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Author Topic: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby  (Read 2660 times)

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Offline WhowhatwhereTopic starter

The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« on: June 30, 2014, 03:27:49 PM »
It's all over the news so I won't link any given article. In short, the Supreme Court favored Hobby lobby (by 1 vote) by upholding the legality of not having their health care provide for post-conception birth control in their employee's health care plans. Half of my FB feed blew up with angry women damning the decision.

It's a tough decision, reflected by the close vote. At what point does a business owner's religious beliefs give way to the employees' religious beliefs? The ruling seemed technically correct when I read the ruling PDF - other organizations, if owned by a small number of people, can run their businesses how they want, if dictated by religion. The Salvation Army works in a similar manner. The ruling falls in line with already existing cases. The dissenting judges brought up a valid point, though - where is the line drawn? Can a company owned by Jehovah's Witnesses deny an insurance claim based upon blood transfusions? At what point does this ruling impede on a person's rights?

My opinion is that the ruling was technically correct, but the possibility exists for religion-based oppression by corporations, of which Hobby Lobby is a prime example, and that a new law to replace the 1993 RFRA ruling be drafted.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 03:34:22 PM »
Quite frankly, I started voting with my wallet when I first heard about HL's stand on the matter.  Especially considering the fact that hormone-control medications have a much wider application and necessity than 'birth control'.  HL could cut their prices to half of what the other chains ask, and you won't get me to set foot through their door.

Offline vtboy

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 04:33:36 PM »
I cannot, for the life of me, see how the HHS regulation in issue imposes a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion by an employer (or an employer's owner). All that is required of the employer is to provide its employees with a health plan that covers certain types of birth control. The regulation does not force employers to advocate use of those methods. If instead of mandating employers to furnish health plans, the law required payment to each employee of a monthly stipend to defray the cost of an individually purchased health policy, would Hobby Lobby be entitled to restrict its employees' choices to policies that exclude post-conception birth control? If not, what is the difference?   
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 04:34:39 PM by vtboy »

Offline Caela

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 05:04:13 PM »
Whowhatwhere....I don't have enough background on other rulings to say if the decision is "technically" correct or not. You may be right, it may well be and I certainly agree that a new law should be drafted to cover this properly.

That being said, this decision is morally repugnant.

A business is not a person and should not have any religious "rights". Certainly the Owners have the right to worship as they wish, keep the hours they want, play the music they want, etc. but they are a business in service to the general public and whose employees are drawn from the general public. As a business, they should NOT have the right to infringe on their employees healthcare choices. They claim to be Christian, when even Christ said to "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's". In this case Caesar is the gov't and the gov't has mandated certain rules regarding what insurance a BUSINESS owes to it's EMPLOYEES. This in no way infringes on the Owners PERSONAL practice of their faith in their own private lives. Don't believe in abortion, don't have one. Don't believe in the "Morning After Pill", don't use it.

My personal opinion is that the only groups that should be exempted from this are actual religious entitites. Churches. Synagogues. Temples. Actual entities meant to be in service to a RELIGION, not to the public at large.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 05:23:17 PM »
+100000 to Oniya's post. I will not step foot in Hobby Lobby anymore because of this. I personally believe this is a slippery slope that will have businesses trying to refuse anything their CEO disagrees with. It sets precedence for them to say "it goes against my religion".

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 06:10:27 PM »
I do not see how this ruling is technically correct in any fashion.  A company is not a personal entity proven by the fact that the owner of a company cannot be sued for personal assets and finances.  Owners also cannot be held to personal criminal charges if their company does something that harms others, such as General Motors producing dangerous products knowing this would lead to fatalities.  None of their board members will face criminal prosecution for murder because a company is not an individual.  Therefore a company should not be able to adopt a religion and cannot have those religious ideals transgressed upon.  Having to provide for women to have insurance for contraception, abortion and other reproductive related procedures does not prevent the ability of the company owner or their family members to exercise their religion.  Their ability to not provide such insurance does impede a woman’s right to choose and their right to privileges afforded them by the laws of the United States of America.  So while their taxes will go toward helping others pay for their own contraception, they will be denied that same privilege because their boss stupidly believes contraception is abortion.

Offline Caela

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 06:37:58 PM »
I do not see how this ruling is technically correct in any fashion.  A company is not a personal entity proven by the fact that the owner of a company cannot be sued for personal assets and finances.  Owners also cannot be held to personal criminal charges if their company does something that harms others, such as General Motors producing dangerous products knowing this would lead to fatalities.  None of their board members will face criminal prosecution for murder because a company is not an individual.  Therefore a company should not be able to adopt a religion and cannot have those religious ideals transgressed upon.  Having to provide for women to have insurance for contraception, abortion and other reproductive related procedures does not prevent the ability of the company owner or their family members to exercise their religion.  Their ability to not provide such insurance does impede a woman’s right to choose and their right to privileges afforded them by the laws of the United States of America.  So while their taxes will go toward helping others pay for their own contraception, they will be denied that same privilege because their boss stupidly believes contraception is abortion.


THIS!!!

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 07:34:45 PM »
I believe the Supreme Court ruled accurately on this issue, though this ruling is strange given that the Affordable Care Act was previously ruled as constitutional.

This only applies to closely-held companies.  Hobby Lobby is privately held, single-family company, where the religious beliefs of the founders inform the operations of the entire infrastructure.  They are closed on Sundays, and they play religious Christian music in their stores.

Most privately held companies in the US are not controlled by a single family, and do not share a collective religious belief that permeates their entire operation.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 07:38:15 PM by Valthazar »

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 07:59:48 PM »
I do not see how this ruling is technically correct in any fashion.  A company is not a personal entity...

As the RFRA doesn't define "persons" within it, interpretations revert to the Dictionary Act...

Dictionary Act: the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.

Many of the issues here are simply restating Braunfeld v. Brown where, although the claimants lost on the merits, it was accepted that a for-profit corporations are entitled to protection under RFRA.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2014, 08:02:40 PM »
On a whim, I looked up Walmart - which is (as I suspected) listed as a 'Family owned business'  The Walton family owns more than 50% of the company through their holding company, Walton Enterprises.  Walmart currently employs more than 5 times the number of people than IBM, and is the largest employer in the country.

According to this Supreme Court decision, if the Walton family decided that certain health care procedures were against their religious beliefs, isn't the door wide open for them to refuse coverage?

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2014, 08:06:53 PM »
According to this Supreme Court decision, if the Walton family decided that certain health care procedures were against their religious beliefs, isn't the door wide open for them to refuse coverage?

From what I understand from reading interpretations of this ruling, this is limited to single-family operations, which is what this 'closely-held' term means.

I also gather that the company, not the owners, must possess a collective religious belief that permeates their entire operation.

In addition, Hobby Lobby is private, while Walmart is publicly traded.

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 08:20:31 PM »
On a whim, I looked up Walmart - which is (as I suspected) listed as a 'Family owned business'  The Walton family owns more than 50% of the company through their holding company, Walton Enterprises.  Walmart currently employs more than 5 times the number of people than IBM, and is the largest employer in the country.

According to this Supreme Court decision, if the Walton family decided that certain health care procedures were against their religious beliefs, isn't the door wide open for them to refuse coverage?

No; Walmart is a publicly traded company, not a closely controlled one (while a closely controlled company can sell shares it can't do so publicly). If they wished to convert to a closely controlled company they may be able to... but in doing so they'd lose many of the tax advantages that being a public company allows them.

Online Thesunmaid

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 09:24:24 PM »
First of all...hello you give your employees birth control they will avoid having kids which would mean you would not have to pay for their health costs that come with having kids. Like going to the hospital including the stay meds and care...but also all the health costs they might have to pay out for the kids as well as the maternity leave will cost them...give them the dam pills!

My doc is sort of awesome though...he keeps loading me up with free samples and gave me a card that makes it so I no longer pay anything for my asthma med's either...and he gives me free samples of one of my inhalers that my medical coverage will not pay for which would cost me 120 for one..ya know...because this is something that will go away eventually...like when I die.

I actually was once anemic and put on birth control at 13 to control my out of control periods. I did not lose my virginity until I was 17...My first doctor did not want to give it to me...why because apparently being on birth control would turn me into a raging slut. Because at 13 it was not the fact I had a hemoglobin count of 17 when its supposed to be 30.(I was two points away from being hospitalized apparently)

So yes dear companies...stop being idiots.saying that other people cannot have birth control because its against your religion is like getting pissed off at someone for eating a donut because you're on a diet.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 09:29:18 PM »
Corporations are not people, they are not a church (unless you're Ayne Rand), and they sure as hell do not have the right to try and force their ways onto their employees. I'm an ordained minister, not a Christian one mind you, but a minister nonetheless and I find this absolutely absurd and an infringement on the rights of women.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 09:43:35 PM »
A company is not a personal entity proven by the fact that the owner of a company cannot be sued for personal assets and finances.  Owners also cannot be held to personal criminal charges if their company does something that harms others, such as General Motors producing dangerous products knowing this would lead to fatalities.  None of their board members will face criminal prosecution for murder because a company is not an individual.

This phenomenon is actually an example of corporate personhood.  The fact that only corporate assets and finances will be under scrutiny (and not the owner's) goes back to legal personhood of the corporation, and the fact that the corporation has previously filed taxes and financials as an autonomous entity.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2014, 09:44:23 PM »
I believe the Supreme Court ruled accurately on this issue, though this ruling is strange given that the Affordable Care Act was previously ruled as constitutional.

This only applies to closely-held companies.  Hobby Lobby is privately held, single-family company, where the religious beliefs of the founders inform the operations of the entire infrastructure.  They are closed on Sundays, and they play religious Christian music in their stores.

Most privately held companies in the US are not controlled by a single family, and do not share a collective religious belief that permeates their entire operation.

They also believe that using barcodes is invoking the Mark of the Beast and therefore do not use them.  They are that strictly religious.  My hubby worked for them for almost a decade and it was hell at inventory time.

Laugh if you might, but that is what they believe.

Beyond that, I'm staying out of the convo because I have some very strongly held opinions that are distasteful to most and I will refrain from burning anyone's ears.  :)

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2014, 10:40:27 PM »
They also believe that using barcodes is invoking the Mark of the Beast and therefore do not use them.  They are that strictly religious.  My hubby worked for them for almost a decade and it was hell at inventory time.

Okay - that might get me through the doors.  But not to spend any money.  O_o

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2014, 10:41:56 PM »
The definition of a person is “a human being regarded as an individual”.  Nobody walks out of Wal-Mart and states they were shopping at that person.  A corporation is treated as a separate entity for the sake of law, but the corporation does not declare itself religious or show a religious affiliation.  Does Party City no longer have to pay to cover contraception because they sell Christmas items and play Christmas music, which is homage to a religious holiday?  This sets a horrible precedence.

Will Chick-Fil-A now get to fire homosexual employees because their religion frowns on homosexual acts?  Do they get to ignore same-sex marriage on those grounds when settling benefits to partners? 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 03:41:40 AM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2014, 11:27:47 PM »
A corporation is treated as a separate entity for the sake of law, but the corporation does not declare itself religious or show a religious affiliation. 

Given that this ruling was a legal one, we should be using the legal definition of person in the U.S. Code which encompasses, "corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals."  Nothing in the RFRA excludes corporations. 

In 2005, a religious organization even filed a lawsuit against the US Government, while claiming personhood rights under RFRA.  The US government said they couldn't use a hallucinogenic, controlled substance in their organization's rituals due to controlled substances laws.  The organization claimed this violated their organization's religious rights under RFRA.  The Supreme Court found criticism with the government's central argument in this case, but the main point is that they permitted the religious organization to use the RFRA as their defense.  Thus precedent exists for applying RFRA to all entities of 'personhood.'

Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente UDV

Party City will not qualify for these exemptions to Hobby Lobby.  They are owned by several international private equity firms, and recently filed for an publicly traded IPO.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2014, 04:01:06 AM »
This case though involved a religious organization being prevented from upholding their rituals due to the seizure of a substance required for their rituals.  The group was centered on their religion and conducted religious rituals using this substance.  Hobby Lobby does not conduct rituals at their store and the use of birth control by their employees among their seven hundred “closely-held” stores does not prevent them from carrying out their religious duties and obligations.   Hobby Lobby’s owners might use religion in their business practice, but the purpose of Hobby Lobby is to generate income and money for the family.  As evidenced by their own investment plans with companies that produce the very substances they are denying their employees.  While I do understand that a third party does their investments, this is a clear display that Hobby Lobby is profit focused and not religion focused.  This is not a religious organization, but a business with the express purpose to generate a profit.  Now even if one could argue that the company could hold a religious personality when the goal of the company is not religious, there is still no proof that this prevents the company from practicing the religion endowed by its owner.  Making this argument would be similar to saying a priest could stop a parishioner from having an abortion because her being allowed to have an abortion could be a restriction on the Church’s freedom of religion.

Also the Supreme Court, viewing the organization as a religious group and church, simply argued that the government could make the same exception for this group as they do the Native American use of peyote.  The two substances are both schedule 1 drugs.  So the law being used by the government already had an exception built into the way it was exercised.  The Affordable Care Act’s only exception was for actual religious institutions, which the Courts have now expanded to cover companies can somehow claim a religious identity by their owners.  Hobby Lobby does not qualify to not pay taxes and thus does not qualify as a religious institution to benefit from an exception under the Affordable Care Act.

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2014, 04:51:30 AM »
As we're discussing a legal case here, it would be worth actually looking at the legal context rather than leaping at spurious claims.

The central part of this case is whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA for simplicity) was breached by making these companies offer birth control to their employees under ACA.

The RFRA states that:

Quote
(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.

So, does ACA substantially burden a person's exercise of religion? I think the answer here is clearly yes. Whether one agrees with it or not (and I don't) one cannot deny that the opposition to birth control in these cases is part of a legitimate religious belief held by the owners. As such if they were to exercise their religion (i.e. not fund birth control) they would be liable for the fines of up to $1.3 million per day for one of the companies. That is pretty much the perfect definition of a burden on religious exercise.

So we turn to the exceptions:

1) Compelling governmental interest

It was pretty much accepted by default by all the parties that there was a compelling governmental interest behind ACA and thus this point was accepted by all.

2) Least restrictive

For a law which substantially burden's a persons religion not to fall foul of RFRA it must not only fulfill a compelling governmental interest but be the least restrictive way of doing so. Here is where the issue arrives because there are multiple ways that the government could allow access to birth control for women which wouldn't require a substantial burden on people's exercise of religion. The fact that there is a system to allow staff members of religious non-profit organisations the same access to birth control as companies where there are no religious objections involved without cost sharing and the government has said this imposes no net economic burden on insurers shows that there is an obvious alternative that has already been put in place and there is no reason why this could not have been extended to cover the companies in this case.

Thus under RFRA, the ACA provisions regarding birth control are a substantial burden on the exercise of religion and, while they do fulfill a compelling governmental interest, they are not the least restrictive way of fulfilling that interest; the government itself has set up an alternative system that wouldn't be a substantial burden on the exercise of religion and doesn't create any net economic burden.

So, on the face of it, it's a pretty cut and dry case.

The only real further issue is the question of whether for-profit companies such as those in question have standing under the RFRA. The RFRA applies to "persons"; does that include a for-profit corporation?

The answer is incredibly simple:

The RFRA doesn't define "person" within it. Thus, the definition and interpretation of that term are dealt with under the Dictionary Act, the relevant parts of which are quoted in previous posts. To repeat them again (emphasis mine):

Quote
the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.

Thus corporations and the like are explicitly included. If the government hadn't wished for the RFRA to cover companies then it should have defined "person" within the act to exclude them (in the same way it has included alternative definitions of "person" in other acts). It didn't, thus companies are covered by RFRA and thus have standing.

Having seen that a company can have standing under RFRA, we must then ask whether a company itself can exercise religion (and thus be burdened) as opposed to the employees/owners of the company exercising their religion (noting that the employees/owners wouldn't have standing to bring this case as formally ACA applies to the company, not to them). This point is somewhat dead in the water; in Braunfeld v. Brown incorporated merchants were allowed protection under the RFRA (although they lost the case on the merits) so it has already been accepted that a company itself can exercise religion. Likewise there are multiple cases of non-profits being allowed RFRA protection; Valthazar has mentioned one but you could also look to Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church
and School or Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. In the case at hand the government explicitly accepted that a non-profit could be viewed as a person under the RFRA and exercise religion but suggested that a for-profit corporation couldn't.

It's hard to see how this point can stand. There is nothing within either the RFRA or Dictionary Act that separates out for-profit and non-profit organisations and, to quote a case which touched on interpretation; “To give the same words a different meaning for each category would be to invent a statute rather than interpret one”. If non-profits are viewed as people capable of exercising religion under the RFRA (which the government accepts) then the corporate form alone is not enough to stop a for-profit corporation being one.

Is it the "for profit" part then? In the case of Smith the court held that “exercise of religion” involves “not only belief and profession but the performance of (or abstention from) physical acts” that are “engaged in for religious reasons.” I cannot see why business practices that are compelled by religious reasons don't fall within that. The principle reason put forward for why a non-profit could be viewed as a person and exercise religion but a for-profit couldn't was that a religious non-profit has been created to "perpetuate the religious values shared by a community of believers" while a for-profit has been created to "use labor to make a profit". Again, I cannot see how this objection holds up. In the states in question (and as far as I'm aware pretty much all states) a corporation can be formed for any lawful business or purpose; the decision to incorporate in a for-profit form does not mean that a company is forced to only look for profit as it's purpose. The companies in question here explicitly point to their religious values as part of their corporate identity; Conestoga’s values and vision statement states that it is dedicated to operating "in a manner that reflects our Christian heritage and the highest ethical and moral principles of business” while Hobby Lobby's statement of purpose states that it is committed to "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.".

I think we all accept that a for-profit company can pursue objectives that are not simply profit driven. I think pretty much all of us support that as well. A for-profit company that gives to charity, goes beyond the legal requirement for green or environmental issues or offers more generous benefits and pay than legally required are a few obvious examples (all of which almost certainly negatively impact on profits) of clearly pursuing an objective that is not purely profit driven. If a for-profit corporation can pursue those objectives I cannot see why it cannot attempt to fulfill religious objectives as well.


Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2014, 05:13:52 AM »
This is not a religious organization, but a business with the express purpose to generate a profit.

To quote Hobby Lobby's Statement of Purpose (emphasis mine):

Quote
In order to effectively serve our owners, employees, and customers the Board of Directors is committed to:

Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.

Offering our customers an exceptional selection and value.

Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals, and nurture families.

Providing a return on the owners' investment, sharing the Lord's blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.

We believe that it is by God's grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future.

So the express purpose is to generate a profit ("Providing a return on the owners' investment") while following Christian principles ("Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles"). A corporation can form for any lawful purpose; making a profit while following a religious doctrine is a lawful purpose.

Now even if one could argue that the company could hold a religious personality when the goal of the company is not religious, there is still no proof that this prevents the company from practicing the religion endowed by its owner.

The question isn't whether ACA prevents the company from practicing a religion, it is whether it imposes a substantial burden for doing so. Under ACA if Hobby Lobby offers group health insurance (which it did previously when not legally required and at least part due to its religious nature) but didn't offer birth control it would be liable for substantive fines (up to $1.3 million a day). If it dropped group health insurance entirely but even one full-time employee qualified for a subsidy on a government run exchange it could face penalties of up to $26 million per year. If Hobby Lobby increased wages so that each individual could purchase their own individual insurance rather than receive it as part of a group plan the costs would almost certainly be significantly higher than if the same cover was offered under a group plan; economies of scale and tax issues (an employee would have to pay income tax on an increase in salary but doesn't on employer provided insurance for example).

All of the above represent a substantial burden to Hobby Lobby if it exercises its religion.

The Affordable Care Act’s only exception was for actual religious institutions, which the Courts have now expanded to cover companies can somehow claim a religious identity by their owners.  Hobby Lobby does not qualify to not pay taxes and thus does not qualify as a religious institution to benefit from an exception under the Affordable Care Act.

The case here wasn't about whether Hobby Lobby fell within the exception included within ACA. It was about whether ACA (exception and all) fell foul of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which prevents the government from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion for the companies in question. Considering that companies are viewed as a person with regards to that act, a company (even a for-profit company) can exercise religion and ACA imposes a substantial burden on the companies in question for exercising their religion which, while fulfilling a compelling governmental interest, was not the least restrictive method of fulfilling it it's hard to see how people can't see it as falling foul of RFRA.

One doesn't have to agree with RFRA or think that it's good (or well written) law. But it is law... a long standing law that has been used multiple times... and as such it cannot simply be ignored.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2014, 07:33:07 AM »
         I am no expert, but if this writeup by Ian Millhiser is correct, then the RFRA itself was not intended to overturn certain precedents, which this decision has misinterpreted it as being in conflict with.  And that misreading has then been used by Alito to justify greater protection for religious claims than Congress specified. 

         The whole discussion seems well-developed and pertinent to me (with links to some references to the longer legal history), but just snipping out the thrust for here.  Bolding added is stuff that strikes (and/or worries) me. 

(There were some apparently empty brackets at the end of the first paragraph snipped from.  Perhaps they were containers for endnotes or something in some other code Chrome isn't reading fully (??) in the original -- and those also do not get along with the code used on E, so I've removed those.)

Quote
... when the Court considered religious liberty claims [that is, when using the standards previously decided in Sherbert v. Verner (1963) and again in Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)], it was actually engaged in something much less rigorous than strict scrutiny. As Professor Adam Winkler documented, courts uphold less than one-third of all laws they subject to strict scrutiny — yet they rejected 59 percent of the claims brought by plaintiffs claiming religious liberty. A different study reached even starker results — determining that nearly 88 percent of religious liberty plaintiffs lost under the standard announced in Sherbert.

...  the purpose of RFRA was not to change the longstanding balance between religious liberty and the rights of third parties. Rather, it was to restore the many decades of religious liberty law that began with the Sherbert opinion. Indeed, RFRA explicitly states that its purpose is to “restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner and Wisconsin v. Yoder.”

Justice Alito’s opinion, however, tosses this explicit statement of congressional purpose aside, although he offers little explanation for why he is justified in doing so. His best effort is a reference to a 2000 law that amended one of RFRA’s definition of an “exercise of religion” to take out an explicit reference to the First Amendment. According to Alito, the purpose of this amendment was “an obvious effort to effect a complete separation from First Amendment case law” as laid out by cases like Sherbert and Yoder.  Yet, it is difficult to square this interpretation with the fact that the RFRA statute still provides that its purpose is to “restore the compelling interest test as set forth” in Sherbert and Yoder"  ...

The upshot of Alito’s opinion is that, for the first time in American history, people with religious objections to the law will be able to ignore many laws with impunity unless the government’s decision to enforce the law overcomes a very high legal bar that few laws survive. The full implications of Hobby Lobby, however, may not be known for years.

...
 
Alito also emphasizes that there are other steps the government could take to ensure that Hobby Lobby’s employees have access to birth control, such as by paying for it themselves or by extending an accommodation for religious non-profits so that it also covers private employers. For this reason, the biggest loser in Hobby Lobby may very well be LGBT Americans. The courts are already swelling with business owners claiming that their religion entitles them to discriminate against gay people.

« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 07:40:06 AM by kylie »

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2014, 07:43:10 AM »
I think there is a misunderstanding among some in this thread that employees of Hobby Lobby are not going to have access to birth control now.   This is not the case, as the ACA mandates this as a component of all health insurance plans.  This ruling only pertains to who covers the cost.

This ruling states that certain groups can tell the government that providing the coverage violates their religious beliefs. At that point, creating a buffer, their insurer or a third-party administrator takes on the responsibility of paying for the birth control. The employer does not have to arrange the coverage or pay for it. Insurers get reimbursed by the government through credits against fees owed under other provisions of the health care law.

More than likely the government will simply pay for pregnancy prevention or it will provide the same kind of accommodation it has made available to religious-oriented, not-for-profit corporations.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2014, 10:48:58 AM »
The thing is Val. "Birth Control" is not used solely for birth control. Doctor's prescribe it for numerous medical reasons - all of which have been legitimately proven to aided by the use of birth control.

This company, based on their ignorant belief, is refusing to pay a medicine because it also has the effect of stopping pregnancy. Yet they will continue to cover the cost for vasectomies. Care to explain how that is fair?