliefs of its owners.  
            •  Again, you miss the point. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kfunk937, FogCityJohn

              What is the "religious belief" you're talking about?  It's not "I won't use birth control".  It's not "I won't pay for birth control".  It's "you won't use birth control" and "you will pay for birth control".  

              Moving facilely from "It pays" and "they use birth control" to "the owners religious beliefs" is exactly the BS I'm talking about.  All you do, and all ANYONE has to do, is wave the words "religious belief" and nobody looks at anything.

              Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

              by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:38:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is not true. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pi Li, VClib
                All you do, and all ANYONE has to do, is wave the words "religious belief" and nobody looks at anything.
                It is NOT true that as long as you "wave the words religious belief," that ends the inquiry.  The Court looks only to one thing:  whether the religious beliefs are "sincerely held."  See here and here  and here.  The test was largely developed when people were trying to "wave the words religious belief" as a way to avoid being drafted during Vietnam.  The purpose of the test was to distinguish between those who had a sincere religious belief that ALL war was against their religion, and those who were essentially inventing a religious belief for the purposes of gaining an advantage.  

                If a religious belief is "sincerely held," government does NOT get to evaluate whether it's correct, whether it "makes sense," whether it's "wacky," or even whether it's supported by science.  Government is prohibited from making those kinds of determinations -- that's the whole point of the First Amendment.  

                •  Nobody looks at the details of the belief. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kfunk937

                  Nobody thought that one person's belief that "people shouldn't fight in wars" meant an exemption from anything but that one person fighting.  

                  If a religious belief is "sincerely held," government does NOT get to evaluate whether it's correct, whether it "makes sense," whether it's "wacky," or even whether it's supported by science.
                  And it's the expansion from a specific belief applied to a specific exemption that makes such a test nonsense.  

                  I note you still don't say what the supposed "belief" was.  It's basically circular: I have a religious belief that you shouldn't have contraception and anything that contradicts that is against the law.  

                  Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

                  by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:29:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The religious belief is outlined in the Opinion. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pi Li, VClib
                    The Hahns believe that they are required to run their business "in accordance with their religious beliefs and moral principles." 917 F. Supp. 2d 394 , 402 (ED Pa. 2013). To that end, the company's mission, as they see it, is to "operate in a professional environment founded upon the highest ethical, moral, and Christian principles." Ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted). The company's "Vision and Values Statements" affirms that Conestoga endeavors to "ensur[e] a reasonable profit in [a] manner that reflects [the Hahns'] Christian heritage." App. in No. 13-356, p. 94 (complaint).

                    As explained in Conestoga's board-adopted "Statement on the Sanctity of Human Life," the Hahns believe that "human life begins at conception." 724 F. 3d 377 , 382 , and n. 5 (CA3 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). It is therefore "against [their] moral conviction to be involved in the termination of human life" after conception, which they believe is a "sin against God to which they are held accountable." Ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted). The Hahns have accordingly excluded from the group-health-insurance plan they offer to their employees certain contraceptive methods that they [*11] consider to be abortifacients. Id., at 382

                    Hobby Lobby's statement of purpose commits the Greens to "[h]onoring the Lord in all [they] do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles." App. in No. 13-354, pp. 134-135 (complaint). Each family member has signed a pledge to run the businesses in accordance with the family's religious beliefs and to use the family assets to support Christian ministries. 723 F. 3d, at 1122 . In accordance with those commitments, Hobby Lobby and Mardel stores close on Sundays, even though the Greens calculate that they lose millions in sales annually by doing so. Id., at 1122 ; App. in No. 13-354, at 136-137. The businesses refuse to engage in profitable transactions that facilitate or promote alcohol use; they contribute profits to Christian missionaries and ministries; and they buy hundreds of full-page newspaper ads inviting people to "know Jesus as Lord and [*12] Savior." Ibid. (internal quotation marks omitted).

                    Like the Hahns, the Greens believe that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point. 723 F. 3d, at 1122 . They specifically object to the same four contraceptive methods as the Hahns and, like the Hahns, they have no objection to the other 16 FDA-approved methods of birth control. Id., at 1125 . Although their group-health-insurance plan predates the enactment of ACA, it is not a grandfathered plan because Hobby Lobby elected not to retain grandfathered status before the contraceptive mandate was proposed. Id., at 1124 .

                    Their belief is that facilitating contraception that terminates a potential pregnancy after the union of sperm and egg is sinful and violating their religion and that paying for it is "facilitating" it.  No one challenged that their view was "sincerely held."  

                    Once you accept their religious view as "sincerely held," the Court can't say "that's silly -- paying for someone else to commit what you thing is a huge sin can't violate your religion."  The Court can't say, "that's silly -- a fertilized egg is not human life."  That would be evaluating the MERITS of their religious belief -- and that the Court can't do.  

                    •  And notably, nobody challenges (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tonedevil, ColoTim

                      whether "running the business" includes decisions on whether the employees should have birth control.

                      If you're gong to accept every articulated view of a sincerely held belief, then at the very least one would have to show some connection between that belief and the laws they would have violated.

                      Once you accept their religious view as "sincerely held," the Court can't say "that's silly -- paying for someone else to commit what you thing is a huge sin can't violate your religion."
                      No, but at the very least one could explore the religious view to see if it's something other than a conclusions dressed up in God talk.

                      For example, one could ask, "how does paying a wage that is then used to buy contraceptives violate your religion more or less than providing a benefit that is then used to by contraceptives?  If your religious belief is that you are the corporation, and you can't pay for someones sins, how does changing the purchase of contraceptions from the insurance company to the wages paid distance you from sin?"

                      But no, we just up and assume that they get to define the religious belief in any way, then shazam! it's sincerely held because they swear they really really really feel that way.

                      You don't see anything troubling in any of this?  Really?

                      Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

                      by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:30:10 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, I do NOT think government can do (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pi Li, VClib

                        what you are suggesting.  Two points.

                        But no, we just up and assume that they get to define the religious belief in any way, then shazam! it's sincerely held because they swear they really really really feel that way.

                        (1) If You are suggesting that the Court, or government, gets to define the scope of their religious views, that is  very contrary to the point of the point of the First Amendment. The religion itself gets to define what its views are.  Period.  End of Story.  Government does NOT get to say, Well, that's not really what your religion teaches or stands for, because it doesn't make any sense.  I would vehemently, vehemently oppose any suggestion that government gets to "define the religious beliefs" of anyone.  

                        (2) you don't meet the test of a "sincerely held religious belief" simply by swearing that you "really really really" believe something.  You really ought to read the links I provided,  The test is much more than that.  

                        •  That's not right. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Tonedevil

                          a) You say the government doesn't get to define religious belief, saying "the religion itself" decides what the belief is. Notably, "the religion itself" is exactly what does NOT get examined.  Nobody is allowed to testify as to "the religion" except the one person who is asserting it.  

                          While you feel safer having the one person define it than the government, it's actually inviting individual exceptions based on idiosyncratic "religious" belief.  You don't disagree.  

                          Now, the thing is, the five old male catholics on the SCt who voted for this tripe are comfortable with the idea of a religion belief that contraception is bad...indeed, they were growing up during the time that many states forbad it even for married couples.  They were raised with it.  It doesn't strike them as weird.  Despite the notion of the court not defining a religion, I daresay that if they weren't of a generation and a religion, they wouldn't have accepted it as readily.  But hard cases in front of judges stretching for a result gives us bad law, and now a few generatinos of judges are going to be dealing with the outcome.

                          2)  It is "really really believe", since under the sincerely held belief idea, all that the owners need is to have no paper trail of approving of their business paying for contraception until, what, the week of the hearing, I guess, since one of the parties did actually once pay for contraceptives until they opted out of it.

                          Really, the "business shouldn't pay for that" is a deeply held belief of religious magnitude in a bunch of different ways.  This one just has God put on it.

                          Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

                          by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:04:19 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  evaluating sincere belief... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tonedevil

                      Nonsense, they do it all the time.  Just ask any Rastafarian about the nonexistent ganja exception.

            •  Except they don't all violate the religious... (5+ / 0-)

              ... belief of the owners because at least one doesn't act in an abortive manner.   You've been dancing around this point all thread, probably because it blows your entire argument out of the water.

              You may have your religion and beliefs.  You may not dictate what reality actually is when we have solid evidence otherwise.  This is what the Court did and what you are supporting.

              Everyday Magic
              Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
              -- Clarke's Third Law

              by The Technomancer on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:47:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No you are legally wrong. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pi Li, nextstep

                Here's the deal.  The Court does NOT GET TO EVALUATE WHETHER A RELIGIOUS VIEW IS "CORRECT" OR NOT.  

                That's the whole POINT of the First Amendment.  

                The ONLY thing that a Court can say is whether the religious view is sincerely held or not.  See also here.

                If it's "sincerely held," it does not matter how "wrong" it is.  DOES. NOT. MATTER.  That is because the Constitution prohibits government from making decisions about which religious beliefs are right and which religious beliefs are wrong.  

                Once everyone stipulated that those beliefs were the sincerely held religious beliefs of the owners, the Court must accept that.  It then moved to the test as to whether in this case government could burden that religious belief.

                •  But by restricting the decision (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kfunk937, FogCityJohn, ColoTim

                  By saying that it would not apply to the sincerely held beliefs against transfusion and psychiatric medicine, isn't the implication that the "sincerely held belief" of those religions is invalid, or at least not as valid?

                  "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way" Juan Ramon Jimnez

                  by Teiresias70 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:24:42 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's not exactly what the decision says. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ColoTim, Pi Li

                    It says that it's not hold that all religious beliefs, like those, get an exemption.  What it is saying is that each exemption would have to be evaluated under RFRA.  

                    Finding a sincerely held religious belief only STARTS the inquiry.  Under RFRA, the court then asks:  It's (1) whether the law that burdens your religious belief is directed to a COMPELLING government interest, and (2) whether the law is necessary to meet that compelling government interest -- i.e., whether it's the "least restrictive means" of meeting that purpose.   Here, the law, according to the majority, failed part (2) under RFRA because they believed the government had other ways of meeting the interest of assuring that women had access to contraception -- the Administration had a workaround already in use for nonprofit corporations that the majority thought could also be used here, or the majority said that government could even subsidize it for women who couldn't afford it.  Either one meet the goal of making sure women had access to those contraceptives without burdening the religious views of the challengers. So, Hobby Lobby gets its religious based exemption, according to the majority.  

                    Clearly, if providing access to contraception is a compelling government interest (and the majority assumed it was) then providing access to those medical services would be as well.  So, if those things burden someone's religious belief, the question would then be whether there's a "less restrictive way" of making sure that people have that access.   the Court said its holding couldn't be applied to those other situations automatically; each thing had to stand on its on and the Courts have to see whether the test is met.

                     It so happens that with contraception, there was already a model in place for "less restrictive means":  the Administration already had a work around when a nonprofit corporation claimed a religious exemption.  The majority said, essentially, if you do that for a nonprofit corporation, you haven't given us any reason to think the same thing can't be done with respect to a for-profit corporation.  

                •  I sincerely believe you are wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                  I hold this belief very strongly.

                  I, of course, now don't need to prove that you're wrong.  Legally, you are.

                  Let me know how you plan to redress how wrong you are, please.

                  Everyday Magic
                  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                  -- Clarke's Third Law

                  by The Technomancer on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:20:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  nobody made them self insure - (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn, ColoTim

              plus, the fact they have the size and scope to do so is a good reason to differentiate them from the paradigmatic family business that Alito envisioned when he decided to effectively disregard the corporate veil.  Does H.J. Heinz have religious views?  Then neither does Hobby Lobby.

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:55:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  At what point does public health trump wacky (6+ / 0-)

      religious beliefs?

      And at what point does the government have the right to pass laws that protect the pubic's health in spite of the wacky beliefs of some religions?

      Ins't that what was at stake here? The government's right to pass laws that protect people's health over the right's of religions to deny such protection if it conflicts with their religious beliefs?

      What exactly are you defending here?


      "We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis Brandies

      by Pescadero Bill on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:27:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can tell you exactly where that point is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anthony de Jesus, Pi Li, VClib

        under RFRA.  

        The law trumps religious beliefs (the law does not distinguish between those you think are "wacky" and those you think are not "wacky") when (1) the law is directed toward addressing a compelling government interest (the Court conceded the law met this test; and (2) the law is the "least restrictive method" of meeting that compelling government interest.  

        Here, the majority said that, under RFRA, this particular law did not meet part two.  It was not the "least restrictive means" of assuring that women got coverage for those four types of contraception.  The Court noted that the Administration already had a "work around" in place to get coverage to women who worked for a nonprofit that had a religious objection to certain types of corporations, and said the Administration did not explain why they couldn't use the same approach for a for-profit corporation with a religious objection.  Or, the Administration didn't show why it couldn't just subsidize those four types of contraception when an employer didn't cover them based on a religious objection and the woman made too little to pay for them herself.

        Law NEVER trumps religious beliefs based on whether other people think that religious belief is legitimate or not.  That's contrary to the whole notion of the Free Exercise Clause -- government absolutely cannot be in the business of deciding which religious views are legitimate (not "wacky") and which are not ("wacky").  

        That's the holding of the Court.  You can certainly disagree with it -- the dissenters clearly did.  And I have no problem with that.  What I do have a problem with is a misrepresentation of what the Opinion actually said and did.  

        •  If this is the case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State

          and it's all so clear cut and black and white and obvious, then what did the dissenting four base their opinion on?

          Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

          by Mopshell on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:46:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The dispute was whether RFRA applied when (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, rduran, VClib

            you were operating as a for profit corporation.  

            If HL had been a non-profit corporation, or a sole proprietorship, there would have been no issue.  But the dispute was whether Congress, when it passed RFRA, intended for it to apply to a for-profit corporation.  

        •  If you believe (3+ / 0-)
          "Law NEVER trumps religious beliefs based on whether other people think that religious belief is legitimate or not."
          I have a bridge to sell you.  You have an apt description of what the Court said it was doing, but the legal groups underwriting the challenge know how to count to 5 and that there are 6 theologically conservative Catholics on the Court, which is why the test case that wound its way thru the appellate system isn't some J-Dub not wanting to pay for transfusions.  Empirical data are available about which religions tend to prevail in accommodation claims, and it's not completely neutral in application.  It's not "supposed to" trump, but it does - and does here, because the largely partisan fight over the Stupak amendment legitimized objections to contraception, which was previously uncontroversial, and is uncontroversial in practice.  Eleanor Griswold had to beg to be arrested, just so she could actually have standing to challenge the CT law; Prescott Bush was on Planned Parenthood's board, and only Scalia has an excessive number of children . . .

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:01:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The administration can't subsidize this instead. (0+ / 0-)

          Congress has to appropriate funds, and Congress is dysfunctional, though the Republican House, from which funding has to originate, is united against women's health issues.

          •  The Supreme Court doesn't make decisions (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, VClib

            like that based on what Congress WILL do or what Congress can accomplish politically.  The only decision under RFRA was whether there was a less intrusive alternative available to Congress -- whether Congress chooses to do that less intrusive alternative doesn't figure into the analysis.  

      •  at what point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill

        does a secular relationship between a secular legal entity (a corporation) and its employee suddenly become religious, merely because somebody in charge has a deeply held belief?

        that's what i'm having trouble with here. a corporation is a secular legal invention. just because the CEO lubs him some jesus doesn't mean you're suddenly working for the archdiocese.

        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

        by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:47:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, actually the disputed issue is narrower than (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, rduran, VClib

          that.  

          If you look at the case and things like HL's history and website, it's pretty clear that HL was run in accordance with the religious principals of its owners.  And in the briefs to the Court, the administration pretty much conceded that.  If HL had been a nonprofit corporation, like Catholic Charities, there would have been no question that it operated in accordance with the religious views of its owners.  In fact, the Administration has already given nonprofit corporations exemptions from the mandate on religious grounds.

          The issue is whether RFRA applied when the employer was a for-profit corporation.  

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil

            just because the admin conceded that point doesn't mean i agree with it. the fact that HL provided contraception coverage prior to the ACA making it mandatory and the fact that HL invests in and profits from contraception-producing pharma companies raises some serious doubts in my mind as to how 'deeply held' this particular belief should have been considered.

            as to the RFRA, i doubt very much it was congress's intent to turn for-profit corporations into de facto religious organizations. to say i disagree with the court here is putting it mildly. this decision is a real dog's breakfast.

            anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

            by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:14:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I point that out because the SCOTUS (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pi Li, rduran, VClib, nextstep

              only decides the cases as presented to them.  

              If there was some question as to whether these religious beliefs were "sincerely held," it was up to the Administration to raise that issue.  They did not; they conceded that the religious views WERE sincerely held.  So, if you disagree with that part, then your beef is with the Administration, not the Court.  When both sides come to the Court saying "this issue is not contested," Courts accept that and don't question that one issue further.  

              As to this,

              as to the RFRA, i doubt very much it was congress's intent to turn for-profit corporations into de facto religious organizations.
              There's a whole line of law about what Courts can and cannot consider as to Congress' "intent" in writing a statute.  Here, the strongest argument HL had is the law itself.  Eons ago, Congress passed a law that said, "Every time we use this word in a statute, unless we say otherwise, this is what that word means."  That law is 1 USC 1. That law says that,  unless Congress says otherwise in a particular statute,  " the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals."  In RFRA, Congress used the word "person" and did not say that they weren't applying that standard definition.
              •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil

                welp, you've convinced me! the court just nailed this decision perfectly.

                anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:58:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So you'll take your toys and go home now? (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rduran, VClib, coffeetalk

                  I don't believe coffeetalk is saying she necessarily agrees with the decision; rather, she's trying to explain the reasoning of the majority to the people who don't seem to understand it (which, lets face it, is a majority in itself).

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

                  by Pi Li on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:19:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  no, i get it (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Tonedevil

                    it isn't that she doesn't disagree with the decision; it's that everyone else who does disagree is wrong. there's only one valid line of disagreement, apparently. what it is i'd like to know so i can get in line.

                    apparently, the official line will also involve A LOT OF CAPS.

                    anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                    by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:35:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  chopper - I don't agree with the decision (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Pi Li

                      But there has been an enormous amount of effort, diaries, and comments on the issue of Hobby Lobby's sincerely held religious belief, including all the diaries about the 401K investment choices. The Supreme Court did not review the issue of Hobby Lobby's sincerely held religious belief because the parties agreed to not have the Courts review that issue. Someone should have written a diary about that fact on Monday morning. Maybe that would have saved a lot of keystrokes.

                      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                      by VClib on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:56:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  i understand that (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tonedevil, VClib

                        but i'm surprised at the pushback regarding the issue of the breadth and intent of the law in question.

                        as to the 'belief' side of things, i never said the court should have taken up the issue on their own of whether or not the belief is 'deeply-held'. i just think it's shit that this whole thing wound its way through the whole system without that issue being nailed to the wall for what it is, namely horseshit.

                        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                        by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:05:50 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Exactly. So many people believe that the basis (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    nextstep, Pi Li, VClib

                    for the decision was something other than what it was.  And that leads to overreaction about the opinion as well as criticism of it on grounds that really aren't relevant.

                    The RELEVANT area for criticism is the decision that RFRA applies to protect a for-profit corporation. That's really the central place where the majority and dissenters disagreed.  A lot of the criticism of the decision has really nothing to do with the basis for the disagreement and is stuff that nobody with any knowledge of the law -- not the Administration, not its top-notch lawyers, and not the 4 liberal justices -- argued.  

    •  It seems to me though (4+ / 0-)

      Hobby Lobby did not have a "sincerely held religious belief" in the horribleness of contraception until the ACA mandated free coverage. Before then, their insurance policy paid for the prescriptions. And what happens when the woman's doctor prescribes a medication for some other purpose. I have seen elsewhere that the same drugs that prevent pregnancy also control 40 other conditions.

      •  The Administration conceded that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, Pi Li

        they had that sincerely held religious belief with respect to four types of contraception (they didn't challenge all contraception, only contraception that acted after fertilization).  

        That was not disputed in the case.  

        •  So the fact that three of these four (4+ / 0-)

          contraceptives were included in the health insurance for their employers prior to the inception of the ACA is not an issue?

          Please note that lamps in the MAGIC LAMP EMPORIUM are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

          by Mopshell on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:55:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It certainly should be an issue ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mopshell

            but coffeetalk doesn't have any response to that argument, so she just keeps repeating that the sincerity of Hobby Lobby's belief was "undisputed."

            She likewise won't come to grips with how completely factually wrong HL's "beliefs" about contraception are.  

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:37:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  John - the administration stipulated at the (0+ / 0-)

              trial court level that Hobby Lobby met the sincerely held religious relief test so the courts of appeal, including the SCOTUS, couldn't review that issue. By the time it arrived at the SCOTUS the sincerity of Hobby Lobby's religious belief was a moot point. There seems to be a significant misunderstanding on this point with the readers here at DKOS.

              "let's talk about that" uid 92953

              by VClib on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:51:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for repeating this. (0+ / 0-)

                Yet again.

                I don know what I'd do without users like you and your BFF coffeetalk.

                Look, if you want to believe in the sincerity of Hobby Lobby's religious convictions, I can't stop you. But anyone with two grey cells to rub together should be able to see they're full of shit.

                And yes, FFS, I understand that the issue was unreviewable as a legal matter. That's not what I'm talking about.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:49:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  John - I didn't agree with the majority in the (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pi Li

                  Hobby Lobby case, but most of the diaries and comments are focusing on issues that weren't even part of the case after it left the trial court many months ago. I think it's fine to be critical of the majority's decision, but deriding them for Hobby Lobby's shortcomings regarding their religious beliefs wasn't an issue at the Supreme Court. If anyone wants to be critical of the majority opinion make it about the issues they decided. If authors here feel that Hobby Lobby didn't meet the sincerely held religious belief test they should focus that criticism on the group that made that decision, the administration.

                  "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                  by VClib on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:17:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Nope. Read the opinion. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, VClib

            it is here.

            And here, you can read the briefs of the Administration, where the Administration stipulates that the religious beliefs are sincerely held under the law.

    •  asdf (6+ / 0-)
      The whole PREMISE of the First Amendment is that Government does not decide which religious views are valid and which are not.

      but when a business uses a particular assertion of cause and effect as a reason to take away health care from a subset of its employees, it kinda goes beyond a mere 'religious view', doesn't it?

      it's a bit of shit to then turn around and say that that assertion can't be scrutinized because it's a religious belief. it's trying to have it both ways.

      i think that the owners of a corporation taking that view out on secular employees of what's essentially a secular business takes it out of the circle of a mere personal religious belief.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:19:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  HL's "sincerely held" premise still fails, IMO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chopper

      Since Hobby Lobby had allowed its employees to be covered for these types of contraception before the Affordable Care Act, and since their own retirement fund still invests in the companies that produce these very contraceptive methods to which Hobby Lobby claims to object, it seems to me that its current objections can't be construed as a "sincerely-held religious belief" in the way previously defined by the SCOTUS with respect to conscientious objectors to the Vietnam war.

      FOX News: For entertainment purposes only. Not to be confused with actual news broadcasting.

      by IowaBiologist on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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

        the first error was assuming that HL's asserted belief that contraception causes abortions was a 'deeply-held religious belief' given that the company only started giving a crap about it the day the ACA went into effect, and still makes money off of contraceptive-producing pharma companies.  some 'belief'.

        the second error was assuming that the RFRA intended to change the relationship between a for-profit corporation and its employees from a secular one to a religious one. it's one thing for the CEO of a corporation to have a religious belief, it's quite another to apply that belief to your employees in a manner that negatively impacts their lives. it always seemed to me that  the law regarding incorporation never intended for the corporation to be a church, and that the RFRA didn't originally aim to change that.

        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

        by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:56:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Supreme Court has been making up "facts" for a (8+ / 0-)

    A long time now also.   You'll find their opinions littered with suppositions and findings found nowhere in the trial court record.  Not surprising that a group that makes shit up all the time endorses religious hallucinations

    Can't wait to see how that is abused

  •  Moreover, Alito Misstates HHS' Position (9+ / 0-)

    The requirement to provide contraceptive coverage does not tell anyone their beliefs are wrong.  The requirement simply tells Hobby Lobby that the democratic majority (super-majority actually) has made decisions on the most effective and fair way to improve health care and preventative services.  No one was forced to use contraception, but no one was allowed to create barriers to other people making their own decisions either.  

    Whenever a judge sets up a straw man like this, you know he/she is either intellectually-deficient or deceptive.

  •  Isn't that always the case with religion? (2+ / 0-)

    I think Hobby Lobby's lawyers limited the objection to these four drugs and cited the alleged connection to abortion as the basis to plead the case in the court of public opinion.  It doesn't matter to the ruling, however, because a Catholic-run closely held corporation could object to providing birth control qua birth-control and be entitled to exemption under the Court's interpretation of RFRA.  A Jehovah's Witness closely-held corporation could object to blood transfusions, qua blood transfusions as a result of the ruling.  If anything, the fact the Court didn't inquire into whether or not the belief is true is good, because the 5 refrained from holding thee forms of birth control to be abortion, and therefore subject to regulation by states as abortion would be.  

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:23:21 AM PDT

  •  Before, religion did not free one from laws (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yonit, Naniboujou

    of general applicability, so whether the religious belief was truly held didn't matter.  It didn't matter, for example, whether a religion really did require the use of peyote: the supreme court didn't care whether it did or not, the law against peyote stood.

    So there's this huge body of law prohibiting courts from looking to see whether the belief is actually held.

    Pretty convenient, NOW that a religious belief gets you out of laws of general applicability.

    Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

    by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:25:57 AM PDT

    •  There was a line of case law (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inland, misslegalbeagle, BachFan

      where if the law required assessment of individual circumstances, as in the Sherbert test,  the Courts inquired into the genuine-ness of the belief but not the logic of the belief.  The application to laws of general applicability arose with RFRA, but the line between genuine belief and correct belief did not.  It just applies more often.  (RFRA in no way compels Hobby Lobby, just to be clear.)

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No religious beliefs do NOT automatically (0+ / 0-)

      get you out of the law.  You can't simply say, "My religion believes in beheading an adulterous woman so I'm exempt from murder laws."  

      Finding that there's a burden on a sincerely held religious belief only STARTS the inquiry.  AFTER you demonstrate the sincerely held religious belief, THEN the Court makes an inquiry as to whether you nonetheless still have to comply with the law.   Under RFRA, the standard is  (1) whether the law is directed to a COMPELLING government interest, and (2) whether the law is necessary to meet that compelling government interest -- i.e., whether it's the "least restrictive means" of meeting that purpose.  If the law meets that test, you are NOT exempt from complying even if it does violate your religion.    

  •  Can this be applied to to other beliefs? (0+ / 0-)

    Stand your ground seems to say it applies to murder.... the fact someone isn't really threatening is moot.
    If I believe G-d tells me to do something can I be absolved of repercussions by law enforcement?

    •  No. The law against killing people is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ebohlman, Loge

      the least restrictive means of making sure people don't kill each other.  People are really misunderstanding the law here—this case didn't hold that you get an exemption from any law that doesn't comport with your religious beliefs.  

  •  Lots of these Justice are wating for the next (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yonit, dewtx

    Presidential Election ,to maybe retire and  make more money , your  only redress is to support the Democrat nominee in 2016, Do not give the conservative Justices ,the  satisfication of going out on thier own term

  •  #yesallreligiousnuts (0+ / 0-)

    If you aren't speaking up about it, you're part of the problem.

    Everyday Magic
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    -- Clarke's Third Law

    by The Technomancer on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:49:46 AM PDT

  •  I am baffled by the logic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, ColoTim

    It should never have even made it to the SCOTUS.

    Q: What's the name of your company?
    A: Hobby Lobby Inc.

    Q: So you are Incorporated?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Do you understand the meaning of being Incorporated?
    A: Ummm

    Q:When a business becomes incorporated, a separate and distinct legal entity is created. An incorporated business acts independently of its business owners. Is that not a true statement AND the reason you Incorporated in the first place?
    A: Well yes.

    Have a nice day. Next case!

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." Mark Twain

    by Urbee on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:56:46 AM PDT

    •  Well, actually incorporation was not the issue. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li

      The Administration recognized that a non-profit corporation could have religious beliefs.  Catholic Charities, for example, is a corporation.  So, incorporating is not inconsistent with having a religious belief.  

      The dispute was over whether if you incorporated a corporation for purposes of making a profit, that meant you could not have a religious belief in the way a nonprofit corporation can.  

      The majority viewed a for-profit corporation as a organization  of people who could be looking to make a profit while at the same time operating in accordance with their religious beliefs.  The dissent essentially saw incorporating for purposes of making a profit as inconsistent with having protected religious beliefs.

  •  i wonder about the right-wing trolls who spend an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Capt Crunch

    inordinate amount of time on this blog lecturing liberals and progressives on the errors in their thinking

    dear right wing trolls: most people here agree with the 4 reasonable justices in yesterday's ruling, not the 5 corporate-christian tools...don't you have anything better to do with your time?

    •  I actually value coffeetalk (and others') (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li

      contributing to this discussion because I don't want to only hear the echo chamber, but I'd like to hear from varied viewpoints.  I've learned a good deal about the logic applied to this case (though I wholeheartedly disagree with the ruling) and as a result, I feel I'm going to be much better in arguing to change RFRA as well as arguing for single payer and detaching health coverage from employment so this becomes a moot point.

      I am trying to remember the last issue I've started and canceled so many comments about - it's a testimony to how strongly I feel the USSC got this wrong but also how strongly things must be changed in this country.  It's hard to put things into just words.

  •  Doing this plays favorites (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937, ColoTim

    Yes religious beliefs can be utterly nonsensical, but if you start attacking them on the basis of logic, then the government is therefore playing favorites, which is a huge no-no.  

    I read Ginsburg's dissent and I mostly agree with her, but if you start getting into the business of saying that one religious belief is "wacky" over another then you are by definition taking sides against a religion and that could be construed as favoritism and persecution.

    Now, what I would love clarification on is when religious belief is demonstrably hurtful, like Muslim honor killings and Vaccine refusal, when does the court say "Yes, you sincerely believe your wife is an infidel so you should behead her in the name of Allah, but we don't care, that's murder."  I think the court said "blood transfusions and vaccine refusal don't count."  What is the test for this?  There are religious beliefs that go way too far.

    "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    by sujigu on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:03:54 AM PDT

    •  Maybe I can help clarify. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li, ColoTim, rduran, VClib
      Now, what I would love clarification on is when religious belief is demonstrably hurtful, like Muslim honor killings and Vaccine refusal, when does the court say "Yes, you sincerely believe your wife is an infidel so you should behead her in the name of Allah, but we don't care, that's murder."  I think the court said "blood transfusions and vaccine refusal don't count."  What is the test for this?  There are religious beliefs that go way too far.
      Saying you have a sincerely held religious belief only starts the inquiry, not ends it.  Under the First Amendment, then the Court has to decide (1) whether the law is related to a legitimate Government interest (in other words, something legitimate OTHER THAN expressing disapproval of a religious belief); and (2) whether the law is rationally related to meeting that interest.  Under RFRA, the standard is higher:  It's (1) whether the law is directed to a COMPELLING government interest, and (2) whether the law is necessary to meet that compelling government interest -- i.e., whether it's the "least restrictive means" of meeting that purpose.   Here, the law, according to the majority, failed part (2) under RFRA because they believed the government had other ways of meeting the interest of assuring that women had access to contraception -- the Administration had a workaround already in use for nonprofit corporations that the majority thought could also be used here, or the majority said that government could even subsidize it for women who couldn't afford it.  Either one meet the goal of making sure women had access to those contraceptives without burdening the religious views of the challengers. So, Hobby Lobby gets its religious based exemption, according to the majority.  

      Things like laws against physically harming others would certainly meet that test. (1)  Certainly, government has a compelling interest in making preventing one person from harming another person; and (2) there's no real alternative to making it a crime to harm another person.  Therefore, even if your "sincerely held religious belief" would approve of  beheading, you DON'T get an exemption from the law.

      •  You carefully avoid the vaccination issue. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, OregonOak, rduran

        And it's not hard to see why.  There are certainly religions that believe vaccination is incompatible with their doctrines.  So why did the court try to carve out vaccinations?  Or blood transfusions?

        If one is forced to deal with religious objections to vaccination, then one must squarely face the collision between an indisputably compelling public health interest and certain sincerely held religious beliefs.  There are certainly alternatives to vaccination.  After all, there are treatments for many of the diseases for which we vaccinate.  The reason we use vaccines, though, is because it's much better to prevent illness than to try to treat and cure it.

        In the end, this is an opinion that reflects the religious preferences of the five justices in the majority.  It's an opinion that could only have been written by men who are members of the majority religion in this country (Christianity).  It's no accident that 3 of the 4 dissenters are Jews.  The true test of this opinion will come when a Muslim attempts to claim exemption from some secular law because it offends sharia, and the claim of exemption would harm the interests of Christians.  At that point, we'll see all sorts of twisted efforts to distinguish this case.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:50:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I think that of course there will (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, rduran

          be legal challenges.  I've been a lawyer long enough to know that we will always find some legal challenge to make and if there are not obvious ones, we'll make up some new ones.  

          So sure someone might try to bring a challenge to vaccination requirements.  But I have a much harder time seeing that one winning.  The compelling government interest in vaccinations is not in protecting the person getting vaccinated as much as protecting us all from the spreading of certain diseases.  I don't see a "less intrusive alternative" that accomplishes that.  

          Like I said, I think that it will be hard to find another situation where, like with these four types of contraception, the Administration already had a less intrusive alternative in place -- the one that was being used for nonprofits.  If you read Kennedy's concurrence, he might not have voted in favor of Hobby Lobby without that.  And without Kennedy, HL loses.  

          •  Distinction without a difference: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rduran, Tonedevil
            The compelling government interest in vaccinations is not in protecting the person getting vaccinated as much as protecting us all from the spreading of certain diseases.
            The only way you can truly prevent the spread of diseases is by vaccinating all of us.  But that's not really the issue.  If someone refuses vaccination, is there a "less restrictive alternative"?   Sure there is.  The person can simply take his or her chances and be treated for the disease.

            In the case of employers who refuse to pay for their employee's vaccinations, there will doubtless be public health clinics that will provide the vaccinations at little or no cost.  So the employees will just have to rely on public health -- and importantly for purposes of this case -- stick the general public with the bill.

            In any event, we'll see just how serious the majority is once a Muslim demands an exemption from a law based on the teachings of sharia.  The Roberts Five will change their positions so fast they'll get whiplash.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:45:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Did the court carve out vaccinations (0+ / 0-)

          and transfusions?  Unless I'm missing something, Kennedy's concurrence was a dismissive response to Ginsberg raising the  hypothetical "Muslim or Jehovah Witness" demand for exemption.  I don't think he ever clearly said he'd reject such a demand if it appeared before him.  In fact, given his outright hostility to ACA, wouldn't it make more sense to find for employers as to whittle away at any and every employer mandate necessary to sustain the new insurance market?

    •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kfunk937, dcg2

      the court kinda tried (and failed IMO) to have it both ways here. on one hand, they said up front that they can't judge any religious belief on the merits of fact, and then went on to provide a great deal of rationale for any corporate owner's 'deeply-held religious belief', including hating on vaccines or transfusions or whatever, to be used as an excuse for denying health care coverage to workers.

      yet in a small bit at the end of the decision the court stated arbitrarily that the decision really only applies to contraception.

      i'm sorry guys, but if the court is disallowed from deciding based on the merits of a deeply-held religious belief, then the decision really is quite broad and that little footnote doesn't change that fact.

      anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

      by chopper on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:33:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are conlating two things (0+ / 0-)

      The religious belief is that abortion is immoral.  That was not at issue here.

      The claim of fact is that these 4 contraceptives cause abortion.  That is incorrect - as a matter of fact, not religion.

      You can not conflate the two. If their claim was that any form of birth control violates their religion, that would be different.  But that was not what this case was. This case was that these four types of contraceptives cause abortion, which is against their religion.  Well, these types of contraceptives do not, which should render the case moot without entering any judgment about the religious beliefs or playing favorites.

      "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

      by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:17:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This fact was irrelevant to the Court's decision. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib
        The claim of fact is that these 4 contraceptives cause abortion.  That is incorrect - as a matter of fact, not religion.
        It doesn't matter whether a sincerely held religious belief is factually true or not.  If it's a sincerely held religious belief, even if it's factually wrong, then it's protected under the Constitution and RFRA.

        That does not mean that they automatically get a religious exemption.  The Court has to go through the two part test I described elsewhere.  

        •  Are you willfully ignoring my point? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          I get that you think the Supreme Court ruled correctly, but you seem to be ignoring what I'm saying and going around in circles.

          The religious belief in this case is NOT that these 4 contraceptives cause abortion.  The religious belief they feel is being violated is that they believe abortion is wrong.

          There should be nothing wrong with the court saying, well, these 4 contraceptives do not, in fact, cause abortion so providing them does not violate your sincerely-held religious beliefs.   You still have the right not to support aborton or whatever, but since these 4 contraceptives don't. your complaint is moot.

          And, by the way, as a completely separate issue, the Supreme Court laid out specific exceptions like objections to blood transfusions, so they made pretty clear that they do in fact consider the validity of the religious objection, rather than just whether there is one.
           

          "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

          by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:20:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Faith-based "facts" are a special category. n/t (4+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:31:09 AM PDT

  •  belief based truth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dcg2

    I believe my neighbor is a witch.  Can I burn her at the stake?  (belief + stand your ground)

    •  Only if she gave you the evil eye. (0+ / 0-)

      Her twitching her nose so that her flowers bloom or her vacuum runs itself isn't a legitimate threat to you.

    •  Only if it's a sincerely held belief (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IowaBiologist

      And you are a corporation.  

      And probably not if you are a woman- they don't get the same rights as corporate people and men.

      But in all seriousness, your analogy is a good one.  If your sincerely-held religion tells you that government is evil and will kill you, then under stand your ground laws and this ruling, you would have the right to kill a police officer.

      You believe yourself to be under threat and, because that is a sincerely-held religious view, Alito is saying that the court can not consider whether the government really does want to kill you because that would be ruling on your religion.  All that matters is you believe it does.  

      Then again, we all know that these rulings really only apply to Christians, maybe Jews is some limited cases, and not any other religions.

      "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

      by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:08:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The real intent of this decision? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dcg2, blueoasis

    One interpretation of this decision is that this ruling is part of the campaign by the Roberts Court  conservatives to lay down it's own precedents for overturning Roe v. Wade.

    That a court can establish it's own precedents strikes me as problematic, but not being educated in jurisprudence I can't quite put my finger on it.

    On the face of it, it seems the court majority consists of republican operatives hiding their identities in robes.

  •  YES (0+ / 0-)

    That is all.


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

    by Angie in WA State on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:34:40 AM PDT

  •  Everyone should believe in something. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen

    I believe I'll have a beer!

    Can I haz Supreme Court case, too?

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:44:45 AM PDT

  •  What do facts have to do with it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    Insofar as the decision is based on religious "freedom", how are facts the least bit relevant? If counterfactual claims and lack of empirical evidence were disqualifiers for religious exemptions from the law that would eliminate pretty much all of them.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:50:01 AM PDT

    •  Let me explain (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IowaBiologist

      Hobby Lobby didn't argue that all contraceptives are against their religion, just that ones that cause abortion.   That's why they only objected to covering the pill, IUDs and two other contraceptives - not all.

      Therefore, the question of religion is whether abortion is immoral.  No one is questioning that religious belief here or asking them to prove it.

      However, the question of fact is whether these 4 specific methods of contraceptives cause abortion.

      Given the narrow scope of Hobby Lobby's challenge, it would have been perfectly reasonable for the court to conclude that because - as a matter of scientific fact - these 4 methods of contraceptives do not cause abortion that it is not a violation of their religious freedom to require them to provide such coverage as part of a basic health care plan.

      Again, the government is not asking the Supreme Court to rule on the religious objections to abortion, just on whether the contraceptives in question cause abortion.  Alito says it only matters if they believe these drugs cause abortion, not whether they do.

      Do you see the distinction?

      It would be like if Hobby Lobby claimed that eating lettuce caused abortions.  Under this ruling, they could prohibit their employees from using their wages to purchase lettuce because they "believe" it violates their religious freedom to provide an employee with money that is being used for abortions.  

      That would be prima face ridiculous - eating lettuce does not cause abortion so the court can side with the lettuce-eaters without actually forcing Hobby Lobby to "pay for" abortions, the thing their religion actually forbids.  

      This goes back to my diary - you have the right to your opinion (about whether abortion violates your religion or is immoral), but you should not have a right to your own facts (lettuce or the pill or riding a bicycle or whatever cause abortion).
       

      "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

      by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:03:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No that's not the question. (0+ / 0-)

        The question is whether this religion teaches that drugs that do whatever these drugs do are immoral and that people should not facilitate anyone taking them.  The Supreme Court cannot question whether that religious belief is based on factually accurate information.  

        I'll give you a far-fetched example.  Let's say some extreme fundamentalist Christian sect had been teaching for the last 100 years that consuming anything beginning with the letter "J" is immoral for some wacky notion like "J stands for Jesus so you are eating Jesus."  That's about the craziest thing I can think of.   But let's say that sect had been teaching this for a long time, it was written in their holy book hundreds of years ago, and the people who practiced that religion never consumed anything  beginning with "J," would not go to a dinner where anything beginning with "J" was served and would not go to a restaurant where anything beginning with "J" was on the menu, because in their religious belief, that meant that they were using their money to help others to consume Jesus.  

        And now let's say these four contraceptive drugs began with the letter "J."  

        That likely would be found to be a sincerely held religious belief under RFRA.   And no, the Court would NOT say, "but that's not factually true.  You really aren't consuming Jesus when you take drug J___."  

        In other words, in the HL case, it doesn't matter whether YOU think this drug "causes abortion," it doesn't matter whether the Justices think this drug "causes abortion," all that matters is that these people have a sincerely held religious beliefs that any drug that CAN act after the sperm fertilizes the egg "causes abortion."  These people are not opposed to abortion as YOU define it, they are opposed to "abortion" as THEY define it, and THEY define it as any drug that can act to prevent pregnancy after the sperm fertilizes the egg.

        You are just wrong about whether the Court can question their own definition of what they believe.  THEY are the ONLY ones that get to define THEIR religious beliefs; the Court only decides if those beliefs are define As long as their beliefs are sincerely held under the test or were just recently invented for the purpose of gaining some advantage.  And all parties in this case conceded that their religious beliefs as THEY defined them were "sincerely held."

        But remember, finding a "sincerely held religious belief" is only the START of the Court's analysis of whether they get a religious exemption from a law.  

        •  Your example is highly flawed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          You are wrong.  It's not "whatever these drugs do is wrong."  It's drugs that cause abortion are wrong - and these do not.   you can't just say I object to these 4 things on religious grounds because whatever it is they do, no matter what, I object.

          Let's take your example.  In this case, the religion has for years considered consuming anything starting with the letter J to be a sin.

          Now, you put out an edict because "No one can consume Macaroni because it starts with the letter J."

          The fact that it doesn't start with the letter J means it can't possibly violate their religious belief - no matter how much this nimrod in the example insists that macaroni begins with the letter J.  

          And an appropriate comeback would not be, "well, I object to the word macaroni no matter what it starts with because of whatever" when all along your sincerely-held religious belief has been an objection to words that start with J.

          But the reason we can't see eye to eye on this is because the right wing - as codified by the Supreme Court - has now said truthiness is what counts, not truth.

          "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

          by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:27:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You have the question wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        From the AP

        The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling.
        The court found that closely-held corporations can refuse to offer coverage for any or all contraceptives on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. That’s all you need: belief. That’s why I said facts don’t matter. Religious beliefs are inherently non-factual and non-empirical. They don’t have to make sense. They do not require an internally consistent logic. They do not have to comport with scientific facts as we know them. Therefore, how does one use findings of fact to invalidate a religious claim? It’s an inherent contradiction.

        Using your lettuce/abortion analogy: Per the court’s ruling you could refuse to cover contraceptives on that basis. You would just have to prove that your refusal was based on a sincere religious belief and not a facetious assertion. Yes it’s ridiculous, but that is precisely the can of worms the Alito opinion has opened.  

        Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

        by Joe Bob on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:01:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right (0+ / 0-)

          The facts didn't fit the ruling so the activist judges expanded the ruling beyond what Hobby Lobby asked for.  Otherwise, they would have had to deal with teh facts that didn't support the opinion they wanted to put out there.

          "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

          by dcg2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:35:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  So this is the George Costanza Court... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dcg2, nellgwen, blueoasis

    it's not a lie if you believe it. Maybe I'd prefer George Costanza over Samuel Alito.

    I am proud to be able to say that I got the chance to vote for Ann Richards for Governor of Texas, twice!

    by dewtx on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:08:14 AM PDT

  •  Who appointed Samuel Alito? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dcg2

    That's right, the guy who made a decision to plunge us into the longest war in our history based upon, not facts, but something he felt in his gut.  And who was the intellectual antecedent of another President who asked to be excused for Iran Contra not because his administration hadn't done what it was accused of, but because he wanted to believe they hadn't.  They haven't had an actual relationship for 30 years.

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