Open thread: SCOTUS and Hobby Lobby/Conestoga

posted at 10:01 am on March 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Arguments have already gotten underway at the Supreme Court as we post this, but it’s not too late for a recap. SCOTUSblog has its own roundup, so be sure to trek there if you want the blow-by-blow. (Audio from the arguments will come out on Friday.) We’ve covered the issue for more than two years, and Hot Air readers have a clear idea what our take on the case itself will be.

National Journal’s Sam Baker outlines the three possible directions this could take:

When the Justice Department has lost on the threshold question of corporate rights, it has always lost on the underlying challenge to the contraception mandate. Any time an appeals court decided that a company or its owner could exercise religion, it went on to find that the birth-control mandate at least seems likely to violate that religious freedom. And so the only way the administration has ever won on the mandate itself is to close the door before a court even gets there—which could prove hard to do before the Supreme Court.

The biggest hurdle for the mandate’s challengers is the marquee question of whether they can practice a religion. In one of the cases before the Supreme Court this week, a cabinet-making company called Conestoga challenged the mandate as an affront to the beliefs of its owners, the Hahn family. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, siding with the Justice Department, said the corporation and the people who own it are two different entities.

“Since Conestoga is distinct from the Hahns, the Mandate does not actually require the Hahns to do anything. All responsibility for complying with the Mandate falls on Conestoga,” the court wrote.

Chief Justice John Roberts likes to keep the high court’s rulings as narrow as possible on most big issues. He looks for ways to minimize the Court’s footprint by avoiding the biggest question—which, in this case, would be whether corporations are protected by the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause.

There’s a reasonably clear way for him to do that here: Avoid the question of whether corporations are people, and focus on whether—in these specific cases—people are their corporations.

Both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are closely held companies, controlled entirely or almost entirely by their owners. The libertarian Cato Institute suggested in a supporting brief that because these two companies are controlled by their owners, the Court could rule in their favor without setting a broader precedent that corporations in general can practice religion.

CBS frames this as reproductive rights versus religious liberty:

For Christian conservatives, the cases represent the threat of government overreach.

“This case will decide whether a family gives up their religious freedom when they open a family business,” Lori Windham, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund, which is representing Hobby Lobby, told CBS News. “The question here is whether the Green family can be forced to do something that violates their deeply held religious conviction as a consequence of the new health care law.”

Reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, consider the notion that some businesses could pick and choose which contraception methods to cover “out of touch [and] out of line,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, told reporters.

Contraception is “integral with our economic security and our ability to hold jobs for our lifetime,” Hogue said. “We’ve had enough of this idea our reproductive health is somehow separate from our economic well being… Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

The two cases, however, have implications that go well beyond the so-called “wars” on women or religion. If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga prevail, it would prompt “a fundamental shift in the understanding of the First Amendment,” David Gans, the civil rights director for the Constitutional Accountability Center, told CBS News.

Both of these miss one particular point, though. For individuals or for corporations, the government can only intrude on constitutionally-protected rights for a compelling state interest. Hobby Lobby/Conestoga can point to the August 2010 CDC study that shows even without forcing employers to pick up the tab for contraception, 99% of sexually active women who wished to avoid pregnancy between 1980 and 2008 used contraception to do so. Access is such a non-issue that the CDC doesn’t even bother to address it. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby already offers coverage for 16 forms of birth control, only refusing to cover those that the owners consider abortifacients rather than contraception.

The Washington Post’s editorial board attempts to make the “compelling interest” case:

One goal was to provide adequate coverage to women. A panel of independent experts — not liberal ideologues in Congress — determined that assuring access to a range of birth control products to all women, not just those who could afford it, would convey major public health benefits. It’s true that some non-compliant plans here and there were grandfathered in — but they will phase out, making the rule comprehensive.

Under U.S. law, corporations get substantial privileges, such as limits on owners’ financial liability. Now, they have been asked to take on responsibilities, such as providing decent health-care coverage, with the aid of massive tax subsidies. Not every American of every creed will be comfortable with reasonable, general rules that extend across the marketplace — requiring vaccinations, say, or prohibiting discrimination against women in the workplace. But it’s not feasible for a corporation to easily opt out of any generally beneficial law that happens to offend its owners. That is a principle vital to maintaining a functional, pluralistic democracy.

If the goal was “assuring access,” then the CDC’s study should say mission accomplished. Thus, there is no compelling government interest in forcing businesses to provide birth control for free, no more than there is for forcing them to provide food, groceries, or heating oil for free for their personal use, either. Businesses are free to do so if they wish now, but they should be free to choose not to do so if their values oppose it.

Will the Supreme Court agree? I suspect they will, since the lack of compelling state interest is the quickest and cleanest hack through the Gordian knot of the RFRA, First Amendment, and corporate personhood this mandate creates. But that’s what we’ll see today, and what we’ll find out some time in June.

Update: Be sure to read Gabriel Malor’s political and legal briefs at AoSHQ. Here’s his conclusion in the latter:

The government simply misstates the businesses’ and owners’ objection. Yes, for religious reasons they oppose the use of contraception. They also oppose covering it in their health care plans and it is this very coverage that the government is now mandating. That is the burden and it is indisputably substantial, since failure to provide the objectionable coverage will result in crippling fines. The government’s attempt to distract the court with claims that the businesses solely object to the use of contraception requires the high court to simply disregard the actual stated objection of the businesses. …

I will conclude with a prediction based only on their briefs (and this comes before argument): the businesses will win. There is a key difference between a political argument and a legal argument that the government seems to have forgotten here. To win in politics, you take the other side’s worst arguments and hammer that. To win in a legal argument, however, you must take the other side’s best arguments and tear that down. Here, the government’s brief doesn’t directly address the businesses’ arguments, preferring instead to take a rambling trip through concepts like piercing the corporate veil, “attenuation,” and ERISA lawsuits. By contrast, the businesses focus directly on the question at issue: does RFRA protect them. It’s a telling difference.

There’s a lot more, so be sure to read it all.


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Its a tax.

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Go Hobby Lobby!!

Khun Joe on March 25, 2014 at 10:04 AM

It’s time for an Article V convention of the States. On the agenda: CRIMINAL penalties for Federal Judges, Congressmen and Presidents who subvert the Constitution.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Third!

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 10:06 AM

doh!

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 10:06 AM

religious freedom vs. potential customers..

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I kind of hope Hobby Lobby loses so I can force my employer to buy firearms for me.

Mark1971 on March 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Hot Air readers have a clear idea what our take on the case itself will be.

We know. It’s to decide whether we are racists, homophobes, or puppy killers.

faraway on March 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Just saw a pic of Joy Reid marching in front of the SCOTUS with a sign reading, “Kill the Mackerel Snappers!”

vnvet on March 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Hobby Lobby employees can buy any type of insurance that they want.

faraway on March 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, consider the notion that some businesses could pick and choose which contraception methods to cover “out of touch [and] out of line,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, told reporters.

Contraception is “integral with our economic security and our ability to hold jobs for our lifetime,” Hogue said. “We’ve had enough of this idea our reproductive health is somehow separate from our economic well being… Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.

Know that the use of the phrases “contraception methods”, “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health” here actually mean “abortion”.

“Our bodies are not our bosses’ business” has nothing to do with ‘contraception’ – it’s a version of the standard rallying cry of the pro-abortion crowd.

Midas on March 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Ban Maternity leave..

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

Except when we want our bosses to pay for our contraception and abortion pills!

AZCoyote on March 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

I have no faith in the Supreme Court to decide this issue correctly – not since Brave, Brave Sir Roberts turned tail and fled when Obama threatened to say something mean about him unless he upheld the individual mandate.

At some point, a large number of people (and by that I simply mean “too many to throw in jail”) will tell the federal government to go eff itself when it comes to infringements on our liberties like this.

At that point, we have a whole new ballgame.

DRayRaven on March 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM

If the government prevails here, what will be the impact on a push for a Constitutional Convention?

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

“Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

Which is why we’re demanding that our bosses pay for our health insurance!

Because we get to choose what we do with our bodies, and our bosses get to pay for it!

AZCoyote on March 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Probably saying something everyone already knows, but, a gentle reminder that Hobby Lobby is NOT seeking to provide health insurance that includes traditional means of contraception (about 16 types as I learned), BUT only the four, I believe, that result in chemical induced abortion or infanticide. The company has always provided insurance that provided typically used contraceptives.

vnvet on March 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

I thought Mobility was the in thing…

What about Job Lock?

If you don’t like the company you work for…

Unlock yourself and exercise your Mobility…..

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Correction: …is NOT seeking to not provide health insurance…sat

vnvet on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

“This case will decide whether a family gives up their religious freedom when they open a family business,” Lori Windham, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund, which is representing Hobby Lobby, told CBS News. “The question here is whether the Green family can be forced to do something that violates their deeply held religious conviction as a consequence of the new health care law.”

How are they being forced to do anything?
That’s the main issue I’ve always had with this argument.
Aside from the fact that neither they nor any of their employees are being made to use BC, they could pay the fine and not offer insurance.
By this logic, why wouldn’t Christian Scientists be able to use ‘Religious Freedom’ as a reason to not offer any insurance that would allow for medical intervention for illness?
And does Windham support the consequential application of facets of Sharia Law should Hobby Lobby prevail here?
The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Will the Owners of Hobby Lobby Have to Check Their Faith at Their Own Door? by the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz

“Faith inspires not only charitable work, but charity in all work. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the pleas of two families whose faith has long inspired and shaped the way they do business. They seek only the freedom to continue living out their vocations through their businesses without fear of punishment by the government.”

Dear God, we need you close today.

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Regarding a statement made by the Liberal Obama sycophants (but, I repeat myself) at the George Soros-funded website, Think Progress, back in December of 2012, that the owners of Hobby Lobby were trying to “force their religion” on their employees:

Seems to me, that it’s the Obama Administration attempting to force their secular socialist belief system on Hobby Lobby.

As an American Business Owner, they have the right to do business as they seem fit, and , if they are in a “Right to Work” state, they can hire and fire whom they want to as well. It is way beyond the purpose and scope of government to tell Americans how they can practice their faith.

Anyway that’s my take.

kingsjester on March 25, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I kind of hope Hobby Lobby loses so I can force my employer to buy firearms for me.

Mark1971 on March 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM

It’s about time we stopped getting pushed around by the Matriarchy and stood up for men’s issues like gun owner equality and helping people access to free ammo.

I walk around campus and see the look of sadness on young men’s faces because I know they can’t afford to feed their 1911′s, and then I see these anti-man women like Dianne Feinstein trying to strip men of their most personal decision. Bottom line: no woman should get between a man and his armory.

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM

If the government prevails here, what will be the impact on a push for a Constitutional Convention?

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

In light of the fact that this country has reelected the likes of 0bama, I’d be really apprehensive about a Constitutional Convention. No telling what sort of Venezuelan Utopia we’d end up with if places like New York and California have anything to do with it.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Right on, old friend.

kingsjester on March 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

The Green family isn’t arguing that their employees can’t use contraception. They’re saying the government does not have the power to require them to discard their religious beliefs.

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

I heard some idiot protester shouting, “99% of women have used birthcontrol!!!!!” as if that was an argument for forcing businesses to pay for it. Um…hello…obviously they aren’t having any trouble accessing it if 99% have used it.

Modern day libs are such mindless rubes. I really loathe them. Really really…they are a near occasion of sin for me. I find it harder and harder to love my enemies, and yes, I consider them my enemies. Any enemy of Christ and His Church and freedom is my enemy.

pannw on March 25, 2014 at 10:28 AM

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Still stuck on stupid, I see.

22044 on March 25, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Hear that, kids? If your boss won’t pay for your birth control while you work for him, he obviously wants to shove his religion down your throat.

I guess paying for it your own horny self = having religion imposed on you.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM

They left will have a collective breakdown when they lose this case. It will make the Citizens United reaction look like it was just a couple of environuts crying over dead trees.

Mord on March 25, 2014 at 10:29 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Using your own logic no one is being forced to work for Hobby Lobby so nothing is being forced on them.

Why should the government force or fine a company for not implementing the government’s preferred public policy? Being in the public square should not be contingent on agreeing with the government’s preferred public policy (something so dire for the survival of society they’ve given out hundreds of exemptions).

This is ridiculous and an infringement on liberty. The government shouldn’t force any business to provide healthcare. If a Christian Scientists doesn’t want to pay for healthcare then the government shouldn’t be able to force them.

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Go Hobby Lobby!

gophergirl on March 25, 2014 at 10:30 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

You are dumber than usual this morning.

VegasRick on March 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Who’s forcing people to be employed by the Green family?

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

I’m sure we’ll never know this, but I’m convinced that Obama and his goons got to Roberts before the SCOTUS’s initial ruling on the Constitutionality of Obamacare. Probably some sort of threat to him or his family. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same threat(s) are still in place and Roberts will again rule in favor of the Regime. I have absolutely no faith in the SCOTUS to do the right thing ever again.

Bob Davis on March 25, 2014 at 10:32 AM

How are they being forced to do anything?
That’s the main issue I’ve always had with this argument.
Aside from the fact that neither they nor any of their employees are being made to use BC, they could pay the fine and not offer insurance.
By this logic, why wouldn’t Christian Scientists be able to use ‘Religious Freedom’ as a reason to not offer any insurance that would allow for medical intervention for illness?
And does Windham support the consequential application of facets of Sharia Law should Hobby Lobby prevail here?
The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Do you know how big the fine is? It’s a multi-million dollar fine. You think that’s ok?

So now there’s a massive crushing tax on exercise of religion.

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

As an American Business Owner, they have the right to do business as they seem fit, and , if they are in a “Right to Work” state, they can hire and fire whom they want to as well. It is way beyond the purpose and scope of government to tell Americans how they can practice their faith.

Anyway that’s my take.

kingsjester on March 25, 2014 at 10:24 AM

I agree. If their employees don’t like it, they can get insurance elsewhere.

dogsoldier on March 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

pannw on March 25, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Case in point…

By this logic, why wouldn’t Christian Scientists be able to use ‘Religious Freedom’ as a reason to not offer any insurance that would allow for medical intervention for illness?

verbaluce

They should be able to refuse to offer insurance. That is what Freedom is. If you don’t want to work for them because of it, go find another job. Why do you want to force people to pay for stuff for you? Stop being some damnably BOSSY!!!

pannw on March 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Why should any employer be forced to provide birth control for any employee? Birth control isn’t necessary to keep you alive. It’s to prevent a result from a voluntary activity.

gophergirl on March 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

The Green family isn’t arguing that their employees can’t use contraception. They’re saying the government does not have the power to require them to discard their religious beliefs.

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Who’s forcing people to be employed by the Green family?

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Good explanations/questions.
I was wondering whether to provide an answer myself or just point out that verby is an idiot.
I ended up going w/ the latter.

22044 on March 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Who’s forcing people to be employed by the Green family?

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Why, the Greens of course! They’re dragging these poor unsuspecting waifs in off the sidewalk, making them work for minimum wage, and telling them what harlots they are for wanting birth control pills.

Liberals really are an economically illiterate bunch.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Explain how the Green family is imposing their religious convictions on their employees?

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

22044 on March 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Verby makes a career out of it.

dogsoldier on March 25, 2014 at 10:35 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Choosing not to be involved in another’s personal decision (i.e., to buy and use contraceptives) is not imposing anything on anyone. Rather, it is YOU attempting an imposition that conflicts with their exercise (not practice) of their religion.

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM

My goodness! The resident libs seem anxious today! Perhaps the straitjacket straps are a bit too tight?

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Explain how the Green family is imposing their religious convictions on their employees?

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Now you’ve gone and done it! Asking verbie for facts is like asking your sofa to drive your car.

VegasRick on March 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Our side of the argument boils down to: “I don’t care what you do as long as I aint forced to pay for it or it’s consequences.”

We get called “Oppressors”. I think the Left’s Irony meter broke a long time ago.

Mord on March 25, 2014 at 10:38 AM

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

It’s their freaking Christian business, so butt the F out. What next? Suing Kosher deli’s because they won’t allow you to bring in your own cheese for your turkey sandwich? Muslim restaurants required to serve red wine over HHS healthy heart mandates?

If you want your birth control, pay for it your-GD-self or march your azz into planned parenthood and get it for free. I thought that’s what our taxes were for and not backdoor funding abortions, right?

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Good Luck Hobby Lobby & Conestoga

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 10:39 AM

I kind of hope Hobby Lobby loses so I can force my employer to buy firearms for me.

Mark1971 on March 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Yep, clearly it’s an infringement on my Second Amendment rights if my employer declines to provide me with a firearm as part of my employee benefits package.

If my boss won’t pay for my gun, clearly I’m being denied access to guns!

AZCoyote on March 25, 2014 at 10:40 AM

They’re saying the government does not have the power to require them to discard their religious beliefs.

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

And they aren’t be asked to do this.
The government also doesn’t have the power to require them to open a business or to seek all the advantages of running that business as a corporation, but they choose to do just that. Do they also argue to be relieved of tax payments because of some of the government’s use of that revenue?
Do they refuse to do business with vendors who do include BC coverage in the health plans they offer, knowing that they assist in generating revenue and profits to help pay for such?
This is a very selective application of a ‘burden’.
And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Looks like this one won’t take long to be funny again. Picked fresh yesterday:
 

Man…the amount of times I’ve been told I’ve ‘fled’.
:)
 
verbaluce on March 24, 2014 at 4:11 PM

 

rogerb on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, consider the notion that some businesses could pick and choose which contraception methods to cover “out of touch [and] out of line,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, told reporters.

Contraception is “integral with our economic security and our ability to hold jobs for our lifetime,” Hogue said. “We’ve had enough of this idea our reproductive health is somehow separate from our economic well being… Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

These busy-bodies really tick me off. Regardless of what they think about healthcare being an “inalienable right”, employer-sponsored health insurance is paid for by the employer, generally at a rate that saves an employee, particularly women, a butt-load of money!

They think winning this case will force Christian business owners into purchasing the scope of health insurance that they say women are “entitled” to receive. They’re wrong. It’s far more likely to cause Christian business owners to stop offering health insurance at all, which will leave females with no health insurance, other than what they can get through HIX at higher cost, higher co-pay, higher deductible, etc.

I wish they would just stop trying to “help” us because they’re doing more harm than good.

lineholder on March 25, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

weapons-grade stupidity (as usual).

Hobby Lobby already offers coverage for 16 forms of birth control, only refusing to cover those that the owners consider abortifacients rather than contraception.

Did the employees sign an agreement that they would not go out and get an abortion or use abortifacients? Because that would be the only way your moronic statement would even make sense. You’re just pissed off that the Green family is fighting HHS’s demand that they pay for abortions.

And BTW, if you were ever in a Hobby Lobby you’d understand that the Green family hardly keeps their religious convictions to themselves. Complete with the fact that they are not even open on Sundays so their employees have time for worship or with their families. Should Hobby Lobby be forced to remove all Christian-oriented products from their shelves?

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Maybe I’m missing something, but didn’t the “women’s reproductive rights” groups just fight and win to make Plan B available over the counter? Since when does insurance pay for over the counter drugs? Last I checked my aspirin and cold meds aren’t covered.

soozq on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Do they refuse to do business with vendors who do include BC coverage in the health plans they offer, knowing that they assist in generating revenue and profits to help pay for such?
This is a very selective application of a ‘burden’.
And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Does Hobby Lobby have any say in how they run their business?

Is it OK with you if they just close their doors and go out of business?

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

AZCoyote on March 25, 2014 at 10:40 AM

I think the government should be required to give us free ammo or force employers to do the same. If the government is going to be in the giveaway business, we might as well get ours too.

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

While I agree that the religious liberty argument must prevail in this case, there is an equally important principle at stake that is being, IMHO, overlooked.

If the justices side with the Justice Dept, then yes religious liberty takes a hit. But a decision agreeing with the administration would be a HUGE step towards ratifying the notion of “access” being defined as “provided for” whether by government or employers.

Most here are making the correct argument that all women have access to birth control today. So the only argument here is who pays for it. If the administration wins then, by definition, “lack of access” equals “having to pay for it yourself.” And not wanting to pay for something as an employer would become “denying access.”

Those who said ObamaCare would fundamentally augment the relationship between citizen and state got it right…but this decision could stretch beyond health care.

TheLoyalOpponent on March 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Choosing not to be involved in another’s personal decision (i.e., to buy and use contraceptives) is not imposing anything on anyone. Rather, it is YOU attempting an imposition that conflicts with their exercise (not practice) of their religion.

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Now you know why the gay mafia gets their leather thongs in a wad if you refuse to bake a cake for them. It’s full-throated, hands-in-the-air-like-you-just-don’t-care celebration of their deviant behavior, or you’re a H8TR!!

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM

My guess is a very narrow allowance.

The justices will see how much Hobby Lobby stands to lose under the mandate and this will play into their deliberations. While the court wants to be liberal on some issues there is a lot more religion in the court than most places.

The way I see it is that they will declare Family owned businesses are exempt for reasons of religion. This will give Obama his victory on corporations, and give some face saving all around (in their view).

What I would want is a blanket “You cannot force a person to go against their religious values”

OregonPolitician on March 25, 2014 at 10:48 AM

And they aren’t be asked to do this.
The government also doesn’t have the power to require them to open a business or to seek all the advantages of running that business as a corporation, but they choose to do just that. Do they also argue to be relieved of tax payments because of some of the government’s use of that revenue?
Do they refuse to do business with vendors who do include BC coverage in the health plans they offer, knowing that they assist in generating revenue and profits to help pay for such?
This is a very selective application of a ‘burden’.
And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Telling Hobby Lobby how to run it’s business. Coming from you that is actually funny.

VegasRick on March 25, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Its a tax.

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Speaking of which, I was thinking about something the other day. Because of obamacare, we are required to have insurance, and the SCOTUS has already said that this is a tax, could we then not count the premiums that we pay on this on our tax returns as a tax, and er tu, to include it as the tax the govt charged us, and possibly get a refund back?? Any tax prof or lawyers out there on this?

ConservativePartyNow on March 25, 2014 at 10:48 AM

And they aren’t be asked to do this.
The government also doesn’t have the power to require them to open a business or to seek all the advantages of running that business as a corporation, but they choose to do just that. Do they also argue to be relieved of tax payments because of some of the government’s use of that revenue?
Do they refuse to do business with vendors who do include BC coverage in the health plans they offer, knowing that they assist in generating revenue and profits to help pay for such?
This is a very selective application of a ‘burden’.
And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

You have a very twisted and restrictive notion of liberty.

Why should the government be dictating things like this to corporations? The “benefits” of being in the public square mean you surrender all your freedoms for the privilege the government grants to you for running a business? This isn’t liberty – it’s the definition of fascism.

And the fine is multi-millions of dollars. That’s not a burden?

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:48 AM

And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

You mean it’s ok to levy fines for exercising your Constitutional rights?

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Is it OK with you if they just close their doors and go out of business?

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

That’s exactly what the left wants; but they’ll never come right out and say it — yet.

They want anyone with religious convictions hounded from the public square. Allegiance to the total state is the only acceptable conviction.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM

And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM
You mean it’s ok to levy fines for exercising your Constitutional rights?

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Yeah, man. That’s freedom.

What’s a couple of million dollars to a greedy corporation anyway?

/sarc

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The Green family isn’t being prevented from practicing their religion – they just aren’t being allowed to impose their ‘religious convictions’ on others as a condition of employment by their corporation.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Explain how the Green family is imposing their religious convictions on their employees?

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:34 AM

The ACA requires that business of certain sizes offer health insurance – and that that insurance includes contraception coverage, should an employee opt to use it.
The biz owner’s are wanting to deny to their employees what the law provides for because the owners find the coverage to be in conflict with their religious convictions.

Now, you don’t like the ACA. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

It’s time for an Article V convention of the States. On the agenda: CRIMINAL penalties for Federal Judges, Congressmen and Presidents who subvert the Constitution.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Enforced by whom? I would say State Attorneys General, but not sure if that’s practical/possible.

I frankly don’t understand why no SAG’s aren’t already suing the feds over the harm caused their respective citizens with the loss of insurance, fraudulently higher costs, etc.

Nutstuyu on March 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Hear that, kids? It’s OK to shove a crappy, unpopular law down peoples throats, because I WON!!!!

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM

I predict that if Hobby Lobby loses they go Galt. And they should.

questionmark on March 25, 2014 at 10:54 AM

The ACA requires that business of certain sizes offer health insurance – and that that insurance includes contraception coverage, should an employee opt to use it.
The biz owner’s are wanting to deny to their employees what the law provides for because the owners find the coverage to be in conflict with their religious convictions.

Now, you don’t like the ACA. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Oh, so the ACA is fascist. That’s not much of an argument.

And there are hundreds of exemptions to the ACA so you’d have a very hard time arguing “equal protection of the laws” or that it’s a compelling government interest. Like I said and you keep reiterating – it’s fascist. Yet you’re here defending it.

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Now, you don’t like the ACA Defense of Marriage Act. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Um, you might want to get your buddies placeHolder and Maobama in sync with that.

Nutstuyu on March 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM

This would all be avoided if we separated health insurance from our jobs and were all allowed to pick what we want on the open market with actual cross state border capitalistic competition. Lets get rid of this 1940′s health insurance tied to employment, another great legacy FDR left us.

argusx2002 on March 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM

And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

You mean it’s ok to levy fines for exercising your Constitutional rights?

Ricard on March 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Your opinion that that is what happens here doesn’t make that the case.
I’m not confident of any particular ruling here, but I’m hopeful that the court is indeed able to properly consider Constitutional rights….that people have them – not entities and corporations.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Now, you don’t like the ACA. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Or you could be like Obama and just change the law ilegally to benefit you and the democrats politcally.

At least Hobby Lobby is following the law to get it changed.

gophergirl on March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Pay for your own damn pleasure pills.

Why does this scumhag have a voice in America?

It tells you all you need to know about how low the land has sunk.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Now, you don’t like the ACA. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

OR, just wait long enough and Obama will change the “law” some more.

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Your opinion that that is what happens here doesn’t make that the case.
I’m not confident of any particular ruling here, but I’m hopeful that the court is indeed able to properly consider Constitutional rights….that people have them – not entities and corporations.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM

If the entities and corporations don’t have rights, then why do they pay taxes?

Nutstuyu on March 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Hear that, kids? It’s OK to shove a crappy, unpopular law down peoples throats, because I WON!!!!

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:53 AM

You know, if Iran chooses to nuke DC I won’t really be all that sad to be honest. It might actually result in some good.

Not that I really WANT such a thing to happen, mind you.

ConstantineXI on March 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

It does not work that way Verbie as those we elect still have to, or should have to, obey the Constitution. Don’t like the Constitution, elect folks that will change it the correct and legal way.

From a strict Constitutional basis I would think that Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. would prevail against Sebelius. The Tenth Circuit concluded in its opinion that Hobby Lobby stores, Inc v. Sebelius; that a for-profit corporation does have Article III standing. Additionally a for-profit corporation has rights under the Free Exercise Clause and the (RFRA). The Tenth Circuit held that the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and that this First Amendment protection extends to corporations. The Tenth Circuit viewed the Free Exercise Clause to be more comprehensive than just being a personal guarantee available only to persons; thus, extending the Free Exercise Clause to corporations. They did cite Citizens United v. FCC.

Now on a political and personal basis, who knows what the SC will do with this case.

HonestLib on March 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

At least Hobby Lobby is following the law to get it changed.

gophergirl on March 25, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Amen

Roy Rogers on March 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

And they aren’t be asked to do this.

You’re right. Being asked means its optional. Since its not optional, they are being required to this under penalty of law.

The government also doesn’t have the power to require them to open a business or to seek all the advantages of running that business as a corporation, but they choose to do just that.

What does that mean, and what is its relevancy to the issue before the Court? Or is this a squirrel?

Do they also argue to be relieved of tax payments because of some of the government’s use of that revenue?

Uh….nope. I don’t think that’s a part of their filing.

Do they refuse to do business with vendors who do include BC coverage in the health plans they offer, knowing that they assist in generating revenue and profits to help pay for such?

I have no idea, and again, how is that relevant to the case?

This is a very selective application of a ‘burden’.

And again…they have the option just pay the fine and offer no insurance.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

So the First Amemdment, in your mind, has been reduced to giving up your religious beliefs or pay a fine.

Is that how you see this?

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

The ACA requires that business of certain sizes offer health insurance – and that that insurance includes contraception coverage, should an employee opt to use it.
The biz owner’s are wanting to deny to their employees what the law provides for because the owners find the coverage to be in conflict with their religious convictions.

Now, you don’t like the ACA. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

This comment also shows you haven’t really been paying attention.

The ACA doesn’t demand this. This is a purely bureaucratic decision. Obama and the bureaucracy regularly change the meaning of the law – even unconstitutionally in many cases. There are hundreds of exemptions to provisions in the ACA – including the one sought here by Hobby Lobby. The ACA is more of an enabling act than an actual law. It’s offensive to anyone who loves liberty.

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I predict that if Hobby Lobby loses they go Galt. And they should.

questionmark on March 25, 2014 at 10:54 AM

I heard somewhere that the owners already said they’ll shut it down if they lose.

Of course, the left will have a conniption. “You’re taking away jobs!! You’re putting people out on the street, just so you won’t have to pay for birth control!!”

Well, that’s the way it works in a free society, tards. You can’t make a company stay in business. Yet.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.

libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Is the government ‘fascist’ because it requires business to pay overtime?
Because of child labor laws?
Because of workplace safety regulations?

I won’t be surprised if you answer ‘yes’.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Now, you don’t like the ACA. Fine. Elect some people who agree with you and change the law or come up with a new one.
 
verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

 
Through reconciliation, right?
 
You’re comfortable with that approach to ending the ACA, correct?

rogerb on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I just got back on a trip to Vietnam. While we were in Hanoi, our guide told us she used to work for a commie owned hotel at the same time she had a Catholic boyfriend. She broke up with her boyfriend because evidently the communists will not promote you even if you’re married to a Catholic but not one yourself. She ended up leaving the job and her ex-boyfriend kept calling her, but by that time she had already married another atheist and had kids.

We also visited the South-ish – right near former US Khe Sanh air base in Hoi An. The communist stronghold in the north was especially dirt poor, while the more capitalistic south was beautiful. But, I guess that shouldn’t come as any surprise, except to mentally deranged progs perhaps.

crrr6 on March 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

I’m hopeful that the court is indeed able to properly consider Constitutional rights….that people have them – not entities and corporations.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM

LOL. Like say, unions?

AZCoyote on March 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

I’m sure we’ll never know this, but I’m convinced that Obama and his goons got to Roberts before the SCOTUS’s initial ruling on the Constitutionality of Obamacare. Probably some sort of threat to him or his family. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same threat(s) are still in place and Roberts will again rule in favor of the Regime. I have absolutely no faith in the SCOTUS to do the right thing ever again.

Bob Davis on March 25, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Unusual/Illegal adoption of Irish kids

cptacek on March 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

If the entities and corporations don’t have rights, then why do they pay taxes?

Nutstuyu on March 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Because….shut up, thats why.

BobMbx on March 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.

libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Well he’s got 8 months…right?

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

but I’m hopeful that the court is indeed able to properly consider Constitutional rights….that people have them – not entities and corporations.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Define entity?

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Probably saying something everyone already knows, but, a gentle reminder that Hobby Lobby is NOT seeking to NOT provide health insurance that includes traditional means of contraception (about 16 types as I learned), BUT only the four, I believe, that result in chemical induced abortion or infanticide. The company has always provided insurance that provided typically used contraceptives.

vnvet on March 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

weapons-grade stupidity (as usual).

Hobby Lobby already offers coverage for 16 forms of birth control, only refusing to cover those that the owners consider abortifacients rather than contraception.

Happy Nomad on March 25, 2014 at 10:43 AM

It seems like once again verbaluce is just repeating the DNC/Fluke issued talking point without learning the facts of the case for himself.

Flora Duh on March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Seriously – occasionally try not to be such a f*cking idiot.

Midas on March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

They did cite Citizens United v. FCC.

Now on a political and personal basis, who knows what the SC will do with this case.

HonestLib on March 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Oh you did it now. You brought up the “most evil case ever”. You better retract that, or other libs will hate you forever.

nobar on March 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM

libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Funny, I was actually whistling when I walked past the Trinity Wall Street graveyard today.

Nutstuyu on March 25, 2014 at 11:02 AM

In addition to proving a compelling interest, the government must prove that the manner in which it is addressing an issue is the least restrictive.

If women could only get contraceptives/abortifacients/sterilisations through their employer, then the government might have a point. But, the fact that contraceptives, etc, are widely available proves that the government is not seeking to meet a ‘compelling state interest’ by the ‘least restrictive’ means available.

The First Amendment protects not only the free exercise of religion, but religion, in general. There is no caselaw that supports the proposition that the Constitution only protects religion and its exercise outside of the ‘public square,’ ie, 11:00 AM on Sundays and in the privacy of one’s home, which the Left argues. Indeed, such an interpretation would render the protections irrelevant. Should a Muslim or Orthodox Jew be forced to see pork in his shop because his religious practise and preferences are only protected with regard to himself and only then at certain times? Of course not.

Resist We Much on March 25, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Constitutional rights….that people have them – not entities and corporations.

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM

This isn’t true.
Associations of peoples do have rights – which is what a corporation is.
But you’re going to argue that corporations don’t have rights…like freedom of speech? Or assembly? Property rights? That’s great – the state can now shut down media outlets it doesn’t like. They’re just corporations!

Churches are incorporated for the most part too. So, now, even churches don’t have religious liberty rights?

gwelf on March 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM

verbaluce on March 25, 2014 at 10:23 AM

…drop dead stupid!

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM

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