Thousands of years from now Archeologists might conclude Hobby Lobby the tipping point responsible for America’s demise. Who can say – personally, I believe a few right wing circuses will pass through town before the curtain falls. Pondering the U.S. Supreme Court ruling yesterday on Burwell v Hobby Lobby is troublesome – this is my third post attempt. Ponders one and two, filed away under “Hysterical knee jerk preachy rants”.
Politely walking away, making the sensible decision 24 hours to simmer down was preferable to posting shreds of my blown mind, recognizing I loathed reading my previous rants – I maturely stepped back, believing today would allow intelligently reasoned writing. Sometimes even the most admirable intentions fall short. Determined to deliver a “rant free” ponder, a new approach – facts in point form.
* On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby, in Burwell v Hobby Lobby. The ruling allows “for profit” companies to opt out of providing employees contraception benefits under Obamacare based on religious objections.
* Hobby Lobby is a Oklahoma City based company operated by the Evangelical Christian Green family. It has 600 craft stores in 41 States, with over 15,000 full time employees.
* “We doubt that the Congress that enacted [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] — or, for that matter, ACA – would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy.
* The court’s four liberal justices called it a decision of “startling breadth” and said that it allows companies to “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
* The court’s conservative justices accuse the Obama administration and the dissent of questioning the religious beliefs of the families that own the two closely-held companies, in particular the owners’ position that providing the contraceptive coverage would put a substantial burden on their religious views.
“[Health and Human Services] and the principal dissent in effect tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed. For good reason, we have repeatedly refused to take such a step,” Alito wrote.
* Justice Ginsburg countered – “The Court levels a criticism that is as wrongheaded as can be. In no way does the dissent ‘tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed,” she wrote. “Right or wrong in this domain is a judgment no Member of this Court, or any civil court, is authorized or equipped to make. What the Court must decide is not ‘the plausibility of a religious claim…’ but whether accommodating that claim risks depriving others of rights accorded them by the laws of the United States.”
Dangerously close to launching an epic rant – I leave you to ponder Burwell v Hobby Lobby