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Author Topic: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby  (Read 4219 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.

Online Oniya

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

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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

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.

Online Oniya

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

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.

Offline 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.

Offline Lux12

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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

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.

Online 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.  :)

Online Oniya

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

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 »

Offline Valthazar

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.

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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? 

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2014, 11:10:12 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?

To use Hobby Lobby's logic from this case, what they object to is birth control post-conception i.e. after fertilisation of an egg where an embryo would be destroyed. A vasectomy does not cause an embryo to be destroyed and thus does not cause the same issue.

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #26 on: July 01, 2014, 11:18:29 AM »
To use Hobby Lobby's logic from this case, what they object to is birth control post-conception i.e. after fertilisation of an egg where an embryo would be destroyed. A vasectomy does not cause an embryo to be destroyed and thus does not cause the same issue.

 I wonder if they are for birth control methods that keep women from ovulating at all.

Online Oniya

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2014, 11:22:22 AM »
I wonder if they are for birth control methods that keep women from ovulating at all.

Other than an ovectomy or hysterectomy, are there any?

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2014, 11:46:06 AM »
I wonder if they are for birth control methods that keep women from ovulating at all.

In this case they didn't object to having to fund the various birth control methods that prevent an egg from being fertilised, merely to the four FDA approved methods that may destroy the embryo. So if there are any FDA approved birth control methods that keep women from ovulating at all (in the short or long term), they are seemingly fine with it (I genuinely don't know if there are).

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2014, 12:57:35 PM »
  I'm not sure if there are any. I know some women stop having periods when taking some forms of birth control (the pill and such), but I think those women are having an odd reaction that doesn't harm them.  Still, it is more than a little hypocritical for religious folk to be against some/many/most forms of female birth control, but don't really mention male birth control. Almost all of the onus is always put on the woman because she is the one that has to deal with the pregnancy that can result from having sex.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2014, 02:38:38 PM »
I can't say that I'm surprised by this ruling, though I think it is a terrible one for the court to make.  This court has shown quite often that they are willing to give a wide berth to religion when it comes to any sort of "religious freedom" issues.  Such as allowing 10 Commandment monuments, allowing government functions to start with prayers and so forth.

Then again, I'm personally in favor of the complete abolition of any preferential treatment for religions in this country, so I freely admit to my bias in this sort of situation.

Offline vtboy

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2014, 04:08:25 PM »

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.


Justice Ginsburg's dissent provides a compelling response to this.

Ginsburg begins by noting that the majority opinion conflates the factual question of whether a religious objectant's views are sincerely held with the legal question of whether a purported burden on religious exercise is "substantial." She then points out that an employer is not required to purchase birth control for its employees, to urge employees to avail themselves of any covered treatment, or otherwise to become in involved in its employees' health care decisions. All the law requires is that the employer direct money (which may include employee contributions) into funds used to purchase an extensive array of mandated medical benefits, including those in issue. The decision whether to use an abortifacient is made solely by the employee in consultation with her physician. Justice Ginsburg' concludes that the burden, if any, imposed by this regime on the employer's exercise of religion is far too attenuated to qualify as legally "substantial". To me, the conclusion seems unassailable.

That someone may believe a burden is substantial does not make it so.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 04:17:20 PM by vtboy »

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2014, 05:46:58 PM »
Justice Ginsburg's dissent provides a compelling response to this.

Ginsburg begins by noting that the majority opinion conflates the factual question of whether a religious objectant's views are sincerely held with the legal question of whether a purported burden on religious exercise is "substantial." She then points out that an employer is not required to purchase birth control for its employees, to urge employees to avail themselves of any covered treatment, or otherwise to become in involved in its employees' health care decisions. All the law requires is that the employer direct money (which may include employee contributions) into funds used to purchase an extensive array of mandated medical benefits, including those in issue. The decision whether to use an abortifacient is made solely by the employee in consultation with her physician. Justice Ginsburg' concludes that the burden, if any, imposed by this regime on the employer's exercise of religion is far too attenuated to qualify as legally "substantial". To me, the conclusion seems unassailable.

That someone may believe a burden is substantial does not make it so.

Ginsberg position doesn't hold up to me.

The two cases she cites in this part of her dissent don't do quite what she wants them too... and I respect her enough as a jurist to suspect she knows that. In both Kaemmerling and Bowen the Court rejected claims relating to the exercise of religion being infringed... but in both cases the key reasoning on that point was that the statutes in question (about collecting DNA and social security numbers respectively) didn't requite the complainants to do anything; there were no changes in behaviour or actions that the Acts required that the complainants objected to, rather they objected to the Acts pretty much in and of themselves. Thus the court held that there was no substantial burden on the exercise of religion... as in those cases there was no "exercise" to speak of; the complainants actions were not being directed in any way.

That's not the situation here. There is an exercise (having to fund birth control methods that they view as against their religious beliefs). While Ginsberg goes on to try to argue that the action in question is too distinct from the religious objection to be a substantial burden what she's doing there is arguing whether the belief is reasonable... something the Court expressly prevents itself from doing. To quote a case on that issue: "it is not for us to say that the line he drew was an unreasonable one". I'm pretty much certain Ginsberg knows that which is why she's so careful to try to coach her language to avoid appearing to do so.

The Court doesn't and cannot rule on whether a religious belief is reasonable or not... including the belief that it immoral to pay into a fund that in turn offers the four types of birth control at the centre of this case. The question of burden is about what impact exercising a religious belief would have under the law; in this case it would lead to significant costs (either due to fines or other expenditure). That is a substantial burden.

Offline Qt

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2014, 05:57:12 PM »
  I'm not sure if there are any. I know some women stop having periods when taking some forms of birth control (the pill and such), but I think those women are having an odd reaction that doesn't harm them.  Still, it is more than a little hypocritical for religious folk to be against some/many/most forms of female birth control, but don't really mention male birth control. Almost all of the onus is always put on the woman because she is the one that has to deal with the pregnancy that can result from having sex.

First, males don't have as many options compared to women when it comes to birth control.

Second, a female can opt out of parenthood whereas a male cannot and must pay child support. So I couldn't say everything falls on the female, if anything. The society provides various ways for females to alleviate that pressure.

Offline kylie

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2014, 06:13:05 PM »
             The point of having a national health system is to make things somewhat more cost-effective for people in general, all while bankrupting the government less than whatever came previously.  That is all quite regardless of however marginal the improvement may be, so long as it is at least aimed at some improvement: I'm not trying to redo the whole single payer v. corporate market debate, where single payer would probably make for much more savings.

              There are any number of things that could be found reprehensible on religious grounds.  And those views can be as sincere as anyone says.  So what.  Does one stop paying taxes because the government raises armies and goes to war?  Because it funds sex ed in other states?  Because there are executive orders favoring immigrant or trans or gender mobility today and maybe one doesn't like that?  One has no more active involvement in what the government does with your tax money, as one does in what an employee does after they are given a choice of health plans.  And the healthcare law also gave the companies the option to not get involved and to pay instead.  Now the companies are saying no, the government should pay because we disagree (if anyone has to pay at all) -- AS IF it made no difference to the consumer if prices go up when employers do not pay.  But that last supposition, is disingenuous to say the least.

            You could take a sincerely held religious view that it is repugnant to recognize the US government -- all of it, full stop -- if you wished.  Something akin to Clive Bundy's view that at the bottom line, the Constitution does not actually apply to him regardless of whether its rules are helpful to him or not (although he happens to still cite it when those rules happen to suit him, too).  Some factions will still argue (see quote below) that they should not even have to present their religious views to the government in order to get an exemption from federal laws that apply to anyone else -- because if they have to bother to report what they believe, then they are also appearing to support a situation where the default (the law unless you get an exception) is after all, exactly what they disagree with. 

Quote
To take advantage of the exemption, a closely held company owned by religiously devout individuals must file a form, specified by the government, in order to trigger the legal duty of the “middle man” to provide the coverage as a stand-in for the company or its owners.

Federal government lawyers have made it clear in court, over and over again, that the “middle man” will not have any authority to step in unless the company or its owners file that government form claiming an exemption for the mandate.

Some whose religions tell them to have nothing to do with some forms of birth control (often on the premise that they amount to a form of abortion) believe that even the filing of that formal declaration is itself an act of participation in the provision of those very services for people on their payroll.  The form sets in motion, this argument goes, the entire process that results in birth control being made available to the workers for free.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 06:20:35 PM by kylie »

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #35 on: July 01, 2014, 06:37:10 PM »
Does one stop paying taxes because the government raises armies and goes to war?  Because it funds sex ed in other states?  Because there are executive orders favoring immigrant or trans or gender mobility today and maybe one doesn't like that?  One has no more active involvement in what the government does with your tax money, as one does in what an employee does after they are given a choice of health plans.

No; see Adams for a discussion on that exact point with regards to the RFRA. In essence there is a compelling governmental interest for the government to collect taxes and doing so uniformly is the least restrictive way of doing so, even if this puts a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Paying taxes falls firmly within the exceptions put inside the RFRA. It may also be worth looking at the Lee case, which follows a similar logic with regards to the First Ammendment.

And the healthcare law also gave the companies the option to not get involved and to pay instead.  Now the companies are saying no, the government should pay -- AS IF it made no difference to the consumer if prices go up when employers do not pay.  But that last supposition, is disingenuous to say the least.

The government itself argues that insurers who cover companies who are exempted from the ACA birth control requirements and thus cover it themselves will not experience an increase in costs.

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #36 on: July 01, 2014, 06:59:22 PM »
This ruling had much more to do with the financing of healthcare than access to healthcare.  Any employee of Hobby Lobby who uses IUDs or uterine implant birth control is likely still going to be able to use these under their existing employer-provided insurance plan.

The government is just going to add female employees of religious for-profit objectors to the same protocol the objecting non-profits go through.  The government will subsidize the cost of coverage for the IUDs and other excluded healthcare directly to Hobby Lobby's private healthcare provider.  In other words, after this gets sorted out, an employee of Hobby Lobby currently using IUDs is likely going to be able to retain their existing insurance plan with slight variances in their overall premium or copay for this particular service (depending on the government subsidy).

Suggesting that this particular issue (out of all the other expenditures the government wastes money on) is what is going to bankrupt our government is not accurate.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 07:02:00 PM by Valthazar »

Online Oniya

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #37 on: July 01, 2014, 07:06:00 PM »
So, if the objecting company refuses to file the form (because that ensures that their employees gets their prescription albeit through another source), what happens then?

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2014, 07:24:39 PM »
So, if the objecting company refuses to file the form (because that ensures that their employees gets their prescription albeit through another source), what happens then?

The government subsidies go directly to the existing private insurance company for the objecting company - not the objecting company itself.  The private health insurance company and the objecting company are two separate entities.  The employer is not involved with any of these subsidies.

There is no reason to suggest why existing healthcare plans available to employees would change contractually between the private healthcare company and the objecting company (given that all healthcare plans currently in existence must meet the minimum standards under ACA).  Hobby Lobby certainly wouldn't gain or lose anything by changing providers.  All private insurance available now contains contraceptive coverage.

The only difference is that the private health insurance company is now receiving subsidies from the government for the excluded coverage, rather than from the employer.

Given how religious non-profits were dealt with under ACA, this is how I see things playing out.

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2014, 03:01:20 AM »
Given how religious non-profits were dealt with under ACA, this is how I see things playing out.

That's my thought as well; essentially extend the provisions for excluded religious non-profits from ACA to for-profits that can demonstrate a sincere religious belief that being made to fund certain methods of birth control is against their morals.

One thing to keep in mind with this is that the lead opinion by Alito is actually one of the strongest arguments for a single-payer healthcare service that I can remember being advocated by the Court. At times his wording during his discussion of the "least restrictive" element has a distinct undertone of "if only you'd gone for single payer this wouldn't be an issue" about it and, at least on this front, he's right; under a single payer system none of the objections raised in this case apply. Whether he likes it or not (I suspect he won't), Alito's opinion can now be held up and presented by supporters of a single-payer system as an argument for why a single payer system is one of, if not, the best ways to support religious freedom in healthcare.

In fact, if one was being truly cynical, one could use this judgement as the first step to getting a single-payer system in through the back door. Alito explicitly says that the straightforward way to resolve this issue would be for the government to fund the use of these birth control methods directly. If this judgement is, as those who oppose this ruling fear, merely the thin end of the wedge to far more objections then on the same basis (at least relating to ACA/healthcare) the most straightforward way to deal with the complaint is for the government to fund whatever is the cause of the objections directly. What you may well end up with is a large number of Supreme Court opinions all saying that a single-payer option is in essence the best one in a variety of different circumstances... and that's a pretty strong argument in favour of single-payer.

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #40 on: July 02, 2014, 03:47:29 AM »
What you may well end up with is a large number of Supreme Court opinions all saying that a single-payer option is in essence the best one in a variety of different circumstances... and that's a pretty strong argument in favour of single-payer.

I see your reasoning, but this outcome is unlikely.  I do, however, see a long-term shift away from the employer-subsidized health insurance system.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is little, if any, economic incentive for companies to follow suit with Hobby Lobby.  Companies receive a tidy sum in tax benefits for the nature of their health insurance packages, so only companies with legitimate religious beliefs are likely to follow in Hobby Lobby's footsteps.  As such, the private health insurance market is quite alive and well in the US - and future Supreme Court decisions along this line are unlikely to deter their dominance (largely because even a growth in federal subsidies would be going to the private insurance companies themselves in line with the ACA).

Practical solutions include legislation which would eliminate the employer tax deduction for health benefits and replace it with a tax credit to individuals to purchase private health insurance in the open private market (without employer subsidization).  This would resolve all these issues of religious objection, and would most certainly be an improvement over what we have now.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 03:54:21 AM by Valthazar »

Offline kylie

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #41 on: July 02, 2014, 10:14:44 AM »
Quote from: cons11
Paying taxes falls firmly within the exceptions put inside the RFRA.
          It may, but my point is more that a can of worms has been opened where no one knows where the new (Alito) interpretation or test (he says, supposedly) "for" that law's scope seems to end.  There's something odd here where the religious right (and the Court) start and finish on fussing about things they supposedly "won't" decide.  Rather than declare more generally about whatever should positively be considered reasonable burden or accommodation or not, they both speak more to the effect of: "Hey precisely because the Court will not decide who is sincere, it has to assume all who say they are, ARE sincere in a belief and thus every belief on every identity and situation has to be tested as a separate case." 

          There was a time when conservatives so loved to pick on liberals for not having a singular, predictable way of living that made them all one manageable group (and moreover, for so horrifyingly daring to celebrate that as a reality!) ...  And now that the right has learned to play the language of a minority without really even having similar demographics or identical values as the side that once developed that playbook, look where "religious belief" is taking things in terms of policy demands... 

          So it's not so unreasonable for analysts to wonder if they won't do what Alito is reported to have done, and misread the RFRA as covering more than it does.  And on that note: Perhaps you can have the Lee standard if you like OR you can have the RFRA (whichever one feels should work), but from that earlier reading: It sounds like maybe we cannot actually use both simultaneously, not without papering over a conflict between them. 

          On top of that, it seems like it's turning into a fuss where every single possible objection winds up in court.  Which is the "minefield" Ginsberg has warned of.  I guess one might also feel that is just the court's job...  But in practice when much feels up for grabs again, there is a whole lot of vitriol and backstabbing going around in public during the years of waiting for cases to pass through the whole system, hoping to elbow in exceptions that were not so seriously considered before. 

         Also seems to me that "least restrictive" as used here, is sometimes hard to evaluate before the fact of implementation and development of an actual, working policy.  (How is one going to test that and make a sound prediction with all other factors covered, exactly -- does the Supreme Court really hand each case off to the Congressional Budget Office, if that were enough?)  If Canada had stopped building a national care system based on such objections when people found some issues with the first iteration, then I doubt they would have come to the same place they are in today.   The broader American faction that houses the religious right is also the one that tends to say it's all the poor's fault, they should have to pay for themselves and neither richer brackets nor companies (that is, none of those people with well over half the wealth) should have to contribute too much to bring down those general costs that are obviously tearing apart the whole national economy.

         There will always be someone saying there is some possible still more practical way...  But then, government is not always practical and one cannot always simply force it to be whatever one anticipates would be more efficient.  In practice, the US government (particularly the Court) lately tends to err well on the side of defending amorphous, often distant and dispersed (rather than simply "national") corporate interests through concepts like 'property' and expansive 'personhood' more than it worries about saving the average human being.  But it's not so easy to expect that to go away just because one is offended, either. 

            The left has been calling moral outrage for ages and only had very limited success where it has had any...  So I suspect there is no simple and obvious reason that the religious right screaming moral repugnance is going to be able to remove all but the most obviously 'efficient' laws any better.  Quite regardless of what one may think of the motives behind either side trying for change...  Everyone is getting a dose of kick in the face to their values?  Except I suspect, a few of the filthy rich maybe.

Quote from: consortium11

The government itself argues that insurers who cover companies who are exempted from the ACA birth control requirements and thus cover it themselves will not experience an increase in costs.
        Could you provide a link to how that works?  I thought the general point of getting corporations to pay a portion of so many things, was that without corporations contributing some standard amount, consumer costs of the services are higher.  Unless you are somehow arguing that the marginal costs of that particular service were somehow negligible in the first place.  I don't think many people would say that about abortion prices. 

           Though if the government somehow gets to turn around and tear down company price structures anyway (??), hey be my guest.   Or we could do that in the first place, and listen to the religious group complaints about how suddenly abortion was generally more affordable perhaps?  It would be quite ironic if the government were moved to do it only because companies like Hobby Lobby objected to paying for abortion policies at all.  ::)  Maybe there is more to this puzzle though?
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 10:23:24 AM by kylie »

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2014, 01:00:27 PM »
Could you provide a link to how that works?  I thought the general point of getting corporations to pay a portion of so many things, was that without corporations contributing some standard amount, consumer costs of the services are higher.  Unless you are somehow arguing that the marginal costs of that particular service were somehow negligible in the first place.  I don't think many people would say that about abortion prices. 

This is within the Affordable Care Act itself.  Under the ACA, private insurers are required to cover recommended preventive services such as mammograms, pap smears, contraception, gestational diabetes screening, and breastfeeding supports, without cost sharing and at no additional cost to the consumer.

The initial regulations proved controversial among certain religious groups, most notably evangelicals and Lutherans, and especially the Roman Catholic hierarchy, whose hospitals, charities and educational institutions of higher learning, as well as other enterprises, oppose contraception on doctrinal grounds.[219] To accommodate those concerns while still guaranteeing access to contraception, the regulations were adjusted to allow religious organizations to opt out of the requirement to include birth control coverage in their employee insurance plans. In those instances, the insurers themselves will offer contraception coverage to enrollees directly, at no additional cost.

For quite a while now, the government has allowed religious non-profit organizations to opt out of these requirements on religious grounds. In those instances, as per the ACA, the insurers themselves must continue to offer contraception coverage to enrollees directly, at no additional cost to the consumer.

Even if for whatever reason, federal subsidies are not approved for the insurance companies of religious for-profit objectors, the onus is still on insurance companies to figure out a way to comply with ACA (at no additional cost to consumer). 

Much to the delight of insurance companies, studies have shown how the upfront costs of providing birth control are less than the long-term costs of prenatal and maternity care.  It is generally understood that insurers could handle the cost of contraception without drawing extra employer funds (and thus violating the ACA).
Guttmacher Institute

This entire healthcare law is a total mess, and yet another reason why the ACA should not have been rushed into law.

Offline KalebHyde

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2014, 01:36:43 PM »
From just my basic understanding of this case, HL still pays for 16 out of 20 contraceptive methods, so it is not as if they are denying their employees all forms of birth control.  Those specific 4 methods not covered all involve termination of possible conception, though I may not be stating that exactly right.  I assume HL sees this as supporting abortion which would fundamentally violate their beliefs.  It is hard to imagine that they or any other company would choose to fight the government or face the public backlash of their position on a whim.  It is their right as a privately owned company just as it is the right for any customer to take their business elsewhere. 

Speaking of free markets, the ACA is indeed a rushed mess evidenced by the multitude of changes that have been made since it passed.  For all the flaws of the private system, I have never understood how the federal government could run things better.  Changes were needed, but one look at the VA under all administrations should show where any sort of single payer system is going.  Some conspiracy theorists might even suggest that these issues with the ACA were intended to damage the system so much as to have the American people begging for single payer though I am not sure the government is that competent.

Offline kylie

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2014, 08:02:58 PM »
This is within the Affordable Care Act itself.  Under the ACA, private insurers are required to cover recommended preventive services such as mammograms, pap smears, contraception, gestational diabetes screening, and breastfeeding supports, without cost sharing and at no additional cost to the consumer.

           Maybe I just don't understand, or maybe it's the wording.  But it seems to me that a few posts ago, people in favor of this decision were saying that policies including abortion coverage should not be considered preventive or anything other than elective. 

           Now here, are you suggesting they actually are or should be considered preventive?  I could find some reasons to agree they should be --- but unless they are going to be treated that way under the existing law, we would have apples and oranges until if/when another law is introduced to make it so. 

Quote
For quite a while now, the government has allowed religious non-profit organizations to opt out of these requirements on religious grounds. In those instances, as per the ACA, the insurers themselves must continue to offer contraception coverage to enrollees directly, at no additional cost to the consumer.
          Yes and there I'm inclined to agree more with those who have said, but this is not equivalent to a church.  This is a company doing publicly available business. 
 
           If not, then every little photo shop on every other corner (or so many small communities with only one family-owned photo shop btw) comes along and says, we won't provide whichever services we think make same-sex couples look approved...

Quote
Even if for whatever reason, federal subsidies are not approved for the insurance companies of religious for-profit objectors, the onus is still on insurance companies to figure out a way to comply with ACA (at no additional cost to consumer). 

           I do think companies should have a more reasonable pricing structure to begin with.  But I can also imagine they might come to a place where after a certain quantity of objections begin to be raised (or objections to certain particularly hefty procedures?), they would also have a point in saying you know, there is some actual cost here.  And we're being told to pay all of these long list of things, based on "what" exactly, again?

Quote
Much to the delight of insurance companies, studies have shown how the upfront costs of providing birth control are less than the long-term costs of prenatal and maternity care.  It is generally understood that insurers could handle the cost of contraception without drawing extra employer funds (and thus violating the ACA).

           I'm sure they could, but what happens when someone has a religious objection to offering their employees an insurer policy that includes birth control?  Then are you going to say, well the employees or the government should pay for it all by themselves, because after all it's cheaper in absolute terms than having to pay for abortion or maternity coverage?  Oh...  It's cheaper than having to take leave from work to have a baby, too! 

           But we are in this conversation in the first place because certain religious exemptions were allowed.  On the same principle, one can stand up objecting to this too.  If that's what you say "could" be done instead.

           There was a time when some said much of the ACA should be scrapped because it paid through health care through tax policy, and that sort of taxation was unreasonable.  Now we have some people saying, oh no it's not like a tax --- if it were a tax then you do have to pay for whatever the government does for everyone with the tax (unless you refuse taxes of course).  Here you pick and choose, exempt this and that for religion.  Go figure.



Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2014, 08:07:37 PM »
The four types of contraception not allowed by Hobby Lobby conveniently stand as one of the more expensive methods of reversible contraception.  Among these four are two forms of “morning after pill” which is the form of birth control whereby a woman takes the medication after having possible unprotected sex.  By this I mean rape, drunk one night stands, forgetting their pill, condom breaking, etc. etc.  The pill works by delaying ovulation, which would cause the sperm to miss the egg through timing and by also interfering with the fertilization of the egg.  The pile may also reduce the chance of implantation, but in no way damage or interferes with an egg that is implanted.  Now there is almost no medical professional that would state that a woman whose egg has failed to implant is having a miscarriage or to use the medical term, an abortion.  Hobby Lobby feels this is an abortion, despite the fact that the medical community says differently and all scientific information contradicts their feeling.

Second comes the IUD.  This is considered a long-term, effective form of birth control that does not require a woman to keep track of medications or prepare herself before having sex in order to prevent pregnancy.  Both IUDs prevent the sperm from meeting the egg by killing off the sperm and generating a toxic environment for the sperm to exist.  This is similar to the spermicide used on several devices that Hobby Lobby does cover.  Once more there is almost no medical professional that would say a woman failing to implant or even fertilize an egg if having an abortion.  Hobby Lobby simply “feels” this is an abortion.  Coincidentally these are the two most expensive of the reversible options.

Of the sixteen choices left, two are for men which include condoms and vasectomies.  Considering condoms are handed out for free at Planned Parenthood and almost any high school or college health clinic, this is a bit of a stretch for them to claim as insurance coverage.  Two of the other options are for permanent female sterilization.  Not really even in the same conversation as this one.  So now we are left with twelve options for women. 

Spermicides  are 70-80% effective, are known to cause irritation and obviously work best if applied near time of planned intercourse.  Not really the best option.

Female condom use is 72-82% effective.  Also the device must be properly placed before intercourse and is known to cause irritation and reduce enjoyment of the female.  Yes, now even women can complain about condoms not letting them enjoy sex.  Though considering that women require tactile stimulation rather than mechanical release for orgasm, I tend to believe women have a leg to stand on here.

Diaphragm, sponge and cervical cap with spermicide are at roughly 84% effectiveness.  These devices may also lead to increased risk of UTIs and can lead to toxic shock syndrome if left in place for more than 24 hours.  Little details right?

So then there is the multitude of pills.  Birth control pills are effective, largely inexpensive with insurance and easily obtained by most pharmacists.  Most pills do have an effectiveness rate somewhere in the high 90s, unless of course taken with antibiotics in which case there will be no sexual activity.  There is also the problem of missing a pill, taking the wrong pill.  Then there is finding the right one that won’t send the hormones into overdrive and then also there is a waiting period for their effectiveness.  So there are certainly some issues here. 

So that is twelve of the sixteen discussed with none offering what the IUD or the Plan B offers.  So this leaves the contraceptive ring, contraceptive patch, implantable devices and the shots.  The shots last around 3-4 months and require regular doctor visits to receive them.  Contraceptive rings are replaced every three weeks and patches every week.  So here again we have issues with obtaining and remaining consistent. 

Implantable rods are effective for 3 years. Hormonal IUDs are effective for 3-5 years, copper IUDs are effective for ten years.  This means that a woman at 18 can effectively not worry about getting pregnant until she is 28 years old.  This covers college, graduate school, careers and puts her at an age that most women would feel comfortable considering pregnancy.  All this with a single doctor’s appointment and insertion.  Let me say that again.  Hobby Lobby’s best option to match a Copper IUD is beat by SEVEN YEARs.  There is no man that I know of which would consider that large of a difference a comparable one.  Not to mention there is nothing comparable to Plan B offered by Hobby Lobby.  By the way, almost every other birth control measure recommends emergency contraceptive on hand.  So pretty much everything Hobby Lobby covers, recommends Plan B.

Simply put, each of these devices has pros and cons.  Downplaying the severity of limiting the choice is honestly insulting.  To tell someone, “I am sorry but we could offer you a more effective and easier to manage solution, but we don’t like them so we are giving you a less effective and more difficult to manage solution” does not work in any other aspect of medicine.  There is not one HIV patient being given an old regiment of medication when the new, combination medications are available and on hand.  People come into the Emergency Room and are given A SHOT of antibiotics in place of multiple doses and pills, because physicians know less is more effective. 

There is no other area of medicine where this argument flies aside from women’s health and contraception.  None.  The more effective procedures and medications are there and present, bought and paid for and those medications and procedures are given to the patient.  Except for this one issue and area.

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2014, 09:11:39 PM »
Maybe I just don't understand, or maybe it's the wording.  But it seems to me that a few posts ago, people in favor of this decision were saying that policies including abortion coverage should not be considered preventive or anything other than elective.

I did not mention abortion in this thread.  Pumpkin Seeds may have been under the impression that abortion is included as an essential benefit under ACA.  It is not.

No private insurer is required to include abortion coverage, and abortion cannot be included as an essential benefit in insurance plans (except those under the Hyde Amendment - rape, incest and life endangerment).  No state will be required to provide abortion coverage, and a state can, in fact, pass a law that bars any plan covering abortion from the state-assisted exchange.

If a private insurance plan does cover abortion, the insurer must collect separate premium checks for that coverage and cannot use any premium tax credits or other federal funding for those services.  In certain situations, the states themselves may require abortion to be covered under all insurance plans.

Essential Benefits

Yes and there I'm inclined to agree more with those who have said, but this is not equivalent to a church.  This is a company doing publicly available business.

It is worth mentioning that 'religious non-profits' do not only represent churches or places of worship.  A non-profit is any organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends.  The simple act of performing business to the public does not disqualify an organization from this status.

To tell someone, “I am sorry but we could offer you a more effective and easier to manage solution, but we don’t like them so we are giving you a less effective and more difficult to manage solution” does not work in any other aspect of medicine.  There is not one HIV patient being given an old regiment of medication when the new, combination medications are available and on hand.  People come into the Emergency Room and are given A SHOT of antibiotics in place of multiple doses and pills, because physicians know less is more effective. 

I think many here are under the impression that individuals will no longer have access to these four types of contraception.  This is not the case.

The employees of Hobby Lobby receive their health insurance from a private health insurance company - not Hobby Lobby.  Thus, the insurance company is legally obligated to comply with ACA minimum standards, regardless of the source of funding.  Regardless of this Supreme Court decision, the coverage options available for HL employees will not change.  As I said, the onus falls on their insurance company to figure out how to finance all of this, given that the employer no longer has to contribute this portion of the premium cost.  Either the insurance company will absorb the cost directly (plausible but unlikely), or federal subsidies will go directly to the insurance company, in-line with religious non-profits.

I guess you could say the real responsibility falls on the White House and Congress to figure out this mess now, since all enrollees of private health insurance plans are and will always be guaranteed to have access to these types of procedures.  Again, all the four types of contraception will continue to be available on the employees' insurance plans.

The reasoning for 'why' Hobby Lobby does not want to contribute to these four types of contraception was discussed earlier in this thread.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 09:14:07 PM by Valthazar »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #47 on: July 03, 2014, 03:12:42 AM »
I never mentioned abortion coverage.  Abortion is an elective surgery and I am also not stupid enough to believe that Hobby Lobby would fight these four forms of contraception, but not a mandatory funding of actual abortion coverage.  I am not sure why my name was included in this statement.

The insurance company will still have to provide plans that cover these four types of contraception, but will not have to offer this plan to Hobby Lobby.  If the court states that Hobby Lobby does not have to pay for them, the court cannot then tell the insurance company they must still offer the service without payment.  That is really at the crux of this situation.  Now the government may pay for these four forms of contraception, but considering the fight to simply include mandatory coverage for women under the ACA I doubt there will be any such law passed.  This means that women will be forced to pay for their own treatment or will have to qualify to go on the insurance plan marketplace to find coverage that does offer these four.  One poster said this is a conspiracy to offer one-payer system, but in truth the reverse argument is openly stated as opponents are slowly eroding and attempting to remove the teeth of the ACA.

Proof that practicing their religion is a substantial burden is not answered so easily.  Denying someone else a choice is not part of the Christian religion nor is this part of their doctrine.  Mass at a Church does not stop because condoms are being distributed elsewhere, baptisms aren’t being held up because an employer gave money to a 401K that funds abortion methods and Christians aren’t being beaten in the street because of a same-sex marriage law being passed.  There has to be proof that in some way the religious practices are being hindered to the point that the practitioners either crease or are burdened.  None of these practitioners are being burdened for practicing their religion, they are only being asked to pay into a system whereby forms of healthcare are covered and provided.  Nobody is forcing the people to use the medications, to sponsor the treatments or advocate them to their employees.  There is no part played by these employers other than paying a tax.  Will I now be able to not pay my taxes due to religious and ideological beliefs?

Hobby Lobby has also proven that their business model loses conviction when faced with financial concerns.  The company has refused to invest their 401K funds into religious minded investment groups; instead seeking financial return with non-Christian investment groups that invest their money into pharmaceutical companies that fund the very contraception Hobby Lobby claims is burdening their religious freedom.  Being closed on Sunday and playing Christian music in the store is not incorporating religious practice into business practice. 

The exemptions offered by the ACA to religious employers used to fall under this statement, “which refers to churches, other houses of worship, their integrated auxiliaries and conventions or association of churches, as well as the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.”  Hobby Lobby does not fall under any of this.  The Supreme Court has altered the provision drastically and without cause.  This sets an extremely dangerous precedent and already cases are on the heels of this one to extend the ban on coverage to other forms of contraception and to other businesses.  What will keep lower courts from taking this direction by the Supreme Court and denying women coverage?  As the dissenting opinion stated, what prevents other religious practices from being honored due to this ruling ?

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2014, 04:57:43 AM »
I also didn't really know where kylie saw someone posting about abortion, but this is where I thought you were citing abortion:

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.



The insurance company will still have to provide plans that cover these four types of contraception, but will not have to offer this plan to Hobby Lobby. If the court states that Hobby Lobby does not have to pay for them, the court cannot then tell the insurance company they must still offer the service without payment.  That is really at the crux of this situation.  Now the government may pay for these four forms of contraception, but considering the fight to simply include mandatory coverage for women under the ACA I doubt there will be any such law passed.

You are correct that a Congressional solution to directly fund is unlikely, given that most Republicans still oppose the ACA, and maintain a majority in the House.  However, legal analysts have already suggested that the Obama administration will rewrite contraception regulations for companies affected by Hobby Lobby on its own (without Congress), and relatively quickly, and the Supreme Court seems to not mind a rewrite of the rules, either.
Supreme Court Advice to President Obama

As Justice Alito said, "HHS [Health and Human Services] itself has demonstrated that it has at its disposal an approach that is less restrictive than requiring employers to fund contraceptive methods that violate their religious beliefs... HHS has already established an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious objections."

It is worth mentioning that the Obama administration itself was the one who introduced the modified regulations for religious nonprofits last year to opt out of paying for contraceptive coverage (without Congressional approval being necessary). The nonprofit’s health care provider would then provide the coverage on its own, at no additional cost to employees.

It is not outlandish to assume that when Obama and the administration add new regulation for religious for-profits in the same manner (as per Alito's suggestion), that he would follow suit in ensuring no additional cost.

Hobby Lobby has also proven that their business model loses conviction when faced with financial concerns.  The company has refused to invest their 401K funds into religious minded investment groups; instead seeking financial return with non-Christian investment groups that invest their money into pharmaceutical companies that fund the very contraception Hobby Lobby claims is burdening their religious freedom.  Being closed on Sunday and playing Christian music in the store is not incorporating religious practice into business practice. 

Hobby Lobby isn't looking to restrict employee investment activity – any more than it is trying to restrict the legal availability of contraception for their employees.  To reiterate once again, employees of Hobby Lobby will not lose coverage for the 4 contraceptive methods, and nothing Hobby Lobby is doing will add to their employees' expenses (based to ACA regulatory precedent).  401(k) investments originate solely from pre-tax employee earnings, after payroll has been done.  These are not company finances any longer.  In the case of Hobby Lobby, they voluntarily match employee contributions not as a legal requirement, but as a benefit.  Realize that employer matches in 401(k) plans are not feeding into the company operations.  They benefit the employee, and not the business. 

From a financial perspective, making this criticism is akin to saying that Hobby Lobby is violating their Christian principles because an employee utilizes a portion of his/her paycheck to go to a strip club.  Although to most employees it may appear that 401(k) contributions are controlled by their employer, the reality is that it is the employee himself who makes this determination upon his hire as to how his/her pre-tax earning contributions are invested (from a selection of mutual funds).  Aware that these 401(k) investments are outside the realm of their business, Hobby Lobby responsibly offers a litany of mutual funds (more than 12), where 8 of them involve pharmaceutical companies.  Given that 401(k) matches are not a legal requirement, your assertion seems to suggest that it would be more in line with their "Christian mission" to not grant any 401(k) match at all.  These expenses are outside the realm of business operation since they do not feed into the operational and overhead functioning of the company.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 05:20:00 AM by Valthazar »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #49 on: July 03, 2014, 07:42:12 AM »
The insurance company does not provide coverage for those four types of contraception.  An insurance company will not provide coverage for something they are not being paid to cover.  There is no law that Congress will pass or any executive order that can be done that will force a company to give something for free.  These workers lose the ability to receive these four types of contraception unless someone steps forward and pays for them.  Whether this is the women paying an additional cost, which means they now pay more for the same health coverage as everyone else in the United States, or the government.  Which if the government begins to pay for some women’s birth control there will be a clamor for them to cover all women’s birth control.   

You keep saying the birth control will be provided at no additional cost but fail to say how that will be done.  According to the Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times interviewed on NPR yesterday, you are wrong.  If a company will not pay for coverage, the law is changed.  According to the ACA, women are to be covered for these procedures and contraception at no additional cost to them.  If the company does not have to pay for them, then the insurance company will not be obligated to offer those services.  The Obama administration made those changes to avoid this very conflict, knowing that this would open the door to removal of women's health from the ACA.

Also, Hobby Lobby chooses who controls the investments of the 401K.  They receive notices about who their 401K company is donating money to along with their employees.  Hobby Lobby selects which company and they also have the ability to stop funds to and alter the investments.  Hobby Lobby also matches those funds by their employees.  This is not one of their employees going to a strip club, this is Hobby Lobby asking which strip club they would like money set aside for their employee and offering to give him a little extra to buy a lap dance.  So I am glad Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to restrict investment opportunities, but I would like if they did not restrict healthcare opportunities for their female employees as well. 
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 07:43:26 AM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #50 on: July 03, 2014, 08:19:39 AM »
There is no law that Congress will pass or any executive order that can be done that will force a company to give something for free.
You keep saying the birth control will be provided at no additional cost but fail to say how that will be done.

This is incorrect.  As I already said, in 2013, the Obama administration itself was the one who introduced and instated the modified regulations for religious nonprofits which mandated that the nonprofit’s private health care provider would absorb the costs completely and provide any non-reimbursed services, at no additional cost to employees.  In other words, an executive decision to change regulations did make insurance companies give something for free, while still maintaining 'religious freedom' from the non-profit employer's perspective.

Here's an excerpt from the actual Press Release from 2013:

With respect to insured plans, including student health plans, these religious organizations would provide notice to their insurer.  The insurer would then notify enrollees that it is providing them with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.

If anything, these types of issues show how poorly crafted the ACA was, or at the very least, how rushed it was into law.  But my strong assumption is that the Obama administration will try to "fix" the ACA again through a similar regulatory modification.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 08:24:43 AM by Valthazar »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #51 on: July 03, 2014, 08:39:40 AM »
The exemption that keeps being referenced is specifically written for those that file with the IRS for houses of worship and their affiliations.  An insurance company can quickly argue that Hobby Lobby does not qualify for that exemption and what’s more insurance companies are already suing the government regarding this exemption.  On top of that the government is currently paying for this contraception because the government then offers a tax break to compensate the insurance company for the cost, regardless if the people actually use the contraception.  So everyone is paying for this decision with their tax dollars. 

This shows the horrible state of politics in this country, not the ACA.  The fact that the best this country could put together over the course of twenty years when healthcare first showed itself a problem is the ACA is how ridiculous the bipartisanship and lobbying of this country has become.  This is the first of many bad decisions that will be brought about by this one.

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2014, 09:13:14 AM »
I was not referring to Hobby Lobby being able to qualify for that exemption as a religious non-profit.  I was referring to the Obama administration likely to write a new regulation into ACA with the HHS which drafts a similar clause for religious for-profits.  But regardless, we can agree to disagree.  We'll see what happens in a few months.  At least we can agree that lobbying has taken over the US, and average folk like you and me are getting the short end of the stick, even if our reasoning is different.

This is a post I made in the other ACA thread about insurance company stock prices last November, and how they would likely continue to increase at a rate beyond the rest of the stock market growth.  You can see that is exactly what seems to have happened to date, which is why I consider the ACA the result of insurance lobbying, more so than a comprehensive healthcare reform.
AETNA (AET)                   $28 (2010) -->   $65  (2013)  --> $83 (2014)  (edited today)
UnitedHealth (UNH)        $29 (2010) -->  $71 (2013)    --> $83 (2014)  (edited today)
WellPoint (WLP)             $46 (2010) -->  $90  (2013)   --> $110 (2014)   (edited today)
WellCare (WCG)             $24 (2010) -->  $69  (2013)   --> $75 (2014) (edited today)

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #53 on: July 03, 2014, 09:17:38 AM »
This exemption to me seems to open the door to a lot of future coverage issues. There is no burden upon the stores' religious beliefs by paying for medical coverage. They aimply put money towards insurance. That is not paying for contraceptives of any type, it is paying for federally mandated insurance.

Whether a woman uses birth control or not is never something the employer would even be aware of, as that woman has the right to confidentiality with her doctor. Thus there would be no burden placed on the employer or company beliefs because it would not ever be something they had knowledge of.

How then does paying for this insurance burden them? By putting money into the 401k into pharmacuticals which puts money towards these contraceptives, does Hobby Lobby not get burdened exactly the same amount? So wouldn't or shouldn't that then negate their claims that funding the insurance burdens them?

How can they put money into the contraceptives one way then refuse another way, when the first is completely voluntary yet the second and government mandated? Yet the government will exempt them while they continue to put money into the pharmacuticals they refuse to pay health care for?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #54 on: July 03, 2014, 12:28:57 PM »
Right now I'm seeing that universities are wanting exemption to offer women birth control options at their health clinics, an employer in PA wants an exemption to the executive order that LGBT members not be discriminated against for hiring by federal contractors and that more cases are coming up to court by other for profits companies with even more demands.  Thus far it sounds as if the dissent was correct in their alarmist response.

Offline Retribution

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #55 on: July 03, 2014, 01:33:29 PM »
This is going to sound odd coming from a Catholic, but I have been debating this decision with myself. I do not support the Church's stance against BC. I went to Catholic school with some families of from 16 to 24 and they had no real means to support that many children but followed church doctrine. I also know a lot of out of wedlock births that have taken place from following said party line. I also personally feel unplanned pregnancies are one of the most serious problems facing our country. I say this not from a moralistic point of view but from economic.

I know many people that an unplanned pregnancy put them behind the 8 ball literally for the rest of their lives. Hell, I am the product of an unplanned pregnancy that has had repercussions throughout my parents and my own life. I am not real keen on abortion, in fact I generally oppose it, but I think BC should be free and clear and that such a world would greatly help a lot of our economic and social issues. So yeah, I am not real happy with this decision even though I get the point is to not overtly burden privately held companies.

-edit- And I forgot another point I missed. I have a friend who is a cancer survivor and she literally cannot have children. But she has to be on BC as part of her regiment to help keep the cancer from returning. I feel like this is a slippery slope one does not wish to step onto.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 04:05:31 PM by Retribution »

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« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 09:13:41 PM by Kuje »

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Offline Kuroneko

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #59 on: July 03, 2014, 08:01:59 PM »
I'm just going to drop this here as well about the widening scope of this ruling:

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-expanded-hobby-lobby-20140702-column.html#page=1

« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 08:03:06 PM by Kuroneko »

Offline vtboy

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #60 on: July 04, 2014, 08:34:29 AM »
That narrow definition seems to be quickly widening.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/faith-leaders-exempt-religious-groups-from-order-barring-lgbt-bias-in-hiring/2014/07/02/d82e68da-01f1-11e4-b8ff-89afd3fad6bd_story.html

Unless the government rolls over, a RFRA case does not end with the plaintiff's demonstration that an exercise of sincerely held religious belief is substantially impeded by the law in question. Rather, the burden then shifts to the government to demonstrate the law serves a compelling purpose, and is the least religiously burdensome means available to achieve the purpose.

I don't think the government would have much difficulty in establishing either of these requirements with respect to Obama's executive order barring discriminatory treatment of LGBT employees by government contractors.

That said, my difficulty with the Hobby Lobby decision is that it seems to permit any whackadoo to drag the government into court and put it to these burdens through the simple expedient of claiming a law substantially restrains the exercise of some sincerely held religious belief, no matter how iconoclastic the conception of exercise and how tenuous the impediment. While the government would likely meet its burdens in many cases, the toll on government resources is likely to be high. Moreover, it is not difficult to imagine that an executive branch in more conservative hands might simply decline to defend many of these cases, forcing private litigants to do the heavy lifting. For these reasons, it seems to me that the courts should be required to perform a "gatekeeper" function at the pleading stage of RFRA cases, to winnow out those claims which are facially unreasonable, either because the act compelled or prohibited cannot rationally be considered an exercise of religion or because the burden cannot rationally be considered substantial. I think this is what Justice Ginsburg was getting at when she wrote in her dissent that, while the sincerity of a claimed religious belief presents a question of fact, whether a claimed burden is substantial is one of law. 

A Congress less enamored with the religious right, or less intimidated by it, might be expected to take this bull by the horns and amend the statute. Unfortunately, political realities are otherwise.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 08:37:13 AM by vtboy »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #61 on: July 04, 2014, 01:22:11 PM »
Organizations that advocate for healthcare for women thought the government would have no problem showing how healthcare options for women were not a burden to employers and that corporations did not have an ability to claim religious identities.  They were wrong on both accounts.  You don’t think a court could find problem with an executive decision, not a law, which prevents only federal contractors from discriminating against the LGBT community.  The fact that there has to be an executive order at all should cause concern and show the precarious position of the LGBT community in regard to this topic.  A for-profit company can now claim a religious identity.  There is a religious exemption to fair hiring practices, just as there was already an exemption to contraception for women.  I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss this issue.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #62 on: July 05, 2014, 08:37:36 PM »
The Conservative justices on the Supreme Court aren't doing any favors to Republican chances in the mid-term elections by making these decisions.  This has been a slowly-turning but decisive move in the culture wars towards the more Liberal outlook, much like LGBT rights to marriage.  Newer generations are overwhelmingly against Republican opinions on such matters.  If anything, I can see more women getting out to vote on this wedge issue, much like the mid-terms where the Republicans took back control of the House.  Sooner or later, the Republican party is going to need to divide into a more moderate version, and a hard-core reactionary version that can continue to command the tide to roll back.

Offline kylie

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #63 on: July 28, 2014, 08:09:45 PM »
       While it doesn't quite deal with the "corporation as person" problem, here comes another move on abortion using the same ruling in much the opposite direction:

Quote
The Satanic Temple (TST) is a religious group that "believes that the body is inviolable subject to one’s own will alone" and encourages making personal health decisions "based on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others.” The group launched a campaign Monday on behalf of a woman's right to accurate medical information and cited the Hobby Lobby ruling as bolstering this position.

Offline Sabby


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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #65 on: July 30, 2014, 12:30:32 PM »
        Well, why not?  I'd rather have conscientious objections to sitting for moralizing propaganda (and all the very real expenses that puts in the way of women making timely choices about their own bodies), particularly when it's lacking in the medical support department.

        The whole rationale that corporations as such need protection from being offended, on the other hand, is rather silly imo.   

        Just because they take the name "Satanic" doesn't mean they are anti-scientific on this.  Though I suppose there are probably a few crazies and less principled types out there using the name for kicks, along the side of the show here and there.  So I don't think it's really the same thing going on -- more of a backlash on the same broad issue, but a somewhat different front.

         
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 12:31:35 PM by kylie »

Online Oniya

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #66 on: July 30, 2014, 12:38:15 PM »
In an odd way, having a 'Church of Satan' (I don't know which specific group is registering the complaint as I write this) draws attention to two issues at once:  One, the idea that a corporation (as a non-singular entity created for the purpose of earning a profit) can be said to have 'beliefs' (as opposed to a mission statement), and two, the idea that any one religion should have more of a say in the way laws are applied than any other belief system.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #67 on: July 31, 2014, 07:49:10 PM »
Quote
two, the idea that any one religion should have more of a say in the way laws are applied than any other belief system.

        If I recall/understood correctly, the Hobby Lobby ruling was trying to say that religious belief might be used to opt out of certain situations, but it wasn't quite saying that any particular religion would "have more of a say" than others.   

        It strikes me as a bit like the Republicans in Congress, honestly -- trying to open up roadblocks and procedural loopholes everywhere for anyone to use, such that nothing they don't like gets done anytime soon. 

        Huff Post just linked to a general, rather discursive press release or memo which in turn links back to a sort of umbrella website.  Apparently it's named The Satanic Temple actually...  Though I have a hard enough time keeping terms for buildings straight, when it's not in Asia where the word "temple" is a lot more common.  I don't know that temples are so functionally different from churches for purposes of outsiders speculating about their place in society (except that it does set up a nice contrast with the relative privilege Christianity has tended to claim in US government?), I could be wrong.

        Though the stigma more conventionally attached to anything labeled "Satanic," should leave us in a situation where people think a little harder about where in fact various religions have been granted more formal recognition and clout than others in the society.  Or perhaps even, some religions have, not to mention competition with yet other possible belief systems beyond religion that could be called upon.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 07:50:41 PM by kylie »

Offline Sabby

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2014, 07:54:57 PM »
        Well, why not? 

Oh, I want this to happen. This is one of those laws that is just unlocking Pandoras Box and the only way someone is going to put a lock back on it is everyone keeps throwing it open. Laws are useless when they are this open to abuse, and they usually only go away once that abuse is demonstrated repeatedly. Good on the Satanic Church. This isn't the first time they've gone after a law like this.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #69 on: July 31, 2014, 08:15:21 PM »
          Well, as I gather it isn't much of an abuse.  In the sense that the speech and expenses they are challenging before abortions can be performed, were put in place at least partly to obstruct things (with both adding expenses and delay, and a fair bit of moralizing about "ending a separate life," well pick your definition of life ad infinum) and moreover stands on grounds that have since been medically challenged.

           You're right though, in the sense that it can be read as an example of the sort of endless minefield Ginsberg warned of...  There might be so many other possible new cases retesting what were previously thought to be more or less agreed boundaries of overriding government interest.

           

Offline Alsheriam

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #70 on: July 31, 2014, 08:16:44 PM »

Offline Sabby

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #71 on: July 31, 2014, 08:22:46 PM »
Correct, the Church of Satan isn't 'technically' abusing this law, as they are completely within it's boundaries, but that's exactly the problem. This law allows too much. It really bares repeating, any law with room for manipulation can and will be manipulated. There's nothing stopping a company saying "Well, we can justify not having to pay for things if we say we don't agree with it on Religious grounds". That kind of abuse of the law is just as valid as the Church of Satans very sensible use of it, and that's a big problem.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 08:25:28 PM by Sabby »

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #72 on: August 01, 2014, 04:42:49 PM »
         I meant more that -- while I haven't read a whole lot on the subject -- what I have read briefly, suggests that some of the "medical" talk people are required by law to receive before being allowed abortions, is not really medically supported at all.  So removing that sort of talk is not an abuse/ mistreatment of the people affected.  We could try to confirm or deny all that on more scientific grounds, and it wouldn't be about religion at all.

         It's still true that having a ruling that allows religion as the basis for being granted some extraordinary opportunity to present such a challenge -- religious claims just as a reason for being given the stage in itself -- is problematic yes.  For example in that case, you'd think (assuming the Temple claims are indeed basically correct) that one should be able to press the issue under terms like medical malpractice or something.  Why give "religious belief" a fast track...  And perhaps there will be someone trying to argue that you cannot have a recognizable (?) religion with a fundamental belief in scientific and empirical evidence as a core tenet?  Or I will be surprised if that doesn't get insinuated somehow in opposition to the Temple.

          So the Temple stuff is doing (at least!) two things at once:  It's fighting a more pragmatic argument about abortion issues proper, and it's hinting by borrowing the language of religious exemption from the court ruling that the ruling could be used for all sorts of things without regard for whether each has arguable scientific merit.  (Does thumbing one's nose at the plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby also count under number two?)
 
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 04:44:59 PM by kylie »

Offline Alsheriam

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #73 on: August 01, 2014, 04:52:48 PM »
In the wake of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby I was joking on social media that I could start a corporation under my name, make it a closely-held corporation (with limited stockholders and trade said stock only on occasion) and declare myself to be the leader of a made-up cult which makes a religious demand of me to carry out public anal sex as a first-time greeting to all customers.

Because it's my religious freedom to do so!

Many Christians were not amused. :P

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #74 on: August 01, 2014, 05:39:09 PM »
GRAVE DIGGA

Anyway corporations don't have an official religion, they are not people, they do not have rights.

Oh If this goes on maybe I can sue two Texas corporations on religious grounds if they have a merger. If Both CEO's are male, because due to "corporate personhood" and gay marriage being illegal in Texas.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #75 on: August 23, 2014, 03:36:42 AM »
            Still going, rather as predicted I would say.  It's kind of looking to become a front for the right to oppose anyone who wants birth control, working at corporations where owners oppose birth control itself...  On the rationale that it's a "corporate" health plan and therefore content should not be up to the employee (let alone the government) at all?  Huh.

            And there are commentators fielding the "If you want contraception, you don't have to work there" defense...  As if there are an infinite number of employers, or for that matter an infinite range of religious preferences of employers, available everywhere.  And as if switching and finding jobs were a simple matter with no disruption and risks.

       
Quote

Seeking to quell a politically charged controversy, the Obama administration announced new measures Friday to allow religious non-profits and some companies to opt out of paying for birth control for female employees, while still ensuring those employees have access to contraception.

Even so, the accommodations may not fully satisfy religious groups who oppose any system that makes them complicit in providing coverage they believe is immoral.

Effective immediately, the US will start allowing faith-affiliated charities, colleges and hospitals to notify the government – rather than their insurers – that they object to birth control on religious grounds. Then the government will instruct a non-profit’s insurer or third-party administrators to take on the responsibility of paying for the birth control, at no cost to the employer.

.....

The latest proposals, which were expected to be formally released later Friday, will likely run up against the same objections, because they still enable employees to receive contraception at no extra charge through their health plans – one of a range of preventive services required under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

“We will be studying the new rule with our clients, but if today’s announcement is just a different way for the government to hijack the health plans of religious ministries, it is unlikely to end the litigation,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has represented both Hobby Lobby and Wheaton.


Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #76 on: August 23, 2014, 09:44:05 PM »
Still going, rather as predicted I would say.  It's kind of looking to become a front for the right to oppose anyone who wants birth control, working at corporations where owners oppose birth control itself...  On the rationale that it's a "corporate" health plan and therefore content should not be up to the employee (let alone the government) at all?  Huh.

All employees will still have access to their desired contraception at no extra cost to them.  This entire issue is simply about who pays - not access, as the media has attempted to spin it.

Someone earlier mentioned that cost shifting to the government (as in these cases with religious for-profts and non-profits opting out), may actually be a backdoor progression to a single-payer system over the years.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #77 on: August 23, 2014, 10:23:37 PM »
          I dunno, I suppose it depends whether anyone sues again with claims that they simply have religious objections to being required to answer anything that leads to contraception. 

          If they can refuse to pay for procedures they don't support on religious grounds, who's to say whatever they do have to pay for?  It seems like much of the South has elected people who might even see fit to find "religious" objections to having a federal government, some of the time.


Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #78 on: August 23, 2014, 10:31:05 PM »
It's not my assumption, it's a fact.  All employees will continue to have contraceptive coverage. 

Even if closely-held religious for-profits and religious non-profits continue to have further religious objections, the costs are simply transferred over to the government.  The employee will not lose any coverage options.

Some may say this will be paid through tax revenue - and that is a fact.  But government-subsidized healthcare systems, such as single-payer, function in this manner.

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #79 on: August 24, 2014, 03:05:31 AM »
          It's a "fact" for just as long as no one succeeds in a legal challenge using Hobby Lobby to undercut the health care legislation. 

          I will be quite surprised if someone doesn't at least try something like that in the courts.  And with the current Supreme Court at least (from corporate "personhood" onward), I don't think we can be certain what would come out of that. 

          On another front, the decision is already being pointed to as an excuse to carve exemptions from even executive orders -- particularly one regarding anti-discrimination rules for LGBT in the workplace.  Alito, for his part, has already been rather nastily slient on just such issues:  He came out saying this should not be used to enable racial discrimination in employment --- while completely neglecting Ginsburg's simultaneous concerns about sex, gender presentation, and sexual orientation discrimination in a way that leaves a rather upsetting silence (as mentioned in the Newsweek article referenced below)...  And this obviously isn't the only issue that is now thrown open.   

          Although personally, I suspect even the Supreme Court might be a little shy about treading on executive orders as such like this.  Or I hope so.  But who can say. 

Quote
That whole Hobby Lobby decision is already prompting religious leaders to push for changes to a coming executive order enforcing the dead-in-the-water Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on federal contractors. The act is meant to ban employers from discriminating on the basis of sexuality, and though it passed the Senate, the Republican-dominated House has refused to take it up.
.........
The question before Obama boils down to this: Should the federal government essentially hire organizations that refuse to hire LGBT employees on the basis of their sexual orientation? Wouldn’t that make the federal government complicit in discrimination, no matter what religious doctrine that discrimination is based on?

Ginsburg's point was precisely that since new standards were applied in the present case, now others can ask for the same standards to be applied on any number of other things that were previously decided or presumed to be so.  And it hasn't been determined what will come out if such new challenges arise.

Even some gay rights groups that had previously accepted the ENDA bill, for example, in providing exemptions for certain religious groups, are feeling the same way: Without knowing how such provisions would be interpreted in light of the latest case, they would sooner abandon the whole bill than risk passing it in an environment where the bar for testing and obtaining any such exemptions has just been changed.

           Now I suppose if you believe that in fact, nothing particular has been changed and the present case does not go against prior practice, then we'll just have to disagree.  I don't really feel that there was much of a thorough answer to what I mentioned about that before.  But there it is.  It just might take more of a legal historian than most here wish to play at, to pick through it and add something to qualify or elaborate matters more? I dunno.
       
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 03:35:24 AM by kylie »

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #80 on: August 24, 2014, 05:02:00 AM »
And with the current Supreme Court at least (from corporate "personhood" onward), I don't think we can be certain what would come out of that.

Corporate Personhood has been a concept in the US since at least 1888 and more likely 1819 (with Dartmouth College vs Woodward). Citizens United expanded it to include free speech rights but the concept was around long before that.




The thing with Hobby Lobby is that it isn't as wide as people think/fear/hope (depending on your persuasion) it is.

For the sake of argument let us assume that it's correct in saying that closely-held corporations can have a religious character and beliefs. And that a new piece of federal legislation runs counter to those beliefs.

What now?

Well, you apply the  Religious Freedom Restoration Act 1993, that states:

Quote
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.

Being forced to pay for abortifacient drugs which run counter to ones religious belief strikes me as a pretty substantial burden on the exercise of one's religion, especially when not funding those drugs (either specifically or by dropping coverage entirely) would mandate significant costs. I note also the case of Adams v. Commissioner which held that having to pay federal taxes which in turn went on the military was a substantial burden on the exercise of religion of a devout Quaker due to their pacifism. The Quaker didn't buy any weapons, train any soldiers, send them into combat or even decide whether to buy any weapons, train any soldiers or send them into combat but by being required to fund those decisions if they were made their exercise of religion was being substantially burdened.

But, despite that, Quakers still have to pay federal taxes. And that's because of the exceptions contained in subsection (b) of the RFRA.

Section (b) holds:

Quote
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.

In Hobby Lobby the court took it as read that was a compelling governmental interest to provide cost-free access to the drugs in question. Perhaps the most unappreciated aspect of the case is that from Hobby Lobby onwards any objections along the lines of "it's not the government's business" to deal with these sort of drugs immediately falls apart.

Where the government's case fell apart was in the second part of the exception; was it the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling interest? And the issue the government faced here was that it had already included a less restrictive option which they argued didn't include any further cost burden to the government. In the above mentioned Quaker case, the plantiff's case failed because there was a compelling governmental interest in funding military expenditure and there was no less restrictive way of doing so then taxes. In Hobby Lobby the government was able to demonstrate an interest but provided pretty much no evidence that the planned approach was the least restrictive way of furthering that interest (and, as mentioned above, had actually included a less restrictive way as an option).

On a side note, as Valthazar mentions, in the lead judgement Alito actually notes that a system where the government funded these drugs through tax revenue... i.e. single-payer... would avoid all of these issues. It's a powerful obita-dicta in favour of a single-payer system and not that far off an actual recommendation.

And let's also remember that Hobby Lobby wasn't about whether people should have access to the drugs in question; it was about who should fund that access, the employer, the insurer or the government. What Hobby Lobby says is that in the case of closely-held corporations with religious beliefs that would be substantially burdened by funding access to those drugs, the corporation shouldn't pay for it and either the insurer or government should.

So, let's apply the logic used in Hobby Lobby to the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Is preventing discrimination in hiring or employment on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity a "substantial burden on the exercise of religion". Frankly, I'm not sure it is and what links one might find are tenuous as best. While in both Hobby Lobby and Adams there's a direct objection (with the plaintiff being required to fund something that goes against their religious beliefs), there's no such direct objection in a case relating to gender identity or sexuality.

But even if it is viewed as being a substantial burden on the exercise of religion, the exceptions come into play. I don't see how one could argue there isn't a governmental interest in preventing discrimination in employment and I can't think of a less restrictive way of preventing discrimination in employment then, well, simply preventing it. In Hobby Lobby there were other, less restrictive options, for funding access to the drugs in question... one which the government had actually already proposed and put in place. What other options are available for preventing discrimination?

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #81 on: August 25, 2014, 06:05:22 PM »
It's a "fact" for just as long as no one succeeds in a legal challenge using Hobby Lobby to undercut the health care legislation.

This ruling does not undercut aspects of the ACA.  The ruling was with regards to whether or not religious for-profits should be asked to pay for healthcare services which violate their religious beliefs - and had nothing to do with altering the minimum standards of coverage as outlined by the ACA.

The ACA explicitly states what coverage options are required to be included within all health insurance plans sold in the US.  The Hobby Lobby ruling was never contesting this - at all.  I can't emphasize enough that this ruling was with regard to who pays - not whether or not employees will have access to contraception.

The Hobby Lobby ruling was, however, a significant milestone in interpreting the scope of religious exemption of cost permitted under the religious exemption clause of the ACA.

On another front, the decision is already being pointed to as an excuse to carve exemptions from even executive orders -- particularly one regarding anti-discrimination rules for LGBT in the workplace.

Actually, it is not the Right which is pushing for anything, as much as it is those on the Left trying to ensure that previously existing religious exemptions are not interpreted in the same manner as Hobby Lobby.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.  It is very important to note that ENDA contained a religious exemption in this mandate, similar to that present in other federal legislation, including the ACA.  The Republican majority in the House voted ENDA down, and it failed to pass Congress.  However, ironically, ENDA would have been ideal for the Religious Right, given the transpiring of events.

As a result of ENDA failing to pass, President Obama signed an executive order which banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for federal contractors.  However, in response to the Hobby Lobby ruling, Obama made sure that his executive order did not contain the same religious exemptions that were already present in the failed ENDA proposal, and the ACA.  It instead narrows the scope of religious exemption to, "religious organizations that discriminate based on religious beliefs."  Meaning that a Catholic school involved with federal contracts will be able to fire employees on the basis of orientation or identity, but not for-profits federal contractors.

As a result, no one on the Right is really pushing to "carve exemptions" into the law, as much as those on the Left are removing many of the existing religious exemptions which were already contained within ENDA, the ACA, and the vast majority of other federal legislation.

As a result, one could certainly make an effective argument then that the Obama administration is indeed making a concerted effort to pass legislation which drastically undercuts religious freedom, in comparison to many other pieces of federal legislation.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 06:25:38 PM by Valthazar »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #82 on: August 28, 2014, 03:15:38 AM »

Can this ruling be applied to taxes too?

Could such a corporation claim that their religion is against war, medicine and psychiatry, and therefore claim that their taxes should be lowered accordingly to account for this? 




Offline Sabby

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #83 on: August 28, 2014, 03:53:59 AM »
I wouldn't be surprised if that technically applied. This is exactly why I oppose this joke.

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #84 on: August 28, 2014, 06:33:18 AM »
Can this ruling be applied to taxes too?

Could such a corporation claim that their religion is against war, medicine and psychiatry, and therefore claim that their taxes should be lowered accordingly to account for this?

I wouldn't be surprised if that technically applied. This is exactly why I oppose this joke.

You're both about 15 years behind the law.

In 1999 this exact point came up in Adams v. Commissioner, a case I've talked about in my previous posts in this topic.

Adams was a devout Quaker and argued that because federal income taxes went on military expenditure they were in breach of RFRA as they substantially burdened her religious belief. The court agreed that they substantially burdened her religious belief but that the that uniform, mandatory participation in the tax system, irrespective of religious belief, is a compelling governmental interest and that there was no less restrictive way of doing so. As such her case failed.

Offline Sabby

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #85 on: August 28, 2014, 06:43:50 AM »
I'm glad they saw reason and didn't cave to such a ridiculous request, though I wonder how that case would have gone if she were a Roman Catholic.

Offline consortium11

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #86 on: August 28, 2014, 07:23:52 AM »
I'm glad they saw reason and didn't cave to such a ridiculous request, though I wonder how that case would have gone if she were a Roman Catholic.

Basically the same way; a similar case involved Roman Catholic students opposing to university fees as part of that fee went to providing abortion services. They lost their case for the same reasons (and the court drew a direct comparison with taxation in that case); while there was a burden on their exercise of religion there was a compelling interest in providing such services and having the fees be universally mandated while there was also no less restrictive way of implementing them.

Offline Sabby

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #87 on: August 28, 2014, 07:43:29 AM »
I'm surprised they didn't bring up they they chose to enroll, and thus agreed to those fees.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #88 on: August 31, 2014, 01:53:58 AM »
What happened to the simple idea of my control ending when it affects your ability to control your own life? It's not like HL employees can just up and get jobs elsewhere. It's not like HL had volunteered to add coverage and then removed it. HL is asking for special permission to deny people basic care coverage that every other company has to provide.

Religious arguments don't work here anyyway. My son wants to be a Jew? It's not my right as owner of my house to say he can only be an atheist while living here, or at least can't have any Jewish stuff or talk about his beliefs while living with me. That's putting an undue burden on his religious freedom. My freedom ends where his starts.

It isn't bas big of a deal, but health coverage is just like serving anyone who comes into a public business. You can't just refuse to serve someone because you don't like how they look or what they believe, because that places an undue burden on them.

You might not agree that contraceptives should be considered part of healthcare, but you should at least agree that no business should get to turn their employees into second-class citizens by offerring them less than what is required for all businesses except ones that are so small and unusual that they have little impact in a community. I think that the law says you have few requirements if your business has less than 30 employees.

Offline vtboy

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #89 on: August 31, 2014, 07:51:23 AM »
What happened to the simple idea of my control ending when it affects your ability to control your own life? It's not like HL employees can just up and get jobs elsewhere. It's not like HL had volunteered to add coverage and then removed it. HL is asking for special permission to deny people basic care coverage that every other company has to provide.

I agree that contraceptives are appropriately included among healthcare benefits and that businesses should not be permitted to opt out of healthcare requirements on religious grounds. Nevertheless, I hope you understand that your arguments actually favor Hobby Lobby's position.

From the viewpoint of the family that owns Hobby Lobby, the birth control mandate is an intrusion by government on their right to control their lives -- in this case, to run their business in accordance with religious conscience. However you come out on the question of whether it is good or bad policy to allow an employer to avoid legal obligation on religious ground, it is quite a stretch to claim the regulation in issue was consistent with the precepts of classical liberalism you espouse. Hobby Lobby's owners were not attempting to bar the company's employees from use of abortifacients; they were only objecting to being required to pay for it. In fact, the Supreme Court's decision was explicitly grounded in the existence of an adequate alternative to the employer mandate in issue which would be less intrusive on the owners' religious liberty.

There are a lot of reasons why allowing employers special religious dispensation to disregard legal mandates is a bad idea, but I don't see how the precepts of classical liberalism support them. 

Online Oniya

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #90 on: August 31, 2014, 10:54:42 AM »
It isn't bas big of a deal, but health coverage is just like serving anyone who comes into a public business. You can't just refuse to serve someone because you don't like how they look or what they believe, because that places an undue burden on them.

Actually, many businesses have the ability to refuse service.  This is what allows bars to eject the overly drunk, or the local McDonalds to eject the guy who was telling children that Santa Claus wasn't real.  (No matter what your personal beliefs, that's a conversation that should be left to the parents, not some random guy shoving pamphlets around).

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Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #91 on: September 01, 2014, 08:25:00 AM »
         I'm rather skeptical this will get a serious hearing but...  Recall my much earlier posts about the analysis that Hobby Lobby suggests a new level of legal scrutiny should be applied to religious freedom complaints, and that therefore the field is open for (ahem) God knows what [and whoever else knows either, but I couldn't resist] ? 

         I feel that never got a good response and the rest is a lot of saying oh, but it hasn't been tested that way yet, see this and that specific case as things stand just now before anyone questions it and brings up Hobby Lobby to do so...  While what people are concerned about is more, the apparent likelihood that now it could be.  Whereas before we knew more how those tests worked; the subjects had already been done to some considerable extent using older test standards.

     

       

Offline Sabby

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #92 on: September 01, 2014, 11:20:23 AM »
What happened to the simple idea of my control ending when it affects your ability to control your own life?

My personal favourite.

Quote from: Matt Dillahunty
My freedom to swing my arm ends at their nose

Online Oniya

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #93 on: September 01, 2014, 01:14:20 PM »
Or more originally, Zechariah Chafee - although that quote is often attributed to Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #94 on: September 01, 2014, 08:21:25 PM »
Quote
I agree that contraceptives are appropriately included among healthcare benefits and that businesses should not be permitted to opt out of healthcare requirements on religious grounds. Nevertheless, I hope you understand that your arguments actually favor Hobby Lobby's position.

Only if you think that freedom means absolute freedom. The difference between what HL imposing restrictions and the government mandating coverage is that the government is looking out for the health of its citizens and the economy of the country. A government has more to manage than a company, and has to set standards universally rather than on a case-by-case basis. The government is also theoretically beholden to the democratic decisions of the people and not to a few shareholders with a lot of power. So yeah the government can force everyone to buy healthcare and car insurance and so on while a company can't. That makes sense. The government can also decide what all companies can't do inside the country. That also makes sense.

Quote
Actually, many businesses have the ability to refuse service.  This is what allows bars to eject the overly drunk, or the local McDonalds to eject the guy who was telling children that Santa Claus wasn't real.  (No matter what your personal beliefs, that's a conversation that should be left to the parents, not some random guy shoving pamphlets around).

Meant things like skin color and religion and disability. Stuff that can't be changed and is (or will soon be) protected by the government. Like service dogs or blindness. Totally different from kicking a guy out for telling people they're going to hell or kicking a woman out for bringing her pets in.

Offline vtboy

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #95 on: September 03, 2014, 02:38:31 PM »
Only if you think that freedom means absolute freedom. The difference between what HL imposing restrictions and the government mandating coverage is that the government is looking out for the health of its citizens and the economy of the country. A government has more to manage than a company, and has to set standards universally rather than on a case-by-case basis. The government is also theoretically beholden to the democratic decisions of the people and not to a few shareholders with a lot of power. So yeah the government can force everyone to buy healthcare and car insurance and so on while a company can't. That makes sense. The government can also decide what all companies can't do inside the country. That also makes sense.

No, I don't think that freedom in this context means absolute freedom. Except perhaps the lunatic fringe, the most ardent advocates of reducing government regulation still see legitimacy, at a minimum, in government's power to proscribe bad acts (homicide, theft, etc.). But, I think you're missing the point. 

Your original contention was that granting Hobby Lobby a religious exemption from ACA employer requirements was an offense to "the simple idea of my control ending when it affects your ability to control your own life". Only in the most attenuated sense of the word, however, does resisting the imposition of a legal obligation to bestow a benefit on someone else constitute "control" of the other person's life. The only "control" at issue in the Hobby Lobby case was the government's mandate that the company do what its owners otherwise would not permit it to do -- i.e., pay for birth control which was religiously objectionable in their eyes. The company's employees were always free to choose whatever sorts of birth control they liked, without regard to their employer's preferences. Moreover, the exemption granted the company did not even result in financial burden to its employees, as the Supreme Court's decision turned on the existence of an alternative means of providing them the same coverage, without Hobby Lobby's participation.     

I don't dispute that government properly enjoys the power to legislate for the common good, even at the expense of individual liberties. Conversely, it may also protect those liberties from its own reach. With respect to the latter power, please recall that the religious exemption extended to Hobby Lobby was created by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute duly enacted by democratically elected legislators, and thus presumably reflective of the people's democratic decisions.

Offline Sho

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #96 on: September 04, 2014, 01:57:24 AM »
Oh If this goes on maybe I can sue two Texas corporations on religious grounds if they have a merger. If Both CEO's are male, because due to "corporate personhood" and gay marriage being illegal in Texas.

I love this. This is the best thing I've read all day :D

Offline Valthazar

Re: The Supreme Court ruling for Hobby Lobby
« Reply #97 on: September 04, 2014, 03:31:01 AM »
While there may be disagreement on the issue of religion in corporate personhood, I think it is unwise to completely ignore the many benefits that corporate personhood provides.

By permitting corporations to file its taxes as a separate 'person,' we are permitting the corporation to take on debt and financial liabilities in its own name.  In other words, if any of us owned shares of a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy, its debts and financial obligations will not fall on us.  We may lose our investment, but its windfall will not affect our credit ratings.  This is why corporations have credit ratings, just as people do.

If any executive (or "owner") of the corporation is found in violation of the law while acting on behalf of the corporation, he or she is the one who is prosecuted, and only his/her personal financials will be utilized in setting bail, charging fines, etc.  In other words, the corporation's financials will not be directly targeted by the court.  If corporate personhood did not exist, the owner's financial profile would be tied with the corporation's financial profile (for tax purposes), and thus, his criminal prosecution would result in severe financial repercussions for the corporation.  This is not desirable for any of us as investors or employees of the corporation.

Just as individuals can enter into contracts, a corporation can also do the same as a result of corporate personhood.  This permits corporations to participate in commercial activities as its own entity, without corresponding contractual obligations for shareholders.  If corporate personhood did not exist, any partnerships or contracts would be under the name of one (or more) shareholders.  That means that if executive officers or owners change (or are fired), any corresponding contracts with other businesses may also be in jeopardy.  By keeping business contracts directly tied to the corporation, transition of employees and ownership is much smoother.

Corporate personhood also enables corporations to sue and be sued as independent entities.  Well-run corporations often have an annual budget specifically intended for potential legal cases, and this is factored into the annual company financials (and factored into stock price).  The last thing we need is for stockholders to face the brunt of legal consequences of corporate decision-making.  A corporation losing a law suit, and its stock price taking a hit is far different from stockholders actually being asked to have a financial stake themselves in the proceedings.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 03:34:30 AM by Valthazar »