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Hobby Lobby
June 30, 2014 7:57 AM   Subscribe

The Supreme Court holds closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage with Justice Alito authoring the majority decision. Justice Ginsburg, in her dissent, calls it a "decision of startling breadth." SCOTUSBlog has a live blog of todays' decisions, which also includes Harris v. Quinn, on the ability of unions to require certain types of employees to contribute.
posted by leotrotsky (1168 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Daily Kos thinks that this enshrines discrimination against women specifically, since they did not allow religious objections to things like blood transfusions. I am trying to wait for more analysis instead of simply blowing my top, but dear Lord I am angry.
posted by emjaybee at 8:00 AM on June 30 [110 favorites]


The religious rights of privately help corporations. Wow.
posted by dglynn at 8:00 AM on June 30 [41 favorites]


When I heard this, I felt like throwing up. I still do.
posted by agregoli at 8:00 AM on June 30 [23 favorites]


@markos: Shorter Supreme Court: Not all religious opinions matter, just the ones dealing with ladies fucking.

Weirdly narrow, pretty much blatantly misogynistic, and still kicks the door wide open. Ugh.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 AM on June 30 [85 favorites]


I just wondered aloud to someone whether it counts as a boycott if the business you're boycotting is a place you never patronized in the first place. (I mean, Hobby Lobby's stuff is crap anyway, so they never had my business to begin with.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:01 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


Even with the barrage of recent rulings that made me scratch my head I totally didn't expect this. I am so baffled and angry right now.
posted by arnicae at 8:01 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


*screams until her eyeballs fall out*

Like, this doesn't make any logical sense forever at all EVER... Who determines the "religious views" of a closely held corporation? The shareholders? What if they're a bunch of different religions?
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:01 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


"This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs."
posted by dirigibleman at 8:01 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


To me, the only remotely good part of the Hobby Lobby decision is page 5-6, where it talks about how this ruling cannot be construed to mean any other religious objection to a medical procedure. And at the same time, that's the worst part, because fuck you, women.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:02 AM on June 30 [98 favorites]


outright discrimination against women. so. fucking. pissed. BCP are basic healthcare.
posted by agregoli at 8:02 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


And once again the Supreme Court can suck on my unwashed butthole.
posted by item at 8:02 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


which exemplifies the ideal legal ruling principle of 'just this one time'
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:03 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


Am I understanding it right that this only applies to "closely held corporations"?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:03 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I am still wanting more description of how the closely-held corporation thing works. How many companies fall under this? How do you know which one your company is? SCOTUSblog is way too technical for me to make heads or tails of it.

Overall though; time for national health care. Fuck this employer-provided healthcare bullshit.
posted by emjaybee at 8:03 AM on June 30 [71 favorites]


Hello to my regular reminder that being a woman means my rights aren't inalienable and my bodily integrity is at the whim of the state. Also hello to dudes who think I owe them an answer on twitter because I dare to be publicly angry about this. #yesallwomen
posted by immlass at 8:03 AM on June 30 [82 favorites]


Fucking clowns. History will remember these fascist fools in their anti-liberty infamy.

Time to organize a general strike on behalf of women, and while we are shutting that whole thing down, boycott Hobby Fucking Lobby right out of business.

Clowns.
posted by spitbull at 8:04 AM on June 30 [15 favorites]


"This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs."

He continued under his breath: "...but they might. Just not necessarily."
posted by cjelli at 8:04 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: suck on my unwashed butthole.
posted by symbioid at 8:04 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


"if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs."

If "employer" is understood to be the business entity, did the Supreme Court just say, EXPLICITLY, that a corporation can have religious beliefs?

Somebody please clarify?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:04 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


You always know we're in for a bad decision when SCOTUS actually says as part of the decision, "There's no precedent set in this decision."
posted by parliboy at 8:04 AM on June 30 [59 favorites]


Alex Pareene:

"Yes, corporations can play Mario Kart," wrote Alito in his concurrence. "Also they don't have to clean their rooms if they don't want to"
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:04 AM on June 30 [55 favorites]


Also, how can the "birth control only" thing possibly last? How long before a Christian Scientist family company sues for not providing anything but prayer?
posted by emjaybee at 8:04 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


Am I understanding it right that this only applies to "closely held corporations"

For now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:05 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


ThePinkSuperhero: "Am I understanding it right that this only applies to "closely held corporations"?"

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer... Indeed.
posted by symbioid at 8:05 AM on June 30


Also, considering that ~15% of women use contraceptives for non-procreative purposes and that "contraception" and "abortifacent" were liberally mixed in Hobby Lobby's case despite being factually untrue, it seems pretty obvious that (1) conservatives on SCOTUS and elsewhere either don't know or don't care about medical usage; and (2) that we now have legal confirmation that the anti-choice movement isn't about abortion, but rather controlling women's sexual agency.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:05 AM on June 30 [166 favorites]


This feels very scary and upsetting and even personal to me. I don't normally agree when people say things like "One step closer to The Handmaid's Tale..." but in this case I feel vulnerable and attacked and unprotected and I begin to see that point. This just makes me feel very, very frightened.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:05 AM on June 30 [99 favorites]


Yeah, I am glad that it is narrow (maybe?) but also now it just reads as a giant fuck you to women. Especially since so many women use birth control for medical reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with family planning/contraception.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:05 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Kennedy is the swing vote and he denies that this would apply as broadly as Ginsburg worried. He claims this covers "closely held" corporations where stock is not publicly traded, which is rare. Ginsburg responds:

"Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private. Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood—combined with its other errors in construing RFRA—invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith."

I think she has the right of it, though if Kennedy is around for the next case maybe not: Alito presents the idea that disagreements about a corporation's "religious exercise" would be handled like any other matter, by the board of directors according to their articles of incorporation and relevant state law. But Kennedy can play umpire's rules so long as he's around.

But like McCullen's "buffer zone" finding it does seem like HHS opened the door for a "not narrowly tailored" decision by being so inconsistent. Once HHS allowed that non-profit corporations to take religious exemptions, they basically opening the door to for-profit corporations taking a religious exemption as well.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:06 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


This is fucked. A direct attack on women's rights to control their lives.
posted by arcticseal at 8:06 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Closely Held Corporation, according to IRS:

1. Has more than 50% of the value of its outstanding stock owned (directly or indirectly) by 5 or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year; and

2. Is not a personal service corporation. (Personal services include any activity performed in the fields of accounting, actuarial science, architecture, consulting, engineering, health (including veterinary services), law, and the performing arts)
posted by leotrotsky at 8:07 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


If "employer" is understood to be the business entity, did the Supreme Court just say, EXPLICITLY, that a corporation can have religious beliefs?


Closely held corporations, but not necessarily publicly traded ones.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:07 AM on June 30


I still haven't found the part in my Bible where Jesus died for a closely-held corporation's sins.
posted by gauche at 8:07 AM on June 30 [161 favorites]


The idea that Hobby Lobby, as a $2.28b corporation, is somehow able to influence the lives of its 21,000 employees on the basis of religion because they are "closely held" is absolutely baffling.

Also, now that they can refuse to cover contraception, doesn't that realistically lead to their workforce becoming mainly conservative Christians...and isn't that discriminatory?
posted by Kronios at 8:07 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Pay for Viagra? Hair transplants? Fuck yea!

Pay for women's health? Fuck you!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:07 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Also, there are TONS of uses for birth control bills and devices beyond controlling birth/conception. This doesn't just affect reproductive rights, which would be abhorrent enough, this affects many aspects of women's health.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:07 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


From Hobby Lobby's Facebook page:

"Today the Supreme Court has granted a landmark victory for religious liberty, ruling that individuals do not lose their religious freedom when they open a family business."

I mean.... what? They're painting it like, they were wearing a crucifix and that was all well and good, and then they opened a store and now they can't wear a crucifix!

Before they opened a business, did they provide contraceptive coverage to their employees?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:07 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


If "employer" is understood to be the business entity, did the Supreme Court just say, EXPLICITLY, that a corporation can have religious beliefs?

No, they didn't, at least not yet. The ruling only attaches to closely held corporations. In CHCs, shares can only be traded among previously existing shareholders, and not sold to members of the general public. They're basically a very fancy way of having a partnership structure with more than two owners.
posted by parliboy at 8:07 AM on June 30


Alito reading from the summary suggests the majority has a narrow scope than the dissent accuses, but what are they going to say when the inevitable case of blood transfusions or other procedures disallowed by an employer comes up, "we only decided Hobby Lobby because we hate whores?"

They've opened the door for employers to try all kinds of anti-women, anti-choice, anti-employee policies just to see what they can get away with now that potentially anything goes as long as your boss loves Jesus enough.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:08 AM on June 30 [41 favorites]


To quote my friend on this one, "That's the dumbest shit I've ever heard. I might not even be exaggerating this time."
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:08 AM on June 30 [17 favorites]


I really hope the unintended consequence of this is that it becomes a lot easier to pierce the corporate veil of closely held corporations. Because they shouldn't get it both ways. Not hopeful, though.

Furious. I am furious. And yes, single payer fixes this.
posted by ambrosia at 8:08 AM on June 30 [30 favorites]


Given the religious make up of the majority, and the fact that they explicitly allow that other, different religious objections might not fly, it's hard to escape the conclusion that this has as much to do with the fact that has as much to do with the members of the majority sharing the religious beliefs of the people who run Hobby Lobby as the as anything else.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:08 AM on June 30 [21 favorites]


Welp. Time to give more money to Planned Parenthood.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:08 AM on June 30 [43 favorites]


Kennedy is a fucking piece of shit that needs to go, ruling waaaaaaaaay too often on the wrong side, under the guise of being a "moderate".
posted by symbioid at 8:08 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Remember this in November!
posted by oceanjesse at 8:09 AM on June 30 [24 favorites]


My brother just sent me this email: I think HHS can pass a regulation to have the government pick up any gaps in coverage. Hopefully treasury can, for spite, earmark Hobby lobby's income taxes specifically to pay for it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:09 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Fun Hobby Lobby fact: back a little over a decade or so, you could buy dried & untreated poppy (papaver somniferum) pods at Hobby Lobbys across the US. Thanks, Hobby Lobby, for allowing me to make fairly potent opium tea when I couldn't score heroin!
posted by item at 8:09 AM on June 30 [30 favorites]


Before they opened a business, did they provide contraceptive coverage to their employees?

Yes, they did. They also didn't notice that providing it was a "substantial burden" until 2010, in what I'm sure is a huge coincidence.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:09 AM on June 30 [59 favorites]


TAX RELIGION NOW!
posted by symbioid at 8:10 AM on June 30 [43 favorites]


"The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections." (p. 41)

So they're going to pay for it anyway, through taxes, then?
posted by Kronios at 8:10 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


But I thought we have never been at war with women?
posted by rtha at 8:11 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


I'm serious. Let's talk general strike.
posted by spitbull at 8:13 AM on June 30 [27 favorites]


rtha: The word you are looking for is 'always', not 'never'.
posted by el io at 8:13 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


An old DailyKos article on what it means to be "closely held". Found during my google search on "is WalMart closely held"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:14 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I work for a big-name Catholic university that has made a fuss about covering birth control in the past, so this pretty much means I need to start saving up for my next IUD.

One thing to note, my big-name Catholic university employer is at least ethically consistent. They subsidize day-care and cover college costs for children of employees. The health insurance is otherwise great and family/sick leave are abundant and flexible. They offer a lot of pro-family perks and events. And, most importantly, they pay enough that an IUD is not a huge out of pocket expense for me. Employees at Hobby Lobby don't have that. They're paid garbage and the benefits are garbage.

I definitely don't agree with this decision and am taking it personally. But Hobby Lobby should be especially ashamed here.
posted by almostmanda at 8:14 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


Also, now that they can refuse to cover contraception, doesn't that realistically lead to their workforce becoming mainly conservative Christians...and isn't that discriminatory?

This is a completely cretinous decision, for sure, but I'm not sure how that would follow. Refusal to cover contraception doesn't actually mean that Hobby Lobby employees are prevented from purchasing and using contraception on their own initiative. In fact, if the health insurance being provided to Hobby Lobby employees no longer includes contraceptive coverage that should, ultimately, mean that it costs them a little less (the average cost of contraceptive coverage per employee), which makes that purchase a little easier (though, obviously, it wouldn't work out, per employee, to the actual cost of contraceptives for any one employee).
posted by yoink at 8:14 AM on June 30


I decided to skip reading the majority decision for now, but Ginsburg's dissent is good and worth a reading, especially for its breakdown of how the majority is departing from the intent of RFRA.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:14 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


No, let's use this as fuel to push for expansion of Medicare for all. Clearly, corporations are not capable of dealing with their employees' healthcare and can't be trusted to act in their employees' best interests. It's past time for it to become a government-provided benefit for every American.
posted by emjaybee at 8:15 AM on June 30 [88 favorites]


Not sure where they got the number, but:

Closely held firms are those in which a small group of shareholders control the operating and managerial policies of the firm. Over 90 percent of all businesses in the United States are closely held.


Thank you Messrs. Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito. You obviously don't know what justice is so I'll be damned if I'll be calling you that.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:15 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


Given the religious make up of the majority, and the fact that they explicitly allow that other, different religious objections might not fly, it's hard to escape the conclusion that this has as much to do with the fact that has as much to do with the members of the majority sharing the religious beliefs of the people who run Hobby Lobby as the as anything else.

This comment his from my husband and I think he's right and amazing and wonderful and strong and brave and it makes me really glad I have him for support and to be on my side and take care of me when it feels like I'm under siege from so many directions (corporations, government, individuals). It also really, REALLY pisses me off that, as an adult, I feel a need to have someone else stand up for me like that because, as a woman, I won't be taken seriously and if I weren't fortunate enough to have a man who is so fantastic in my life I'd feel even more vulnerable and that is fucking goddamn bullshit.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:16 AM on June 30 [35 favorites]


This is so angering.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:16 AM on June 30


At least the ruling has the wherewithal to call corporate personhood a "legal fiction."
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:16 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I wonder how the Supreme Court will rule when a cooperation requires all female employees to wear a burqa?
posted by happyroach at 8:17 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


Health care is a basic human right. Contraception is health care. This is, therefore, allowing a corporation's "religious beliefs" (which is a stupid and fucked-up idea) to override human rights.
posted by graymouser at 8:17 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


I'm finding myself still gasping for breath, wanting to scream or throw up about this. Rulings like this which predominantly impact vulnerable women and families just make me sick. This ruling will never mean I won't have access to contraceptives but the same cannot be said of vulnerable women, young, poor or otherwise disenfranchised for whom this means that family planning options are back to the early 20th century.
posted by arnicae at 8:18 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


Just spotted on jscalzi's Twitter feed:

"I'd like to congratulate Hillary Clinton on winning the 2016 Presidential Election today."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:19 AM on June 30 [208 favorites]


Oh, and Hobby Lobby didn't just provide contraception coverage, they also invested and continue to invest in contraception manufacturers. "Sincerely held beliefs" doesn't even begin to enter into the equation with these nasty fuckers.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:19 AM on June 30 [149 favorites]


Ginsburg's dissent is great and quotes a line from United States v. Lee that should have been the crux of today's decision: "When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes that are binding on others in that activity."

She also (politely) points out that the majority opinion seems to have no fucking clue how IUDs differ from oral birth control in terms of cost and access.

Depressing.
posted by sallybrown at 8:20 AM on June 30 [94 favorites]


Closely held firms are those in which a small group of shareholders control the operating and managerial policies of the firm. Over 90 percent of all businesses in the United States are closely held.

Well, we'd have to look at the intersection between "closely held firms" and "firms with more than 50 employees" to get an accurate number of firms that are affected by this decision.

What really pisses me off is that there are a lot of "Grandfathered" plans out there. Hobby Lobby could have chosen to stick with a grandfathered plan that was exactly the same as their old plan when it comes to contraceptive coverage. They chose to have this fight. They hate their employees that much.
posted by muddgirl at 8:20 AM on June 30 [14 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, you may want to point out that John Scalzi't Twitter name is just @scalzi.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:21 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Fucking Kennedy - couldn't he have woken up on the other side of the bed?
posted by boubelium at 8:22 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Oh, and Hobby Lobby didn't just provide contraception coverage, they also invested and continue to invest in contraception manufacturers. "Sincerely held beliefs" doesn't even begin to enter into the equation with these nasty fuckers.

I think the sincerely held religious belief in question is that they hate President Obama, and also women.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:22 AM on June 30 [52 favorites]


Jesus jumped up Christ on a sidecar, this may be the stupidest thing I've heard from the Supreme Court in my 45-year lifetime.
posted by Mooski at 8:22 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


They hate their employees that much.

Just the female ones! And their bodies. Because every 30 days or so, their bodies commit murder.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:22 AM on June 30 [56 favorites]


They hate their employees that much.

Just the ones with uteruses.
posted by emjaybee at 8:22 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


White hot fury.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:23 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


This just makes me so fucking tired.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 8:23 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


okay so which states have the most hobby lobby employees and also have the most restricted access to women's health clinics like planned parenthood and whatnot

tell me where to send my money
posted by elizardbits at 8:23 AM on June 30 [36 favorites]


and my dragons should i ever acquire any
posted by elizardbits at 8:23 AM on June 30 [111 favorites]


Entities that can have religious beliefs and act this way can go to hell.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:24 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Do we still do "Surely This! " I feel like it may be called for again.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 8:24 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


, and Hobby Lobby didn't just provide contraception coverage, they also invested and continue to invest in contraception manufacturers.

That'd be false. Their employees do.
posted by jpe at 8:24 AM on June 30


You used to go whole years without seeing a shitty Supreme Court decision of this magnitude, but this court delivers them time after time. What a truly magical period of history.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:25 AM on June 30 [46 favorites]


This is a lot stupider than I imagined we were going to get out of this. Wow.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:25 AM on June 30


Nice point, zombieflanders. I wonder what's going to happen the first time an employee can prove that an owner used (or had sex with someone who used) the same contraception methods. Probably it will turn out that then the owners and the company are separate entities, with the company retaining its religious freedom "rights" of course...
posted by XMLicious at 8:25 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Utterly flabbergasted by this decision. Outrageous.
posted by nubs at 8:25 AM on June 30


.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:26 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Our survey team recently published a data note on Differences In Public Opinion On The ACA’s Contraceptive Coverage Requirement, By Gender, Religion, And Political Party

"Do you support or oppose the health care law’s requirement that private health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control?"

Support:

Total: 58%
Men: 48%
Women: 67%
Republican:35%
Independent: 60%
Democrat: 78%
posted by rtha at 8:26 AM on June 30 [36 favorites]


The other problem with this is that the base wage for a full time Hobby Lobby employee is $14/hr. For them to move to any other retailer for covered contraception would be almost halving their wage.
posted by Talez at 8:26 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I'm jaded enough that I'm just glad they didn't extend the freedom of "religion" to publicly held corps. Aaaaargh.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:27 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I do very much wonder why the Chief let Alito write this one, considering how high profile it is and that Roberts didn't issue a separate concurrence.
posted by sallybrown at 8:27 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I have rarely been so gobsmacked.

This is a new level of stupid and illogical.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:28 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Sadly, I'm not actually surprised. I kept hoping against hope, but I figured it was going to go this way. Because apparently now the way to 'stop' abortion is to redefine more things as abortion even if they are not medically scientifically abortions.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:28 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


I reject the notion that access to contraceptives only affects female employees. Trans men may need contraceptive access. Cis men have wives, sisters, and daughters. This isn't a "what-about-the-mens" argument, it's a call to unity. Hobby Lobby hates their employees, full stop.

That'd be false. Their employees do.

How is matching an insurance premium different than matching contributions to a retirement fund? I argue that either way, the employee is directing that money. Hobby Lobby is arguing that they have the right to limit the ways their employee uses that employer match in the case of insurance premiums, while ignoring the vast amount of their retirement fund match that is going towards lucrative "amoral" investments.
posted by muddgirl at 8:28 AM on June 30 [32 favorites]


That'd be false. Their employees do.

Hobby Lobby purchased the retirement plan and makes matching contributions, actually.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:28 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


I am surprised that this decision surprises people. This case was at the intersection of religious rights and women's rights. Conservative supremes gonna be conservative supremes.
posted by 724A at 8:28 AM on June 30


So can we end corporate person hood now? Seems to have a corrosive effect on our society with no clear benefit.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 8:28 AM on June 30 [14 favorites]


If Hillary Clinton just tweeted, verbatim, "the fuck is THIS bullshit" right now, I'd vote for her no matter what else she did over the next two years.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:29 AM on June 30 [116 favorites]


I am so angry at Alito right now. Like, I wanna punch him in the face. Also, Ginsberg needs to live forever.
posted by angrycat at 8:30 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


The feeling that I get from conservatives Tweets is that they want to score points against liberals/make liberals angry. That's what they seem happiest about. As far as I can see, the deepest philosophical principle being upheld here is: SUCK IT LIBS!
posted by goethean at 8:31 AM on June 30 [36 favorites]


Am I reading this correctly? Religious objections to blood transfusions aren't allowed because...reasons. But religious objections to contraception are allowed because...reasons?
posted by Avenger at 8:31 AM on June 30 [70 favorites]


Sadly, I'm not surprised by this decision. Even more sadly, I fully expect companies nationwide to start claiming religious objections.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:31 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Petition to fire everyone else and just give Ginsburg unilateral ruling power as our benevolent dictator.
posted by Phire at 8:31 AM on June 30 [39 favorites]


I'm so furious I can barely see straight. I just left work and walked (well, stomped) around the block about four times so that I wouldn't pick a fight with the next coworker who talked to me.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:31 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


Jesus fucking christ.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:31 AM on June 30


More on Hobby Lobby's retirement plan hypocrisy that should end any derails on this issue:
You may be thinking that it must have been beyond Hobby Lobby’s reasonable abilities to know what companies were being invested in by the mutual funds purchased for the Hobby Lobby 401(k) plans—but I am afraid you would be wrong.

Not only does Hobby Lobby have an obligation to know what their sponsored 401(k) is investing in for the benefit of their employees, it turns out that there are ample opportunities for the retirement fund to invest in mutual funds that are specifically screened to avoid any religiously offensive products.
To avoid supporting companies that manufacture abortion drugs—or products such as alcohol or pornography—religious investors can turn to a cottage industry of mutual funds that screen out stocks that religious people might consider morally objectionable. The Timothy Plan and the Ave Maria Fund, for example, screen for companies that manufacture abortion drugs, support Planned Parenthood, or engage in embryonic stem cell research.
Apparently, Hobby Lobby was either not aware that these options existed (kind of hard to believe for a company willing to take a case to the Supreme Court over their religious beliefs) or simply didn’t care.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:31 AM on June 30 [38 favorites]


So corporations have souls now? God Bless America.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:32 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


If there was no other day for it, today is the day to donate to Planned Parenthood. I'm doubling my annual donation today.
posted by arnicae at 8:32 AM on June 30 [14 favorites]


Before you get too outraged, remember that this just moves more of the health insurance market out of the control of employers.

Kennedy specifically calls for HHS to use the same method that they use for employees of religious organizations and non-profits: the contraceptive is supplied free by the insurance company. Since contraceptives are generally revenue neutral from an insurance point of view, this is a simple fix. (That's basically why the mandate for contraception fails the "narrowly tailored" test: it can be done so easily without offending Hobby Lobby's stupid excuse for a morality.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:32 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


So...am I right in understanding that HHS could now simply extend the same administrative fix to "closely held corporations" that they did to explicitly religious organizations (i.e., that the insurance companies the corporation deals with have to pay for contraceptive treatments, but not the corporations themselves)? And that the really important fight Supreme Court fight will be over that fix?
posted by yoink at 8:32 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Man it is going to be so weird in like five years when Evangelicals go around saying that they've always been opposed to contraceptives.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:32 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Huh, snap, anotherpanacea.
posted by yoink at 8:33 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Alito is so fucking good at bullshit opinions. I remember studying his opinions in law school, and they were clever, sometimes witty, but ultimately bullshit.
posted by angrycat at 8:33 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Goddamit.
posted by allthinky at 8:34 AM on June 30


We need a constitutional convention, for this reason and for other reasons. We can't go on like this. We can't keep pretending this form of government makes sense. It's broken to the core.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:34 AM on June 30 [14 favorites]


Am I reading this correctly? Religious objections to blood transfusions aren't allowed because...reasons. But religious objections to contraception are allowed because...reasons?

That's the part I don't get. Is it just due to the narrow nature of this particular case? If 20 closely-held companies tried tomorrow to deny access to blood transfusions or vaccines, would they throw that in the pile, too?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:34 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


So can we end corporate person hood now? Seems to have a corrosive effect on our society with no clear benefit.

Ginsburg lays out fairly clearly why corporate personhood doesn't require the Court to hold that for profit corporations have the free exercise rights. Essentially, the law calls for the word person to include corporations "unless the context indicates otherwise" and the context of the right to free exercise of religion doesn't make sense if you're talking about for profit corporations, rather than non-profit communities of believers.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:35 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Would it be possible to amend the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act to specify that it applies only to natural persons, and not to legal-fiction persons? Would that nullify this decision?
posted by Western Infidels at 8:35 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Ginsburg's dissent is also useful because it cabins the decision to the RFRA and makes clear the Court's First Amendment case law would not support the majority on its own. Should we ever have a working Congress again, I would think they could amend the RFRA to make explicit that it applies only to natural persons and religious non-profit organizations, and this decision would be useless.
posted by sallybrown at 8:35 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


If 20 closely-held companies tried tomorrow to deny access to blood transfusions or vaccines, would they throw that in the pile, too?

The ruling specifically states they cannot do this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:36 AM on June 30


The STATE authorizes corporate status. How is it that a religious limitation can be permitted if a corporation is a STATE-APPROVED entity (even a closely held corporation)?

As these decisions accumulate, America is furthering its slide into mediocrity and social toxicity.

What the hell is the Establishment Clause for? By acceding to the radical right on decisions like this, the state is most assuredly breaking down the wall between church and state...i.e. "Taliban Lite?".
posted by Vibrissae at 8:36 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Hello to my regular reminder that being a woman means my rights aren't inalienable and my bodily integrity is at the whim of the state.

I agree that there's no fucking way to take this other than personally. Why do they hate me? An emancipated woman must be the most frightening thing they've ever contemplated.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 8:36 AM on June 30 [33 favorites]


I still haven't found the part in my Bible where Jesus died for a closely-held corporation's sins.
You're obviously reading the wrong Bible.
posted by Flunkie at 8:36 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


"This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs."

This kind of crap, just as in Bush v Gore, or the recent Aero decision just screams that they are not basing this on any theory of law of at all. They're picking winners and losers case by case.
posted by tyllwin at 8:36 AM on June 30 [57 favorites]


Like the holding that Bush v Gore creates no precedent, the holding that the Hobby Lobby decision applies only to contraception is plain, open, bare-faced admission that this is a corrupt, incorrect decision. Reasoned decisions create precedents and principles that can be broadly applied, and the "oh but this only counts for this thing" aspect of it- the effort to pretend that somehow contraception mandates violate religious freedom but antivax, anti-blood transfusionism, and racism don't- is an admission that the decision is five pieces of shit deciding to betray the principles of law in order to get their way.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:36 AM on June 30 [133 favorites]


If 20 closely-held companies tried tomorrow to deny access to blood transfusions or vaccines, would they throw that in the pile, too?

Blood transfusions don't punish slutty sluts, why would they even bother.

I'm sure they'll do their best to block Gardasil though.
posted by elizardbits at 8:37 AM on June 30 [24 favorites]


The whole "no precedent setting! Only this one time, we swear!" approach seems to deny what the Supreme Court is actually for, at least as I was taught about it. Not a lawyer, so maybe someone else can shed more light on that, but it seems to have become a very large loophole for pushing through shit that otherwise wouldn't fly. If they hadn't said that, for example, and stuff that affected men like blood transfusions was now at risk, would they have dared decide this way?
posted by emjaybee at 8:37 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Am I reading this correctly? Religious objections to blood transfusions aren't allowed because...reasons. But religious objections to contraception are allowed because...reasons?

I get that you're angry, but I can't make heads or tails of this internet-meme based objection. Isn't the nature of legal reasoning that there will be separate sets of reasons for similar but different circumstances? Do you have a substantive critique of why this should not hold in this case?

(To be clear, I'm not supporting the decision, which I think is inane)
posted by OmieWise at 8:37 AM on June 30


If there was no other day for it, today is the day to donate to Planned Parenthood. I'm doubling my annual donation today.

Done and done.
posted by mochapickle at 8:37 AM on June 30


So far today, I have only lost one social media friend. That's sort of impressive.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:40 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


because...reasons?

I get that you're angry, but I can't make heads or tails of this internet-meme based objection

I think the point is that when the original quote says "reasons" it's not a placeholder for actual reasons, it's a way of writing the handwavy lack of actual reasons. It's like "because I said so." The point is that no reasoning was given to explain the difference between the two instances.
posted by vytae at 8:41 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


Those fuckers.
posted by theora55 at 8:42 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, you may want to point out that John Scalzi't Twitter name is just @scalzi.

I was using his MeFi name.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


We need a constitutional convention, for this reason and for other reasons. We can't go on like this. We can't keep pretending this form of government makes sense. It's broken to the core.

Understand that in a constitutional convention, the psycho theocratic oligarchs get as much or more representation than you do.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:43 AM on June 30 [27 favorites]


Two things I'd like to add:

1. Can pharmaceutical companies now market a "new" medicine for women who take birth control for medical reasons, and have that pass this new bullshit? (I.e., birth control pills called something different)

2. As truly enraging as the contraception decision is, I think the union decision is far more immediately destructive, and will have far wider short-term effects.

(Anecdote: I work with a tea party/very hard right/very conservative Christian guy. He rails about being forced to pay for our extremely effective public union constantly. This union that has fought to raise our salaries, preserve state funding for what we do, and secured as a benefit the amazing health care coverage that he has relied upon to be able to raise nine children on a teacher's salary. And he will gleefully stop his union payments immediately, because fuck unions, they're fascist.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:43 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


I get that you're angry, but I can't make heads or tails of this internet-meme based objection. Isn't the nature of legal reasoning that there will be separate sets of reasons for similar but different circumstances? Do you have a substantive critique of why this should not hold in this case?

It's objectionable because the Court doesn't articulate a reason for there being a different outcome for a blood transfusion case, and the logical reasoning that's driving the decision here seems (to me and I think most others) to apply equally to blood transfusions and vaccinations. Further, given that the majority is made up of people who belong to a religion that also opposes contraception, it looks like "pick winners and losers" as someone said, rather than good faith legal reasoning.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:43 AM on June 30 [34 favorites]


We need a constitutional convention, for this reason and for other reasons.

I don't see how a constitutional convention is going to ensure that any given group of people will always make reasonable decisions (let alone decisions that you, personally, will agree with). I don't see how one bad Supreme Court decision--or even many bad Supreme Court decisions--demonstrates a flaw in the constitution. There can be no human political system imaginable which would be immune from the capacity to make bad laws.
posted by yoink at 8:44 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


We need a constitutional convention, for this reason and for other reasons. We can't go on like this. We can't keep pretending this form of government makes sense. It's broken to the core.

what


I think our government is fundamentally broken. The constitution needs to be rewritten to take modern life into account.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:46 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Like, this doesn't make any logical sense forever at all EVER...

It makes perfect sense. The court believes that corporations are people, and women aren't.
posted by mhoye at 8:48 AM on June 30 [107 favorites]


Honestly, part of me suspects that these decisions were handed down as a pair to draw attention away from Harris v. Quinn, which is vastly more far-reaching and immediately precedent-setting.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:48 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I'm still really angry, but reading Justice Ginsburg's dissent is making me feel a little better because she's so awesome. (It starts about 2/3rds of the way down)
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:48 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Understand that in a constitutional convention, the psycho theocratic oligarchs get as much or more representation than you do.

Depends how you assign representation, on most of the issues I care about the majority of people are with me. Maybe not on Hobby Lobby, I haven't looked at polls. But frankly we very much need a government that makes sense and can function, even if it has flaws. We don't have that now and it's going to destroy us. Anyway, this is getting off topic so will leave it there.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:48 AM on June 30


1. Can pharmaceutical companies now market a "new" medicine for women who take birth control for medical reasons, and have that pass this new bullshit? (I.e., birth control pills called something different)

I'm sure they could on a technological level, but good luck getting approval past the FDA for a medicine not (on paper) intended to work as birth control that does that. On paper, that's a very troubling side effect.

I've actually joked about that for years now- that some enterprising company should market a birth control product that also can be somehow used as rifle ammunition and dare Wal-Mart to ban selling it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:49 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


I don't see how a constitutional convention is going to ensure that any given group of people will always make reasonable decisions (let alone decisions that you, personally, will agree with). I don't see how one bad Supreme Court decision--or even many bad Supreme Court decisions--demonstrates a flaw in the constitution. There can be no human political system imaginable which would be immune from the capacity to make bad laws.

Yeah, but it sure is starting to feel like the whole basic point of the Constitution isn't really working for individual citizens any more. The more powers that corporations are granted by the law, the harder it is for actual humans to be able to be protected by that same law. How am I supposed to fight Hobby Lobby?
posted by nushustu at 8:49 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Isn't the nature of legal reasoning that there will be separate sets of reasons for similar but different circumstances?

Yes, but there has to be reasoning for where to draw a line, or else the impact of a decision can be much broader than intended. Today's decision involves more than one holding--among them, (1) that the RFRA applies to closely held corporations and (2) that the RFRA permits people and companies falling under the protection of the RFRA to refuse to provide some health benefits. The Court then attempts to draw a line between some health benefits (the specific types of contraception Hobby Lobby challenged, and perhaps other contraceptive devices) and others (everything else, such as vaccines and blood transfusions). But there is no sound reasoning for this distinction. There will be plenty of cases in future making that point to argue that RFRA should permit them to refuse to provide things other than contraception.

Think of the gay rights cases: in Lawrence, Justice Scalia dissented to the holding that it was unconstitutional to criminalize gay sex on the basis that this reasoning would one day be extended to permit gay marriage, despite the majority saying otherwise. And he was right (not to object, but to make the point that that line drawing would fall apart in future).
posted by sallybrown at 8:49 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


This is a sickening attack against women (and one that harms trans men and NB folks as collateral damage).

I was having the dystopian nightmares I have every once in a while last night and I don't think waking up to this is going to make them any better.
posted by NoraReed at 8:50 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


They're all jumping on the bandwagon now "Oh, free us from the tyranny!" -
At least 5 Illinois companies hope to benefit from ruling.

I think this may be one step too far for the court. This touches people where they live.
posted by readery at 8:50 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Holy shit, I'm so angry right now, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
posted by supermassive at 8:50 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Another reason why it's insane that we're supposed to get health care through our employers. Tax the bastards and cover everyone.
posted by idlewords at 8:50 AM on June 30 [37 favorites]


I think our government is fundamentally broken. The constitution needs to be rewritten to take modern life into account.

A constitutional convention will have plenty of people who reply "The word of God is timeless. The problem is that people like you need to made to keep to it."

Others will say "Yep! You bet! Modern realities like the idea that a corporation should have more rights than an ordinary person, because it counts more."

Both groups will be better organized and funded than you. Still want that convention?
posted by tyllwin at 8:51 AM on June 30 [34 favorites]


Christ on a craft stick.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:51 AM on June 30 [20 favorites]


This is effectively the actual national anthem of the United States.
posted by juiceCake at 8:51 AM on June 30


Agni, god of fire, grows restive. The fiery horses that draw his sacred chariot stamp their hooves and snort smoke.

Soon he will demand sacrifices.
posted by Naberius at 8:52 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]




Also, how can the "birth control only" thing possibly last? How long before a Christian Scientist family company sues for not providing anything but prayer?


That's only the start; as corporations can have religious beliefs, and be exempted from laws on the basis of them, we will see a process of natural selection in which unprofitable religions die out in the corporate sphere, which converges on a handful of religions which happen to optimise profitability.

The next step will be a surge in the hiring of theologians as corporations search for unique readings of scriptures that maximise profits and eliminate obligations.
posted by acb at 8:53 AM on June 30 [43 favorites]


And here's a little ditty for Justices Alito, Kennedy, and company.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:54 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Okay, planned parenthood now has my monthly book budget. I needed to spend more time at the library, anyway.

So mad I've chewed a hole in my lip, and I'm a guy.
posted by Mooski at 8:54 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


The court believes that corporations are people, and women aren't.

I started thinking over the weekend - without knowing that this was coming - that if corporations are people, then perhaps all people should incorporate.
posted by nubs at 8:55 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Boycott the manufacturers that supply Hobby Lobby, no matter where you shop.

Maybe if Big Pipe Cleaner feels the hurt, something will change.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:55 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Not my quip but:

Which aisle does Hobby Lobby keep coat hangers on?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:56 AM on June 30 [25 favorites]


Actual argument from one of my anti-BC relations: If you'd never been born, you'd be really sad.
Actual response from me: Uh, if I'd never been born, I wouldn't be happy or sad. I just wouldn't exist.
Actual rebuttal: Of course you'd exist. You were meant to exist.
posted by mochapickle at 8:56 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


I don't see how a constitutional convention is going to ensure that any given group of people will always make reasonable decisions (let alone decisions that you, personally, will agree with). I don't see how one bad Supreme Court decision--or even many bad Supreme Court decisions--demonstrates a flaw in the constitution.

Seconding this. I got curious and checked who some of the justices were appointed by - I was sure we had a couple of Dubya appointees, then a couple that Clinton and Obama have appointed, but I didn't know that Scalia was appointed by Reagan. It doesn't surprise me in the least that the supporters of this decision were all also the Reagan-era and Bush-Sr. appointees.

So what we therefore need to do is do some kind of stealth gaslight-y kind of psych-them-out mind tricks on the 5 justices who supported this to get them to retire early, so we can get some sane blood in there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The 21st century US version of the trolley problem: if you want meaningful political change in the US, would you throw Sam Alito in front of a train?
posted by MartinWisse at 8:56 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I don't think I've ever done this before but:
Am I reading this correctly? Religious objections to blood transfusions aren't allowed because...reasons. But religious objections to contraception are allowed because...reasons?whores

FTFY.
posted by romakimmy at 8:57 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


would you throw Sam Alito in front of a train?

Without hesitation!
posted by Drinky Die at 8:59 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Sigh. This is why, despite all that "both parties are the same" jazz that cynical people spout, at least on the Presidential level, whom we vote for really matters a lot. We're still suffering from cheery old papa Bush's diabolical Thomas appointment.

At least from my own perspective, a Republican win in 2016 would be a disaster of unmitigated proportions, basically a nail in the coffin of what remains of civil rights in America.
posted by xigxag at 8:59 AM on June 30 [39 favorites]


For the record, I'm angry about the other decision too, although it's not as bad as it could have been. But I think getting rid of anti-choice majorities on the Court would also help in getting rid of anti-union majorities.
posted by emjaybee at 9:00 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I'd say that most companies will sanely and pragmatically choose not to jump on this bandwagon, because they'd then have to pay premium to cover the cost of all those pregnancies. But that's assuming that they won't somehow find a way to deny pregnancy coverage. Or, far more likely, they'll lay off the pregnant women (or their insured spouses/partners) on some BS pretext.

It's a sad day for jurisprudence and public policy in the States. I'm glad I'm aging out of having to worry about contraception, but my (straight male) kid may have to negotiate a society where some of his potential partners can't afford decent birth control.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:00 AM on June 30


Its funny that I have more rights to deny my wife BC if I incorporate and hire her than I do as her husband.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:01 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


Think about this: in future when women are interviewing at a company they'll have to ask questions about the health plan that will inherently raise concerns about their personal choices in order to get basic health care.

I am not surprised, but I am enraged. And tired.
posted by winna at 9:01 AM on June 30 [41 favorites]


My only concern is that Hillary will somehow bring Clinton drama back to the White House sufficient to lose her re-election in 2020. If she can last until 2024, we should hopefully be able to appoint justices to replace Scalia (78) and Kennedy (77) along with Ginsburg (81) and Breyer (75).

For what it's worth, SCOTUS Justices by age:

Ginsburg 81
Scalia 78
Kennedy 77
Breyer 75
Thomas 66
Alito 64
Sotomayor 60
Roberts 59
Kagan 54
posted by leotrotsky at 9:01 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Boycott the manufacturers that supply Hobby Lobby, no matter where you shop.

....I really, really like this idea. Do you know how we could get such a list?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 AM on June 30 [24 favorites]


This is a sickening attack against women

It is worth pointing out, again, that the majority's ruling explicitly recognizes that "guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is a compelling governmental interest"; they just say that there are ways for the Government to do that without burdening Hobby Lobby's owners. So they're not, actually, trying to deprive Hobby Lobby's employees of contraceptive coverage, they're suggesting that either the Government or the insurance companies should pick up the tab. So far as I can see, this is something that Obama can do administratively, and which does not require Congress to act; so I don't, actually, think there's any reason to assume that Hobby Lobby's employees (or any other closely held corporation's employees) will be deprived of contraceptive coverage.
posted by yoink at 9:03 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Am I reading this correctly? Religious objections to blood transfusions aren't allowed because...reasons. But religious objections to contraception are allowed because...reasons?

I would imagine (key word here) that they are seen differently due to the consequences of not doing it, and the options available. Many people see contraception as optional; you have other routes to preventing pregnancy. The consequences of failure are considered by many as positive: A child. This is obviously ignoring non-contraceptive use of contraception drugs, but that is a minority usage and typically ignored by those with these kinds of opinions. For a blood transfusion, there are typically no other viable options, and the consequence of failure to get it is often death, and fairly immediate death too; no long range shit here. So lots of waffly people can get behind the former, but it takes a really hard core person to get behind they "you will die, and die now, because of my religious beliefs".

To me, it looks like even those on the supreme court weren't super on-board (the whole this isn't a precedent thing) but maybe they think they need to pander, or placate, or take something away from obamacare, or maybe have a vague "religion is losing, lets toss them a bone". That seems to be the flavour, anyway. Kinda weird decision. And, yah, I think if it had concerned men's health, I bet they would have waited for the next bone instead.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:03 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Both decisions are actually far more narrow than I feared. They didn't have five votes for the maximalist position on either matter.

Harris is especially good. It did not touch the framework but just said the employees in question did not fit into the framework. It was a bullshit decision, but basically a sop. I will be honest, it was a stretch for the state to find these workers were state workers.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:03 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


In fact, if the health insurance being provided to Hobby Lobby employees no longer includes contraceptive coverage that should, ultimately, mean that it costs them a little less (the average cost of contraceptive coverage per employee), which makes that purchase a little easier (though, obviously, it wouldn't work out, per employee, to the actual cost of contraceptives for any one employee).

This isn't correct. Babies cost more than birth control.
posted by almostmanda at 9:03 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


yoink, I think a lot of us fear that Obama either won't act or that Republicans will find some other way to deny coverage. It is an attack; if they are not 100% successful, that doesn't really change the nature of the attack's intent.
posted by emjaybee at 9:05 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


I have to assume this is really just another social science experiment.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:05 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


From Justice Ginsburg's dissent:

11The Court points out that I joined the majority opinion in City of Boerne and did not then question the statement that “least restrictive means . . . was not used [pre-Smith].” Ante, at 17, n. 18. Concerning that observation, I remind my colleagues of Justice Jackson’s sage comment: “I see no reason why I should be consciously wrong today because I was unconsciously wrong yesterday.” Massachusetts v. United States, 333 U. S. 611, 639–640 (1948) (dissenting opinion).

I love this woman more every time she opens her mouth.
posted by blurker at 9:05 AM on June 30 [73 favorites]


I feel sick to my stomach.

Expect even worse if Democrats lose the Senate. Start funding and working on GOTV efforts in contested Senate seats to try to counter the Koch effect.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:06 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Babies cost more than birth control.

Yup. Which is why it places no burden on insurance companies to require them to provide contraceptive coverage free of charge: which is the solution the Supreme Court suggests in its ruling.
posted by yoink at 9:06 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I got curious and checked who some of the justices were appointed by - I was sure we had a couple of Dubya appointees, then a couple that Clinton and Obama have appointed, but I didn't know that Scalia was appointed by Reagan. It doesn't surprise me in the least that the supporters of this decision were all also the Reagan-era and Bush-Sr. appointees.

I miss the days of Republican-appointed justices turning out to be stealth liberal firebrands (Warren, Brennan, Blackmun).
posted by sallybrown at 9:06 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Sheer anger. Absolute seething. Especially as a women on BC because of sheer PAIN. Well I guess hobby Lobby can pay for the ER visits to check for cysts every month right? Or anemia. And coverage for day care and health insurance for unplanned children.

Because fuck them.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:06 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I work for a big-name Catholic university that has made a fuss about covering birth control in the past, so this pretty much means I need to start saving up for my next IUD.

No. This ruling may actually make that LESS likely. The court said that HHS could have given Hobby Lobby the same opt out that HHS gave to the religious non-profits who objected. HHS said they could certify their objection and then the insurance companies would provide the coverage without cost to the non-profits. Since the court has suggested this as a possibility it is unlikely that they think that suggestion is a "substantial burden" (since it would make no sense to suggest as a remedy to a problem under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA] something that they think would violate the RFRA).

HHS will probably make the opt-out widely available (the insurance companies don't care, it doesn't make a difference to them financially) and then the courts will not admit the objections to the opt-out plan as substantially burdensome.
posted by Jahaza at 9:07 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Yup. Which is why it places no burden on insurance companies to require them to provide contraceptive coverage free of charge: which is the solution the Supreme Court suggests in its ruling.

In what universe do insurance companies ever provide anything for free?
posted by winna at 9:07 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Can anyone point to some background on why closely-held corporations in particular are treated as "persons"? The main linked document (describing the court's decision) alludes to there being compelling reasons why treating these entities as persons (and therefore having religious beliefs) makes sense to the court, but I don't know enough about it to have a reaction other than an emotional one.
posted by amtho at 9:08 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Also, how can the "birth control only" thing possibly last? How long before a Christian Scientist family company sues for not providing anything but prayer?

Might want to actually read the decision!
posted by Jahaza at 9:08 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I will be honest, it was a stretch for the state to find these workers were state workers.

This attempt at narrowly constructing the decision doesn't make sense to me. The court must have also found that the state did have the authority over these workers because it found the plan was perfectly fine in mandating coverage of blood transfusions and other kinds of medical service. The decision wants to be narrow but it's impossible to justify the specific exception they want to narrowly make without also monkeying up the reasoning in other cases.

The decision can't even be understood as self-consistent in the narrowest constructions.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:09 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I feel strangely numb about this because if I allow myself to really let it sink in, to really feel the magnitude of what this means for women (and men, and the United States), I'm gonna GO OFF.

Then someone will say "Wow...SOMEONE must be on the rag" AND I WILL DESTROY THEM
posted by mynameisluka at 9:09 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


Who wants to go to the Supreme Court ? Because a corporation doesn't provide BC for religious reasons need to have extensive pro life coverage including day care health wellness visits extra maternity services, paternity leave and more?
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:09 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


In what universe do insurance companies ever provide anything for free?

The universe where they bake the cost of the coverage into the price anyway and just don't specifically charge for that one line item. Like free shipping from LL Bean.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:10 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


yoink, I think a lot of us fear that Obama either won't act or that Republicans will find some other way to deny coverage.

Given that Obama has already had HHS make this accommodation for (genuinely) religious organizations, I find it hard to imagine why he'd balk at making it now for "closely held corporations." And if the Republicans haven't been able to prevent it for actual religious organizations it's hard to imagine that they'll find some new weapon just because it's been extended to Hobby Lobby.

Actually, the aspect of the decision that this thread seems to be missing is that it suggests that there isn't a majority on the court that will overturn Obama's compromise with the religious organizations. If the majority in this case accept that the govt has a "compelling reason" to secure free contraceptive coverage to women AND explicitly recommends the Obama compromise as a good way to secure that end, it's going to be hard for them to turn around when one of the religious organization cases comes before the court and say "Psych! we were just kidding!"
posted by yoink at 9:10 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


"This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs."
This kind of crap, just as in Bush v Gore, or the recent Aero decision just screams that they are not basing this on any theory of law of at all. They're picking winners and losers case by case.
Is it me, or does today's other major decision (the one on unions) also seem this way? I might not be understanding it properly, but it seems to me that they're saying "This decision does not apply to unions in general, or even to public sector unions in general, but specifically to public sector unions representing health care workers".
posted by Flunkie at 9:10 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Also, there are TONS of uses for birth control bills and devices beyond controlling birth/conception. This doesn't just affect reproductive rights, which would be abhorrent enough, this affects many aspects of women's health.

Insurance plans that do not fund contraception are frequently written to provide for those uses of birth control pills/devices. They don't fund those items for contraceptive purposes but will pay claims on them when used for other reasons. This isn't that strange. For instance, my insurance will pay to remove cysts, but only if they are being removed for certain reasons (e.g. they itch) and not for other reasons (e.g. preference).

In what universe do insurance companies ever provide anything for free?

In the one where they did the actuarial calculations and found that providing birth control means paying for fewer births, less pre-natal care, and less healthcare for children and is therefore cheaper for them than not providing it.
posted by Jahaza at 9:13 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Time to stand in front of the local Hobby Lobby and hand out $5 gift cards to the JoAnn Fabrics that is literally in the same plaza.
posted by palindromic at 9:13 AM on June 30 [95 favorites]


That's so much better than my plan to go and shit in the aisles. Like so much better.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:15 AM on June 30 [74 favorites]


The reasoning is so weak that it's really hard to read the decision as anything other than a bunch of the Justices not liking Obamacare and being willing to stick the knife in, given the barest opportunity. Maybe they're pissed that they couldn't come up with a reasonable-sounding justification for eliminating the individual mandate altogether back in 2012, or on some level maybe this was a sort of weird quid pro quo.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:15 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I want to know if I can sue Hobby Lobby for child support.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:15 AM on June 30 [21 favorites]


That's so much better than my plan to go and shit in the aisles. Like so much better.

Come on, be reasonable and think a minute. We can do both.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:16 AM on June 30 [55 favorites]


In what universe do insurance companies ever provide anything for free?

So far as I'm aware, it's the same universe in which it is possible to post to Metafilter. This was Obama's compromise solution as regards religious groups (you know, Catholic schools and the like); they don't have to pay the insurance companies to provide contraception, but the insurance companies that provide services to those schools have to provide the contraceptive coverage free of charge. It's worth it to the insurance companies because of what they save on covering pregnancy, births etc. so everybody wins.

Various religious groups are challenging that compromise and the cases are wending their way to the Supreme Court. Today's decision gives a very, very strong hint as to how the SC will rule--and that seems, ultimately, like good news.
posted by yoink at 9:17 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Only if the closely-held owners have to clean it up.
posted by mochapickle at 9:17 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


I feel strangely numb about this because if I allow myself to really let it sink in, to really feel the magnitude of what this means for women (and men, and the United States), I'm gonna GO OFF.


Reactions like this are really confusing to me. It seems like there won't be very much impact from this decision at all. It was a really narrow decision that shouldn't impact very many women at all, and for those that does, it basically just resets the clock to pre-obama care birth control costs (unless the government just provides the insurance for free, which doesn't seem all that unlikely). It seems like a bed decision to me, but it's not really "The Sky Is Falling" material.
posted by empath at 9:17 AM on June 30


Also, how can the "birth control only" thing possibly last? How long before a Christian Scientist family company sues for not providing anything but prayer?

I kinda hope they do. Really, I'd love to see a group sue for religious exemption for a common service that is AOK by the mainstream evangelicals that brought this suit.
posted by MrGuilt at 9:17 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


This attempt at narrowly constructing the decision doesn't make sense to me. The court must have also found that the state did have the authority over these workers because it found the plan was perfectly fine in mandating coverage of blood transfusions and other kinds of medical service.

Wrong case. Ironmouth was writing WRT the union case.

it seems to me that they're saying "This decision does not apply to unions in general, or even to public sector unions in general, but specifically to public sector unions representing health care workers".

Just glanced at it, but it looks more like "Just because these people are ultimately paid with government money, though Medicaid, doesn't make them government employees."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:17 AM on June 30


Corporate Personhood as a legal framework needs burned to the ground and rebuilt.
posted by DigDoug at 9:18 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


It was a really narrow decision that shouldn't impact very many women at all

It affects 90% of businesses in this country.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:18 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Dammit, Jahaza, stop copying my comments, rewriting them to be more cogent and better expressed and then going back in time to post them earlier than the original. I'm pretty sure that's against the rules.
posted by yoink at 9:19 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


The Spirit and the Law - "How the Becket Fund became the leading advocate for corporations’ religious rights"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:20 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


It affects 90% of businesses in this country.

That's because the vast majority of corporations in the country are tiny. What percentage of people work for those sorts of corporations?
posted by empath at 9:20 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Various religious groups are challenging that compromise and the cases are wending their way to the Supreme Court. Today's decision gives a very, very strong hint as to how the SC will rule--and that seems, ultimately, like good news.

A lot of people think that's unwarranted optimism. We'll see who's right soon enough.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:20 AM on June 30


Both decisions are actually far more narrow than I feared. They didn't have five votes for the maximalist position on either matter.

Yup. A lot of these recent "one-off" decisions are ludicrously specific, and the issues they present will definitely be revisited by the court in a few years after its makeup jostles around a bit.

November matters, as Obama needs a senate who can confirm Ginsberg's replacement. 2016 matters even more, as the president we elect then will most assuredly see the end of the Scalia era and possibly Swingin' Kennedy and Bryer.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:21 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


A lot of people think that's unwarranted optimism. We'll see who's right soon enough.

Those people should read Kennedy's concurrence, which specifically calls for this solution.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:22 AM on June 30


I read somewhere a while back that if this decision went for Hobby Lobby it could make it easier to pierce the corporate veil in a variety of ways. Now that the decision has come down, does anyone know of any commentary that expounds on that possibility?
posted by Caduceus at 9:22 AM on June 30


It affects 90% of businesses in this country.

90% of the businesses in this country are "closely held corporations"?
posted by yoink at 9:22 AM on June 30


Reactions like this are really confusing to me. It seems like there won't be very much impact from this decision at all.

I agree that the administration will probably follow the Court's suggestion and extend the compromise for religious non-profits and as such the practical effect immediately will be limited, that said, there are long term effects of 1) finding that for profit corporations can have religious convictions, and 2) be willing to render a fairly tortuously reasoned decision to achieve a specific result, while disavowing that the actual reasoning matters. That's bad law and it might come back in a bad way down the line.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:22 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Reactions like this are really confusing to me. It seems like there won't be very much impact from this decision at all. It was a really narrow decision that shouldn't impact very many women at all, and for those that does, it basically just resets the clock to pre-obama care birth control costs (unless the government just provides the insurance for free, which doesn't seem all that unlikely). It seems like a bed decision to me, but it's not really "The Sky Is Falling" material.

Today's decision will be read as showing the thoughts of the current Court on a number of issues (Obamacare, contraception, corporate powers, religious freedom), which will influence which cases get brought down the road. There are organizations that exist solely to fund court challenges involving restricting access to contraception (one of which supported Hobby Lobby's case, I believe)--they will see today's decision as an encouragement to try and push further. And today's decision will be used as precedent in related cases, regardless of the dicta in the opinion about how far-reaching today's decision is.
posted by sallybrown at 9:23 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


$115 Billion in estimated revenue last year, and 70,000 employees. It is the second largest closely held corporation in the US.

Guess who?
posted by dglynn at 9:24 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


[yoink, I think a lot of us fear that Obama either won't act or that Republicans will find some other way to deny coverage.]

Given that Obama has already had HHS make this accommodation for (genuinely) religious organizations, I find it hard to imagine why he'd balk at making it now for "closely held corporations."
What about the next president?
posted by amtho at 9:24 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


I dunno, the idea that for-profit corporations of any kind can impose their religious beliefs on their employees; that employees should discuss their beliefs and health care needs with employers prior to accepting a job there; and that employers can mandate what they will pay doctors to discuss with their employees... all that seems pretty wide-ranging and impactful to me.

Sure, right now insurance companies have to provide women's health care separate from employer plans, but that will last precisely as long as a liberal HHS director.

90% of the businesses in this country are "closely held corporations"?

This was discussed already up-thread - yes, a shitload of businesses are closely-held. It's likely that most of them are tiny and don't qualify for the mandate anyway. I respectfully suggest that everyone read prior comments before commenting.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on June 30 [15 favorites]


I really hope the unintended consequence of this is that it becomes a lot easier to pierce the corporate veil of closely held corporations. Because they shouldn't get it both ways.

Yeah, and I would be very interested in someone running the numbers and seeing what the intersection really is between CH corps and corps that trigger the 50 emp ACA requirement (as muddgirl observed above). I'm betting it's exceedingly small, both in number and in quantity of employees. (which isn't to say this still doesn't fucking suck)

Perhaps we need to finally pull off the band-aid on this insane pre-tax exemption for health insurance premiums and get on with evolving this broken system. Clearly the current equilibrium is preventing any medicare-for-all/public option movement.
posted by phearlez at 9:25 AM on June 30


This attempt at narrowly constructing the decision doesn't make sense to me. The court must have also found that the state did have the authority over these workers because it found the plan was perfectly fine in mandating coverage of blood transfusions and other kinds of medical service.

Wrong case. Ironmouth was writing WRT the union case.

it seems to me that they're saying "This decision does not apply to unions in general, or even to public sector unions in general, but specifically to public sector unions representing health care workers".

Just glanced at it, but it looks more like "Just because these people are ultimately paid with government money, though Medicaid, doesn't make them government employees."


yes, I was writing about Harris. The decision merely excludes the healthcare assistants from the class of public workers. Public workers are otherwise untouched. There are a few aspirational words from Alito, who likely would have wanted to go further, but the holding leaves the current structure as is.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:26 AM on June 30


Even a broken clock is right twice a -- oh, wait, the gobshites fucked up again.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:26 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Those people should read Kennedy's concurrence, which specifically calls for this solution.

And what if we lose one or more of the judges on the left, and the Democrats lose the Senate in 2014 and/or the Presidency in 2016 before a hypothetical SCOTUS decision? All of those are, at best, not unlikely.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:27 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


finding that for profit corporations can have religious convictions

But that's not, really, what the court found, is it? It found that the religious convictions of individuals who own "closely held corporations" merit protection when it does not place an undue burden on the government or on anyone else to respect them. They explicitly do not find that corporations per se can have religious beliefs (it is clear that they would reject any claim of such a kind in the case of a publicly traded corporation, for example).

I think this is a bad decision for a lot of reasons (in particular, it's inviting a lot of boundary-testing cases without giving much guidance to lower courts about how to deal with them), but the specific claims being made in this thread seem to be simply wrong. It's not, so far as I can see, designed to deprive any women of contraceptive coverage (in fact it explicitly recognizes that the government has a "compelling interest" in providing such coverage to all women) and it does not magically grant corporations the power of declaring that they have religious beliefs.
posted by yoink at 9:28 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


In what universe do insurance companies ever provide anything for free?

Basically, in one where they do a cost-benefit analysis. They figure that, if birth control isn't covered, they'll wind up with so-many pregnancies they wouldn't have otherwise had, and then compare those costs to the cost of providing oral contraception for free.

Yes, those costs are likely implicitly or explicitly baked in (either they pad their number, deduct it from their profit margin, or they ajust payout estimates to account for it).

But, really, when you talk about a large corporation, if contraception is provided (or, really, any other service), all subscribers pay for at least some part of it. This likely happens more in the back-office functions that all corporations have (IT, accounting, etc.). An insurance company wouldn't have a separate IT department, with separate data centers and servers to segregate customers who are OK with birth controls from those who have a "deeply held religious belief."
posted by MrGuilt at 9:30 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


It seems like a bed decision to me, but it's not really "The Sky Is Falling" material.

The sky is falling sentiments have more to do with how poorly our system seems to be working, I think. It just seems to be error compounded on top of error with legalistic hand-waving these days in all branches of our government. The decision, like so many others, isn't the product of a system that makes sense or functions effectively. It's a system that now produces incomprehensible results that don't square with anyone's understanding of how things ought to work, and this decision makes it even clearer that there's no real legitimacy or rigor in the process. It's all ad hoc now, with some window-dressing of rule of law. But there's no rule of law. And this decision shows that even the highest court doesn't have a consistent legal philosophy that makes any sense whatsoever.


90% of the businesses in this country are "closely held corporations"?

Yes, according to Inc. Magazine, over 90% of corporations in the US are closely held corporations. This is not a narrow decision.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:30 AM on June 30 [7 favorites]


But that's not, really, what the court found, is it? It found that the religious convictions of individuals who own "closely held corporations" merit protection when it does not place an undue burden on the government or on anyone else to respect them. They explicitly do not find that corporations per se can have religious beliefs (it is clear that they would reject any claim of such a kind in the case of a publicly traded corporation, for example).

I think this is a bad decision for a lot of reasons (in particular, it's inviting a lot of boundary-testing cases without giving much guidance to lower courts about how to deal with them), but the specific claims being made in this thread seem to be simply wrong.


Pretty much that's my take as well. I've only skimmed Hobby Lobby, but read all of the majority decision in Harris.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:31 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


It affects 90% of businesses in this country.

It can really only be said to affect corporations that are BOTH closely held and which trigger the ACA requirement. 90% may be CH but 96% of businesses don't have the required 50 employees. It's imprecise, but if we assume that the 96% is evenly distributed across all types of organization (sole proprietorships, LLCs, S-Corps, C-Corps, etc) then that means only 3.6% of businesses are impacted here.

(You could argue that this means a corp with <25 emps could offer insurance without BC coverage and still get the tax credit and that's bad but that seems still to be a new win IMHO)
posted by phearlez at 9:32 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


In what universe do insurance companies ever provide anything for free?

Basically, in one where they do a cost-benefit analysis. They figure that, if birth control isn't covered, they'll wind up with so-many pregnancies they wouldn't have otherwise had, and then compare those costs to the cost of providing oral contraception for free.

Yes, those costs are likely implicitly or explicitly baked in (either they pad their number, deduct it from their profit margin, or they ajust payout estimates to account for it).


This is exactly my point. Those costs are included, it's not free.
posted by winna at 9:32 AM on June 30


Here is a list of 200+ of the largest privately held corporations in the US. You can sort by number of employees, though the default sort is the revenue of the corporation.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:32 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


But that's not, really, what the court found, is it? It found that the religious convictions of individuals who own "closely held corporations" merit protection when it does not place an undue burden on the government or on anyone else to respect them.

No, it found that the language in RFRA about "persons" ("a person's exercise of religion") applies to closely-held corporations, i.e. closely-held corporations are within the category of "persons" under the RFRA.
posted by sallybrown at 9:34 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Time to stand in front of the local Hobby Lobby and hand out $5 gift cards to the JoAnn Fabrics that is literally in the same plaza.

And if the Hobby Lobby people tell you to take a hike, cite the recent buffer zone decision.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:38 AM on June 30 [56 favorites]


Yes, according to Inc. Magazine, over 90% of corporations in the US are closely held corporations. This is not a narrow decision.

The one doesn't follow from the other. 90% of privately held business in the US are too small for the ACA to apply to them and many "privately held corporations" are mom-and-pop family businesses with very few employees, so I would guess that this ruling is irrelevant to more than 90% of the privately held corporations in the nation.
posted by yoink at 9:39 AM on June 30


It is worth pointing out, again, that the majority's ruling explicitly recognizes that "guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is a compelling governmental interest"; they just say that there are ways for the Government to do that without burdening Hobby Lobby's owners.

Except it's not that the 9,000 or so female employees of Hobby Lobby that are the issue. Someone could probably fund a Kickstarter today to provide them all with contraception. It's the willingness of the court majority to a) grant individual rights to corporations, and 2) blatantly discriminate in terms of how those laws are applied that is galling.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:39 AM on June 30 [47 favorites]


And if the Hobby Lobby people tell you to take a hike, cite the recent buffer zone decision.

I find the way your brain works to be delightfully evil in the very best way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on June 30 [15 favorites]


American women have just had a lot of really negative messages about how we're not really people and don't have rights to medical care and bodily integrity (i.e., we can't keep from being pregnant--and don't even start with "then don't have sex") are second to those of corporations by the fucking Supreme Court. Why the fuck shouldn't we be furious?
posted by immlass at 9:41 AM on June 30 [52 favorites]


The one doesn't follow from the other. 90% of privately held business in the US are too small for the ACA to apply to them and many "privately held corporations" are mom-and-pop family businesses with very few employees, so I would guess that this ruling is irrelevant to more than 90% of the privately held corporations in the nation.

Except that the court has now officially recognized that all of these corporations can have preferred religious beliefs.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:41 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


They are opening a Hobby Lobby in my neighborhood. At a recent gathering of hobbyists who use stores like this often, there was talk of all the cool things that could be purchased once Hobby Lobby opens. I said, "You wouldn't catch me pissing in their toilets."

Now I desperately want to go over to the construction site and do some kind of civil action, but I'm not sure that anything I do wouldn't be just spitting in the wind...
posted by Sophie1 at 9:42 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Birth Ctrl + Alt + Del
posted by Fizz at 9:42 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Part of forming a corporation is being released from certain personal liabilities for the corporation's actions in exchange for abiding to some legal standards that apply to corporations but not people. This shitty ruling lays the groundwork for receiving all the financial benefits of incorporation while excusing the corporate adherence to the law under an appeal to personal belief. It doesn't matter how narrow it is or how few people it affects, it's still legally incoherent
posted by Benjy at 9:42 AM on June 30 [44 favorites]



Except that the court has now officially recognized that all of these corporations can have preferred religious beliefs.


They specifically didn't do this. The owners of the corporations have religious beliefs.
posted by empath at 9:43 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


This is exactly my point. Those costs are included, it's not free.

Well nothing in life is free except the sunshine and even that only till Mr Burns puts up that giant disc. But we engage in a lot of fictions regarding costs and businesses. The paper napkins at Burger King don't have a per-napkin cost when we pull them out of the dispenser, but we assume we're cool with taking a few if we bought a burger. We don't tend to think about it as a factor in what that burger cost, but if we ponder the matter we assume those sort of expenses impacted the price.

Insurance plans are weird this way, particularly now with the ACA requirements about percentages that have to apply to servicing the plan vs administrative & profit. Does anyone know of where these expenses fall in that? Does the HHS mandate screw over the insurance company by making them eat this in their 15-20% non-provided care limit?
posted by phearlez at 9:43 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


That was only a clear question in my head, sorry - when HHS mandates that insurance companies provide contraception "free" because the religious org had opted out of including it in the plan, where do they charge that? Is it a business lose? Is it part of the 15-20% they have to get their profits out of?
posted by phearlez at 9:45 AM on June 30


I think we would all be happier if employment and health care were not connected. I feel like whoever is paying has the right to object to paying for things against their conscience, so why put them in that position to start with?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:46 AM on June 30 [17 favorites]


And also, unless you can actually provide a cite with statistics to back up your claim that out of more than 90% of corporations in the US, the vast majority have less than 25 employees, I still have to be a little skeptical of the claim.

Part of forming a corporation is being released from certain personal liabilities for the corporation's actions in exchange for abiding to some legal standards that apply to corporations but not people. This shitty ruling lays the groundwork for receiving all the financial benefits of incorporation while excusing the corporate adherence to the law under an appeal to personal belief. It doesn't matter how narrow it is or how few people it affects, it's still legally incoherent

...Which I think has been the legal game plan all along: now these legal arrangements have limits on their liability and enjoy the other benefits of their special status, but they get to act politically just a little more like people with rights. They're literally creating legal straw men with super political powers nonincorporated, flesh and bone people can't have by virtue of their organizational limitations.

They specifically didn't do this. The owners of the corporations have religious beliefs.

They specifically said they didn't do this in theory. In practice, this is a completely meaningless distinction.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:46 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


No, it found that the language in RFRA about "persons" ("a person's exercise of religion") applies to closely-held corporations, i.e. closely-held corporations are within the category of "persons" under the RFRA.

From the decision:
the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.
Yes, they're saying that they recognize the corporation as a "person" covered by the act, but they explicitly do so solely with reference to the established religious convictions of the (individually named and identified) owners of Hobby Lobby. They equally explicitly deny that a corporation that does not have a restricted number of individually identifiable owners who can speak directly to their individual religious convictions could plausibly be construed as a "person" with religious beliefs under the act. Therefore they are not willy-nilly granting corporations the right to claim that they have religious convictions; they are recognizing the religious convictions of individual human beings who happen to be the owners of "closely held corporations."
posted by yoink at 9:46 AM on June 30


And what if we lose one or more of the judges on the left, and the Democrats lose the Senate in 2014 and/or the Presidency in 2016 before a hypothetical SCOTUS decision? All of those are, at best, not unlikely.

Anything can happen. But the Ave Maria case (the one that challenges the HHS rule that grants the exemption and requires insurance companies to pay for the contraception separately) was stayed in December, so if they decide to push this it'll go pretty quickly. If I were them, though, I would read the Kennedy decision and shy away from actually pushing this line. Arguably, the question has been asked and answered today.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:47 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I think we would all be happier if employment and health care were not connected. I feel like whoever is paying has the right to object to paying for things against their conscience, so why put them in that position to start with?

NOW do people see why a government-run single-payer system would have been the better option?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on June 30 [22 favorites]


They specifically didn't do this. The owners of the corporations have religious beliefs.

Either they're distinct legal entities, or they're not.
posted by Benjy at 9:47 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


I mean, here's the thing. There are really two parts to this.

1) Whether or not the people who own a corporation can possibly have joint personal moral and religious beliefs.

2) Whether it would be nice, or even important, for ladies to get birth control paid for.

A lot of people seem to be conflating one with the other, which is kind of shitty. Because the whole "I don't know how a group of people could possibly have shared values" thing is kind of offensively disingenuous. Of course people who found or run a corporation can have values. Look at non-profits, which are generally founded specifically on ideological grounds. It's pretty fucking obvious that a small group of like-minded individuals can own a corporation.

If you take those beliefs seriously - and personally, I do - then the only reason to be shitty about their moral beliefs is because you don't happen to agree with them. Which is pretty not cool.

Also, portraying this as the only way ladies can have birth control is also disingenuous. Even if you work for Hobby Lobby, your boss is not "coming into the examination room." Your boss is simply not paying for one medical procedure and thus forcing you to pay for it yourself.
posted by corb at 9:48 AM on June 30


Planned Parenthood has announced that they have a donor that will match any donation given today.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:48 AM on June 30 [41 favorites]


That was only a clear question in my head, sorry - when HHS mandates that insurance companies provide contraception "free" because the religious org had opted out of including it in the plan, where do they charge that? Is it a business lose? Is it part of the 15-20% they have to get their profits out of?

phearlez, that's exactly my question, too. If Hobby Lobby still ends up paying for it, what was the point of this whole exercise except to set up more momentum for the drive toward invalidating Griswold.
posted by winna at 9:48 AM on June 30


If you take those beliefs seriously - and personally, I do - then the only reason to be shitty about their moral beliefs is because you don't happen to agree with them. Which is pretty not cool.

I totally disagree with this, though. The Hobby Lobby ruling came down as it did because the HL owners are Christians, and hey, so are these dudes on the Supreme Court. If this had been a case where the owners wanted to abide by Sharia law, I don't think it would have come down this way.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:50 AM on June 30 [82 favorites]


Either they're distinct legal entities, or they're not.

That's old-school binary reasoning. We've obviously entered the age of Quantum reasoning now, where every legal claim exists in a superposition of states until the Roberts' court rules on it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:51 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


As to "why so angry, ladies, you can still get birth control?" well, as has been pointed out, singling out only birth control and not other medical issues that religious belief might effect is affirming that women are a Special, Lesser Case when it comes to our status. If I am a person the same way that a man is a person, why was this case even considered? Once it was considered, why was it ok that it applied only to women (or at least people with uteruses)...how is that not signaling that sexual discrimination is perfectly ok?

In other words, if they don't turn around and grant exemptions for blood transfusions or other treatments that various religions object to, then they are straightforwardly marking half the population a lesser class with lesser protections. Even if we can "get it elsewhere" why are we being subjected to this ruling when men are not? And what does that mean for our status in future cases?

Obviously I am not a lawyer, but I would appreciate some explanation of how women's equality under law can actually be a thing if this restriction only applies to medication that affects us.
posted by emjaybee at 9:52 AM on June 30 [78 favorites]


If this had been a case where the owners wanted to abide by Sharia law, I don't think it would have come down this way.

You are probably even right, but that doesn't speak to the individual moral imperative, just to people's shitty prejudices.

But then, I'm a person who thinks Quakers shouldn't have to pay taxes that go to the Department of Defense, either, so I'm admittedly on the fringe side here.
posted by corb at 9:53 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


"I don't know how a group of people could possibly have shared values"

No one is saying this. What they are saying is that its ridiculous for a corporate personhood to have values.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:53 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


I think they say Scalia and Ginsberg are friends, but how can that be? Do they hug it out? Is she plagued by nightmares of a GOP win in '16? Or is she somehow like a fucking Buddhist on top of her awesome powers.
posted by angrycat at 9:54 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Except that the court has now officially recognized that all of these corporations can have preferred religious beliefs.

They specifically didn't do this. The owners of the corporations have religious beliefs.


If you're making a distinction between holding and exercising a religious belief (the corporation exercises the religious beliefs its owners hold), that is a distinction without a difference in this context, in which the corporation is the actor. The opinion is very clear that closely-held corporations are now protected by the RFRA. The reasoning behind that holding involves the people behind the corporation (individuals do not give up their RFRA protection by organizing into the corporate form), but the holding itself grants RFRA protection to acts by corporate entities. Not just the owners of those corporations, but the corporations themselves. It is common in Supreme Court jurisprudence for a controversial opinion to play down its importance ("don't believe what that crazy dissent says!")--but that doesn't magically make it so. Alito says: "As we will show, Congress provided protection for people like the Hahns and Greens by employing a familiar legal fiction: It included corporations within RFRA’s definition of 'persons.'"
posted by sallybrown at 9:54 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


I would appreciate some explanation of how women's equality under law can actually be a thing if this restriction only applies to medication that affects us.

A thousand times this.

I would also like an explanation of how this makes sense in our legal system.
posted by blurker at 9:56 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


You are probably even right, but that doesn't speak to the individual moral imperative, just to people's shitty prejudices.

If we've agreed that companies pay for health care, then they should pay for all health care. They shouldn't be able to choose what medically necessary treatment they will or will not cover. Anything else allows your employer to decide what kind of medical treatment you can have.
posted by winna at 9:56 AM on June 30 [23 favorites]


But then, I'm a person who thinks Quakers shouldn't have to pay taxes that go to the Department of Defense, either, so I'm admittedly on the fringe side here.

I admire your consistency on that.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:57 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Wow, corb.

1) Whether or not the people who own a corporation can possibly have joint personal moral and religious beliefs.

Nobody is saying they can't have personal moral or religious beliefs.

2) Whether it would be nice, or even important, for ladies to get birth control paid for.

Nice, important, etc., has nothing to do with it. Birth control is a medical decision. It is health care. It is a personal health decision. That can't be erased by someone's religious beliefs anymore than not giving blood transfusions. Birth control is not abortion (which the majority decision suggests on the first page) and it is not a free-pass to sluts (which a variety of right-wing commentators have said, and if you note on the first page of the decision, it refers to women's contraceptives, not men's.).

This is bad science, bad logic and misogyny.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:59 AM on June 30 [72 favorites]


So the five who voted for this are all men, and I believe are all Catholic.

I suppose in hindsight it wasn't that big a surprise.
posted by edgeways at 9:59 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


So this has been making the rounds on twitter during the ruling, pointing out that Hobby Lobby harbors no qualms with vasectomies. I can't really bring myself to even attempt to follow the mental gymnastics required to comprehend their position anymore.
posted by aranyx at 10:00 AM on June 30 [20 favorites]


I wonder how many of those five men can explain to me how an IUD works.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:01 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


I can't really bring myself to even attempt to follow the mental gymnastics required to comprehend their position anymore.

That's because these people have no values, moral, shared, or otherwise. This is purely about money and politics and the religion part is, as always, a sham.
posted by Naberius at 10:01 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


Time to stand in front of the local Hobby Lobby and hand out $5 gift cards to the JoAnn Fabrics that is literally in the same plaza.
And if the Hobby Lobby people tell you to take a hike, cite the recent buffer zone decision.
Scalia would just show up and yell at you that as per a strict constructionist reading of the Constitution, the recent buffer zone decision obviously only enshrines the rights of Christians to yell at sinners.
posted by Flunkie at 10:01 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Obviously I am not a lawyer, but I would appreciate some explanation of how women's equality under law can actually be a thing if this restriction only applies to medication that affects us.

The decision holds that the Government does have a compelling interest in ensuring that women have access to contraception and it makes it clear that they do not expect or wish that the employees of closely held corporations will be deprived of coverage for contraception as a result of this ruling. The premise of the ruling is that Hobby Lobby can seek relief from the burden of having to pay for services they deem morally objectionable because those services can easily be provided by other means (and the ruling specifically offers the mechanism currently being used to provide free access to contraceptives to employees of religious organizations).
posted by yoink at 10:01 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


NoraReed: "This is a sickening attack against women (and one that harms trans men and NB folks as collateral damage)."

Heck, it hurts cis men as collateral damage. Including Christian, heterosexual, monogamously-married cis men who have jointly decided with their wives to control the timing and number of children they add to their families for personal reasons.

Family planning, including the use of hormonal contraception, is totally acceptable in most mainline Protestant denominations -- I would love to see massive pushback against this ruling from those churches.
posted by desuetude at 10:02 AM on June 30 [27 favorites]


Of course people in groups can have shared beliefs. That doesn't matter because part of forming a corporation is limiting both your liabilities and privileges!

I don't see how anyone can good-faith argue that they're separate entities for the purposes of fines and legal liabilities, but not for personal beliefs - it's socializing the risks privatizing the profits all over again.
posted by Benjy at 10:02 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Hey.
Hey.
Hey.

What war on women?
posted by edgeways at 10:03 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


It's all ultimately part of a backdoor legal strategy for giving the old landowning class proportionally more political power than the plebes, a way to establish certain principles in law that when exploited by individuals and groups with enough money to handle the costs of adopting the necessary legal form effectively gives them more political clout--as much as they can afford to buy, in fact. This is all of a piece with Citizens United and other legal battles on related issues.

Note that the same court upheld the individual mandate under ACA without exceptions. Do individuals get to object to the plans available on the exchange on religious grounds now too?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:04 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Sharia Shack (halal burgers and smoothies) v. US. Who's in for the class action?

We refuse to cover music therapy or isopropyl alcohol for wound care.

Also . . .

Buddhist Books. Talmud Tailors. Wiccan Wicks n Sticks. Franchise opportunities available to groups of up to five investors.
posted by spitbull at 10:06 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Because the whole "I don't know how a group of people could possibly have shared values" thing is kind of offensively disingenuous. Of course people who found or run a corporation can have values. Look at non-profits, which are generally founded specifically on ideological grounds.

But the case is explicitly not about non-profits, it's about for-profits, and it's not about the religious values of the people who own the corporation, it's about whether a for-profit corporation has a right to exercise its religious convictions. As Ginsburg points out in her dissent, the assumption that a for profit corporation has the right to free exercise of religion is unprecedented and illogical. The for profit corporation is a creature of statute created to achieve certain ends, none of which are the exercise of religion. That the conclusion is illogical is made obvious when you consider that situation where a closely held corporation has two shareholders with different religious values and different ideas about how to exercise their corporation's new found right to free exercise of religion. Whose values control in that case? There's not an answer that makes any sense, apart from "corporations have no freedom to exercise religious beliefs, what would that even mean"
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:06 AM on June 30 [60 favorites]


The decision holds that the Government does have a compelling interest in ensuring that women have access to contraception and it makes it clear that they do not expect or wish that the employees of closely held corporations will be deprived of coverage for contraception as a result of this ruling. The premise of the ruling is that Hobby Lobby can seek relief from the burden of having to pay for services they deem morally objectionable because those services can easily be provided by other means (and the ruling specifically offers the mechanism currently being used to provide free access to contraceptives to employees of religious organizations).

So why could they not also seek relief from the burden of paying for blood transfusions or vaccinations? Why did the Court restrict it to one form of medical care?
posted by emjaybee at 10:08 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Because those five dickheads... er... that says it all I guess.
posted by edgeways at 10:09 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


If you need to come up for air: many people think SCOTUSblog's Twitter account is the SCOTUS's. SCOTUSblog is not correcting them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:09 AM on June 30 [15 favorites]



A lot of people seem to be conflating one with the other, which is kind of shitty. Because the whole "I don't know how a group of people could possibly have shared values" thing is kind of offensively disingenuous.

Which is probably why no one is saying this. That being said, the idea of incorporation is predicated on not having the same rights as individuals. I have no idea why you would want for-profit and non-profit to become one and the same, that you disagree with this separation For Reasons, but it's not illogical or hypocritical to think of that as a profoundly fucked way of addressing the individual's rights and place compared to organizations that de facto hold a great deal more power in our society.

If you take those beliefs seriously - and personally, I do - then the only reason to be shitty about their moral beliefs is because you don't happen to agree with them. Which is pretty not cool.

You know what? Hobby Lobby themselves didn't take their beliefs seriously, so fuck 'em. But on a more serious note, speaking of "not cool," I don't get why it's okay for companies to be shitty towards individuals' personal beliefs or health, but we can't be upset with theirs. It's pretty horrible to give precedence to one over the other because they're, I dunno, following the capitalist ideal or some happy horseshit like that.

Also, portraying this as the only way ladies can have birth control is also disingenuous. Even if you work for Hobby Lobby, your boss is not "coming into the examination room." Your boss is simply not paying for one medical procedure and thus forcing you to pay for it yourself.

No one said this. I understand you're here for your ideological axe grind, but at least have the goddamn decency not to make up shit just so you can get on your high horse and lecture people about being shitty.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:12 AM on June 30 [33 favorites]


LOL, Lyle.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:12 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The next step will be a surge in the hiring of theologians as corporations search for unique readings of scriptures that maximise profits and eliminate obligations.

So, there's a small silver lining for me after all!
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:12 AM on June 30 [35 favorites]


So why could they not also seek relief from the burden of paying for blood transfusions or vaccinations? Why did the Court restrict it to one form of medical care?

Because there isn't the same cost-free solution that preserves the government's "compelling interest" in ensuring that those blood transfusions and vaccinations are in fact provided. It is easy to require the insurance companies to provide contraceptive care because it is in the insurance companies' financial interest to do so. It is not easy to require insurance companies or the government to foot the bill for blood transfusions and vaccinations.

The fact that it's easy to require the insurance companies to pay for this stuff is not hypothetical, by the way, it is what is already being done in the case of employees of religious organizations.
posted by yoink at 10:13 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


So why could they not also seek relief from the burden of paying for blood transfusions or vaccinations? Why did the Court restrict it to one form of medical care?

Because Eve visited upon man original sin and men need revenge.

I have my rhetorical question. If a closely-held corporation fervently believed the sun circled the earth would they have the right to sacrifice employees during eclipses?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:13 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


That the conclusion is illogical is made obvious when you consider that situation where a closely held corporation has two shareholders with different religious values and different ideas about how to exercise their corporation's new found right to free exercise of religion. Whose values control in that case?

A Jew, a Catholic, and a Muslim incorporate as a closely-held company....

and the bartender says thank fuck it ain't my problem for once
posted by rtha at 10:13 AM on June 30 [50 favorites]


May be kinda sour grapes but this Think Progress piece is at least looking at:

Why Today’s Hobby Lobby Decision Actually Hurts People Of Faith
posted by edgeways at 10:14 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


I have my rhetorical question. If a closely-held corporation fervently believed the sun circled the earth would they have the right to sacrifice employees during eclipses?

Oh man I am completely lacking the entrepreneurial spirit but now I want to own a corporation called Quetzalcoatl Amalgamated so bad.
posted by winna at 10:15 AM on June 30 [25 favorites]


Thanks for the heads up about the SCOTUSblog twitter feed. Hilarious stuff.
SCOTUSblog @SCOTUSblog · 30s
Lost our copy, apologies. MT @opinali: @SCOTUSblog today you have f@cked up real hard. Go read the f@cking First Amendment again, OK?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:15 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


So why could they not also seek relief from the burden of paying for blood transfusions or vaccinations? Why did the Court restrict it to one form of medical care?

The majority limited this opinion to contraceptives only - they did not decide whether an employer can exempt themselves from other medical care. That will probably come up in a future case.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:15 AM on June 30


The fact that it's easy to require the insurance companies to pay for this stuff is not hypothetical, by the way, it is what is already being done in the case of employees of religious organizations.

Okay, consider this, though: there are a finite number of religious organizations in this country, which have been putting a finite burden on the insurance companies when it comes to covering contraception as part of its plans. However, this ruling opens the way for FOR-profit companies to also require insurance companies to cover contraception.

How much do you think this will increase the burden to insurance companies? And how much more would this mean they'd have to shell out to cover contraception, as ever-more for-profit companies sign on under this ruling? And exactly how do you think the insurance companies would make up that profit loss?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:16 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


I know the court stated vaccines/blood transfusions are off the table with this ruling. But the precedent is there and I've got to believe companies were just waiting in the wings with their fully written suits ready to go back to court for more exemptions. As an aside: Why are vasectomies ok for Hobby Lobby to fund?
posted by Kokopuff at 10:16 AM on June 30


That the conclusion is illogical is made obvious when you consider that situation where a closely held corporation has two shareholders with different religious values and different ideas about how to exercise their corporation's new found right to free exercise of religion. Whose values control in that case?

A Jew, a Catholic, and a Muslim incorporate as a closely-held company....


The members of a closely-held corporation owe one another a duty of loyalty. Presumably, one wouldn't be able to force the religious stuff on the others.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:16 AM on June 30


> It is not easy to require insurance companies or the government to foot the bill for blood transfusions and vaccinations

I don't see the difference between birth control and vaccinations, in terms of spending a little money now to avoid a larger medical expenses later.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:17 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


The idea that an employee's medical treatment can infringe on the rights of their employer is an incredible insult.

simple as that.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:18 AM on June 30 [46 favorites]


The members of a closely-held corporation owe one another a duty of loyalty. Presumably, one wouldn't be able to force the religious stuff on the others.

But for their employees it's just another day in the new gilded age.
posted by winna at 10:19 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Because there isn't the same cost-free solution that preserves the government's "compelling interest" in ensuring that those blood transfusions and vaccinations are in fact provided. It is easy to require the insurance companies to provide contraceptive care because it is in the insurance companies' financial interest to do so.

So who gets to decide what's in the insurance companies' financial interest? The government? The court?

Also, seems to me that vaccinations are the very definition of preventative healthcare that mitigates against future costs. Wouldn't it be in their financial interest to provide them free? How are they different from birth control?
posted by qldaddy at 10:19 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Why should the insurance companies have to pay money because other companies believe stuff?
posted by Drinky Die at 10:21 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Why are vasectomies ok for Hobby Lobby to fund?

Because they decided it was ok. The whole fucking thing came about because HL can't differentiate between contraceptive and aborticide, which I guess the SC decided to give them a pass on, so in theory HL was arguing against providing abortions, but in practice it is birth control. HL doesn't see vasectomies as abortions. This whole thing is a cock up. The fact the SC even heard this case, seeing as it's all based on an erroneous assumption is reason enough to puke in disgust, let along this weak kneed idiotic decision. That a Chief Justice allowed it to be so fucking full of holes and uncertainties speaks really poorly of Roberts.
posted by edgeways at 10:23 AM on June 30 [33 favorites]


I'm also amazed that 5 people, each of whom owns 10% of a company, can count as "closely held".
posted by jeather at 10:24 AM on June 30


Because Hobby Lobby's rights begin where insurance companies rights en... hay wait a minute!

What happens when closely-held insurance companies of conservative faith refuse to offer birth control coverage as well? I thought this ruling wouldn't affect women's access to birth control!
posted by muddgirl at 10:25 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The whole idea of a "closely held company" is ridiculous. This just highlights the fact.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:25 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Retweeted by SCOTUSblog
Oliver Christensen @WollyWollenberg · 8m
The passive aggressive way @SCOTUSblog is answering right now is horrible considering the position they just put women in. Not okay.

The SCOTUSblog twitter account is winning the internet right now
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:26 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


The members of a closely-held corporation owe one another a duty of loyalty. Presumably, one wouldn't be able to force the religious stuff on the others.

You're a lawyer, right? Have you ever experienced family court? People owing each other certain behavior is not a guarantee of delivery. People are crazy and act stupid sometimes. It seems totally plausible to me a crisis relating to religion could occur among owners.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:26 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


If a closely-held corporation fervently believed the sun circled the earth would they have the right to sacrifice employees during eclipses?

Gah. I do wish people would actually read the decision. Yes, it's a bad decision. Yes, Ruth Ginsberg is absolutely right. But nonetheless, the decision really does not say "corporations have devout religious beliefs and those religious beliefs are paramount. Women are all whores who were commanded by God to bring forth children in pain and suffering. They should never be allowed to use contraceptives. Amen!"

It makes a fairly typical legal argument about balancing competing just claims. On the one hand they have the just claim of the owners of a corporation to exercise their religious liberty. I think we can all agree that the exercising of religious liberty is an important right that we all want to see defended except in such cases that to do so imposes an undue burden on others. Right? Now, the interesting part of the case is whether or not "access to contraceptive coverage" is A) a right and B) one that trumps the owners of Hobby Lobby's right to exercise their religious conscience. The assumption in this thread seems to be that the Supremes decided A) it is not a right and B) even if it was a right, the Hobby Lobby owners' religious conscience trumps it. But in fact, neither of these is the case. The reasoning in the decision clearly A) recognizes access to the contraceptive treatment as an important right and on the matter of B) pretty clearly signals that if accommodating the owners' religious concerns meant depriving women of access to contraceptive coverage the contraceptive coverage would trump the religious scruples. The argument their making is that we can, in this instance, accommodate the religious scruples of the owners because it is possible to continue to guarantee access to contraceptive coverage for Hobby Lobby's employees by other means.

So in the case of a "right to sacrifice employees," for example, the court's reasoning would obviously hold that the right of the employees to not being sacrificed trumped the rights of the owners to practicing their religious rites.
posted by yoink at 10:27 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


Many types of vaccinations are provided free by various states (at least for young children) though they're kind of a pain to schedule, due to demand.

It's an...interesting take to say "well there's a special program all set up for your weird lady-meds, so it's ok for your employer to not pay for them as part of your regular healthcare because their version of God says it's icky. But this will have no effect on any other ruling, ever."

I mean, I'm not the only one who finds that weird, am I? Or wonders how on earth that can hold up to a challenge to vaccinations on religious grounds?

I would like to believe that this all ends in a national healthcare plan because things like this make employer-funded healthcare collapse under the weight of its own stupidity, but it's hard to be that optimistic.
posted by emjaybee at 10:28 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


How are people reading this opinion to say that contraceptive access is denied to employees of close corporations? Under this decision, Hobby Lobby female employees get free contraceptives. The consequence of saying that RFRA applies to close corporations as well as nonprofits means that close corporations will get the same accommodation from HHS for religious entities under which the insurer pays for contraceptives. The availability of that accommodation was a determinative fact here.

There are a number of grounds on which to legitimately disagree with this opinion (e.g., the general idea of "corporations as persons with religious beliefs"), but "women are being denied free birth control" isn't one of them.
posted by Mallenroh at 10:30 AM on June 30


Women are all whores who were commanded by God to bring forth children in pain and suffering. They should never be allowed to use contraceptives. Amen!

No, it does not say this verbatim. But if you are someone who cannot switch jobs, and whose partner won't wear a condom, or who is attacked by a sexual predator (not wearing a condom), uh, this is what it says.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:30 AM on June 30 [23 favorites]


So who gets to decide what's in the insurance companies' financial interest? The government? The court?

The court, in this case. You know, how it decides all the time what does or does not impose an undue burden on a given business? Again, in this case it doesn't have to hypothesize anything: it can (and does, in so many words) point to the already successfully up and running system HHS has put in place for the employees of religious organizations.
posted by yoink at 10:32 AM on June 30


I know some really devoted republican christians and I really think that many of them actually genuinely believe they are moral and that they care the most about babies and democrats have a war on babies.

The reason this is relevant is that for any republicans who actually believe this, calling them on the errors in their logic might actually be possible. When christian republicans hear "You have a war on women" they stop listening because they don't think this is true and the arguments about how they hate women don't match up with what they (think) they trying to say or advocate for. Don't get me wrong they are factually wrong, but the fact that some of them very much think they are arguing in favor of compassion for babies (HAHAHAHAHA!) means that if you could ever get them to sit down and look at the science behind their policies and the outcomes for children, we could probably get some republicans to turn their shit around.

Granted when a person refuses to look at science because their "faith" provides them with their understanding of the world, all hope is lost.

And- the reality that we have so many people running our government and our policies who are incompetent to understand science or to comprehend that it's essential for the sake of their jobs to understand and use the science and facts surrounding the issues they are making decisions about is so utterly terrifying.

I think the deliberate blindness to facts IS rooted in loathing for women who have sex (especially sex outside of marriage or commitment to popping out infinity babies) however I really think people with this mentality have allowed such a cognitive distortion to happen inside them they genuinely don't understand this is the case and they actually believe that this is all about loving babies. It's sad and horrifying that people with so much power can be so delusional and as yet we haven't come up with clear ways of taking people who are mentally defective out of positions of power. Basic logic and capacity to understand the facts of the policies involved should be a requirement of serving in such positions of power.

People who are incompetent to even understand how different types of birth control work should not be permitted to make rulings about our nations policies regarding them.
posted by xarnop at 10:32 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


I've been boycotting Hobby Lobby for years already anyway. I want to boycott the Supreme Court too. Or at least, five justices.
posted by Foosnark at 10:32 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Hobby Lobby female employees get free contraceptives. The consequence of saying that RFRA applies to close corporations as well as nonprofits means that close corporations will get the same accommodation from HHS for religious entities under which the insurer pays for contraceptives. The availability of that accommodation was a determinative fact here.

The availability of that accommodation was determinative, but that doesn't mean the accommodation is automatically or definitely extended. It seems very likely that it will be, but the Supreme Court didn't (and under the circumstances couldn't) require that it be extended.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:32 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I am continually annoyed by comments where it is claimed that Mefites haven't read the decision because we do not take the claims of the court at face value and want to talk about issues outside what is literally written down on the page. If we take the opinion at face-value and read the literal words on the page, we are forced to conclude that Scalia believes that Hobby Lobby believes that their religion commands them to operate a for-profit business. I won't quote the line because surely you've all read the opinion and know exactly the sentence I'm speaking about.
posted by muddgirl at 10:33 AM on June 30 [40 favorites]


I just don't understand the logic that says

abortions=bad
welfare programs for single parents or low income families=bad
raising the minimum wage so that you can support a kid on it=bad
AND easily accessible birth control so that people can better plan their family size=bad

??!!!
posted by geegollygosh at 10:34 AM on June 30 [18 favorites]


But if you are someone who cannot switch jobs, and whose partner won't wear a condom, or who is attacked by a sexual predator (not wearing a condom), uh, this is what it says.

No. Because--for the umpteenth time--they are explicitly inviting the Government to ensure continued and unchanged contraceptive coverage for Hobby Lobby's employees by extending the same compromise solution to the employees of closely held corporations that they current extend to the employees of religious organizations. So if you are "someone how cannot switch jobs etc." there should, by the court's reasoning, be no reason for your situation to change at all.
posted by yoink at 10:34 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


IMO, and no, I'm not a lawyer, Hobby Lobby should have had to PROVE that those religious beliefs were "strongly held" ones. I have a hard time understanding how they can be when the company itself has investments in the same companies that manufacturer the contraceptives they oppose and the blind support of Chinese goods, where abortion is commonplace, speaks volumes about how seriously the Hobby Lobby family owners feels about their own position.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:35 AM on June 30 [29 favorites]


if accommodating the owners' religious concerns meant depriving women of access to contraceptive coverage the contraceptive coverage would trump the religious scruples. The argument their making is that we can, in this instance, accommodate the religious scruples of the owners because it is possible to continue to guarantee access to contraceptive coverage for Hobby Lobby's employees by other means.

So even though this decision actually is depriving women of access to contraceptive coverage, because some old rich white men made imagined a drastically different, politically impossible counterfactual reality in which women aren't deprived of contraceptive coverage that makes it all ok? Super.
posted by crayz at 10:35 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


geegollygosh, it's easy.

Rich, mainly white, mainly christian = good.


So, uh, what happens if the government refuses to extend those benefits?
posted by edgeways at 10:36 AM on June 30


So even though this decision actually is depriving women of access to contraceptive coverage, because some old rich white men

Majority wasn't there without Justice Thomas.
posted by Jahaza at 10:36 AM on June 30


Oh, Jahaza, he's an old man of privilege. At some point, color just doesn't matter.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:38 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


and want to talk about issues outside what is literally written down on the page.

there's a difference between talking about issues outside what is written in the opinion and a wrongly characterized view of the legal effect of the decision.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Can we find a suitable company which will refuse to pay for men's contraceptives/penis pumps/vigra etc and then take the case to supreme court?
posted by TheLittlePrince at 10:38 AM on June 30


Old rich white men and a sexual predator?
posted by crayz at 10:38 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


It also surprises me that anti-abortion folks would cheer this ruling. If there's anything this ruling is going to do, it's going to drive women to abort their unwanted children that they couldn't prevent conception of.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:39 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Thank you yoink, just reading the first section of the decision explains that well. It makes it sound like this is already the case for religious non-profit corporations (i.e. it's already legal for non-profits to not pay for contraception for female employees) so:

In fact, [the Dept. of Health and Human Services] has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of religious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the employees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of companies whose owners have no religious objections to providing such coverage. The employees of these religious nonprofit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.

I have no idea what that system is or if it works, but the decision seems to turn on the idea that the same system could be used for these kinds of corporations and that such a system would be a less "restrictive [of religious rights] means of serving a compelling government interest."
posted by macrael at 10:39 AM on June 30


if you could ever get them to sit down and look at the science behind their policies and the outcomes for children, we could probably get some republicans to turn their shit around.

You mean the same way they look at the science on global warming and evolution?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:40 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


I am continually annoyed by comments where it is claimed that Mefites haven't read the decision because we do not take the claims of the court at face value

No one is asking anyone to take their claims "at face value." People are being asked to have at least some familiarity with what those claims are. It really doesn't matter whether a ruling is "sincere" or not--what matters, in terms of its legal effect, is what it says. Saying, in so many words, that the Government has a "compelling interest" in ensuring women's access to contraception is an important thing--it doesn't matter if, in their hearts of hearts, they don't actually believe it. It really is going to be hard for this court to turn around now and undo the Obama compromise with regard to religious organizations--and that's a huge deal.

If the ultimate upshot of these cases (the Hobby Lobby and the upcoming cases involving religious organizations) is that employees of closely held corporations AND employees of religious organizations all continue to receive free contraceptive coverage under the terms of the existing "Obama compromise" that strikes me as a huge win for women. Granted, we don't quite yet actually have that in the bag--but it certainly seems like the court gave us a very strong indication that that is where we're headed.
posted by yoink at 10:41 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


They explicitly do not find that corporations per se can have religious beliefs (it is clear that they would reject any claim of such a kind in the case of a publicly traded corporation, for example).

It's not clear that they would do this. On p.29 it observes there are practical limitations to a publicly traded entity asserting a RFRA, but fails to indicate any foreseen legal limitations, merely shrugging that, "we have no occasion in these cases to consider RFRA's applicability to these [publicly traded] companies." That's not an explicit rejection, that's just "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Thomas

Revitiligo.
posted by xigxag at 10:41 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


It also surprises me that anti-abortion folks would cheer this ruling. If there's anything this ruling is going to do, it's going to drive women to abort their unwanted children that they couldn't prevent conception of.

You just need to realize that their actual goal is to punish women and couples who have the "wrong kind" sex, whether or not many of them are consciously aware of it.
posted by crayz at 10:42 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


I'm having a hard time coming up with any restriction the government could try to place on a company's slightly-religion-related practices that wouldn't fail this decision's "less restrictive means" test. Ginsberg gives some examples of why this is nuts at the end.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:43 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


It also surprises me that anti-abortion folks would cheer this ruling. If there's anything this ruling is going to do, it's going to drive women to abort their unwanted children that they couldn't prevent conception of.

The anti-abortion folks have already done plenty to block a Hobby Lobby employee's access to abortion as it is anyway. This is just covering a loophole in their eyes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:43 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


It also surprises me that anti-abortion folks would cheer this ruling. If there's anything this ruling is going to do, it's going to drive women to abort their unwanted children that they couldn't prevent conception of.


Whenever you read "anti-abortion" or "pro-life", translate it to "anti-sex". It works almost 100% of the time.
posted by Benjy at 10:43 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


So even though this decision actually is depriving women of access to contraceptive coverage

If it does, it will be because Obama chooses not to direct HHS to extend their current requirement for insurance companies to pay for contraceptive treatments for employees of religious organization to employees of closely held corporations. Can you think of any reason he would make that decision?
posted by yoink at 10:44 AM on June 30


It works almost 100% of the time.

Eh, I think you probably mean reproductive sex.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:44 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


there's a difference between talking about issues outside what is written in the opinion and a wrongly characterized view of the legal effect of the decision.

I disagree that it is a wrongly-characterized view. It rests on the presumption that HHS will continue to provide a loophole that forces insurance companies to provide contraceptive coverage.

If the ultimate upshot of these cases (the Hobby Lobby and the upcoming cases involving religious organizations) is that employees of closely held corporations AND employees of religious organizations all continue to receive free contraceptive coverage under the terms of the existing "Obama compromise" that strikes me as a huge win for women.

Obama will not be president forever.
posted by muddgirl at 10:44 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


I meant that the "it's not so bad after all" view of the legal effect of this decision rests on the presumption...

Don't know how many different ways I can say that Obama will not be president past 2016, save some dystopian failure of American democracy.
posted by muddgirl at 10:47 AM on June 30


This is not meant to be a provocative comment, just a question from someone unfamiliar with the United States... can women not purchase this contraceptive themselves? In Canada (where I live anyway) prescription drugs are not covered by the healthcare system, and this includes contraceptives. It's not an ideal situation, but the issue is framed more on taxes and budget, and religion has nothing to do with it. And Plan B doesn't seem to be 100% effective...? I'm hoping my American friends can educate me about the issues here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 AM on June 30


"You mean the same way they look at the science on global warming and evolution?"

Yeah I agree there is some lack of competence to understand the facts even when looking at them.... again I wish there were a way to take people with such cognitive impairment at the use of logic out of such positions of power. Surely there is some way to prove a person unfit to be making such hugely consequential decisions for an entire population of people?

I think some of these people are just literally morons who think they are doing the "right" thing based on totally illogical values of their own personally ego investments and cognitive bias (and desire to fit into their group by regurgitating the groupthink unquestioningly). Some people are not capable of seeing through their own bullshit to understand the facts and while I would argue for the protection of their welfare on grounds of their being human, I would argue for their removal from positions of power where this mental failure has the power to harm so many human beings. The standard for making these monumentally important decisions should be much higher than for simply being a person who exists in the world. Yes intellectually incompetent people exist and matter (and most people have blind spots), but people with huge obstacles in this area don't need to be in jobs that require intellectual capacity and the ability to question ones' assumptions and compare them with facts and evidence and logic.
posted by xarnop at 10:48 AM on June 30


Seriously, though, how does this decision square with the court's previous ruling upholding the individual mandate? In that decision, the court did not carve out any special exceptions to the law based on individual religious belief as far as I know. So how does this ruling not in effect give more weight to the religious beliefs of owners of "closely-held corporations" than it does to individuals under the law?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:49 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


If you needs something lighthearted: The 2014 Running Of The Interns
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:50 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


I have no idea what that system is or if it works, but the decision seems to turn on the idea that the same system could be used for these kinds of corporations and that such a system would be a less "restrictive [of religious rights] means of serving a compelling government interest."

We have no idea yet, but it's quite possible that it won't work well thanks to the usual legislative budget fuckery:
If the administration decides to pursue this fix, it could happen pretty quickly. By extending the accommodation to for-profit corporations through an "interim final regulation" or as "regulatory guidance", it could be implemented in a matter of weeks — or even days, Jost says.

Supporters of the contraceptive mandate don't necessarily think that the accommodation is an appropriate fix, though.

"In our view, it does not answer the question for two reasons," says Marcia Greenberg, co-president at the National Women's Law Center. "First of all, it is completely inappropriate and unacceptable for women to be expected to look to some special out of the usual way of accommodating what is a core and basic health care need. Secondly, as a practical matter, this accommodation system has not been in operation long enough to know how it would work. It was never set up to apply on as broad a basis as this court decision may be calling upon it to have to fill in the gaps."
If it does, it will be because Obama chooses not to direct HHS to extend their current requirement for insurance companies to pay for contraceptive treatments for employees of religious organization to employees of closely held corporations. Can you think of any reason he would make that decision?

Apparently, the process may have to go through a Congress that has a large contingent of people that would reject it out of hand, according to that same article:
In a briefing Monday afternoon, Press Secretary Josh Earnest emphasized that the President is eager to work with Congress to repair access to contraceptives.

"Congress should act to address the concerns of women affected by this Supreme Court decision," Earnest said. When pressed about whether the administration would seek to extend the accommodation, he added, "We'll consider whether there's an opportunity for the president to take some action that could mitigate this problem."
Of course, to people who support sabotaging the government so they can claim that it's the bogeyman--i.e. the prevailing attitude of modern American conservativism--women are just acceptable collateral damage in this shitshow.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:50 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


> can women not purchase this contraceptive themselves

We can, but it's frequently expensive. Thus the calls to donate to Planned Parenthood, who -- among other things -- provide lower-cost birth control.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:50 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


can women not purchase this contraceptive themselves

Women can in theory, but often can't afford to in practice. Most notably, an IUD costs around ~$1000 to insert (including the device itself plus the office visits that are necessary), which is not feasible for many/most women.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:50 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


I meant that the "it's not so bad after all" view of the legal effect of this decision rests on the presumption...

Don't know how many different ways I can say that Obama will not be president past 2016, save some dystopian failure of American democracy.


the "its so terrible" view of the decision also rests on some pretty solid presumptions--that there will be a rush to the door for a lot of close corporations to spend $50k in legal fees to get around the requirement that costs them a few cents per year per employee. These presumptions should also be examined.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:51 AM on June 30


Hobby Lobby and others have already payed well more than that to get around a requirement that costs them a few cents per year per employee. Should we throw their employees under the bus because the rest of us are going to be OK?
posted by muddgirl at 10:52 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Good thing I incorporated myself last year! Now I can express my deeply held religious belief that banks should give me free money whenever I want.
posted by fungible at 10:53 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]



Boycott the manufacturers that supply Hobby Lobby, no matter where you shop.

....I really, really like this idea. Do you know how we could get such a list?


Also a list of other companies refusing to provide contraception coverage to their employees. I stopped shopping at Hobby Lobby years ago over Pro-Life donations (and, well, because they don't really have anything I want or need, but I have an aunt who likes the hook rug collections) but I need to know which other corporations don't get my money anymore.

My refusal to shop at a store really does very little, I know, but so do my political participation. So, if I'm going to beat my head against the wall, might as well beat it against all the walls.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:53 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Now, the interesting part of the case is whether or not "access to contraceptive coverage" is A) a right and B) one that trumps the owners of Hobby Lobby's right to exercise their religious conscience. The assumption in this thread seems to be that the Supremes decided A) it is not a right and B) even if it was a right, the Hobby Lobby owners' religious conscience trumps it.

But this isn't about the religious rights of individuals, but about the religious rights of a certain kind of corporation. This case says that the religious beliefs of a corporate entity must be given consideration and deference above and beyond the medical needs of its employees (who are still just ordinary people, the poor bastards). That is some fucking weird thinking right there.
posted by rtha at 10:53 AM on June 30 [24 favorites]


This is not meant to be a provocative comment, just a question from someone unfamiliar with the United States... can women not purchase this contraceptive themselves?

Let's actually back up a bit:

Hobby Lobby is objecting only to certain kinds of contraceptives - ones that work by preventing the implantation of an already-fertilized egg. Those contraceptives are:

1. IUD's, and
2. "Morning-After" pills.

Insectosaurus gives the price for the IUD above; and that's just the insertion, then tack on the cost of the other doctors' visits that would handle the pre- and post-insertion screening, and the cost of the IUD itself. And its re-insertion/change five years later, if you still want it.

As for the morning after pill, those are available over the counter (well, kind of - you have to ask at the pharmacists' counter special, they're not on the shelf); those cost $45 for a single dose.

So while it is possible to purchase it yourself, it's REALLY financially out of the reach of people who aren't making a lot of money - like, say, people who work at Hobby Lobby.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on June 30 [21 favorites]


This case says that the religious beliefs of a corporate entity must be given consideration and deference above and beyond the medical needs of its employees (who are still just ordinary people, the poor bastards). That is some fucking weird thinking right there.

It's another expression of corporate oligarchy enshrined into law, which is one of the many objectionable things about this ruling.
posted by immlass at 10:55 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


How are people reading this opinion to say that contraceptive access is denied to employees of close corporations? Under this decision, Hobby Lobby female employees get free contraceptives.

Yes, but the logic is tortured. The corporation exists to shield owners from responsibility. Religious objections shouldn't enter into it because it's absurd that a legal construct could have them.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:55 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


This case says that the religious beliefs of a corporate entity must be given consideration and deference above and beyond the medical needs of its employees

Except that it doesn't say that. The court found that the government had an option to provide the same medical outcome without burdening the petitioners religious beliefs and that therefore they couldn't choose the option that burdened the petitioners for no reason.
posted by Jahaza at 10:56 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


No. Because--for the umpteenth time--they are explicitly inviting the Government to ensure continued and unchanged contraceptive coverage for Hobby Lobby's employees by extending the same compromise solution to the employees of closely held corporations that they current extend to the employees of religious organizations. So if you are "someone how cannot switch jobs etc." there should, by the court's reasoning, be no reason for your situation to change at all.

The Court allowed Hobby Lobby to not provide contraceptive coverage. They have that authority. Today, they could have compelled them to provide contraceptive coverage. They didn't. Today's ruling does not allow the Court to mandate the government to provide contraception. Or am I reading that completely wrong?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:56 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


The court found that the government had an option to provide the same medical outcome

If the government doesn't exercise this option then who fucking cares?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:57 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Genuinely curious - what are the chances that a health insurance plan with the birth control costs removed will become a more expensive plan, due to expectation of higher risk of unplanned pregnancy (a large, covered, expense)?
posted by anonymisc at 10:58 AM on June 30


The court found that the government had an option to provide the same medical outcome without burdening the petitioners religious beliefs and that therefore they couldn't choose the option that burdened the petitioners for no reason.

So does this mean that, if the government loses or gets rid of this option somehow, then Hobby Lobby would be obliged to provide insurance that covers contraception?
posted by jeather at 10:59 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


There are an astonishing number of women in this country who support misogynists. Why?
posted by waving at 11:02 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


SCOTUSblog just posted an analysis of the decision.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:03 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


The court found that the government had an option to provide the same medical outcome without burdening the petitioners religious beliefs and that therefore they couldn't choose the option that burdened the petitioners for no reason.

The idea that a legal fiction can have a conscience to be burdened is what people are objecting to in the first place. The petitioner is a limited-liability corporation, not any particular member of their board.
posted by muddgirl at 11:04 AM on June 30 [14 favorites]


The best part of this is going to be the reactions when employees at Hobby Lobby realize their new insurance, which specifically excludes coverage for HBC, is actually more expensive than it was before.

There's a reason HBC is covered entirely under most plans. Distributing it 100% subsidized costs the insurer less than the alternative.
posted by Mayor West at 11:05 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


So in other words, Hobby Lobby is accepting a taxpayer subsidy to cover what would otherwise be normal business expenses.

They ought to take the next step and declare themselves a church. No taxes, no restrictions on political speech (de facto), complete freedom to collect "contributions" in exchange for bronze pine cone holders or whatever fucking crap they sell.
posted by spitbull at 11:06 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


In 1993, my second son was born and I decided that I did not want to have anymore children. I called my then husband's employer's insurance company to see what kind of bureaucracy I would have to go through to make this happen. On my very first call, a chipper and friendly woman told me that tubal ligations were not covered, and then suggested that perhaps my then husband would like to get a vasectomy, because those were definitely covered by the employer's insurance company.

I then went back on birth control pills even though they had failed me, but they were my option at the time. They made me depressed and suicidal, and I was hospitalized many times for the next five years due to the way the pills affected my thinking and my body.

The more I consider it, the more I realize that denying me what I really needed almost killed me. Denying me what I really needed almost left my kids without me as a mother to raise them.

The point wasn't that my then husband needed a vasectomy, I needed to not get pregnant anymore in a way that didn't twist my thinking. The employee health insurance did not care 21 years ago what a woman might need for proper health care, but they sure were quick to help out in regards to male reproductive health.

Fuck insurance companies, fuck employers that won't pay for women's health care.
posted by keli at 11:07 AM on June 30 [82 favorites]


From the SCOTUSblog article.

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.

So no, the employees of Hobby Lobby will not get their birth control unless Hobby Lobby correctly fills out and submits the form for the exception. Anyone care to take odds on that occurring?
posted by winna at 11:07 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


The court found that the government had an option to provide the same medical outcome without burdening the petitioners religious beliefs

The Court found that a corporate entity can hold and exercise religious beliefs.
posted by rtha at 11:08 AM on June 30 [26 favorites]


but they sure were quick to help out in regards to male reproductive health.

That's always been the case. When Viagra first came out, it took them, what, two seconds to decide that it would be included in coverage?
posted by Melismata at 11:09 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


If only Aereo had a religious belief that they weren't a cable company instead of just buying a bunch of antennas to physically not be one...
posted by Drinky Die at 11:13 AM on June 30 [20 favorites]


yoink: "In fact, if the health insurance being provided to Hobby Lobby employees no longer includes contraceptive coverage that should, ultimately, mean that it costs them a little less (the average cost of contraceptive coverage per employee), which makes that purchase a little easier."

In fact, if the health insurance being provided to Hobby Lobby employees no longer includes prostate surgery coverage that should, ultimately, mean that it costs them a little less (the average cost of prostate surgery coverage per employee), which makes that purchase of prostate surgery a little easier.
posted by JackFlash at 11:14 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


a question from someone unfamiliar with the United States... can women not purchase this contraceptive themselves?

Because of the messed-up insurance-driven system, there are usually two prices for healthcare in the USA: A bullshit fictitious super-inflated price that goes on the label, and an unwritten price closer to reality (say a tenth of that) that the insurance company has the muscle to pay and say "take it and be happy with that, or you're cut off".

If you are not a giant insurance company, you don't get to say "take it or leave it", instead, you are nothing, so you're given the ten-times-inflated price and told "take it or leave it".

I believe the 10x inflation exists because insurance companies will always underpay thus providers must always overcharge thus insurance companies must always underpay...

And when I say 10x inflation, it varies case by case, provider by provider, it's really random. It could be anything from 120% to 10000% what I would pay outside the USA.
posted by anonymisc at 11:15 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


Thank you to the members correcting my initial assumptions about this and how it may or may not affect me. I'm honestly too emotionally invested in this issue to read all of the primary sources, and the initial reaction around the internet has been...less than nuanced.

I donated to Planned Parenthood today regardless.
posted by almostmanda at 11:16 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Keli, just for the record, I am sure you made the best decision you could with the options available to you at the time, and I think the people telling you that you should have done it differently are being jerks.
posted by jeather at 11:17 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


That's because these people have no values, moral, shared, or otherwise.

This kind of thing is what I'm talking about. Why do you assume that people have no morals just because you don't like how their morals lead them to act? This is just the kind of useless shit-smearing that makes people tune out.
posted by corb at 11:18 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


[Can we please not immediately leap to interrogating someone who shared a personal anecdote? It twists the thread weirdly and does not in any way come off as helpful or supportive, no matter how many disclaimers you tack on. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 11:18 AM on June 30 [17 favorites]


Sorry, you're right, jeather, and restless_nomad.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:19 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I apologize for shifting the scope a bit, but... another 5-4 decision?! There has got to be some kind of legal precedent regarding the highest court constantly making near-permanent constitutionality decisions with such divided opinions. Is the concept of "checks and balances" still being taught in schools?

Even Occam can see how divisive this is, but people still seem oddly defensive about certain ideas of power dynamics and asymmetrical polarization.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:20 AM on June 30


Sure. For the record, I didn't mean my comment to sound helpful or supportive. It's a really weird anecdote.
posted by OmieWise at 11:20 AM on June 30


Also, I used to know a priest, who was by training an excellent Constitutional lawyer and generally ascholar, who was found of saying, in not quite so many words "Fuck the Religious Freedom Restoration Act". RFRA was bound to cause significant problems of this very sort someday, he'd say, way back in the 90's. It was an unnecessary thing that Congress did just so they could look more religious as a whole than they were so they could win elections.

I barely understood Constitutional law and Constitutional arguments back then, so I have long forgotten the nuances of his arguments and the underpinnings of his distaste for the law. But I have never forgotten how strongly he believe that RFRA was just going to cause problems and make religious institutions look like bigots or entities favored by the government in contravention of the edict to make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:20 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


This kind of thing is what I'm talking about. Why do you assume that people have no morals just because you don't like how their morals lead them to act? This is just the kind of useless shit-smearing that makes people tune out.

Until the ACA, their values did not prevent them from paying for bc for their employees. Then ACA, and suddenly...values and morals?

Gotta wonder.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on June 30 [36 favorites]


This goes for any/everyone who's been happy to persist in the delusion that the current administration's "accommodation" will be not only upheld indefinitely (including by subsequent administrations, whose goals may be... somewhat orthogonal to Obama's), but generously expanded to cover all of the women whose contraceptive coverage will be denied going forward: Not so fast, bucko! They'll find a way to punish us yet!

NYT: Alternative Suggested by the Court Is Being Challenged
In blocking the Obama administration's effort to require Hobby Lobby stores to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, the Supreme Court on Monday suggested an alternative. But that alternative is itself being challenged in dozens of lawsuits around the country.

[...]

In the majority opinion on Monday, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the government had other, less restrictive ways of achieving its goals. And he pointed, for example, to an "accommodation" devised by the White House for certain nonprofit religious organizations, like hospitals and universities, that have "religious objections" to providing contraceptive coverage.

Under this arrangement, a nonprofit organization must fill out a Labor Department form certifying its objections. It gives a copy of the form to its insurance company or the administrator of its health plan, which then becomes responsible for paying claims for contraceptive services. In this way, the Obama administration says, the nonprofit entity can exempt itself from any requirement to "contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage."

Justice Alito suggested that this "accommodation" could be extended to closely held corporations like Hobby Lobby that object to providing contraceptive coverage to employees.
This approach, he said, seeks to respect the religious liberty of employers while ensuring that the employees have access to contraceptives.

[...]

But in separate cases, the accommodation has been challenged by many plaintiffs, including the University of Notre Dame and the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns.

By signing the form, the Little Sisters said, they would be designating someone else to provide the contraceptive drugs and devices to which they object.

In a brief filed in the Supreme Court in January, lawyers for the Little Sisters said they "cannot execute the form because they cannot deputize a third party to sin on their behalf."

The nuns said that they "face ruinous fines for their religious refusal to sign the forms," and that this threat was a substantial burden on their exercise of religion.
brb, having brain aneurysm
posted by divined by radio at 11:21 AM on June 30 [37 favorites]


Why do you assume that people have no morals just because you don't like how their morals lead them to act? This is just the kind of useless shit-smearing that makes people tune out.

Yeah, they've got values, all right. Tons of them. They strongly believe that corporations should always be able to do whatever the bosses want, and that they should always be able to avoid doing whatever the bosses don't want, and that workers can go shove it sideways.

Is that a fair summary of their values?
posted by goethean at 11:25 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


I can't speak for anyone but me, corb, but it's a problem for me when a person's morals lead them to hurt other people. The owners of Hobby Lobby were not being forced to make use of the contraception to which they object, so I don't really see how their rights were being infringed. See Bulgaroktonos's earlier comment for what I (a non-lawyer) think is a very clear outline of a common-sense interpretation of the principles at play here.
posted by wintermind at 11:25 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


And hey, an 11th Circuit judge wrote today that the accommodation is "substantially likely" to be overturned because you can't just protect somebody's sincerely held beliefs by excusing them from the mandate, everybody else has to be excused too otherwise someone else might commit the sin that the church didn't, and that would be just like if the church had sinned itself, if you turn your head, squint and drink an entire bottle of tequila.

(Oh, but it doesn't matter if the women pay out of pocket for their IUDs or Plan B, apparently. It's only if they get help that it's a sin.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:30 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


zombieflanders that is depressing and looks like a likely outcome. The RIFA's test that in order for a governmental restriction on religious freedom to be legal "it must also constitute the least restrictive means of serving that interest" seems incredibly broad. Makes it seem like the government should have fought harder to require even nonprofits to pay for contraception instead of creating this loophole for them that has now opened the door to more companies not paying.

divined by radio: would the nuns have to stop working in the US if single payer provided contraception for all? It really seems like single payer is the answer.
posted by macrael at 11:30 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The nuns said that they "face ruinous fines for their religious refusal to sign the forms," and that this threat was a substantial burden on their exercise of religion.

How about we declare a war where we draft the nuns to fight the priests, and the morons too obstinate to sign conscientious objector forms can just kill each other
posted by crayz at 11:31 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


So I am now confused. Is Hobby Lobby allowed to refuse to provide coverage and also refuse to sign the forms so someone else can provide coverage? Or do they need to do one or the other?
posted by jeather at 11:32 AM on June 30


if you turn your head, squint and drink an entire bottle of tequila.

Gonna try this, should distract me from this awful decision at least.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:32 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Is Hobby Lobby allowed to refuse to provide coverage and also refuse to sign the forms so someone else can provide coverage? Or do they need to do one or the other?

That has not been decided yet.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:33 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Thing is, the whole concept of corporations is that they shield their owners from financial responsibility. You would think that would work the other way, and shield their owners from moral responsibility from their requirements.

The distinction of "Closely held corporations" seems to be trying to favor owners both ways.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:33 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Employers compensate their employees with cash money, and this transportable, anonymous, unregistered form of payment can be exchanged for all kinds of immoral or illegal goods and services.
If I object to the things my employees may do with cash money, can I pay them in scrip? Or perhaps in debit cards so my employees don't violate my corporation's sincere religious beliefs by purchasing something I may object to?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:34 AM on June 30 [13 favorites]


So I am now confused. Is Hobby Lobby allowed to refuse to provide coverage and also refuse to sign the forms so someone else can provide coverage? Or do they need to do one or the other?

I think this decision should actually be interpreted as constitutionally mandating single payer health care.
posted by crayz at 11:34 AM on June 30 [25 favorites]


Obama should announce an executive order mandating HHS to comply with this decision and provide free contraception coverage to all women.
posted by crayz at 11:36 AM on June 30 [15 favorites]


"Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."
--RBG
posted by schmod at 11:37 AM on June 30 [21 favorites]


I'm no lawyer, but I think I see a glimmer of professional management-style thinking here: the narrow scope of the decision seems like a way to both decide on the issue in a high impact way and punt on it simultaneously by opening the door for a later challenge that exceeds the narrow scope of the original ruling. That's both an opportunity for a broader and more just decision and the opposite, of course, but in either case, it seems like a pretty intense level of politics coming from a nominally non-political body.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:38 AM on June 30


crayz: Yeah, that line "There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contraceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives." made me immediately think that the court was suggesting the legality or perhaps the requirement of single payer health care.
posted by macrael at 11:39 AM on June 30


I really worry about Ginsberg. She should have retired long ago. She should retire when there's still time for Obama to appoint her successor, because there is no guarantee that in 2016 we won't have President Palin or whatever other lunatic the R's can nominate. It is utterly unrealistic for a woman of her age and health problems to keep pretending that somehow she'll live forever, and its downright irresponsible for her to potentially allow President Jindal to appoint her successor.

Also, when does the next challenge to Roe hit the court? Cuz I'm about 100% certain now that Kennedy will vote to overturn, and then we won't have to worry about undue burdens on women seeking abortion in Texas, it'll just be flat out illegal.

And yeah, I'm outraged not particularly due to the specifics of this case, but for what it portends, for the precedents it sets (despite claiming not to), for the way it pushes women and women's health care into a special "this is optional and you can be a reasonable person while still hating it" category, for the way it underscores that it is essential to vote for Democrats in the presidential election no matter how much you might want to vomit afterward.

I'll vote for Clinton in 2016, despite the fact that I loathe center-right corporate tools like her. I'll vote for her despite the fact that political dynasties are against some of my most basic political concepts. Hell, I'll vote for just about anyone the D's nominate specifically to keep a Republican from making any more SCOTUS appointments, and that despite the fact that Obama's appointments have been center right pro-corporate tools with a disturbingly authoritarian streak.

Feh. Just feh.

@EmpressCallipygos, I know you didn't mean to, but it appears that you took the Hobby Lobby lies as fact when they claimed that the morning after pill prevents implantation. It does not.

@yoink: I have no objection at all to people practicing their religion. I just object to a **CORPORATION** claiming a) that it has a religion, and b) that the practice of that religion means dictating birth control options to employees. Fuck that noise. The instant a religion says "to be properly practiced the practitioner must force *OTHER PEOPLE* to do X" then your right to practice ends. You can't force me to do X, or refrain from doing X, on the grounds that your religion says so.

Also, where's Scalia's "religion doesn't grant an exception from the law" bit from his peyote decision.
posted by sotonohito at 11:39 AM on June 30 [16 favorites]


a question from someone unfamiliar with the United States... can women not purchase this contraceptive themselves?

Yes, yes they can. But the first point is that birth control is quite clearly health care. You're welcome to try to argue that it's not, but that's not the hill most people want to die defending.

The second point is that, regardless of the corporate owners' beliefs, this ruling sets a horrendous precedent (no matter how the Court denies it) of allowing a corporation to deny coverage of specific health care items based on their stated beliefs. That's Pandora's box right there. For the rest of forever we will now be litigating which beliefs are sincere and deeply held, and whether there are any more convenient alternatives the Court supposes the Executive branch might offer. It doesn't take one fig's worth of imagination to see every corporation coming up with a list of health care that their deepest beliefs don't conscientiously support. It won't be any surprise at all that some of those turn out to be the most expensive kinds of health procedures. If you're a retail wage slave, and turn up with some terribly expensive-to-treat disease, are you going to have the means and the will to go to court when your employer voices his religious objection?

Thirdly, the birth control thing pretty squarely falls on women. Some of us really don't get how this could possibly be seen as anything but discriminatory.
posted by newdaddy at 11:41 AM on June 30 [5 favorites]


via ScotusBlog:

"UPDATE 2:14 p.m. Acting swiftly in the wake of the Court’s ruling on Monday, and relying directly upon that decision, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday blocked all enforcement of the mandate against an Alabama Catholic TV network, a non-profit entity. The concurring opinion of the Court of Appeals, written by Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., argued that the accommodation, discussed in the following post, is itself likely to be struck down."

posted by inigo2 at 11:42 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Sometimes I wonder if I'm so liberal because it affords me so many reasons to drink.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:42 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


sotonohito, totally disagree. RBG should stay on the Court as long as she is humanly able. She is a freaking gem, and there's no guarantee that her replacement, no matter who nominates them, will be nearly as good.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:42 AM on June 30 [12 favorites]


she should drink scalia's blood to become immortal
posted by elizardbits at 11:44 AM on June 30 [43 favorites]


Agreed that @SCOTUSblog is doing an awesome job. It's also kind of heartening to me that so many people are so mad at the SCOTUS(blog). (I don't dare search for those who are praising the decision, because I'm on a work-owned laptop and it would not survive.)

@SCOTUSblog
You want @drfreudblog RT @flowercamille: @SCOTUSblog it’s a shame that your mothers didn’t use birth control to prevent you and your idiocy

posted by mudpuppie at 11:44 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


and alito's but just for the lulz
posted by elizardbits at 11:44 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


mudpuppie: There was a tweet linked above laughing about how "butthurt" the liberals were by this decision, which to me, is a great illustration of how badly understood IUDs are.
posted by maryr at 11:45 AM on June 30 [9 favorites]


"UPDATE 2:14 p.m. Acting swiftly in the wake of the Court’s ruling on Monday, and relying directly upon that decision, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday blocked all enforcement of the mandate against an Alabama Catholic TV network, a non-profit entity. The concurring opinion of the Court of Appeals, written by Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., argued that the accommodation, discussed in the following post, is itself likely to be struck down."

Goodness! Who could have foreseen this eventuality?! We've been assured all through the thread that this would never happen!
posted by winna at 11:45 AM on June 30 [25 favorites]


Keep the anger through November. Go to the polls. Vote every one of the mother-fuckers who support such judges out. Every one of them. If asked by a poll-taker explain why.

No Obama is not perfect. But this is reprehensible.

White House spokesman, Earnest: "President Obama has said that [women] should be able to make decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them," he said. "As millions of women know, contraception is often vital to their well-being."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:46 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


I really worry about Ginsberg. She should have retired long ago. She should retire when there's still time for Obama to appoint her successor, because there is no guarantee that in 2016 we won't have President Palin or whatever other lunatic the R's can nominate.

You have much more confidence in Obama than I (and apparently, she) do.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:47 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I know you didn't mean to, but it appears that you took the Hobby Lobby lies as fact when they claimed that the morning after pill prevents implantation. It does not.

Um....actually, yes, this is one of the ways in which the morning-after pill works, as I understand it (from having availed myself of it twice in my life and reading the material). Not the only way, but one of them -

* It can prevent the release of an egg, but if you miss that window -
* It can prevent the egg and sperm from joining, and if you miss that window -
* It can prevent implantation.

That's why I was always told you needed to take it as soon as possible after the sexual encounter in question. The longer you wait, the further along those steps any potential pregnancy would get.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:47 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


mudpuppie: There was a tweet linked above laughing about how "butthurt" the liberals were by this decision, which to me, is a great illustration of how badly understood IUDs are.

Yes, it was that link (and the Twitter responses to the 'butthurt' comment) that reinforced the notion that I shouldn't go looking for more.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:47 AM on June 30


"UPDATE 2:14 p.m. Acting swiftly in the wake of the Court’s ruling on Monday, and relying directly upon that decision, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday blocked all enforcement of the mandate against an Alabama Catholic TV network, a non-profit entity. The concurring opinion of the Court of Appeals, written by Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., argued that the accommodation, discussed in the following post, is itself likely to be struck down."

Weren't religious non-profits already blocked from this enforcement?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:48 AM on June 30


Ginsberg's dissent:
The Court’s determination that RFRA extends to for-profit
corporations is bound to have untoward effects.
Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to
closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations
of any size, public or private.19 Little doubt that RFRA
claims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of
corporate personhood—combined with its other errors
in construing RFRA—invites for-profit entities to seek
religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem
offensive to their faith.
At the end, she includes some of the types of cases she fears might be brought back before the court in the future under this RFRA interpretation.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga surely do not stand alone as
commercial enterprises seeking exemptions from generally
applicable laws on the basis of their religious beliefs. See,
e.g., Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc., 256 F. Supp.
941, 945 (SC 1966) (owner of restaurant chain refused to
serve black patrons based on his religious beliefs opposing
racial integration), aff ’d in relevant part and rev’d in part
on other grounds, 377 F. 2d 433 (CA4 1967), aff ’d and
modified on other grounds, 390 U. S. 400 (1968); In re
Minnesota ex rel. McClure, 370 N. W. 2d 844, 847 (Minn.
1985) (born-again Christians who owned closely held,
for-profit health clubs believed that the Bible proscribed
hiring or retaining an “individua[l] living with but not
married to a person of the opposite sex,” “a young, single
woman working without her father’s consent or a married
woman working without her husband’s consent,” and any
person “antagonistic to the Bible,” including “fornicators
and homosexuals” (internal quotation marks omitted)),
appeal dismissed, 478 U. S. 1015 (1986); Elane Photog­
raphy, LLC v. Willock, 2013–NMSC–040, ___ N. M. ___,
309 P. 3d 53 (for-profit photography business owned by a
husband and wife refused to photograph a lesbian couple’s
commitment ceremony based on the religious beliefs of the
company’s owners), cert. denied, 572 U. S. ___ (2014).
Would RFRA require exemptions in cases of this ilk? And
if not, how does the Court divine which religious beliefs
are worthy of accommodation, and which are not? Isn’t
the Court disarmed from making such a judgment given
its recognition that “courts must not presume to determine
. . . the plausibility of a religious claim”? Ante, at 37.
Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands
for employers with religiously grounded objections to the
use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with
religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions
(Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists);
medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia,
intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain
Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian
Scientists, among others)?31 According to counsel for
Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases . . . would have to
be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling
interest-least restrictive alternative test.” Tr. of Oral Arg.
6. Not much help there for the lower courts bound by
today’s decision.
I'm not personally hopeful for things like trans-specific healthcare, which presumably the conservative justices are even more opposed to than contraception, and which evangelicals tend to hate even more fervently. I mean, I assume Hobby Lobby's plans already include a trans exclusion, but current slow percolations in the wake of the ACA were pointing towards such exclusions being illegal. If companies can just pull the religion card when this issue finally does wind its way through the courts, that's that.
posted by Corinth at 11:48 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


totally disagree. RBG should stay on the Court as long as she is humanly able.

A thousand times this. She is and has been a fantastic Justice, and as long as she can do her job she should keep her job.

The Court is supposed to be impartial; arguing that she should step down because a Democrat is in office is essentially an argument in favor of doing away with impartiality.

its downright irresponsible for her to potentially allow President Jindal to appoint her successor.

It would be irresponsible for her to step down if she can continue doing her job.
posted by cjelli at 11:48 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Also, where's Scalia's "religion doesn't grant an exception from the law" bit from his peyote decision.

In fairness to Scalia, this case was decided on the basis of the RFRA which was passed explicitly in response to the decision in Employment Division v. Smith. It's not inconsistent on Scalia's part because Smith was based on the First Amendment, but the RFRA imposes an additional statutory basis for overturning a law on religious freedom grounds unconnected to the First Amendment.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:50 AM on June 30


There was a tweet linked above laughing about how "butthurt" the liberals were by this decision, which to me, is a great illustration of how badly understood IUDs are.

I am not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure putting the IUD there will not prevent pregnancy.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:50 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I am not a medical doctor, but I'm pretty sure putting the IUD there will not prevent pregnancy.

Of course not. It goes between your knees.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on June 30 [17 favorites]


The Court is supposed to be impartial; arguing that she should step down because a Democrat is in office is essentially an argument in favor of doing away with impartiality.
There is no such thing as "doing away with impartiality" when none exists. And it's going to get worse the more judges that Republicans put on there.

I'm not calling for her or any of the others to step down, but acting as if we're in a shiny happy place where the Supreme Court is impartial, and how it's oh so important for us to preserve its wonderful impartiality, doesn't seem to mesh with reality to me.
posted by Flunkie at 11:52 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Um....actually, yes, this is one of the ways in which the morning-after pill works, as I understand it (from having availed myself of it twice in my life and reading the material). Not the only way, but one of them -

* It can prevent the release of an egg, but if you miss that window -
* It can prevent the egg and sperm from joining, and if you miss that window -
* It can prevent implantation.


There's active controversy over that. Studies have shown no disruption of implantation, and it was removed from the labels in Europe last year.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:54 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


> sotonohito, totally disagree. RBG should stay on the Court as long as she is humanly able. She is a freaking gem, and there's no guarantee that her replacement, no matter who nominates them, will be nearly as good.

I agonize over this. After all, in recent times, the only justices “principled” enough not to consider the president's party when considering retirement are the liberal ones: William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, and now RBG. (We dodged a bullet with Brennan; Bush Sr. nominated David Souter, thinking him conservative. We most certainly did not dodge a bullet when Marshall gave way to Clarence Thomas.)

On the other hand, part of me cannot help but conclude that without that defiance, Brennan wouldn't have been Brennan, and RBG certainly would not be RBG.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:56 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


In case you needed more evidence that the right wing just hates women and liberals, CNN contributor Erik Son of Erik proves it with this tweet:

"It was a tough choice today. Celebrate Hobby Lobby by going to Chick-Fil-A or making my wife make me a sandwich."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:57 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


"UPDATE 2:14 p.m. Acting swiftly in the wake of the Court’s ruling on Monday, and relying directly upon that decision, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday blocked all enforcement of the mandate against an Alabama Catholic TV network, a non-profit entity. The concurring opinion of the Court of Appeals, written by Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., argued that the accommodation, discussed in the following post, is itself likely to be struck down."

Weren't religious non-profits already blocked from this enforcement?


roomthreeseventeen, this is saying something different. It's saying that not only are religious non-profits blocked from the mandate, but that the "accommodation" of having them file a form that will then cause insurance companies to have to provide the contraception is also a violation of their religious beliefs (for it would make them "materially cooperate in evil"), and is therefore unacceptable.

There's little reason why closely held corps wouldn't make the same argument.
posted by subversiveasset at 12:00 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Come to the United States! Where corporations are people and people are aren't anything at all. Unless you're female people, then you're less than that.
posted by tommasz at 12:01 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


thanks, subversiveasset
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:02 PM on June 30


Zarquon's Singing Fish: Huh, that's news to me. I stand corrected.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


In case you needed more evidence that the right wing just hates women and liberals, CNN contributor Erik Son of Erik proves it with this tweet:

"It was a tough choice today. Celebrate Hobby Lobby by going to Chick-Fil-A or making my wife make me a sandwich."


Psssh, no way he did that.







HOLY FUCK HE DID
posted by Think_Long at 12:03 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito argued that contesting
Hobby Lobby’s claim that contraception is the same thing as abortion —
an idea that has been refuted time and again by medical providers and
associations — “in effect tells the plaintiffs that their beliefs are
flawed.”


The sky, it is blue.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:04 PM on June 30 [16 favorites]


Generally, I skeptical of slippery-slope arguments, but I see this as a genuinely slippery slope. Religious beliefs that contradict laws are manifold, and this is the first time a law meant to benefit the majority has seen an exemption based on first amendment principles. It isn't hard to imagine other religions coming out of the woodwork to get exemptions from laws that offend their particular belief system (I'm thinking of education as particularly vulnerable; although home schooling is an existing option, not all families have it). I'm counting on this being perceived as a mistake ten years from now and being overturned by a less ideological court.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:06 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito argued that contesting
Hobby Lobby’s claim that contraception is the same thing as abortion —
an idea that has been refuted time and again by medical providers and
associations — “in effect tells the plaintiffs that their beliefs are
flawed.”


How bizarre. Surely the religious belief in question is that life begins at conception, not that birth control does things other than what it actually does.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:06 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Coming soon to Supreme Court Cinema: "All D̶o̶g̶s̶ Closely Held Corporations Go to Heaven"
posted by notme at 12:07 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know what the current situation for religious nonprofits actually are? What were the arguments that let them be exempted from this law?
posted by macrael at 12:07 PM on June 30


Mental Wimp, this exclusion was explicitly not granted based on the First Amendment.
posted by Corinth at 12:08 PM on June 30


Charles P. Pierce: The Hobby Lobby Case: The Supreme Court Has A Favorite Religion, And That's A Big Problem
Since its passage 21 years ago, the history of the RFRA has been one in which the Court has narrowed the religious freedom that the law purported to restore. For example, the Court ruled that Quakers could not use the act as a basis for refusing to pay income taxes. Another court rejected an attempt by various Native American tribes—Ah, here's irony for you—to use the RFRA to stop the expansion of a ski resort on federal land that the tribes considered sacred. Right up through the Court's decision today, in practice, the RFRA has been repurposed to establish a privileged position within the law to a certain set of religious beliefs—those beliefs curiously coinciding with the political movement in which several of the Justices were formed. And, again, it's not like nobody saw this coming, either. In his Memorial And Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, Mr. Madison warned against privileging one set of religious beliefs over the other:
The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

He had their number, in 1785, too.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:10 PM on June 30 [35 favorites]


I sincerely believe that not if I don't carry a million dollars in cash with me at all times, that will cause fertilized embryos to stop implanting in nearby women. Large bills are fine, Mr. Alito.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:10 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


In a brief filed in the Supreme Court in January, lawyers for the Little Sisters said they "cannot execute the form because they cannot deputize a third party to sin on their behalf."

Honestly, given that it's nuns, this probably is actually a moral choice rather than a shitty one on their behalf. It does raise the issue of "Why doesn't the government just subsidize birth control en masse if it's such a compelling interest?"
posted by corb at 12:11 PM on June 30


Like, I am sure we'd get more benefits from subsidizing birth control than subsidizing corn.
posted by corb at 12:12 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Because Republicans. You're not wrong, but Republicans.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:12 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Also, when does the next challenge to Roe hit the court? Cuz I'm about 100% certain now that Kennedy will vote to overturn, and then we won't have to worry about undue burdens on women seeking abortion in Texas, it'll just be flat out illegal.

I don't think you can challenge Supreme Court decisions. They're the court of last appeal. That's probably one reason why Republicans have been working so hard to make abortion unpleasant, outrageously onerous, and pragmatically impossible instead of outright illegal. Congress could pass a law making abortion illegal but Republicans have no need to mount that assuredly damaging, national-level fight when they can do everything quietly and technocratically at the state level.
posted by clockzero at 12:12 PM on June 30


The "non-activist" strict constructionists are playing Calvin ball, without shame or regret. This will not end well.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:12 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


"Challenge to Roe" meaning any suit over a restrictive state abortion law in which the state and/or its amici will argue that yes, the law conflicts with Roe, but Roe was wrongly decided and should be overturned.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:13 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Functionally speaking, this decision is irrelevant. Hobby Lobby won't provide certain health coverage to its employees. But, the insurance company will still cover those items. It is likely that the Federal Government will reimburse those costs. To an employee of Hobby Lobby, this doesn't appear to alter anything--contraceptives are still covered, it's just that one entity (the Feds) is paying for that coverage instead of another (Hobby Lobby).

This seems, to me, to be a case where both sides get what they want: Hobby Lobby doesn't have to pay for medical coverage that violates their conscience, and Hobby Lobby employees receive the same health insurance as employees of any other company.
posted by ayedub at 12:15 PM on June 30


if the insurance company does provide those contraceptives. Is there a chance they may not?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:17 PM on June 30


The concurring opinion of the Court of Appeals, written by Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., argued that the accommodation, discussed in the following post, is itself likely to be struck down.

This Circuit Judge in that injunction has a weird argument whose weakness kind of points out how wrong he is. He's claiming that the Supreme Court is likely to see FILING A FORM as akin to supporting abortion when the form in question says that THEY DON'T SUPPORT ABORTION.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:17 PM on June 30


But, the insurance company will still cover those items.

In light of the Eleventh Circuit ruling discussed above, I don't think this is necessarily true.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:17 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


But, the insurance company will still cover those items. It is likely that the Federal Government will reimburse those costs.

Under what new spending authority? Does the court's decision authorize more funding for ACA to make this true? Where is that revenue supposed to come from?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:18 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Time to step away from the computer, because my god, Erickson is a fucking gem.
posted by maryr at 12:19 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


anotherpanacea,

More like, "the Supreme Court is likely to see FILING A FORM THAT MANDATES A THIRD PARTY TO PROVIDE ABORTION as akin to supporting abortion when the form in question says that BECAUSE THEY DON'T SUPPORT ABORTION, MAKE A THIRD PARTY SUPPORT IT INSTEAD."

which, you know, if that's how SCOTUS reads it, then that really doesn't sound very good.
posted by subversiveasset at 12:20 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Mental Wimp, this exclusion was explicitly not granted based on the First Amendment.

Yet, they cite the RFRA, which explicitly
prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise ofreligion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability”
THe first admendment we know forbids
impeding the free exercise of religion
. Saying it's not based on the first admendment is like saying days aren't based on the rotation of the earth, but on the clock.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:21 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Corporate Personhood as a legal framework needs burned to the ground and rebuilt. FTFY
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 12:23 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Putting the fact that this ruling is tragically illogical, it will be humorous to hear the outspoken religious nuts translate why they think this ruling was made what they think this means.
posted by waving at 12:23 PM on June 30


if the insurance company does provide those contraceptives. Is there a chance they may not?

What if the insurance company is also a closely held corporation that claims it can't do that for religious reasons?
posted by Foosnark at 12:24 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


which, you know, if that's how SCOTUS reads it, then that really doesn't sound very good.

At that point you really are using an unpalatable action theory. If the form leads to abortion in that way, then so does hiring a pro-choice employee. The court didn't say free exercise allows you to proscribe ANY action that can foreseeably lead to an abortion. That way lies tax avoidance and sovereign individual nonsense.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:27 PM on June 30


Saying it's not based on the first admendment is like saying days aren't based on the rotation of the earth, but on the clock

It's actually not akin to that at all. The RFRA was crafted very explicitly to prohibit the federal government from passing laws that burden the free exercise of religion in ways that the First Amendment allows (or has allowed since Employment Division v. Smith). Rules of general applicability that burden the free exercise of religion are allowable under the First Amendment, but not always under the RFRA. This isn't a semantic point, because, for instance, the RFRA only applies to the federal government, not the states, although some states have passed their own RFRA type laws, and if the courts interpret the RFRA in objectionable ways it's monumentally easier to change that outcome by changing the RFRA than it is to change the First Amendment.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:30 PM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Saying it's not based on the first admendment is like saying days aren't based on the rotation of the earth, but on the clock.

Mental Wimp, the RFRA is distinct from the First Amendment. The RFRA came into being because Supreme Court cases relating to the First Amendment's "free exercise of religion" clause had led to results which many people did not like.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:30 PM on June 30


Damn you, Bulgaroktonos!
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:31 PM on June 30


The Bait-And-Switch Behind Today’s Hobby Lobby Decision
posted by homunculus at 12:31 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


If this whole thing really comes down to whether a form has/has not been signed, then our nation is falling victim to the whole Freemen-on-the-land thing where they think that phrases, and the documents containing them, have inherent power, rather than being mere reflections of the power residing in the government.

If Group X objects to providing insurance for contraception, then here's how it should go:

1. Someone (HHS, or perhaps the IRS) says, "hey, this document says you're not paying for contraception coverage for your employees. Why's that?"
2. Group X responds, "Because we believe contraception to be morally wrong and in violation of our religious beliefs."
3. HHS responds, "Great. Here's how this works: for your convenience and ours, you should fill out a form that says as much, and send it to us and to your insurance company. Failing that, if we don't hear from you in 30 days, we'll tell your insurance company personally, and use this correspondence as evidence of your objection. Have a super-awesome week!"

The Little Sisters of the Poor think that signing that form is the magical act that will kill unborn babies. They can think that all they like, but I don't know why the courts have to pretend that it is so.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:32 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Charles P. Pierce: The Hobby Lobby Case

From that article, Scalia on the peyote case:

"To permit this, would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind, ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races."

I don't want to live on this planet any more.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:33 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


"if the insurance company does provide those contraceptives. Is there a chance they may not?"

What if the insurance company is also a closely held corporation that claims it can't do that for religious reasons?


The court decided that organizations like Hobby Lobby aren't bound by "compelling governmental interests in compliance with the law" when there's a "less restrictive alternative," that could accomplish the same thing. So if there isn't a less restrictive alternative, it seems, this exemption may not hold. From Justice Ginsburg's dissent:

And such an alternative, the Court suggests, there always will be whenever, in lieu of tolling an enterprise claiming a religion-based exemption, the government, i.e., the general public, can pick up the tab....

So, I think this is why some people have been suggesting that the decision seems to potentially re-open the door to considering a single-payer system. Nobody would be able to opt out of paying taxes that went partially to fund universal health care, after all. I wouldn't take a position on how likely that is.
posted by clockzero at 12:33 PM on June 30


The Little Sisters of the Poor think that signing that form is the magical act that will kill unborn babies. They can think that all they like, but I don't know why the courts have to pretend that it is so.

Well, according to Alito, it's because the courts have no place telling someone that their sincerely held beliefs are wrong, even if they're not sincerely held religious beliefs and are instead just garden-variety wrongness about mundane cause and effect.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:34 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


Honestly, part of me suspects that these decisions were handed down as a pair to draw attention away from Harris v. Quinn, which is vastly more far-reaching and immediately precedent-setting.

SCOTUS No. 2 -- The Stakes This Fall
posted by homunculus at 12:35 PM on June 30


For all of you quinoa-eating, soy milk-drinking hippies out there, Eden Foods, Inc. makers of EdenSoy milk and other macrobiotic noms, also challenged ACA's mandatory contraception mandate in court.

Eden Foods Inc. v. Sebelius
FILED ON: 3/20/2013
ABOUT THE PLAINTIFF: Eden Foods is a Michigan-based corporation that specializes in supplying macrobiotic, organic food.
(via Daily Kos and Mother Jones)
posted by Sophie1 at 12:37 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


For all of you quinoa-eating, soy milk-drinking hippies out there, Eden Foods, Inc. makers of EdenSoy milk and other macrobiotic noms, also challenged ACA's mandatory contraception mandate in court.

Sidenote: EdenSoy always looked like a douche. No, seriously, the packaging. It looks like Massengill.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:38 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Thank god I'm only a quinoa eating hippie.
posted by maryr at 12:40 PM on June 30


Eden Foods Inc. v. Sebelius

Deep, deep religious convictions.
Potter has spent weeks talking up in the media his opposition to the contraceptive coverage benefit. He’s stated that he opposes the contraceptive coverage benefit because he questions “what gives [the federal government] the right to tell [him] that [he has] to [cover birth control].” But here’s the thing: he’s admitted he would not have cared if it was “Jack Daniels or birth control”—it’s the principle. Potter’s admitted that the root issue—“the beginning and ending of the story”—is the government trying to tell him what to do. As he said, “[he’s] got more interest in good quality long underwear than [he has] in birth control pills.”

Today, during oral arguments for the preliminary injunction, his tune may change. Contrary to his many statements, his lawyers will try to convince a Michigan district court that Mr. Potter’s religious beliefs motivate his attempt to deny his employees (and their families) the comprehensive insurance they are entitled to. That’s because the claims Potter is making require a violation of religious exercise. But proving religious beliefs are at issue won’t be an easy task. When asked what particular religious belief led him to oppose the benefit, Potter said “Well, there isn’t any one particular religious belief… I find it hard to get my head around the question.”
posted by Drinky Die at 12:41 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


1. Overall though; time for national health care. Fuck this employer-provided healthcare bullshit.
posted by emjaybee at 11:03 AM on June 30 [40 favorites +] [!]
I think the ACA has already taken care of that given that more than twice as many people lost their employer provided coverage than signed up during the first 9extended0 roll out period.

2. Can pharmaceutical companies now market a "new" medicine for women who take birth control for medical reasons, and have that pass this new bullshit? (I.e., birth control pills called something different)

This only allows them to not pay for contraception. It does not allow them to not pay for "the Pill" if it is prescribed for other legitimate medical purposes. That would be akin to allowing them to not pay for morphine because it can be abused by junkies.
posted by Gungho at 12:42 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


When asked what particular religious belief led him to oppose the benefit, Potter said “Well, there isn’t any one particular religious belief… I find it hard to get my head around the question.”

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:43 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Hm. Possible responses to this may include:

Employees of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood could file a Civil Rights Act lawsuit. There has been speculation that if Hobby Lobby did win, employees could file a Civil Rights Act Title VII complaint, claiming that the company is treating female employees differently than men.
posted by emjaybee at 12:45 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


Everyone who's been moved to ask why all of us ladyfolk can't just buy our own birth control has apparently never been so poor that you had to worry about where your next meal was coming from or whether you were still going to have a roof over your head next week, let alone whether you can scrounge up enough change in the couch cushions to shell out a cool grand for a goddamn IUD. Do y'all really consider basic preventative health care something that needs to be earned? (Don't answer that.)

Amanda Marcotte, Hobby Lobby Is Part of a Greater War on Contraception
I realize it's tempting to minimize this and say that they aren't all that bad—that things can't be that bad. And it's true that, so far, we're not seeing any moves from the anti-choice movement to outright ban contraception, or even to ban female-controlled versions like the pill and the IUD for which they have a special hatred. But that's because, while they do spout endless fantasies about their version of paradise where icky sex mostly goes away (their paradise being hell for the rest of us, of course), anti-choice activists are not stupid. They know that rolling out a hardline anti-contraception agenda is going to cause most Americans to shut down and laugh them out of the room.

So instead, the strategy is to cast around, looking for certain soft spots, places where they can attack contraception access, making it harder for women to get while assuring everyone that they are not actually out to get rid of their contraception. Target young women or poor women first, like the college women Sandra Fluke was defending or women who rely on government-subsidized contraception. Insinuate that these women's sexual lives are improper and should be policed from outside. Gradually widen the net by using "religious liberty" as a fig leaf to grant women's bosses veto power over their health-care coverage, injecting their boss' opinion about their private sex life into their medical decision making. Chip chip chip. Bit by bit, they can make us accustomed to the idea that contraception is "controversial" and whether or not you get pregnant is a matter of public debate instead of a private choice.
Accent mine. I cannot fucking believe that I have to actively worry about this shit in 2014. It's never anywhere but front and center in my mind because it has to be. I have to plan my future around where and when I will be allowed access to contraception and pregnancy termination, because even at age 32, after a lifetime of being absolutely sure that I do not ever want to carry a pregnancy to term, not a single ob/gyn will let me get my goddamn tubes tied because maybe I'll change my mind. More than one woman who was of childbearing age pre-Roe has come to me with her head hung low, mourning the erosion of the basic liberties she and her sisters fought so hard to secure. I guess we got too uppity in wanting our bodily autonomy and rights to basic health care to remain settled law.

Here's that sin-soaked certification form, by the way: EBSA Form 700. Looks like pretty standard bureaucracy to me, guess the devil must be in the details...
posted by divined by radio at 12:46 PM on June 30 [62 favorites]


Lol, to the women defending hobby lobby, and celebrating the decision of 5 men! I'm actually glad women's rights have been stripped away even more. Pretty soon middle class whites are going to really know what it's like to be screwed over time. This will make us progressives and socialists a tighter crew. This is the age of the sellout, and the tea party is rollin like the taliban. And scotus has really good healthcare. Why can't it be that government benefits must reflect the state of the union? I'm pissed.
posted by Flex1970 at 12:48 PM on June 30


I'm actually glad women's rights have been stripped away even more. Pretty soon middle class whites are going to really know what....

Yeah, dude, I kinda get the position you are coming from, but nonetheless being glad for the misfortunes of others in the vague hope it furthers your case is fundamentally kinda of a dickish thing. By and large progress is not made by the restriction and pain of your allies.
posted by edgeways at 12:54 PM on June 30 [20 favorites]


Gungho: I think the ACA has already taken care of that given that more than twice as many people lost their employer provided coverage than signed up during the first 9extended0 roll out period.

Do you have a cite for that claim? I hadn't heard that before.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:59 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


God Bless America

Moar like: "Bless your heart, America."
posted by aydeejones at 1:02 PM on June 30 [7 favorites]


Perhaps Hobby Lobby can offer to raise their employees' misbegotten babies in an official Hobby Lobby orphanage where they are tucked into bed every night under crocheted faux fur afghans and every piece of furniture is made of pipe cleaners and Modpodge. But we all know the religious concern stops after the baby pops out.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:05 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


I see some 20-year-olds outside drinking large sodas, what's the best way for me to go knock them out of their hands?
posted by Benjy at 1:06 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


MCMikeNamara:That's so much better than my plan to go and shit in the aisles. Like so much better.

If you promise to execute this plan and scream "no!!!!!!! My butt-babies have the right to life! Heathens!!!" as you're carried out of the store, we will bail you out. No questions asked.
posted by dr_dank at 1:07 PM on June 30 [15 favorites]


[Deleted the dumb "not all women" derail.]
posted by restless_nomad at 1:08 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


I'm extremely grateful I got no guff from my doctors about tying my tubes at 32, even if my health status probably had something to do with it. (Also my late family doctor, bless him, who never considered second-guessing me.) I have no skin in the birth control game now because of that decision, but I'm still very conscious of this decision as an attack on my rights as a woman and an enforcement of civil religion and corporate power at the expense of individual rights. None of that is good.

The people who really boggle me are the ones who act like this is not a political decision (and that RFRA isn't unconstitutional). But I've always been boggled by the idea that DOMA wasn't prima facie unconstitutional for denying full faith and credit, so I clearly am an unsophisticated reader.
posted by immlass at 1:10 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I think the employees of Hobby Lobby have enough to worry about without cleaning up your shit.

I wouldn't mind if you wanted to break into the Supreme Court and shit in some chairs though.
posted by NoraReed at 1:10 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


crocheted faux fur afghans and every piece of furniture is made of pipe cleaners and Modpodge

C'mon, you don't have to put crochet in with the list of all things tacky. (Dissing crochet is tacky in itself, yo.) I suggest that the Hobby Lobby orphanage use those "no-sew" fleece blankets where you use scissors to make your own fringe, or whatever it is that constitutes crafting with those.
posted by asperity at 1:13 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I think the employees of Hobby Lobby have enough to worry about without cleaning up your shit.


I have to use this reply to (a) agree wholeheartedly and (b) tell the story about how I made the same "shit in the aisles" joke to my partner and he laughed and then said basically the same thing ('don't Hobby Lobby employees have to deal with enough crap already') and I realized I loved him for this, not just because he was being considerate but also because I know he thought that consideration through only because he was, at least for a few seconds, taking my joke about defecation as a legitimate potential plan of action.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:18 PM on June 30 [14 favorites]


C'mon, you don't have to put crochet in with the list of all things tacky.

I was reading that the tacky element of "crocheted faux fur afghans" was the faux fur part.

Because yeah.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:18 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Sandra Fluke, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, is saying that closely-held corporations employ 52% of the labor force.
posted by newdaddy at 1:19 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Surrogacy isn't an option in many states, so it's mostly only available to those privileged enough to be able to travel to where it's legal. And, like adoption and IVF, it can be expensive.
posted by Corinth at 1:19 PM on June 30


The best summary of the case I've seen so far:
Take away our sex ed, access to contraception and abortions, then condemn us for having children, then make sure we get unfair wages so we can't support the children we have. Then remove the social safety net so we're totally screwed.

Then, call us irresponsible sluts.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:24 PM on June 30 [87 favorites]


Forgive me if this is a naive question:

Could lobbyists/lawyers successfully challenge and expand the state and/or federal definition of a Closely Held Company?
posted by ssmug at 1:36 PM on June 30


The 12 Best Hobby Lobby Signs at the Supreme Court Today

My personal favorites:

-- Bigotry disguised as "religious liberty" is still bigotry.

-- My Health Care is Not Your Hobby

-- You are not a doctor. You are not a church. You sell STENCILS.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:45 PM on June 30 [28 favorites]


Good summary, Bora Horza Gobuchul. It raises the question: ok, then what exactly do these nutjobs get out of pounding the women so completely into the ground? You do realize that you need them to cook your dinner and provide occasional dick relief, right?
posted by Melismata at 1:47 PM on June 30


I never thought I'd be living in an America where same sex marriage was legal in all fifty states, but abortion wasn't. Yet we seem to be going that way.

I'm quite sure now that Roe will be overturned in the next few years.

And then they'll go after Griswold.
posted by sotonohito at 1:51 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Could lobbyists/lawyers successfully challenge and expand the state and/or federal definition of a Closely Held Company?

Short answer: Yes, and they will.
posted by IAmUnaware at 1:53 PM on June 30


Sandra Fluke, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, is saying that closely-held corporations employ 52% of the labor force.

Fluke is a hero for all the crap she's taken to be in the public eye, but I think she is playing fast and loose here with a term of art that has a specific meaning. It's also not that relevant how many organizations meet the criteria of closely held corp unless all of them meet the ACA 50 employee threshold.

The paper her article cites is this one at Columbia, which is itself citing this paper out of the SBA.

There's nothing I can find it in speaking about closely held corporations, though it has this bit speaking more about small business in general: The health and social services industry has showed a relatively constant share of employees in small businesses over the 1998 to 2008 period, just over 50 percent.

But the definition of small business here only means any organization with under 500 employees; it speaks not at all to its legal organizational structure, nor does it indicate how many of those orgs have >50 employees. So they could be general public corporations with diffuse ownership, they could be one of the tremendous numbers of organizations with under 50 people in it who can choose not to offer any insurance at all.
posted by phearlez at 1:55 PM on June 30


Melismatma, they get to overturn the 1960's and return us to an era of shotgun marriages chaining men and women together who really don't like each other that much. That has been their goal for a long time now.

And the way a lot of them talk, they really do think that is a necessary and proper way to run society. They think men hate women and just want them for casual sex, that women hate sex and just use it to pay men for validation, and that society is breaking down because women can't trap men into loveless marriages anymore. Its hard to say whether they despise men or women more.

Breaking women financially is esssential to the plan. If women are financially independent then they have no incentive to trap men into loveless marriages.
posted by sotonohito at 1:56 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


It raises the question: ok, then what exactly do these nutjobs get out of pounding the women so completely into the ground? You do realize that you need them to cook your dinner and provide occasional dick relief, right?

That's just exactly what this is about, though: keeping most women in 'their place.' The 'irresponsible sluts' aren't the ones they're looking to win over. Those women are their cautionary tales. The message is meant for the women currently on their side: keep doing what we say, or you'll end up like them.

This quote summed it up, really:
"It was a tough choice today. Celebrate Hobby Lobby by going to Chick-Fil-A or making my wife make me a sandwich."

That sack of crap doesn't care about the women of Hobby Lobby. He cares that the social order he supports offers him the opportunity to make his wife do what he wants.

Upon preview:
Breaking women financially is esssential to the plan. If women are financially independent then they have no incentive to trap men into loveless marriages.

Yep.
posted by mordax at 1:59 PM on June 30 [21 favorites]


Fluke is a hero for all the crap she's taken to be in the public eye, but I think she is playing fast and loose here with a term of art that has a specific meaning. It's also not that relevant how many organizations meet the criteria of closely held corp unless all of them meet the ACA 50 employee threshold.

I do think it's relevant if we consider the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that all closely-held corporations have religious beliefs that must be legally respected and balanced against the compelling interest of the government to do certain things. That has far wider implications than just the ACA, something that people seem to want to downplay when talking about this case.
posted by muddgirl at 1:59 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


OK, that was an overstatement because, like people, not all corporations will necessarily have religious beliefs.
posted by muddgirl at 2:01 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I want to downplay it because it's fucking awful enough as it is. I do not have the energy to be angry about theoretical later extensions of the ruling; focusing on how it sucks in concrete ways is painful enough.

Further, I think over-stating the immediate peril just sets us up to lose support. I don't like it when the anti-drug warriors lie about the extent of drug dangers and I don't want us to lie either. We don't need to. It's nonsense that an aspect of employee compensation can be jerked around this way. It offends the sensibilities of reasonable people. To undermine ourselves by making a claim of impact that is demonstrably not true risks losing them.
posted by phearlez at 2:06 PM on June 30


I'm not 100% sure, but I think what phearlez means is that the numbers of how many actual corporate entities this effects are fuzzy because the terms "corporation" and "close corporation" have specific definitions and requirements in the state and IRS statutes. Not every type of company is explicitly a corporation, and not every type of corporation that fits the guidelines for a close corporation is explicitly considered a close corporation.

On the one hand, this is legal nitpicking over a huge and monumentally shitty decision. On the other hand, the fact that it explicitly applies to close corporations only means it may be much more limited in scope than people are assuming.
posted by griphus at 2:07 PM on June 30


That sack of crap doesn't care about the women of Hobby Lobby. He cares that the social order he supports offers him the opportunity to make his wife do what he wants.

How does the hell does he stay married? How the hell do people like these stay married? Do they just find the most subservient woman they can find then emotionally abuse the shit out of them?
posted by Talez at 2:10 PM on June 30 [11 favorites]


The phrase that keeps dancing in my head from this decision is 'separate but equal'
posted by edgeways at 2:15 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


This has actually been bugging me all day as I've been reading up on the news, as corporate filings are my day job so for better or worse I'm keenly aware that the lay definition of "corporation" applies to far more companies than the legal definition and there's a lot of well-intentioned but poorly-researched figures out there that are incorrect and not informing anyone to the facts of the matter.

But, then again the most important Fact of the Matter is that this potentially affects 100% of women and corporate law is regularly amended and entities can (with more or less ease) convert between different forms, so if a particular company that isn't a close corporation is dead-set on becoming one to take advantage of this, they can, assuming they're willing to pay the legal fees.
posted by griphus at 2:15 PM on June 30


Talez, there are a lot of women out there who believe they were created to be subservient to their husbands.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:15 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Could lobbyists/lawyers successfully challenge and expand the state and/or federal definition of a Closely Held Company?

Short answer: Yes, and they will.


No. A closely held company is a long-standing doctrine in the law. The IRS definition was picked because it has nationwide application.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:16 PM on June 30


Talez, society harshly punishes women who leave their husbands for almost any reason. My current partner lost almost her entire social support network of friends, men and women, after divorcing her husband. This was because there was no "reason" other than that he was shitty to her in almost exactly the way that quote describes. They thought that as long as he wasn't physically abusing her, then it was her duty to stay.
posted by gilrain at 2:17 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


phearlez might have missed it, but upthread I cited an article from INC magazine claiming that more than 90% of US corporations are classified as "closely held corporations." Presumably, since we're talking about more than 90% of all corporations in America, a significant number of them have more than 25 employees. In all likelihood, Chick-Fil-A is a closely held corporation, for example. Wal-Mart is, too, as are the Koch Brothers' holdings.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:17 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


No. A closely held company is a long-standing doctrine in the law.

Either I am not understanding something about how state corporate statutes work, but if a close corporation is explicitly defined in the state corporate statute (e.g. Nevada's) can't that statute be amended by the legislature just like any other definition within it?
posted by griphus at 2:18 PM on June 30


"OUR SAFETY POLICY: We opt out of OSHA regulations and do not provide first aid kits: if God doesn't want you to get injured, you won't be, and you'll get better if He wants you to."
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:18 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


Yep. Wal-Mart is a closely held corporation according to Bloomberg.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:19 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


But, then again the most important Fact of the Matter is that this potentially affects 100% of women and corporate law is regularly amended and entities can (with more or less ease) convert between different forms, so if a particular company that isn't a close corporation is dead-set on becoming one to take advantage of this, they can, assuming they're willing to pay the legal fees.

This is not the case. If the corporation is not closely held, it can only become closely held by some people buying other people's shares. To be closely held, you must have 50% of the shares owned by 5 or fewer people. It is not a matter of paying legal fees. They must purchase the stock holdings of others to consolidate to the level required.

These are important questions and it is very important that we get the facts right.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:19 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


"OUR SAFETY RECORD: It has been [3] days since God smote a careless worker."
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:19 PM on June 30 [26 favorites]


I believe Bloomberg is using "closely held" colloquially rather than legally. Walmart is publicly traded.
posted by Justinian at 2:21 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


How does the hell does he stay married? How the hell do people like these stay married? Do they just find the most subservient woman they can find then emotionally abuse the shit out of them?

... yes?

(In these communities, knee-jerk support is always for the man. Men are valued more, period.)

Oh, and to those who were asking about why US health care is so intrinsically linked to jobs? IIRC, it has to do with corporations playing fast and loose with the spirit of the law in an earlier time. This link talks about it in a way that jibes with what I remember from I/O class. Tl;dr:

"What happened? Something called the 1942 Stabilization Act, a work of Congress designed to limit wage increases during wartime. The point of it was to combat inflation, which, in the words of the act itself, “threaten[s] our military effort and our domestic economic structure.” The effect, though, was that employers — needing to recruit workers at a time when many able-bodied men were overseas — began offering more generous health benefits.

Another side effect of the Stabilization Act was that health premiums deducted by employers — while still considered part of compensation for the purposes of labor negotiations — don’t count as income, and, as a result, workers don’t pay income or payroll taxes on those benefits. The result was an incentive for the employer, rather than the employee, to make health insurance arrangements, and the era of third-party health insurance was fully underway."

I realize it's an oversimplification to blame everything on this, but a big factor in why we tie health care to employment today is because management at a lot of companies couldn't get behind the greater good when we were fighting literal, actual Nazis.
posted by mordax at 2:22 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The Court accepted Hobby Lobby's religious claim about abortifacients despite it conflicting with the facts of reality. I strongly suspect the Court would not hear let alone rule favorably for a similar reality-defying claim from a religious group lacking political clout or a despised religious minority.

I much prefer the time before RFRA when the court protected minority religious practices by invoking the rights and obligations binding on all Americans (e.g. Jehova Witnesses being exempted from mandatory Pledge recital due to freedom of speech).

Minorities that should have gotten exemptions that were denied in part due to majority cultural biases (e.g. Employment Division v Smith) will still have to face those biases. “Religious Freedom” is easier to uphold for favored or otherwise dominant religions (not that it should apply to coporations in the first place). And now those religions can evade legal responsibilities that should be binding on all in our secular state.

A couple RFRA-related analyses. First from Marci Hamilton:
RFRA is not the doctrine that guided our country for centuries and the least restrictive means test was never the Supreme Court’s test. It is, however, an invitation to religious overreaching.RFRA is an extreme standard that persuaded a Congress in 1993 that did not do its homework to follow along.
And her colleague Leslie Griffin:
For RFRA to be triggered, plaintiffs must establish that the government substantially burdened their exercise of religion. Justice Ginsburg cogently argued in dissent that any burden on the Greens’ and Hahns’ religion was “too attenuated” to qualify as substantial. The employees decide whether to use contraception, and “no individual decision by an employee and her physician….is in any meaningful sense her employer’s decision or action.” This case is really about the women employees’ choice, not the employers’ religion.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:22 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


If you read the opinion, the pages are liberally smeared with with RFRA this and RFRA that. Only a few pages escape multiple mentions.

I find hope only in the dissents.

Looking at the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the only Nay votes were cast by very strange bedfellows indeed: Robert Byrd, Jesse Helms, and Harlan Matthews.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/103-1993/s331
posted by the Real Dan at 2:23 PM on June 30


Here is SCOTUSblog's "In Plain English" article about the case.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:23 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me that HL has essentially bluffed it's way into having the American Public pay for it's obligations. Why exactly are the conservatives not, you know, pissed off about this?
posted by edgeways at 2:26 PM on June 30 [9 favorites]


I don't think this is really an issue of worrying about hypothetical "later extensions" of the ruling, but about an actually hugely significant part of the current ruling, as Ginsburg so eloquently addresses. I don't think defining some corporations as having a religious conscience that can be burdened is a mere byproduct that would otherwise be OK for me except for the whole contraception thing.
posted by muddgirl at 2:27 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


To be closely held, you must have 50% of the shares owned by 5 or fewer people.

This is what is ridiculous. What are we--the public--gaining by protecting them from financial harm (by allowing them any incorporation at all) while allowing them to dictate their employees' health care? "It's only held by five or fewer people" is bullshit, since it doesn't correlate at all to how many people it might actually affect.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:27 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


It is time we retired superstition from being the guiding principal of voting Americans. As Hitchens said, "Religion ruins everything. " Perhaps it's time to reconsider supporting these medieval institutions and instead, embrace reason? This is a direct result of magical thinking, amplified by power placed in the hands of religious zealots
posted by FauxScot at 2:28 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


edgeways: "It occurs to me that HL has essentially bluffed it's way into having the American Public pay for it's obligations. Why exactly are the conservatives not, you know, pissed off about this?"

Taker states/giver states comes to mind...
posted by Big_B at 2:29 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Well, here's some comforting news: the Court just also said that it was okay for California to ban "gay conversion therapy." (They declined to hear the case.)
posted by Melismata at 2:31 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


The thing about having the controlling shares only held by a few people is important because that makes it practical to determine what those people's religious beliefs are. If you think the fallout from Hobby Lobby is a clusterfuck, well, it's nothing compared to what you'd get with a SCOTUS ruling that says you have to decide whether the current demographic profile of Microsoft's shareholders means the company is Southern Baptist.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:33 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


No. A closely held company is a long-standing doctrine in the law.

Either I am not understanding something about how state corporate statutes work, but if a close corporation is explicitly defined in the state corporate statute (e.g. Nevada's) can't that statute be amended by the legislature just like any other definition within it?


But the court is using the IRS's definition. Not state definitions. So it does not matter what state codes describe a closely held corporation.

The vast number of incorporated entities are small. Most are close because they are owned by only 1 individual. They employ only a few workers each. The question is how many are actually subject to the mandate and then how many of those will try to use the religious exemption to avoid the mandate.

Quite frankly, I think it will not be many. This was a stunt lawsuit so a few nutjobs can say that they stopped one small part of the ACA which has essentially crushed them.

That's not to say we shouldn't use this decision against the GOP. We should. But we can not panic while using it.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:34 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]



It is time we retired superstition from being the guiding principal of voting Americans. As Hitchens said, "Religion ruins everything. " Perhaps it's time to reconsider supporting these medieval institutions and instead, embrace reason? This is a direct result of magical thinking, amplified by power placed in the hands of religious zealots


I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean in this context, as this decision was not made by voting Americans.
posted by sweetkid at 2:36 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Taker states/giver states comes to mind

I think, so often many conservative value voters think in terms of 'individuals', that government is bad because it imposes restriction on individuals on behalf of society. This decision seems to (in some abstract way) impose more restriction on the individual in the form of having to pay some infinitesimal amount more because a special kind of private company is allowed to exempt itself from portions of the law that everyone else is subject to (except the god botherers).

I really don't think many conservatives are thinking about this in more than 'yay a ruling against Obama' mindset, because it really isn't that big of a win for fiscal conservatives, and can kinda be seen as a slight loss.
posted by edgeways at 2:39 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


"It occurs to me that HL has essentially bluffed it's way into having the American Public pay for it's obligations. Why exactly are the conservatives not, you know, pissed off about this?"

Because that isn't what happened? HHS likely won't be able to fund it that way as that would require an appropriation that is unlikely to pass the GOP controlled House of Representatives. So HHS is likely to do what the court suggests and make an administrative rule allowing/requiring insurance companies to pay for it as they did with nonprofits. Insurance companies are apparently willing to do this since they think it saves them money in the long run./
posted by Jahaza at 2:39 PM on June 30


from the SCOTUSBlog "plain English" summary:

Those religious non-profits can opt out of providing the coverage without paying for it, but their female employees can still receive the coverage, with either the insurers or the government paying for it.

Most insurers are gonna make it free. Because pregnancies are huge cost drivers for them. Its very important to see this case for what it is: Political litigation about trying to stop ACA, which has rolled on. In my mind the justices who voted for this are doing so to give a sop to the right wing who has continually gotten their asses handed to them on a policy level for years and is now fighting the moderates in its own party for control of the party.

None of this stops the slow demographic destruction of this type of conservatism, which has maybe 10 years left of life in it, total.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:41 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


> The thing about having the controlling shares only held by a few people is important because that makes it practical to determine what those people's religious beliefs are.

Yeah, except for the hypothetical case where 51% of a company is controlled by one family, but one of the family members is not a party to the lawsuit and does not agree with his family's religious objection.

SCOTUS was trying to punt on the whole "how do you discern a corporation's religious beliefs" thing by focusing only on those corporations where the beliefs are clear. Then they picked a legal definition for that sort of company that is similar, but not identical, to the sort of company that Hobby Lobby is, in order to make it seem like they were carving out a consistent rule instead of some one-off exceptions.

Like some others have said, this decision seems hell-bent on allowing this one religious exemption for this one kind of corporation. Whether or not it's good law (just kidding; it isn't), it's the sort of logic that will leave lower courts struggling to figure out how to apply it when a slightly different scenario arises.
posted by savetheclocktower at 2:44 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


The thing about having the controlling shares only held by a few people is important because that makes it practical to determine what those people's religious beliefs are.

But what about the corporation? What if it wants women to have full access to health care?

Or what if it was of two minds about it? Or five?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:45 PM on June 30


EmpressCallipygos: So what we therefore need to do is do some kind of stealth gaslight-y kind of psych-them-out mind tricks on the 5 justices who supported this to get them to retire early, so we can get some sane blood in there.

leotrotsky: For what it's worth, SCOTUS Justices by age:

Ginsburg 81
Scalia 78
Kennedy 77
Breyer 75
Thomas 66
Alito 64
Sotomayor 60
Roberts 59
Kagan 54


Antonin Scalia, if you're out there - I will PERSONALLY buy you super-sized alfredo carbonara WITH EXTRA BACON for lunch and dinner every day for the rest of your life.

But only if you finish your plate!
posted by IAmBroom at 2:45 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


I really don't think many conservatives are thinking about this in more than 'yay a ruling against Obama' mindset, because it really isn't that big of a win for fiscal conservatives, and can kinda be seen as a slight loss.

Not all conservatives are fiscal conservatives and some social conservatives are fiscal liberals. As an extreme example, the Roman Catholic Bishops have long both supported single - payer health care and opposed birth control.
posted by Jahaza at 2:45 PM on June 30


"It occurs to me that HL has essentially bluffed it's way into having the American Public pay for it's obligations. Why exactly are the conservatives not, you know, pissed off about this?"

Because that isn't what happened? HHS likely won't be able to fund it that way as that would require an appropriation that is unlikely to pass the GOP controlled House of Representatives. So HHS is likely to do what the court suggests and make an administrative rule allowing/requiring insurance companies to pay for it as they did with nonprofits. Insurance companies are apparently willing to do this since they think it saves them money in the long run./


...and the public is mandated to buy a product from the insurance companies. The public funds it for Hobby Lobby in the end, one way or the other.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:47 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


(And I have a non-religious moral objection to supporting them. Do you care about that, Scalia?)
posted by Drinky Die at 2:51 PM on June 30



.

(That there is any longer even a pretense of justice or objectivity in this court)
posted by notreally at 2:54 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Serious question, since the Court is revisiting things due to the RFRA, CAN the Quakers get out of taxes now? The connection between paying taxes and wars is a lot stronger than the one between paying for insurance that covers contraception and "abortion". So does the ruling and the new take on things due to the RFRA give the Quakers a shot at not paying taxes?
posted by sotonohito at 2:58 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Mental Wimp, the RFRA is distinct from the First Amendment.

Yes, they are two different documents (well, one's a document, and the other is an amendment to a document) but it the RFRA addresses and buttresses a first amendment protection, and in that sense it has a lot to do with the first amendment. Basically, it says yes, the first amendment does apply to these issues. The fact that it doesn't use that language per se doesn't obviate that fact.

But I guess it really doesn't matter, because my point is that the RFRA is definitely the bill authors' version of the first amendment prohibition and SCOTUS backed it up, 5-4. And now we have to live with the upshot. Sharia, anyone?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:00 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Notrealy, someone needs to tell Ginsberg, because her insistence on pretending that there is will give us a 6-3 Republican majority if Clinton doesn't win. Pure delusional selfishness on her part.
posted by sotonohito at 3:00 PM on June 30


Of all the people on the planet, you just called Ruth Bader Ginsburg delusional and selfish? I am speechless.
posted by crayz at 3:03 PM on June 30 [24 favorites]


I've decided that clearly SCOTUS is just really trying to force single payer. That's their only goal in life right now, and they're doing everything they can to make it happen. Otherwise, I won't be able to sleep tonight.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:07 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


We ask voters to be cognizant of the political implications of Supreme Court nominations during every presidential campaign. As someone who desires to vote 3rd party most of the time but sometimes has to vote strategically, I know. It's not totally unreasonable to ask a very smart woman to keep those political realities in mind, because all the great work she is doing can easily be undone.

Delusional and selfish? That's over the top, but liberals falling even further behind on the court is an incredibly scary prospect.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:08 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


They could easily be undone by Obama choosing to make a political concession to Republicans and moderate Democrats, as well. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Not that Ginsburg is a bird.
posted by muddgirl at 3:10 PM on June 30


How does the hell does he stay married?
This question just prompted me to go to Wikipedia to perhaps see if he (Erick Erickson) is actually married or not. Now, I am not a big fan of Wikipedia vandalization, but I must admit that the first sentence of the current revision of his Wikipedia page brought a smile to my face:
Erick Erickson (born June 3, 1975) is an evil misogynistic[1] politically conservative American blogger and editor-in-chief of the blog site RedState.com.[2]
I particularly like that "misogynistic" was annotated with a citation.
posted by Flunkie at 3:11 PM on June 30 [24 favorites]


I believe Bloomberg is using "closely held" colloquially rather than legally. Walmart is publicly traded.

All the legal references I can find say the term means different things under different state laws, so presumably this is another opportunity for regulatory arbitrage. It may be that in whatever state Wal-Mart is incorporated in, all that matters is controlling shares when it comes to defining a company's status as closely held or not.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:16 PM on June 30


If someone like Bobby Jindal or Ted Cruz wins in 2016, we have bigger problems than just the SCOTUS make up.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:19 PM on June 30


I particularly like that "misogynistic" was annotated with a citation.

Ha!

Annotation link for the curious.
posted by mochapickle at 3:21 PM on June 30


Hobby Lobby and the War on Women
Shorter Sam Alito: When Congress said that the executive cannot impose a “substantial burden” on the religious beliefs of “persons,” it meant that it cannot impose “any burden, no matter how trivial and no matter what the burden to third parties” on “closely held corporations.” However, our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of women and their strange parts generally presents many complexities.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:22 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Clinton on the ruling: “Part of the reason I was so adamant about including women and girls [in State Department efforts] is that they’re often the canaries in the coal mine,” Clinton explained. “It is a disturbing trend that you see in a lot of societies that are unstable, anti-democratic, and prone to extremism. Women’s bodies are used as the defining and unifying issue to bring together people—men—to get them to behave in ways that are disadvantageous to women but prop up rulers.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:24 PM on June 30 [39 favorites]


Yep. The Federal definition of "closely held corporation" only considers majority shareholders to qualify. So Wal-Mart and other publicly traded companies where 5 or fewer shareholders control more than 50% of the stock qualify. This link is the IRS's definition:

http://www.irs.gov/Help-&-Resources/Tools-&-FAQs/FAQs-for-Individuals/Frequently-Asked-Tax-Questions-&-Answers/Small-Business,-Self-Employed,-Other-Business/Entities/Entities-5
posted by saulgoodman at 3:25 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR: If Hillary Clinton just tweeted, verbatim, "the fuck is THIS bullshit" right now, I'd vote for her no matter what else she did over the next two years.

roomthreeseventeen: Clinton on the ruling: “Part of the reason I was so adamant about including women and girls [in State Department efforts] is that they’re often the canaries in the coal mine,” Clinton explained. “It is a disturbing trend that you see in a lot of societies that are unstable, anti-democratic, and prone to extremism. Women’s bodies are used as the defining and unifying issue to bring together people—men—to get them to behave in ways that are disadvantageous to women but prop up rulers.”

Well, that is pretty much "the fuck is THIS bullshit" run through the Hillary Clinton Focus Group-Tested language filter.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:27 PM on June 30 [26 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest: In case you needed more evidence that the right wing just hates women and liberals, CNN contributor Erik Son of Erik proves it with this tweet:

"It was a tough choice today. Celebrate Hobby Lobby by going to Chick-Fil-A or making my wife make me a sandwich."


Folks, I'm all about pitchforks and shit raining down on the SCOTUS, but Erik Son of Erik is a beautiful, sarcastic bastard. DO NOT ATTACK ALLIES!
posted by IAmBroom at 3:28 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


not sure if serious
posted by Drinky Die at 3:30 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: "But we can not panic while using it."

We've been hearing "let's not panic" over and over and over again with each new abrogation of basic rights and laws.

I'm presuming that this latest erosion of civil rights, made law by the highest court in the land and not subject to reversal, is another of those things where, if we just look at it right, it's not really as bad as it looks?

At what point in the US's slide into a fascist state should we panic? Or should we just lie back and think of England?
posted by scrump at 3:31 PM on June 30 [24 favorites]


Erik Son of Erik is not serious. That comment drips of picture-perfect sarcasm.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:31 PM on June 30


Folks, I'm all about pitchforks and shit raining down on the SCOTUS, but Erik Son of Erik is a beautiful, sarcastic bastard. DO NOT ATTACK ALLIES!

He's taking redstate.com down from the inside? By running it?
posted by Talez at 3:32 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


How does the hell does he stay married? How the hell do people like these stay married? Do they just find the most subservient woman they can find then emotionally abuse the shit out of them?

Lots of women are already trained to go along with this by society. I mean, think about it -

* when they're little they're showered with stories about how they're little princesses who are there to be pretty and sweet and nice. If they speak their minds they're told that that's "unladylike" and "bossy."

* when they hit puberty they start having total strangers comment on, or even grope, their bodies, particularly in sexual ways.

* if someone touches them sexually without them having given permission to do so, lots of times they get told that they are "overreacting" or that they should give the guy a break because he is "socially awkward." Some people will even accuse them of having lied.

* if they seek out a career that is not "traditionally women's work", they face institutional roadblocks that prevent career advancement, scorn from colleagues, and comments which dismiss their work and focus squarely on their sexuality.

* if they look for information about their own body's functions, they have a risk of running into incorrect, inconclusive, or outdated information, or even skewed information put forth by people who have an ulterior motive to mold them to a particular dogma.

Given he fact that most women get raised that way, is it any wonder that so many women have already grown up having internalized the attitude that all they are incapable of making their own decisions about their lives?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:33 PM on June 30 [35 favorites]


"Ironic" misogyny is still misogyny.
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:33 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I hate thinking like this, and would much much much rather it was not this situation but this ruling is going to be a significant campaign rally point. I'd hope and imagine candidates get asked if they support HHS providing contraceptive coverage to employees of companies who claim religious exceptions, which is kind of a difficult question to answer for the GOP in the General Election. Answer one way piss off your base, answer the other and piss off a lot of centrist voters.
If I was one of those poisonous people advising candidates for the Democrats I'd ay hammer on this and hammer on it from morning to evening.

*sigh* I was so hoping to not get too drawn in this election because it fundamentally is not good for my health.
posted by edgeways at 3:34 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Erik Son of Erik is not serious. That comment drips of picture-perfect sarcasm.

Yes, but the sarcasm is aimed against "the left": "LOL, those wacky libs think that our attempts to judicially circumscribe women's life choices are misogynistic, just like making women make me a sandwich!"
posted by dhens at 3:35 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


IAmBroom, I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic or not, and I'm feeling pretty confused here, so I'm just going to ask straight out: Do you know who Erick Erickson is?

I doubt he's 100% literally serious, and his tweet is certainly intended in a joking manner, but he's not being sarcastic; he's gloating. And he's certainly no "ally".

Again, I'm getting the feeling that maybe you are just being sarcastic, but... I dunno.
posted by Flunkie at 3:36 PM on June 30 [9 favorites]


We laughed at Mittens in 2012 for saying corporations were people, but at this point, I'm starting to wish I was a corporation.

I do think that corporations should at least be required to wear a special hats that indicate whether they're speaking as people with human rights, or as corporations with limited liability.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:43 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


IAmBroom: "Folks, I'm all about pitchforks and shit raining down on the SCOTUS, but Erik Son of Erik is a beautiful, sarcastic bastard. DO NOT ATTACK ALLIES!"

what is this I don't even

what
posted by scrump at 3:45 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Folks, I'm all about pitchforks and shit raining down on the SCOTUS, but Erik Son of Erik is a beautiful, sarcastic bastard. DO NOT ATTACK ALLIES!

He's taking redstate.com down from the inside? By running it?


My stupid - I did not know who this 'bag is. Sorry. I assumed it was some random commenter.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:50 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I'll go back to feeding Scalia Bacon-Ohs and lead-sweetened wine.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:52 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Forgive me for not wading through entire thread, but out of curiosity do those 5 men happen to have any health issues?
posted by yoga at 3:56 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Forgive me for not wading through entire thread, but out of curiosity do those 5 men happen to have any health issues?

Scalia will be there for another decade or until a republican gets elected. Thomas on the other hand is about a cheeseburger away from a massive coronary.
posted by Talez at 3:59 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Forgive me for not wading through entire thread, but out of curiosity do those 5 men happen to have any health issues?

Nothing their insurance doesn't cover.
posted by Benjy at 4:06 PM on June 30 [49 favorites]


would you throw Sam Alito in front of a train?

That depends entirely on how fast the train is going. NB: I do not actually advocate the killing of anyone, including total douchebag SCOTUS alleged 'justices.'

Honestly, given that it's nuns, this probably is actually a moral choice rather than a shitty one on their behalf.

'Moral choice' and 'shitty choice' are not mutually exclusive categories.

And anyone saying this isn't a slippery slope is delusional or supports this decision. This is absolutely a step on a very, very steep, and very, very slippery slope. Handmaid's Tale, indeed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:18 PM on June 30


Nothing their insurance doesn't cover.

Including erectile dysfunction medications. We pay taxes to get screwed by these dicks.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:19 PM on June 30 [40 favorites]


That was... that was perfection, Madam.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:20 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


No need to worry, folks. This little ruling only applies to little mom and pop operations like Walmart and more than 90% of the other US corporations, so there's very little chance these companies newfound religious character will have any meaningful impact on society.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:31 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Oh and I think this was mentioned about 400 comments up, but how fucked is it that by this time next year gay marriage will almost certainly be declared legal by SCOTUS, and yet women are looking forward to less/no access to birth control, and quite possibly Roe being overturned in the next couple of years?

I mean yeah, that's good for the QUILTBAGs among us... but it's terrible for everyone with a uterus.

I think I picked a good week to keep drinking.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:39 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Honestly, given that it's nuns, this probably is actually a moral choice rather than a shitty one on their behalf.

Not sure why nuns get the benefit of the doubt. Magdalene Laundries anyone?
posted by ambrosia at 4:40 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


LGBT rights and women's issues are not a zero sum game. We can work for both at the same time, and having marriage equality will not harm reproductive rights.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:42 PM on June 30


Or that Irish home for unwed mothers with the 800 babies dumped in a septic tank. Real moral.
posted by elizardbits at 4:43 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


A few points:

RFRA is a terrible law.

Alito is worse than Scalia.

The relevant number is the total number of employees working for CHCs : just because this set of plaintiffs were objecting to a requirement that needed 50 employees to kick in doesn't mean the next RFRA claim will.

I don't understand how this doesn't turn the corporate veil into Swiss cheese.
posted by PMdixon at 4:44 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Out of curiosity I have a question for the law folks: if a newer law (like the ACA) conflicts with an older law (like RFRA), why does the older law take precedence such that it can invalidate parts of the new law?
posted by Green With You at 4:45 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


LGBT rights and women's issues are not a zero sum game. We can work for both at the same time, and having marriage equality will not harm reproductive rights.

Ummm I hope you don't think that's what I was saying.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:50 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Green With You: What's at issue here are regulations the Obama administration made to implement the ACA. The regime Hobby Lobby takes issue with isn't actually spelled out in the law. When administrative rules conflict with an actual law, the law always wins.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:58 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the regression on abortion/reproduction rights has been very evident for years. I know I, and many others have commented on the fact that we seem to be "winning" the battle on marriage equality, but losing it on reproductive rights. I hope and pray to the random fluctuations of the universe that this jolts some people not on Metafilter into taking it seriously.
posted by edgeways at 4:59 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


This makes me so fucking angry. My daughter is one of those people who takes birth control due to medical reasons. Has absolutely nothing to do with not getting pregnant and everything to do with regulating her hormone levels. Fuck Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and especially Kennedy for going along with this misogynistic bullshit.
posted by photoslob at 4:59 PM on June 30 [14 favorites]


Person. Person. Meh.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:05 PM on June 30 [11 favorites]


I don't understand how this doesn't turn the corporate veil into Swiss cheese.

Because, according to the folks on SCOTUSblog (NOT the Supreme Court!), corporate law is state law. So there's no explicit conflict at this point.

Which doesn't mean there couldn't be, but I'm not sure how to construct a case in which you could make that argument. And if you did, I think you might end up with a decision that only applied to one state (if that was Delaware, though...)
posted by suelac at 5:26 PM on June 30


Someone said it upthread but I think it bears repeating that this particular case, anyway, is not about banning all contraceptives. Hobby Lobby was and will still provide coverage for hormonal birth control or "the pill". They were suing about having to provide coverage for IUD's and Plan B, which they think are equivalent to "abortion". Their particular case here seemed to hinge on the religious belief that "life begins at conception", so they couldn't have argued against the pill since the pill eliminates the chance of conception (theoretically)

For the moment, anyway, no one was successful in arguing that a company shouldn't have to cover any sort of contraceptive at all.

I still think it's shitty and a terrible precedent, but just to be clear on what their actual suit was for...

*IANAL so I can't say how hard it would be for this decision to lead to other companies trying to not cover any kind of contraceptive...but I would think/hope there would be no way for a company to claim that their faith barred them from covering any sort of "pregnancy prevention" like the Pill, but be OK with vasectomies??
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:28 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Hobby Lobby invests in he manufacturers of emergency contraception and drugs used to induce abortions. Which uh, I think is relevant.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:31 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Thoughts in no particular order:

The First Amendment will usually trump other "rights" when a government action is perceived to abridge religious freedom. Just like the ability to speak freely is upheld by SCOTUS even when the American flag is burned.

I find it ironic that there is all this admiration in posts here for the Pope when he believes no contraception for men or women should be allowed.

If the US wants to really do something about health care costs perhaps they could do something a lot better than this mishmash of regulations and rules that don't apply in many cases like let us all take a deduction for every dime we spend on any health care. But still no one has commented on how many big publicly held corporations have been exempted from providing health insurance by the administration

PS if you are taking hormone treatments for a medical reason it is not called contraception, it is called hormone treatments.
posted by OhSusannah at 5:34 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is a bad ruling -- or, at least I don't think it warrants the strong visceral reactions some people here are having. I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

And about abortion, I agree with what Nick Denton from Gawker says. Which is basically, if even scientists and philosophers can't agree on when life begins, wouldn't you rather be safe and take the side of life rather than death?
posted by qivip at 5:35 PM on June 30


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions

You are aware that having an IUD is basically as responsible as you can get, right?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:38 PM on June 30 [50 favorites]


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

You realize an IUD is one of the most effective methods of longterm birth control, right? How is it irresponsible to want a device that will get inserted once and give you several years of almost foolproof contraception?
posted by nakedmolerats at 5:39 PM on June 30 [23 favorites]


And about abortion, I agree with what Nick Denton from Gawker says. Which is basically, if even scientists and philosophers can't agree on when life begins, wouldn't you rather be safe and take the side of life rather than death?

Oh, well if some dipshit from Gawker says it, that's definitive!
posted by winna at 5:40 PM on June 30 [22 favorites]


I'm not asking my employer to finance "indiscretions", I am asking my employer to finance basic preventative health care.
posted by pemberkins at 5:40 PM on June 30 [34 favorites]


And about abortion, I agree with what Nick Denton from Gawker says. Which is basically, if even scientists and philosophers can't agree on when life begins, wouldn't you rather be safe and take the side of life rather than death?

Funny how funding healthcare or even pre-natal care specifically never comes down to "being safe and taking the side of life rather than death", that's only important when it comes to getting to control other peoples' sexuality and reproduction.
posted by XMLicious at 5:41 PM on June 30 [20 favorites]


woo boy qivip, you kinda stepped in it there.
posted by edgeways at 5:42 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

You know that women who have been raped also use Plan B, right? What "indiscretion" took place in those cases?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:43 PM on June 30 [25 favorites]


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

Is wanting an IUD as soon as I deliver the kid I'm currently pregnant with so that I can continue marital relations within the context of my monogamous, heterosexual, blessed-by-the-Catholic-church marriage, so that I can (1) return (to the employer that provides me with health insurance) to economically providing for my family and paying taxes in the country I live in, and (2) avoid having more kids than we can reasonably financially and emotionally afford, an indiscretion?

Here's a hint: even if everything I wrote above is a lie, IT SHOULDN'T EFFING MATTER
posted by olinerd at 5:45 PM on June 30 [26 favorites]


You know that women who have been raped also use Plan B, right? What "indiscretion" took place in those cases?

I'm sure the defense lawyer could come up with something. Maybe she had the nerve to show her knees or her elbows or *gasp* CLEAVAGE.
posted by Talez at 5:47 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


qivip, I'm glad to hear you'll be fine with me harvesting some of your nonessential organs without your consent. After all, if I'm ever in need of a transplant you've shown you don't care about a person's bodily autonomy so I know you'll be fine with it.
posted by Green With You at 5:49 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


she showed ankles.
posted by sio42 at 5:50 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


The stupid thing is the employer covered health insurance must cover pregnancy so they basically are financing the results of irresponsible indiscretions.
posted by Talez at 5:51 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Sex is not an "indiscretion." It is a normal human activity, that, when it happens between consenting adults, should be entirely appropriate and legal. Regardless of marital status. Regardless of whether any procreation occurs. That is the view the state should take; that so long as sex is between consenting adults, the state has no need to be involved. Anything else is about personal beliefs, taboos, or religious faith, which it should not be the state's job to enforce.
posted by emjaybee at 5:52 PM on June 30 [34 favorites]


an IUD is not used like Plan B.
posted by sio42 at 5:52 PM on June 30


she showed ankles.

*GASP* THAT ROUND-HEELED CYPRIAN!!!
posted by winna at 5:54 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


if a man wanted a vasectomy, i could say he would be far more likely to go about being all wanton, getting turned on by a well-turned ankle, and trying to get it on under the skirts and bustle over in the conservatory.

so i'm not sure why HL would be all cool with vasectomies but not an IUD.

both are long term forms of birth control frequently used by people in monogamous relationships who don't want more kids than they actually can afford to have around (or any for that matter.)

sigh. i am really sad i did not go to the wine store after work.
posted by sio42 at 5:55 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I was just talking with my husband the other day about how I, and many of the women he knew when he was a teenager, started birth control before we were even sexually active because we had been taught in sex ed that that was the responsible thing to do.

I think I'm gonna stick with that narrative when discussing reproductive rights with my daughter and not you don't deserve basic health care because no one should pay for your indiscretions."

WTF is happening.
posted by Bacon Bit at 5:55 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


so i'm not sure why HL would be all cool with vasectomies but not an IUD.

Technically, they only objected to birth control options that, they are led to believe, act as abortifacients, preventing implantation of a fertilized egg (thus, "after conception). That's limited to IUDs and the morning-after pill. Straight up birth control pills are not in play here, nor are any male forms of birth control like condoms or vasectomies.

Not condoning this point of view or in agreement with their understanding of the science; just explaining the basis for the case.
posted by olinerd at 5:58 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


In addition to trans friendly medical care, this is also really bad news for things like access to PrEP.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:00 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


*GASP* THAT ROUND-HEELED CYPRIAN!!!

America cannot stand for this type of bathdaquery.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:01 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


pardon me, SCOTUS mans, but you have your religion in my corporeal property.

does being corporeal mean i'm incorporated? now i have the kids inc song in my head.

i think it's time to stop thinking for the evening.
posted by sio42 at 6:04 PM on June 30


America cannot stand for this type of bathdaquery.

YOU LEAVE MY BATHDAQUIRI ALONE IT'S MY BIGGEST COMFORT TODAY goddammit
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:05 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


please send one of those over here.
posted by sio42 at 6:07 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


In response to situations where people are raped: That is a situation where contraceptives definitely make sense.

emjaybee: I don't think sex is in itself an indiscretion. But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that. And for a private company that has certain beliefs, I do think it's fair that they are now not required to cover medications that go against those beliefs. That may make them uncompetitive -- so be it. That's the price they pay, but they're allowed to do that because it's their company. If you don't agree, don't work for them.

I think I'm a fairly rational person, and I'm open minded. I respect women. I'm not religious, I am not orthodox, I am not conservative. So maybe I can serve as a bit of an example of at least one person on this message board who isn't in vehement disagreement with today's ruling.
posted by qivip at 6:07 PM on June 30


lol yeah everyone totally has the choice to go work for another company, it's super easy

i don't know what planet you're from, qivip, but it sounds lovely there
posted by NoraReed at 6:09 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that. ... I respect women.

(1) Do you therefore think the insurance should NOT cover vasectomies, Viagra for men who are not married or not interested in procreating, etc?

(2) Okay, let's go back to my scenario. I'm in a monogamous marriage. Is my desire to have sex without getting knocked up every time "promiscuous"?
posted by olinerd at 6:10 PM on June 30 [22 favorites]


I don't think sex is in itself an indiscretion. But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that.

I question your claims of being "open-minded" if your assumption that the majority of the women thus affected by such a ruling are leading a "promiscuous lifestyle".

Although, you do grant that such is a "naive" opinion, so I invite you to do some research into what exactly does lead to an IUD being prescribed in the majority of cases.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:11 PM on June 30 [19 favorites]


i don't know what planet you're from, qivip, but it sounds lovely there

Nope. A world with no non-procreative sex? I don't even have sex and it sounds like a barren hellscape.
posted by winna at 6:11 PM on June 30 [11 favorites]


Qivip, for the last six months, for the first stretch of time in almost twenty years, I have not vomited from menstrual pain every 3.25 weeks. I have not passed out at work, or alternated between vomiting and shitting in the bathroom, and curled up on the floor of the bathroom in the fetal position between bouts of vomiting, bleeding and shitting. I have not destroyed bedding, towels, and too many articles of clothing to count. I have not had my normally-low BP drop even more. (Through stimulant medication. It was beating out drugs that raise your heart rate and BP.) Normal BCPs and the ring didn't touch this--I bled through them, and bled and bled and bled. But if they didn't touch the amount of blood, they at least touched the pain. Even with the mood effects and constant bleeding, it was hard to take the risk when switching them.

Frankly, the only reason I didn't develop serious anemia is that I got the genes for abnormal iron storage, and by the end I was still running low on red blood cells and iron. That is how much blood I was losing...enough to mask hemochromatosis. Now I absolutely have to donate blood a few times a year.

I owe six months of relative peace to the Mirena IUD. It doesn't work for everyone, and it isn't the choice for everyone. It worked for me, not without side effects, but I would trade so many times over for what I've received in quality of life.

You are at best a troll, and at worst someone with so little empathy for women that you cannot imagine what these developments mean for our lives and how much they can improve our well-being. Even if you are a woman yourself.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 6:12 PM on June 30 [42 favorites]


qivip: "a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act"

You just conflated about four different things into one.

What about someone who relies on contraceptives in a long-term monogamous relationship?
posted by savetheclocktower at 6:12 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


also, sex after menopause, sex between young but infertile people, gay/lesbian sex...
posted by en forme de poire at 6:17 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

You can believe whatever you want.

You cannot control what other people do with their bodies.

You cannot, especially, force women to carry babies to term, or become pregnant in the first place because it is none of your business what any consenting adults choose to do unless you are one of the consenting adults involved.

Please repeat those three sentences to yourself over and over until you understand them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:17 PM on June 30 [33 favorites]


Coming soon, all family businesses convert to Christian Science, no longer have to pay for any healthcare.
posted by Joe Chip at 6:17 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


I'm so tired of hearing about how much respect I'm supposed to have for religious peoples' so-called "moral values." First, they're no better than mine: to me it is a deeply held moral value that women are humans with equal rights to men, and it's another that policy needs to be based on scientific consensus not fairy tales from long ago. Second their "values" are so typically observed in the breach in their public conduct, making most people who proclaim their own morality hypocrites. So no, I don't respect their values or think they are owed any deference beyond their freedom to think what they want if it makes them happy.

We are making policy to suit the backwards, medieval, intolerant thinking of people who believe in ghosts.

Moral values my ass.
posted by spitbull at 6:21 PM on June 30 [39 favorites]


Olinerd:
1) Bringing up Viagra illuminates the debate. If I, or Hobby Lobby, took a stance against contraceptives for women, we should also be taking a stance against Viagra. Totally agree there.
2) No: in a monogamous relationship, I don't think any amount of sex could qualify as promiscuous. Maybe a tad immoderate, but not promiscuous. But speaking of both men and women, I don't think it's healthy to have sex and divorce it from the fact that it is a procreative act. Men and women, not just women.

EmpressCallipygos:
I didn't intend to imply that all women affected by such a ruling are promiscuous.

I looked into IUDs a little. I see that they are sometimes prescribed to help manage menstrual cramps. So here is an example that complicates this whole argument, and which I haven't acknowledged until now: many "contraceptives" are often used primarily to manage symptoms of menstruation. And yeah, of course I think that should be covered.
posted by qivip at 6:22 PM on June 30


qivip, I strongly encourage you to read Ginsberg's eloquent dissent.

You're speaking your conscience here, and you absolutely have the right to do so. Likewise, health issues are also a matter of individuals and their own consciences.

Women who elect to use IUD and Plan B, which I must remind you are both safe and legal here in the US, are acting in line with their conscience, based on their beliefs and circumstances. The choice to use them should be theirs alone.

Corporations and the people running them should not have the power to prescribe which legal measures their employees should take when tending to their individual health needs. These bosses have the liberty to choose which measures work for them, personally. But to be so presumptuous as to decide what is acceptable for their employees, it's a gross indiscretion and indignity.
posted by mochapickle at 6:23 PM on June 30 [22 favorites]


So maybe I can serve as a bit of an example of at least one person on this message board who isn't in vehement disagreement with today's ruling.

You're definitely serving as an example, but I don't think it's the one you think you're exemplifying.

I looked into IUDs a little.

Congratulations?
posted by mudpuppie at 6:24 PM on June 30 [16 favorites]


qivip: "But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that."

Married people, believe it or not, also have sex with each other for recreation, not just procreation.
posted by desuetude at 6:25 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


Men and women, not just women.

I reproduce parthenogenetically. I'm interested in your untutored moral opinions about my situation.

Lol no not really but your trolling is so bad it's diverting.
posted by winna at 6:25 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I didn't intend to imply that all women affected by such a ruling are promiscuous.

By basing your opinion of the ruling on a personal assertion that "I don't want to pay for the actions of promiscuous women", that's kind of exactly what you did.

I looked into IUDs a little. I see that they are sometimes prescribed to help manage menstrual cramps. So here is an example that complicates this whole argument, and which I haven't acknowledged until now: many "contraceptives" are often used primarily to manage symptoms of menstruation. And yeah, of course I think that should be covered.

I invite you to look into them even more, particularly the demographics of people who seek them. And pay especial attention to how they work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that.

Okay, let's assume that you're not proposing total abstinence from non-procreative sex acts. It doesn't sound like that's what you're proposing. So some non-procreative sex is okay, but not too much, that's the basic idea? After which the idea of subsidizing birth control is basically unreasonable.

So, let's go from there: where do you draw the line? How many times can a person have sex per year without the intent to procreate? What's the threshold?

How often can someone have explicitly non-procreative sex before it's a problem? If we're not talking abstinence, the number is non-zero, so it must be some amount.

Having established that number, what's the methodology for tracking how much sex any given person is having, to help suss out the promiscuous from the non-promiscuous so we can make sure we're only targeting the right people with our measures? Should we employ neutral observers to track sex acts to keep people on the right side of the ledger?

Who, if anyone, is excluded from the list of potential promiscuents? People in married relationships? People who already have children? Does the fact that they've established that they're committed to a single partner and/or have already established bona fides re: procreation excuse them from sexual policing?

People in homosexual relationships? The infertile? Post-menopausal women? Does the inability to get pregnant make their sex not promiscuous?

Does masturbation go on the list? Does oral sex? Anal sex? Handjobs? All these things cleanly divorce sex acts from procreation.

Crunch the numbers and lay out the utility function that balances the weight of the notional problem of promiscuous sex against even this short list of confounding factors in non-procreative sex. Produce a solid, sensible answer for approximately how much non-procreative sex, of which kinds, between which people, it makes sense to allow, and what measures should be used to enforce that standard (as restricting birth control coverage doesn't seem like enough for the case of infertile promiscuents, for example).

Then we can start having a discussion about the part of all that that restrictions of birth control funding should play. Prior to that it's, yes, naive to defend the ruling about birth control mandates on the basis that people shouldn't be promiscuous.
posted by cortex at 6:29 PM on June 30 [114 favorites]


I don't think it's healthy to have sex and divorce it from the fact that it is a procreative act.

As a couple other people have stated upthread; That's fine for you to think that, and to say that, and for you to come on to metafilter here and make a post about it. You can feel that way. That's fine. That's GREAT.

But guess what? You don't get to legislate that shit on anyone else.

I have a kid. And a wife. We have sex even though there's no chance in us having another child. It's intimacy. It's how we reconnect after a shitty week. Or how we relax on vacation. Sex is, actually, not exclusively a procreative act…FOR US. It can be for you, if thats how you deem you want to live YOUR life. I've never met you, and you're probably a nice person…but your belief system has zero to do with my personal life, and the reverse is also true.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:29 PM on June 30 [30 favorites]


You are at best a troll, and at worst someone with so little empathy for women that you cannot imagine what these developments mean for our lives and how much they can improve our well-being. Even if you are a woman yourself.

I am not a troll. I appreciate the feedback to my point, and I respect the ideas. But it's not fair to mock, judge, or label me, as a lot of people here have done.

In the same way you guys want respect for your opinions, please respect mine. And if you disagree, if you think I'm wrong, show me the right way to think about this stuff rather than try to make me feel bad about it.
posted by qivip at 6:30 PM on June 30


I mean, sex serves a variety of functions in the animal kingdom and they are definitely not all about procreation or even pair-bonding. It's like saying that using your vocal cords to speak instead of cough is going against nature.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:31 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Cortex, I'm sending you a bathdaquiri AND a showerbeer, since you have earned BOTH.

Possibly a jacuzzipinot or jacuzzichardonnay too depending on how you roll.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 PM on June 30 [16 favorites]


In the same way you guys want respect for your opinions, please respect mine.

You're comfortable judging everyone who uses contraception as sluts. I don't have to respect that, and I don't.
posted by winna at 6:34 PM on June 30 [54 favorites]


In the same way you guys want respect for your opinions, please respect mine.

You totally get to have and express your opinion, but if you're going to suggest it would make good public policy (and not just satisfying personal hrrmmphing), then you need to be prepared to make that case.

if you think I'm wrong, show me the right way to think about this stuff rather than try to make me feel bad about it.

cortex's comment lays out a bunch of ways in which your line of thinking is wrong.
posted by rtha at 6:35 PM on June 30 [9 favorites]


quivip, humans are hardly the only species of primate (or for that matter vertebrate) that has sex for non-procreative reasons by nature. Hard wired. Look up hidden estrus and primate social organization.

Your Victorian sexual morality is biologically ignorant of the facts.
posted by spitbull at 6:36 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


Nobody has to respect his opinions but trolling is different.
posted by Justinian at 6:36 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


(The thread is moving pretty fast, but to any medical professionals: the iron storage was breaking the matrix--I mean lab results--just enough that it wasn't straightforward iron-deficient anemia associated with blood loss. So I don't actually equate iron numbers with red blood cell count.)
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 6:39 PM on June 30


Bringing up Viagra illuminates the debate. If I, or Hobby Lobby, took a stance against contraceptives for women, we should also be taking a stance against Viagra. Totally agree there.

Ah, I'm glad we can agree there. Then understand that this explains the visceral reactions so many of us are having: though the case in question takes aim only at four of the myriad methods of birth control that exist, it unfairly affects women and not men, both because these are particularly effective (but expensive) methods of birth control, and because there are legitimate non-procreation-related uses for some of these methods that now become difficult to access for the women who need them. The "slippery slope" argument is also applicable here; if Hobby Lobby can deny access to these four methods, then why can't a Catholic owner of another company deny access to all methods? And if they deny access to all methods, but not Viagra, it becomes even more unfair... and let's be honest, this scenario -- that given the option, insurance would cover Viagra but not birth control for women -- is not hypothetical, as history shows.

We then open the question of how exactly to determine who is using birth control or Viagra for the "right" reasons, versus the "wrong" reasons, and who determines what falls under "right" or "wrong". As I'm sure you can agree, a fairly untenable situation. We all have our opinions, and we are all individually right to have those opinions. But part of the price we pay for living in a civilized society is to agree that our opinions don't always become exercisable law; at some point it's for the good of society that a law is made. As a result, we all occasionally have to indirectly support (i.e. with tax dollars) something we don't entirely agree with, in order to provide the best overall outcome. This means sometimes you have to pay for birth control for people you think ought not to have it for free, in order to provide it to those who, in your opinion, have every right to it. It means I sometimes have to pay for wars I don't support, because our military does a lot of other things that are good and which I do believe require our support. It means sometimes a "welfare queen" can defraud the system, so that millions of others living honestly can survive.

So that's the problem so many of us have here. The math generally says that birth control is good: it cuts down on unplanned pregnancies (and thus abortions), it provides women more control over their reproductive lives allowing them more freedom to succeed in other parts of their lives (which also means more productive taxpayers!), it improves their health overall (pregnancy and childbirth is not a walk in the park; it can in fact be dangerous or even deadly to both woman and child), it means more children supported in families that don't require government assistance to raise them, it means lower healthcare costs all around. The price of that is that sometimes a slutty slut will slut it up with his or her free birth control. So what? So many of the "pros" of freely available birth control are in line with conservative, even religious, ideologies. Why throw out the opportunity to have that in favor of the fear that someone, somewhere, is having sex you don't think they should be having? And as a woman who uses birth control, I have the fear that someone will, for whatever reason, decide that the sex that I am having is suddenly "wrong", and stop covering something that is extremely important to my ability to live my life -- and by "my life" I do actually mean "my life outside of the bedroom". That is what feels so wrong, so terrifying, and so inappropriate about today's ruling. If the Hobby Lobby owners have the right to decide this, who else does? And what will that mean for my future, or my unborn daughter's future?
posted by olinerd at 6:41 PM on June 30 [44 favorites]


In the same way you guys want respect for your opinions, please respect mine.

I cannot in any good conscience have any respect for an opinion which implies that I, simply by virtue of my gender, do not have sufficient authority to make my own decisions about my own health and happiness. I cannot have any respect for an opinion which teaches that ethical conclusions which I have reached myself, after years of careful thought, are trumped by the teachings of a religion to which I no longer belong, and that my not hewing to those teachings makes me "promiscuous". I cannot have any respect for an opinion which believes that my attempting to take responsibility for my sexual health is itself an irresponsible act.

I'm afraid I'll have to say no to this request of yours. I cannot respect an opinion which requires me to abandon my own respect for myself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 PM on June 30 [77 favorites]


Hobby Lobby and the Politics of Recognition: But this case was never really about health policy. It isn’t really even about the ACA, except peripherally. This case is about the politics of recognition: it is about recognizing conservative religious claims that (a) contraceptives are different from other forms of health care (an issue the Court somewhat finesses by suggesting that immunizations and so on “may be supported by different interests”), (b) religious people’s “conscience” deserves great deference and priority in the public sphere, certainly a higher symbolic priority than women’s health, and (c) perhaps most specifically on point, that religion is not something people do on their own time, in their own churches, but rather, is a way that apparently even large for-profit businesses may conduct their affairs—and if they choose to do so, society must find ways to accommodate their “full participation in the economic life of the Nation” (p.46). None of these—neither (a), (b), nor (c)—is really a legal claim. These are political claims. But this is high politics, not low politics. These are claims about how our nation is constituted and the place of religion in it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:43 PM on June 30 [13 favorites]


But it's not fair to mock, judge, or label me, as a lot of people here have done.

Of course it fucking is. Same way it's fair for you to drop into the end of a 500-comment thread, without, apparently, reading it, and drop some ill-considered science on us heathens.

You can have a moral code and live by it and I might respect it. You can respect the way I live my life or not, I don't give a shit. As soon, though, as you start making an incredibly half-assed case for how your 'moral philosophy' needs to be able to affect other peoples' behavior, the burden of respect has shifted, fairly radically.

I mean, you have a right to an opinion, certainly. You have a right to express it, more or less. What you do not have is the right to have it taken seriously, unless it makes some goddamned sense.

on preview, shoulda typed faster, what else is new
posted by hap_hazard at 6:44 PM on June 30 [31 favorites]


Ginsberg's dissent sung and set to music. (didn't see this upthread; it's rather soothing and uplifting)
posted by emjaybee at 6:45 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


For someone who isn't conservative or religious, qivip, it's kind of odd how the opinions you've expressed about sexuality and health sound like they directly socket into the conservative and religious trope of investing sex with a purpose, as though it were some sort of product feature designed with intent and used under a licensing contract from a central authority, and from that presumption of purpose deriving a justification for imposing on other people commandments concerning how they "should" have sex because you know what it's really meant for. You might want to take a close look at whether you've actually arrived at these opinions through rational and open-minded contemplation of issues related to sex, or if you've copied some interlinked complex of beliefs from your environment and retroactively derived it all from rationality and openmindedness.
posted by XMLicious at 6:58 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


> "In the same way you guys want respect for your opinions, please respect mine."

Then maybe don't call me promiscuous.
posted by kyrademon at 6:58 PM on June 30 [28 favorites]


Just for fun because I'm frothing at the bit to do something about this at the moment and I have very little that I can actually do about this, I have here compiled a list of articles that anyone in favor of forced birth who for some reason reads this, or for anyone who wants to put forth an honest effort to engage with forced birthers can consider some evidence for why forced birthing harms both mothers and children, whether you force them to parent or to give the children up for adoption.

1. Abortion has repeatedly NOT been associated with significant mental or physical health problems despite huge amounts of research being done desperate to find a strong association. Birthing unwanted children however does appear to cause increased mental health problems for mothers.

2. Poverty during pregnancy and early childhood can damage children's IQ, put them at risk of mental health issues, and even put them at risk of physical health issues other issues of poor development.

3. Despite hundreds of research on "abortion trauma" none of which turning up an association with mental health issues, adoption however continually turns up extremely concerning outcomes for women who place children,.

I was going to fill this in with more links to studies but know I've seen studies for all these things so anyone with more energy than me can look for them. Looking for any studies at ALL on birthmothers is really hard, because no one really cares how women are destroyed by it as long as they are pressured to birth and the baby is gotten from them and given to the more worthy people! UGH. My frantic do something energy has already dissipated in "fuck this shit is so depressing I have no more energy to do anything but feel misery for a while".

I think abortion can be sad, and I think birth control of various types can have side effects for some women(and benefits for some women!) but people who seriously think that the passing of a two day old zygote is horrific event compared to all the other suffering associated with unplanned pregnancy OR EVEN LATER TERM ABORTIONS, has so serious impairment with connecting to the idea of other humans experiences and refusal to learn from both listening to real people and assessing evidence how much damage they are encouraging in the world. Seriously, harm reduction people-- causing even worse harms by refusing to allow lesser harms can cause even worse suffering in the world. Not to mention factoring in reproductive coercion and pregnancy from rape. Some women are trapped in abusive situations where their partners refuse to use condoms, some women have terrible reactions to hormonal birthcontrol and need an IUD, some women can't remember to take birthcontrol pills reliably due to mental health issues... the list goes on of reasons supporting more choices for women is necessary for women's health and well being and beneficial for child welfare.

I'm not even going to respond this weird tangent going on here other than WTF.
posted by xarnop at 7:00 PM on June 30 [25 favorites]


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

Well putting everything else aside, they're NOT financing it. Their workers are earning their compensation via their labor and health care is a component of that. Why, if we allow this distinction, don't we allow employers to force their workers to spend 10% of their salaries on their company's products? Bring back the Company Store! Why should their employer finance money going to other possible competitor operations?

BECAUSE ITS NOT THEIR MONEY ANYMORE ONCE ITS EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION.
posted by phearlez at 7:04 PM on June 30 [54 favorites]


I have no qualms about the idea that you might feel badly being called a troll on the internet, or told that you lack empathy. I frankly do not care about convincing you "rationally" and "reasonably" that this decision harms women.

I do not believe you deserve people engaging you thoughtfully, but you have other people who have done so. You made assumptions about me and women like me ( by which I mean "women who use IUDs", not "women who use IUDs for Ethically Okay Reasons") with no knowledge about their lives. You flat out said you had no idea until this evening why women choose IUDs except for sexual behavior that you dislike. You apparently know more about my close friends' sex lives than I do if they have an IUD. You have no access to our internal lives and experiences. You came into this thread and spoke about women and their bodies and personal lives and decisions with contempt, and I don't owe you my thoughtful, gentle discourse for that.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 7:05 PM on June 30 [19 favorites]


It appears qivip has left us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:07 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Ah well.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:14 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


This is no place for a monk anyway.
posted by spitbull at 7:16 PM on June 30


Bathdaquiris all around....
posted by mochapickle at 7:16 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]


Wow, somebody is having a good time tonight:

SCOTUSblog @SCOTUSblog · 46m
We put them in closets, dear RT @sufferfest: @SCOTUSblog = Hitler. Keep your black robes out of my vagina!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:19 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


Another reason for single payer?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:24 PM on June 30


Bathdaquiris all around....

YES it has become a new life mission of mine to make the bathdaquiri a thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


I think if people have strong convinctions they should just do whatever, and if there's massive injustice and society falls apart idk just guess it wasn't meant to be *shrug*
posted by fleacircus at 7:30 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


You need to Kickstart that, Empress. That would be awesome.

Way better than bathtub pizza, which I have tried to make happen more than once.
posted by mochapickle at 7:48 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Way better than bathtub pizza, which I have tried to make happen more than once.

Somewhere -- reddit maybe? -- I saw a seemingly earnest question about how best to fulfill a partner's sexual fantasy of being bathed in spaghetti and sauce, and at least some answers appeared to be based on experience.

I like the idea of bathdaquiris much better.

posted by Dip Flash at 7:56 PM on June 30


My bff and I were just commiserating over the fact that no one except us is talking to each other about this. The other women we know are not even paying attention.

There is so little mention of this on Facebook that it makes me sad. There was one post from a girl i sort of know and then a couple from some dudes. I guess I should be happy men are noticing this and are pissed.
posted by sio42 at 8:02 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


You need a better class of FB friend. It was all over my feed earlier today.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:03 PM on June 30 [9 favorites]


What the fuck is wrong with being promiscuous anyway?

No, no, I get it. Sex inherently wrong, only for procreation, must have kids, women as property, blah blah blah. You'd think we would have gotten over that shit already.
posted by happyroach at 8:07 PM on June 30 [18 favorites]


Yeah that's what her and I were saying, that we need better friends in general.

I've pretty much given up trying to discuss this sort of stuff with most people I meet or know because they just glaze over pretty quickly.
posted by sio42 at 8:07 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


winna: "If we've agreed that companies pay for health care, then they should pay for all health care. They shouldn't be able to choose what medically necessary treatment they will or will not cover. Anything else allows your employer to decide what kind of medical treatment you can have."

This boat has already well and truly sailed. Nothing but the tiniest fraction of employer supplied health plans cover all treatments.

Benjy: "Whenever you read "anti-abortion" or "pro-life", translate it to "anti-sex". It works almost 100% of the time."

Or as pro-sodomy. It's a more head asplody term.

qivip: "And about abortion, I agree with what Nick Denton from Gawker says. Which is basically, if even scientists and philosophers can't agree on when life begins, wouldn't you rather be safe and take the side of life rather than death?"

I'm with you there. Let's side with the living, breathing, self sustaining host instead of the potentially fatal for the host parasite.
posted by Mitheral at 8:10 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


*sigh*
posted by BlueHorse at 8:12 PM on June 30


qivip: "And for a private company that has certain beliefs, I do think it's fair that they are now not required to cover medications that go against those beliefs. That may make them uncompetitive -- so be it. That's the price they pay, but they're allowed to do that because it's their company. If you don't agree, don't work for them."

No - making them "uncompetitive" would be if they had to be like every other company that didn't want to follow the law and have to take the full force of what would *really* be a principled stand: "don't offer health insurance". THAT would make them uncompetitive, but then, they'd have to pay a fine, and heaven forbid someone have to actually pay for taking a stance, and instead aggrandize themselves and get a little extra cred amongst their clientele for "standing up". Nah, this way they have their cake (not paying for contraception; remaining competitive in the market place by still being able to offer health care without having to pay fines) and eat it, too. No harm, no foul. I suppose, maybe because they took a risk to go to court over this, then yeah, but hey if they lost, they can always take a more political role and get people worked up and vote even MORE Republican and donate more to the (R) machine.

People say "don't like it, work elsewhere" (or "shop elsewhere") -- except work is a little different... I dunno if you've noticed, but in this economy you can't just jump ship easily to go elsewhere... So I offer the counterargument: You start a company - that company exists within a legal framework with certain duties and obligations. Sometimes, to do things you don't like. You can either NOT create that company (or dissolve it or sell it if you already own it) or not pay for employee health care (and then pay the fine). This is just as valid an argument as you saying "find another job" for the employees. Instead, the large corporation sues to be treated like a human being. I look forward to seeing a corporation get the death penalty for murder. Call me when that happens, and then maybe I'll start thinking of a corporation as a human being. When Hobby Lobby goes to church services on its own as a corporation, when Hobby Lobby starts donating money to the church, when Hobby Lobby the corporation goes to pro-life protests, etc etc etc, call me. But it ain't gonna happen, because it's all just a legal fiction being abused.
posted by symbioid at 8:21 PM on June 30 [7 favorites]


winna: "Oh, well if some dipshit from Gawker says it, that's definitive!"

Technically Nick Denton is THE dipshit from Gawker.


Sio42, my FB feed is about 60% SCOTUS-related today. Maybe FB is doing an experiment on you.
posted by gingerest at 8:27 PM on June 30 [11 favorites]


I can think of 5 Judges that need to 'work elsewhere'....
posted by Catblack at 8:29 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


Maybe it is a fb experiment. I even went to the "all" view.

Usually my friends are all over this shit. Just sucks they live far away so can't just go have a beer and bitch.
posted by sio42 at 8:42 PM on June 30


I used to respect the SCOTUS justices but this spate of decisions has really disenchanted me, particularly this case. Excuse me while I go grieve the loss of our Justices' wisdom.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 8:47 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I think I'm afraid to fall asleep bc I have this not completely irrational fear I'll wake up to something worse. Like needing to be married to own my home.

Or needing permission from my employer to take allergy medications which prevent the globs of mucus from making me a worthless employee for a few days.

Why do people care about globs of mucus so much? I mean, why do they care about my desire to get rid of them. I'm way better of with no extraneous mucus globs in me, thanks.

I need a bedtime story so I can forget about this wacky world we live in.
posted by sio42 at 8:48 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Should we employ neutral observers to track sex acts

Oooh, how delightfully kinky!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:49 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


BTW, I may have missed it being mentioned above, but I just caught a re-run of PBS Newshour from tonight and one of the lawyers being interviewed noted that, at odds with the wording of the OP, the decision doesn't actually limit this to closely-held corporations; it just says that other sorts of corporations are unlikely to pass the test of religiosity.
posted by XMLicious at 8:59 PM on June 30


This is so effed up. The rights of corporations, "closely-held" and otherwise, will steamroll us all someday. That is, if they aren't already.
posted by sevenofspades at 9:00 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I've been avoiding this thread all day but I looked at just now and got incensed all over again by the troll.

There were only 3 mentions of this on my FB today, and one of them was an uncle - not even an American but from a place with nationalized heath care - "liking" some conservative religious something or other crowing about this as a blessing. It made me sick.

Even if you think "divorcing sex from the procreative act" is wrong, that's fine, I think all kinds of things people are legally allowed to do are wrong. I don't understand how divorcing "not wanting to carry and birth a baby" from "health care" is an acceptable belief. Do you think that carrying a baby you don't want has nothing to do with your health? What happens if I have baby I don't want, and I can't go to work so I lose my job? It's almost like making people suffer for doing something they don't approve of is the point. We were supposed to have moved past this kind of shit a long time ago. Even if you have the incorrect belief that birth control is an abortion, abortion is legal. Don't like it? Find another country. This is the law of the land.

And this is besides the fact that for many people it has nothing to do with pregnancy.
posted by bleep at 9:22 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


Mother Jones: The 8 Best Lines From Ginsburg's Dissent on the Hobby Lobby Contraception Decision ... and by "best" the mean "most damning."
posted by filthy light thief at 9:26 PM on June 30 [5 favorites]


It appears qivip has left us.

NOOOO justice scalia come back i had so many important opinions to share with you
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 PM on June 30 [44 favorites]


#justice_elizardbits
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:07 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]


everyone goes into the wicker man
posted by elizardbits at 10:13 PM on June 30 [27 favorites]


qivip: "In response to situations where people are raped: That is a situation where contraceptives definitely make sense.

emjaybee: I don't think sex is in itself an indiscretion. But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that. And for a private company that has certain beliefs, I do think it's fair that they are now not required to cover medications that go against those beliefs. That may make them uncompetitive -- so be it. That's the price they pay, but they're allowed to do that because it's their company. If you don't agree, don't work for them.

I think I'm a fairly rational person, and I'm open minded. I respect women. I'm not religious, I am not orthodox, I am not conservative. So maybe I can serve as a bit of an example of at least one person on this message board who isn't in vehement disagreement with today's ruling.
"

What about people with hormone imbalances who need to take contraceptives?

What about people who have miscarriages and need medical care afterwards to remove materials and prevent toxic shock and infection?
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:23 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


"I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions."

Succinctly: Why and so what?

There's no good reason to construct responsibility this way, and why should your opinion on who gets birth control matter?
posted by klangklangston at 10:23 PM on June 30 [4 favorites]


cortex: So, let's go from there: where do you draw the line? How many times can a person have sex per year without the intent to procreate? What's the threshold?

How often can someone have explicitly non-procreative sex before it's a problem? If we're not talking abstinence, the number is non-zero, so it must be some amount.


cortex is demonstrating The Best Way To Win An Argument: ask the person to explain how.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:40 PM on June 30 [14 favorites]


I was just talking with my husband the other day about how I, and many of the women he knew when he was a teenager, started birth control before we were even sexually active because we had been taught in sex ed that that was the responsible thing to do.

I think I'm gonna stick with that narrative when discussing reproductive rights with my daughter and not you don't deserve basic health care because no one should pay for your indiscretions."

WTF is happening.


We're sliding backwards, amd the rate of sliding is only increasing.
posted by formless at 10:55 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I'm too tired for a coherent post about exactly how upset this ruling makes me, so I'll settle for 'GRAR.'
posted by Alterscape at 11:22 PM on June 30


And if you disagree, if you think I'm wrong, show me the right way to think about this stuff rather than try to make me feel bad about it.

This entire thread is literally full of people talking about the right way to think about this stuff, so you're either 1) not reading the thread, 2) wilfully ignorant, or 3) trolling.

Which is it?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:57 PM on June 30


Hey, the dude can't answer.

Have some pity. It's hard to form a cogent opinion with all those kids he must be feeding.
posted by spitbull at 12:01 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


qivip:...I'm a fairly rational person, and I'm open minded. I respect women...

Nothing that you've said in this thread suggests that any of these statements are true.

And if you disagree, if you think I'm wrong, show me the right way to think about this stuff rather than try to make me feel bad about it.


"It's your responsibility to educate me!". Where have I heard that before? But in any case, many people tried to do just that, and you disabled your account in response.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:35 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


The ruling is certainly an insult to the agency of women. It will also be a significant financial burden for many. According to Planned Parenthood, birth control pills can cost up to $50/month! That's a whopping $600/year, which is a month of rent, or several months worth of groceries. I'm not in the most dire straits myself, but as a point of comparison I can't even afford a $35/month data plan...
posted by tybeet at 6:01 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


One thing to know about the Little Sisters of the Poor is that they are a mendicant order: they beg for everything.

My grandmother lived out her final years in a home in Minnesota that is run by the Little Sisters, and they took very gentle care of her. I am eternally grateful for their service. It's kind of mind-bogling that they have to beg for contributions -- money or in-kind -- in order to eat and keep the lights on and provide medical care to their residents and every other thing, down to the food for the birds in the cage in the lobby.

So the "shifting of the burden" to a third party here that they mention is a real thing in TWO senses: the obligation of asking someone to perform the act in itself, as well as the financial aspect of getting someone else to pay for it.

Just wanted to offer this gloss.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:07 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


But my (possibly naive) opinion is that a promiscuous lifestyle where a person relies on contraceptives so they can completely divorce sex from the fact that it's a procreative act: I don't agree with that.

Oh man, I even agree with the Hobby Lobby ruling, but you are the wrongest wrong that ever wronged.

Contraceptives have a lot of important uses, and are generally one of the most responsible things you can do. It is irresponsible to carelessly bring children into the world because you couldn't be arsed to take precautions against it. It is irresponsible to bring children into the world for no other reason but that you think it makes ladies slutty sluts if they don't.

Now, I agree that Hobby Lobby should be able to hold to its incredibly wrong moral ideas about things, but that doesn't mean that their morality there is somehow righteous and good. And their morality there is still about fifteen billion shades to the left of your slut shaming.
posted by corb at 6:13 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


The Hobby Lobby Decision Was a Victory for Women's Rights:
the Court assumed, without deciding, that the government’s interest was compelling. Doubtless some members of the five-judge majority disagreed with that, but Justice Anthony Kennedy’s separate concurrence signaled pretty clearly that he thought so, and Justice Ruth Ginsburg’s dissent, for four justices, was even clearer. That’s a majority of the Court....

Having found a compelling interest, the Court moved on to least-restrictive burden. Here it ignored the bogus subsidy option, and noted instead that the Obama administration had crafted a clever solution for religious nonprofits. Those companies’ insurers were required to provide contraception in separate policies, for free—something the insurers were happy to do, because even expensive contraception is cheaper than childbirth.

The Court’s decision essentially required that the same accommodation be extended to religious for-profit employers. That will create some administrative headaches, which is why the administration resisted. But the alternative was imposing a heavy burden on the owners of Hobby Lobby, who clearly take their religious scruples very seriously.

Most importantly, as Justice Samuel Alito noted in his majority opinion, the burden on the women involved “would be precisely zero.” They will get the same free contraception that the challenged rule would have provided. In short: good for women, good for religious liberty.
posted by John Cohen at 6:14 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


According to Planned Parenthood, birth control pills can cost up to $50/month!

With great insurance, my partner still pays $30/month, so $360/year. We can afford it, but it's not cheap.

Interestingly, that's the exact same amount as my first girlfriend in college paid, twenty years ago. (So, considering inflation, progress I guess?)
posted by Dip Flash at 6:16 AM on July 1


I disagree strongly with this decision (and all the others that give special rights to Christians, like Greece vs. Galloway), but have to wonder if it might in the long run help accomplish the opposite of what conservatives want. It sounds likely that HHS will work with the insurance companies to provide contraception at no cost to the corporation just as they already do for actual religious organizations. This sort of thing, along with the federal government running health care exchanges for those states that refuse to create their own, serves to increase the role of federal government in delivering health care, inching us closer to actual socialized medicine. Still a very long way to go, of course, but sometimes my optimism dies hard.
posted by TedW at 6:21 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


It sounds likely that HHS will work with the insurance companies to provide contraception at no cost to the corporation just as the already do for actual religious organizations.

Yeah, and that's a good example of why the majority opinion is careful to say the analysis in this case won't automatically apply to a future case. It's a clever way to limit the effect of this ruling. I'm not sure why anyone here would be upset about that, even if you're against the ruling itself.
posted by John Cohen at 6:27 AM on July 1


corb, nobody thinks (the owners of) Hobby Libby shouldn't "be able to hold" their abhorrent views.

Nobody.

The question is whether they should be able to impose them on their employees at public expense.

That is an utterly different argument. You obscure it with your language, granting a fictional legal entity a monolithic personhood when you say "Hobby Lobby should be able to hold it's incredibly wrong moral ideas..."

You mean "the owners of Hobby Lobby," presumably. And they are able to hold whatever views they want. They can even act in them by not setting up public accommodations or businesses that employ non-family members.

And that is for sure a slippery slope, which includes permitting the same privilege for people whose views even you might find burdensome if imposed on you as an employee, or resent paying for as a taxpayer, or yield anti-competitive benefits to one religion's adherents and their businesses over another.

For sure your tune would change, I suspect, if a Muslim employer decides to only hire women willing to wear a hijab as a uniform. It's that very hypocrisy that is a problem here.

Hobby Lobby has no moral agency. "It" can't have moral values. Only people can.
posted by spitbull at 6:28 AM on July 1 [14 favorites]


For sure your tune would change, I suspect, if a Muslim employer decides to only hire women willing to wear a hijab as a uniform. It's that very hypocrisy that is a problem here.

I'm sure you're right about the people enshrining anti-sharia laws, but since I am not them, I'm totally okay with Muslim employers requiring hijab in their offices. Most offices have dress codes anyway, this would just be a slightly different one. (Though I could possibly see requiring them to provide it if they are forcing employees to wear it, like any other uniform?)

This doesn't mean people aren't going to have a shitfit when they realize this applies to other religions besides Christianity, though.
posted by corb at 6:35 AM on July 1


They will get the same free contraception that the challenged rule would have provided.

Where are they getting this from?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:35 AM on July 1


I think I'll take the word of Justice Ginsburg, who is both a woman and a member of SCOTUS, over a male writer for the New Republic, thankyouverymuch. She knows the court, she's closely acquainted with the rest of the justices, and has presumably heard much deeper and extensive arguments from them on this issue. If she says this is the conservative wing opening the door to make things way, way worse for women and employees, I have no reason not to believe her. We're already seeing rumblings that the religious organizations exemption may not hold, and if it sounds like she's worried that this is the first wave of attacks on Griswold (among others), then I'm worried too.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:36 AM on July 1 [27 favorites]


Ok, corb, I take you at your word and apologize for implying hypocrisy. But I bet a majority of supporters of Hobby Lobby's "rights" here would change their tune if we were taking Islamic or Wiccan "moral values."
posted by spitbull at 6:37 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Gungho: I think the ACA has already taken care of that given that more than twice as many people lost their employer provided coverage than signed up during the first 9extended0 roll out period.

Do you have a cite for that claim? I hadn't heard that before.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:59 PM on June 30 [+] [!]


As the CBO writes, “CBO and JCT project that, as a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA. That change is the net result of projected increases and decreases in offers of health insurance from employers and changes in enrollment by workers and their families.”

Under CBO's best estimate, 11 million mostly low-wage workers would lose their employer coverage. About 3 million would choose to drop their coverage to go into the new subsidized health exchanges or on Medicaid, while another 9 million would gain employer-sponsored coverage, for a net total of 5 million people losing employer coverage in 2019.
posted by Gungho at 6:39 AM on July 1


But I bet a majority of supporters of Hobby Lobby's "rights" here would change their tune if we were taking Islam or Wicca here.

Or if it were Quakers who wanted to forbid open carry in their places of business.
posted by elizardbits at 6:40 AM on July 1 [19 favorites]


As the CBO writes, “CBO and JCT project that, as a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA. That change is the net result of projected increases and decreases in offers of health insurance from employers and changes in enrollment by workers and their families.”

Under CBO's best estimate, 11 million mostly low-wage workers would lose their employer coverage. About 3 million would choose to drop their coverage to go into the new subsidized health exchanges or on Medicaid, while another 9 million would gain employer-sponsored coverage, for a net total of 5 million people losing employer coverage in 2019.


As usual, this is another bit of misdirection cooked up by wingers, and is easily debunked with a few seconds of googling.

TL;DR: Almost all of the "lost" plans are actually ones that were no longer compliant with the ACA, but were automatically replaced by those that were; or are from employers changing their plans, which happens on a regular basis, and was the case before the ACA was even written.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:49 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


I just realized there's a way to fuck shit up righteously ... Declare feminism to be a religion, and birth control its central sacrament.

It's the American way.
posted by spitbull at 6:58 AM on July 1 [16 favorites]


I am over the ACA; no matter what you think about who or what is covered or not, it is a hot mess subject to myriad of exceptions, exclusions, and confusion.

Let us all go buy what we want and present our income information to the insurance company, who can give us our subsidy if we qualify, and then give a bill to the government if appropriate. Done.
posted by OhSusannah at 7:04 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


So, essentially the same European-style health care that the left has been telling you is cool all this time?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:09 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


How about a Christian Identity (religious white supremacist) business that only offers certain benefits to white employees? Those people have sincerely held moral beliefs -- racism is certainly often argued as a moral value. Let's say they didn't cover treatment for, say, Sickle Cell Disease? Or Tay-Sachs screening?

No, right? That would be discrimination.

So how come one religion gets to impose its discriminatory misogyny on a specific class of employees (women) in this case just because their misogyny is sincerely held because Jesus?

I predict the religious zealots cheering this have a big surprise coming.
posted by spitbull at 7:14 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


So, essentially the same European-style health care that the left has been telling you is cool all this time?

That healthcare is most definitely not "buy what you want."
posted by corb at 7:17 AM on July 1


How hard is it to establish a religion anyway? Mine finds any kind of dental work to be morally offensive - that and any kind of first aid for yacht-related injuries.

Make your own! It's fun!
posted by newdaddy at 7:18 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


So, "buy what you want" is shorthand for "if you can afford it, otherwise die and see if I care?"
posted by spitbull at 7:20 AM on July 1 [11 favorites]


That healthcare is most definitely not "buy what you want."

This is turning into a derail, but in many countries with single-payer health care, you can indeed buy what you want via a "private option" or similar mechanisms. They all have near-universally better health outcomes than the current US system, too.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:20 AM on July 1 [10 favorites]


And actually, in Europe you can indeed buy any healthcare you want. As long as you are rich, no problem. Like America except poor people can see a doctor.

On edit, what zombieflanders said.
posted by spitbull at 7:21 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]


spitbull, you've hit the nail on the head.

Can you imagine the international outrage if any nation treated an ethnic minority the same way the Saudi Arabian government treats women?

Black people are forbidden to drive. Black people may not appear in public without a white escort. All blacks must have a white guardian, absent the approval of that guardian no black may leave the country, get a job, seek medical care, or even leave their house.

The calls for Saudi Arabia to be the subject of harsh sanctions would be deafening.

But since it's just women who are subjugated by Saudi Arabia that's ok.

Same with this ruling. We all know that the Supremes would never have approved of a business that discriminated against an ethnic or religious minority in the way this decision discriminated against women. Even with the "oh, but maybe the government can do X, Y, and Z which will make this a non-issue" asscovering it wouldn't float if the victims of the decision were men of a minority ethnicity or religion.

But since it's just women who are subjugated by the SCOTUS's ruling that's ok.
posted by sotonohito at 7:37 AM on July 1 [24 favorites]


#justice_elizardbits


everyone goes into the wicker man


not the hero we need, but the hero we deserve
posted by kagredon at 7:37 AM on July 1 [15 favorites]


This ruling is so idiotic. Every family-owned business is suddenly going to "find religion" and easy excuses to deny employees health care.

Mark my words, it's only a matter of time before employers find unhealthy eating habits "sinful" and therefore refuse to pony up for cardiovascular therapies and medicines.
posted by Renoroc at 7:38 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


As an American and a soccer fan, I've been struggling with rooting for the soccer team today against Belgium-I declared yesterday on Facebook that I was going to root for Belgium, since their highest court specifically affirms the right to contraception. But I decided this morning that I was going to root for the USA and donate some money for each World Cup goal in the two games today to Emily's List. If you're an American soccer fan, I hope you'll join me in donating according to your means. (donation link)
posted by Kwine at 7:46 AM on July 1


I'm surprised they felt competent to rule on this without the testimony of the only party with standing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:06 AM on July 1


Stop calling Hobby Lobby a Christian business. The craft store is exalted by the conservative faithful. But it conducts business in a way that flouts Christian values.
Imagine for a moment a nation with nightmarish labor conditions, inadequate workplace regulation, and rampant child labor. You've just imagined 21st century China. Seventy thousand Chinese employees die every year in workplace accidents — that's roughly 200 humans snuffed out of existence every day.
Calling out Hobby Lobby on importing a ton of CFC (Crap from China), where there are a number of ways that China is the antithesis of what a Christian company should support.
  1. The Bible is replete with calls for economic justice
  2. Child labor is deplorable. "Jesus, after all, taught that taking one's own life is preferable to harming a child."
  3. There are about 35,000 abortions in China every day, and 336 million abortions have taken place there over the last four decades (abortion in China is legal and is a government service available on request for women. In addition to virtually universal access to contraception, abortion is a way for China to contain its population in accordance with its one-child policy.)
  4. China accounts for 19 percent of the global population, but 56 percent of the world's female suicides
  5. And then there's the fact that freedom of religion in China doesn't really exist.
I'm sure there are more examples, but these were the key points from the article on The Week.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:08 AM on July 1 [21 favorites]


I dunno, it sounds to me like Hobby Lobby really is the corporate personification of the American "Cafeteria Christian." Pick and choose which Bible verses fit with your ideology and ignore the ones that don't.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:12 AM on July 1 [11 favorites]


Calling out Hobby Lobby on importing a ton of CFC (Crap from China), where there are a number of ways that China is the antithesis of what a Christian company should support.

The irony is, Hobby Lobby defends its doing business with Chinese industries by saying that "the Chinese businesses we buy from are small family owned businesses that aren't able to influence government policy."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?
posted by OhSusannah at 8:29 AM on July 1


OhSusannah, I would be surprised if we have a lot of Mefites who are frequent churchgoers and tithers.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:31 AM on July 1


roomthreeseventeen: OhSusannah, I would be surprised if we have a lot of Mefites who are frequent churchgoers and tithers.

That kind of depends on what the meaning of "a lot" is, but I really don't see any tension between supporting whatever God and church you want to while also believing that owners of corporations shouldn't be allowed to use their religious beliefs as weapons against a federal law they don't like.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:35 AM on July 1 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty certain we have quite a lot of churchgoers on MeFi, R317.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:35 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


"But the alternative was imposing a heavy burden on the owners of Hobby Lobby, who clearly take their religious scruples very seriously."

"Hi, I'm a neo-liberal flack who didn't bother to do any real research on my way to say 'Buck up, ladies, and don't worry your pretty little heads!'"
posted by klangklangston at 8:36 AM on July 1 [11 favorites]


filthy light thief: Stop calling Hobby Lobby a Christian business. The craft store is exalted by the conservative faithful. But it conducts business in a way that flouts Christian values.

No True Scotsman.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:38 AM on July 1


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?

Could you explain why you think that's relevant?

The Hobby Lobby case is about a for-profit corporate employer trying to ignore the law on contraceptive access; private donations to a non-profit religious organization are a completely separate topic.

There would be nothing intrinsically hypocritical about someone who believes exactly what the Hobby Lobby owners believe donating money to a non-profit organization to further that cause while also believing that Hobby Lobby the company should not be given an exception from the rule of law.

It's the conflation of the private beliefs of the owners of Hobby Lobby with the corporate actions of Hobby Lobby the company that's problematic here, not the beliefs themselves (disagree with them though I might).
posted by cjelli at 8:39 AM on July 1 [12 favorites]


And even in the cases where they do attend church, there are plenty of churches who believe that "life begins at conception" but ALSO believe "church shouldn't meddle in government".

Hell, I know a guy who was nearly a PRIEST, and he strongly believes abortion is a sin, but he ALSO believes just as strongly that "it ain't my business, though, and it sure as shit ain't the government's business." He takes the tack that when it comes to sin, it's the responsibility of each sinner to make their own amends with God on their own terms and at their own pace, and HIS job when it comes to someone else's sin is to MHOB. (I even asked him "what about in the cases of rape or incest, is that still a sin?" and he just shrugged and said "there are venial sins, you know.")

Plenty of theists - and plenty of churches - are quite successful about holding up their end of the separation between church and state.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on July 1 [11 favorites]


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?

This is ridiculously transparent attempt at a gotcha. It is possible to disapprove of abortion and support the right to access, which is the position of many American churches, including several of the larger Protestant denominations such as Episcopalians, many Lutherans, Quakers, and others. And as with your assertion that "admiration in posts here for the Pope when he believes no contraception for men or women should be allowed" (which I don't think is correct anyway), I'm pretty sure there's not a lot of support here for individual churches and/or politicians who are anti-choice (and conversely, a large amount of support for those who are not).
posted by zombieflanders at 8:44 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?

i bought a sagrada familia snowglobe once, does that count
posted by elizardbits at 8:51 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


i bought a sagrada familia snowglobe once, does that count

Sorry, yes. Now you are anti-abortion. You will get an email telling you which clinic to picket.
posted by jeather at 8:54 AM on July 1 [14 favorites]


sob
posted by elizardbits at 8:57 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


My church's offerings for the month of June were earmarked for Planned Parenthood, so I actually feel no conflict of interest whatsoever! (yay UUs).
posted by emjaybee at 8:59 AM on July 1 [14 favorites]


1. Abortion has repeatedly NOT been associated with significant mental or physical health problems despite huge amounts of research being done desperate to find a strong association. Birthing unwanted children however does appear to cause increased mental health problems for mothers.

Again, the pro-choice movement is back on its heels, responding to the framing of the anti-choice crowd, who have ballyhooed this finding, which is as fake as the mercury-autism link, in order to make it the topic of conversation.

It is not. Carrying a pregnancy to term is dangerous to the life of the mother. For example, birth is the 7th biggest cause of death for 20-24 y.o. women in the US (Table 1). It kills more of them than pneumonia or diabetes. Elective abortion is a tenth as risky.

We should not let the conversation be derailed from the idea that a woman must be allowed to control her own body, including the decision about getting and remaining pregnant. Full stop.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:11 AM on July 1 [20 favorites]


OhSusannah: "So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?"

People should feel free to both be outraged by this decision and hold whatever personal religious beliefs they wish. Because, uh, separation of church and state.
posted by desuetude at 9:12 AM on July 1 [17 favorites]


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?

NOT IT!!!

But honestly, for a whole lot of people, it's not an either/or thing...
posted by ersatzkat at 9:26 AM on July 1


I'm going to sound the ultra alarmist horn and say that, in light of the ISIS declaration of a caliphate, and its 5 year plan to dominate the Middle East, it's only a matter of time before Ultra-extreme Muslims start defending, in US courts, their right to practice Sharia Law in their places of business. No unaccompanied women, no credit, no homosexuals (as either employees or customers), no single women (as either employees or customers), adulterers can be fired. I'm not a Pamela Geller apologist, by any means, but that group is crazy and infiltration in US and Europe is not unexpected.
posted by Kokopuff at 9:29 AM on July 1


Pick and choose which Bible verses fit with your ideology and ignore the ones that don't.

In fact contraception is not even mentioned in the gospels. So it's "make shit up that benefits your power and call it religion."
posted by spitbull at 9:29 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


I'm curious about how old qivip is. Their opinions strike me as not well thought out. I'm inclined to engage in discussion in case this person is interested in learning.

Sex is more than procreative, esp. if you do it right, where doing it right has a wide variety of correct values. The discussion that defines sex as intended for procreation is well out of the scope of SCOTUS, even in its current, wretched incarnation. Sexually Responsible? Hell yes, you should be. Responsible for being clear about consent. Responsible for not spreading disease. Responsible for using contraception. And yes, that contraception should be covered by your health insurance. In Theora55World, abortion is also covered by insurance, at least until viability, and especially for the health of the woman.

On some philosophical level, I don't understand why a conception that results from rape or incest should get different treatment. The circumstances of your conception or birth should not define you. Abortion is an expedient resolution to a problem. We mostly don't talk about ensoulment these days, and I can't see us agreeing about when that cell, clump of cells, or fetus becomes a person with rights. Nature is pretty casual about it; women lose some significant percentage of all pregnancies, mostly without even knowing it exists. For me, it's about my body, and the belief, that I think is supported by the Constitution, that I should have control over what happens to my body. Don't want that medical treatment; it's your body, you can refuse it. Don't want another human growing in you? Your choice.

Access to an IUD or contraceptive medication that may affect that fertilized egg? This is medical care, and a woman should have the right to have it covered by insurance. The court has supported other areas where employers may not enforce their religious beliefs on individuals. And, in my words, get your fucking religion off me. For many women, a pregnancy is a medical crisis. For many women, pregnancy is a financial crisis. For many women, pregnancy is just not what they want, at this time, for some reason. This is not your employer's business.

A corporation can have religious values? Really, SCOTUS? Just like corporations now get free speech (Citizens United). So, Hobby Lobby, if you are a Christian entity, how have you turned the other cheek? How have you cared for the least of your brethren? How have you fed, clothed and sheltered the hungry and homeless? Nope, you're a corporation, and by case law, your highest goal is to maximize shareholder value. The conflict with Christian values boggles my mind so hard I'd fall over if I weren't sitting down. closely-held corporation. Look, you incorporate because you want tax benefits, protection for liability, the ability to issue stock. If you want to incorporate as a religious entity, incorporate as a religion. Hire people to do religious work, where religious behavior is a bona fide occupational requirement.

I'm so furious I can't actually express it, and, even more, discouraged. As a woman, by the blatant women-hating of this ruling. Also by the increased rights being accorded to corporations.
posted by theora55 at 9:32 AM on July 1 [19 favorites]


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?

I worship Shub-Niggurath, the Lord of the Wood. All life is Hers, all life returns to Her, and we are enshrined forever within Her indifferent darkness.

My donations are entirely consistent with my moral principles, in other words.
posted by winna at 9:34 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]


mental wimp's link is pretty scary, actually.

if you do a search in there for "pregnancy, childbirth" it's the in the top 8 for every age range of female regardless of race starting at 15 years old.

ugh. i'm gonna have to look at the article in more depth later, but yeah, it seems pretty scary and i think we should just start giving women whatever kind of birth control they want for free right now so they don't die. jesus.

we give out flu shots for free and they cause LESS deaths than pregnancy for all these age groups. wtf.
posted by sio42 at 9:37 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Just to add to your comment, Mental Wimp, Pregnancy is the 8th, 6th, and 6th leading cause of death for women 15-19, 20-24, and 25-34 years of age, respectively. So pretty much during most women's reproductive years, pregnancy is between the 6th and 8th leading cause of death. That was about 600 women per year in that age range.

Information from an anti-choice website puts the number of deaths from legal abortions at 400 since 1973. That's less than 10 per year.

Thanks for the CDC info. Now I have more info in my back pocket whenever I am discussing the risks of pregnancy vs. abortion.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:38 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Now I have more info in my back pocket whenever I am discussing the risks of pregnancy vs. abortion.

We should never allow them to derail us from the central issue here, and that is the life and well-being of the mother.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:40 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


screw work, we're slow anyways....

i find those numbers interesting that when you look at the "all races, both sexes" deaths from pregnancy are STILL in the top ten for 20-24 year olds.

thank you LizBoBiz and Mental Wimp... i like having these handy sorts of facts.
posted by sio42 at 9:44 AM on July 1


Pregnancy wreaked havoc on my body, possibly causing my autoimmune symptoms. Childbirth literally made me ill - I had a surgical delivery and post-surgical infection. Emotional repercussions? Ask me about my son's adolescence. But I chose it, and do not regret my choice. If at some point, for some reason, for any reason, I chose to terminate a pregnancy,I would not regret it, and it would still be nobody else's business, except my doctor. Even 27 years ago, when I asked my OB/Gyn if she did abortions, she was hesitant to reply because she was afraid someone might kill her. So fucked up.
posted by theora55 at 9:44 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


I'm of the belief that people should be sexually responsible and should not expect their employer to finance indiscretions.

So we should provide our employers with a record of what we do daily, in our lives, so that they can avoid financing any sort of behaviour they don't believe in? What else is on your list that employers shouldn't finance?

Do you have solid numbers on how indiscreet people are? How would employers know?

I find the underlying implication of this thought appalling. Is there any proof that women are going around willy nilly fucking like they just don't care because they can get Plan B? It's not a strategy that many women would embrace. The rise in numbers of single child parents (which mostly means a woman with a child that the father hasn't taken any responsibility for) doesn't even indicate that such irresponsible men give a shit about Plan B either, it's the woman's problem.

The entire socioeconomic system is such that removing the ability to prevent unwanted pregnancies increases the burden on society as a whole and unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight to greedy fuck you I've got mine ideology that currently defines the United States in the eyes of many.

This ruling is despicable beyond words.
posted by juiceCake at 9:46 AM on July 1 [13 favorites]


As always, "religious liberty" will not, in practice, refer to the grandiose content-neutral concept people pretend it does, but to a small number of conservative Christian views regarding contemporary culture war topics.
posted by goethean at 9:50 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]


So I wonder how many of you that are outraged by the decision still put money in the coffers of churches that believe life begins at conception and therefore anything that interferes with that is a sin?

I am one of those church-going MeFites. I am Presbyterian. Here is one statement from our denomination about what it might mean to be a pro-choice Presbyterian. But another cool thing about being Presbyterian is that we are not Catholic, we do not have a pope, and we do not have bishops. We have elected, rotating leadership at the congregational, regional, and national levels. And our own personal beliefs are between us and God and no one else.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:53 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


A legal question: how did Hobby Lobby's lawyers establish that it had standing to bring suit in the first place?

Their claim was that they were obliged to use money belonging to the company to create an option for employees to use a medical product which the company's owners claim is contradictory to their religious beliefs. However:

1) that money used for health care is a portion of what employees would be getting as wages anyway, and thus belongs to the employee and not the company, and

2) the court was essentially being asked to accept a specific and idiosyncratic conception of moral responsibility, and there was never any opportunity to dispute this

So how is this even a decision in any meaningful sense if the court (or at least, five justices) had essentially assumed at the outset what Hobby Lobby was trying to prove? Did any lawyers for the government ever point out that HL's standing depends completely on taking their moral conception of the situation for granted, as though it were a point of fact or law?
posted by clockzero at 9:56 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


i find it hard sometimes to engage people on the big picture and to see the reality that NOT having free and accessible birth control causes, when they can't see past their own nose and act like i'm trying to take away their lunch money.

i'm terrible with money but at least i understand that forking over the amount i've needed to each month for birth control for the past how ever many years with very exceptions means that i will not a huge burden on my fucking hands that i will require many, expensive government services to take care of.

why do people get a blank look when i try to explain that sort of thing? i swear i don't yell at them or anything. i'm like, yo, you just said that you hate having the government shell out all this money for this and that, wouldn't providng a cheaper means to curtail that money you don't want spent on social services be a GOOD idea? LESS SPENDING. it is literally not rocket science.

ok i'm going back to work before i get angry and start talking politics at work which is my new goal to never ever do again ever in the entire world and this ruling is making it hard to keep that promise to myself.
posted by sio42 at 9:56 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


A text search of the ruling, including the dissent, doesn't include the word "Sharia". A pity, because it ought to.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:57 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


> We should never allow them to derail us from the central issue here, and that is the life and well-being of the mother

I prefer the term "pregnant woman."
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:59 AM on July 1 [22 favorites]


or "host"
posted by elizardbits at 10:07 AM on July 1 [17 favorites]


> We should never allow them to derail us from the central issue here, and that is the life and well-being of the mother

I prefer the term "pregnant woman."


Much mo' betta. My bad. Or just "woman."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:11 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I'm going to sound the ultra alarmist horn and say that, in light of the ISIS declaration of a caliphate, and its 5 year plan to dominate the Middle East, it's only a matter of time before Ultra-extreme Muslims start defending, in US courts, their right to practice Sharia Law in their places of business. No unaccompanied women, no credit, no homosexuals (as either employees or customers), no single women (as either employees or customers), adulterers can be fired. I'm not a Pamela Geller apologist, by any means, but that group is crazy and infiltration in US and Europe is not unexpected.

I think there's probably more than enough to worry about with the ultra-religious Christian groups that already have the money, lawyers, and political clout to start pushing the boundaries of this law without raising a spectre of "infiltration".
posted by kagredon at 10:11 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


or "host"

Or "fleshy incubator."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:11 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


axlotl tanks
posted by elizardbits at 10:16 AM on July 1 [10 favorites]


"The Tea Party is the American Taliban", Will McAvoy's News Night critique from The Newsroom, spells out the forces that won this decision.

Fuck you, Hobby Lobby, and everyone like you. You're the American Taliban. Please have mercy on us all for not worshipping your little brand of insanity.

And when you burn all of us atheists at the stake for apostasy, you can come get me first.
posted by phoebus at 10:27 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I prefer the term "Teahadists."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:39 AM on July 1 [10 favorites]


That is so, so brilliant, CHT.
posted by mochapickle at 10:42 AM on July 1


I wish I remembered whom I cribbed it from.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:44 AM on July 1


It's also kind of icky in an Islamophobic kind of way.

Can we just go with "misogynist assholes"?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:44 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Too homophobic?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:46 AM on July 1


Tea-talitarian?
posted by mochapickle at 10:54 AM on July 1 [6 favorites]


axlotl tanks

SPOILERS FOR BOOKS NO ONE EVER ENDS UP READING ANYWAY WHICH IS A SHAME BECAUSE THEY'RE ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD
posted by cortex at 10:55 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]


It's also kind of icky in an Islamophobic kind of way.

Why? Don't jihadists describe themselves as such? I understand that it references Islam, but it references a specific self-description within the Muslim community. It's not like talking about the "yellow peril," or some dogwhistle that references it.
posted by OmieWise at 10:56 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


It's referencing terrible stereotypes about Islam as a whole, when it's only the far out fringe who talk about jihad.

Like, seriously, we're better than that, ok?

Tea-talitarian has a nice ring to it though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:58 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


"I worship Shub-Niggurath, the Lord of the Wood. All life is Hers, all life returns to Her, and we are enshrined forever within Her indifferent darkness."

I'm kinda into Sithrak, myself. Nothing to be done there.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 AM on July 1


'Jihad' doesn't mean 'terroristy' though even though it's often used in that way in Western media.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Sigh. I know what the word means. I'm saying how about we not reinforce lazy stereotypes.

/derail

So, back to the misogynist assholes on SCOTUS...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:02 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Back on topic: George Takei
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:03 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


It's referencing terrible stereotypes about Islam as a whole, when it's only the far out fringe who talk about jihad.


How? I know what jihad means, which is part of why it seems appropriate here.

This should be a fairly straighforward question to answer: what is Islamophobic about the word teahadist referencing the word jihadist? How is it reinforcing stereotypes?
posted by OmieWise at 11:04 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason for the word, it seems, is the idea that it would bother Tea Party individuals to be confused or associated with "jihadists", thus the using of the word "jihadists" is a way to misappropriate a holy word of a people in an attempt to annoy other people.
posted by corb at 11:08 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Jihad is similar to Crusade, and no Westerner would object to a "crusade" against, e.g., drunk driving.

(it's not an exact match, but close enough. Sorry I brought it up.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:11 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


This should be a fairly straighforward question to answer: what is Islamophobic about the word teahadist referencing the word jihadist? How is it reinforcing stereotypes?

I'm not really super down with saying "hahaha, tea partiers are so super extremist about enforcing their religious beliefs that they're like this completely separate fringe group from a religion that is frequently subject to prejudice (often by tea party types)"

Like, there's a whole ugly history of American Christian religious extremism that the Tea Party is just one facet of, maybe we could draw the connection there.
posted by kagredon at 11:11 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


SCOTUS issued orders in six cases related to Hobby Lobby, details here.

"The Supreme Court sent a fairly strong signal on Tuesday that its ruling giving some for-profit businesses a right not to provide birth control services to their female workers goes beyond the specific methods at issue in that decision."

This is awful.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:12 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Also, as shakespeherian points out, "jihad" is a concept that also has non-violent, religious weight for mainstream practicing Muslims, so it's sort of not great to perpetuate the popular misunderstanding of it.
posted by kagredon at 11:13 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


we would all be happier if employment and health care were not connected. I feel like whoever is paying has the right to object to paying for things against their conscience, so why put them in that position to start with?

I absolutely agree they should be separate, but I find the idea that Hobby Lobby paying for an insurance plan that includes abortifacients to its employees means HL is responsible morally if the employee uses them a little hard to understand.

HL also pays it's employees money, which presumably they can spend on things HL finds morally objectionable. That doesn't make HL responsible...a company is not its employees moral caretaker.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:15 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]


From Wikipedia. I have learned something.

There are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle.[3] The "greater jihad" is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties.[3][7] This non-violent meaning is stressed by both Muslim[8] and non-Muslim[9] authors. However, there is consensus amongst Islamic scholars that the concept of jihad will always include armed struggle against persecution and oppression.[10]

The "lesser jihad" is the physical struggle against the enemies of Islam.[3] This physical struggle can take a violent form or a non-violent form. The proponents of the violent form translate jihad as "holy war",[11][12] although some Islamic studies scholars disagree.[13] The Dictionary of Islam[3] and British-American orientalist Bernard Lewis both argue jihad has a military meaning in the large majority of cases.[14] Some scholars maintain non-violent ways to struggle against the enemies of Islam. An example of this is written debate, often characterized as "jihad of the pen".[15]
posted by sio42 at 11:15 AM on July 1


50 non-profits and 59 for-profits with pending cases to cancel their birth control coverage
posted by newdaddy at 11:18 AM on July 1 [12 favorites]


I absolutely agree they should be separate, but I find the idea that Hobby Lobby paying for an insurance plan that includes abortifacients to its employees means HL is responsible morally if the employee uses them a little hard to understand.

Especially when Hobby Lobby invests in the very same companies that make abortifacients.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:18 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


This is awful.

Yeah, yesterday there was a lot of insistence the ruling only applied to the so-called abortifacents that conflicted with Hobby Lobby's religious beliefs (how weird to type that), but the clarification today extends the ruling to ALL contraceptives mandated by the ACA.

It's like the conservative SCOTUSers want HRC to win in '16.
posted by notyou at 11:21 AM on July 1 [16 favorites]


SCOTUS issued orders in six cases related to Hobby Lobby, details here.

Oh holy fucking shit.

My God am I glad that my sisters and my niece all live in countries where they don't have to deal with this utter, total, misogynistic paleofundamentalist bullshit.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:21 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Hobby Lobby is still paying for abortifacients, just via taxes now instead of via an insurance company.
posted by sineater at 11:25 AM on July 1


Hobby Lobby is still paying for abortifacients, just via taxes now instead of via an insurance company.

As I understand it, they're still paying via the insurance company, which just makes BC magically "free" as part of the plan.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:30 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Hobby Lobby is still paying for abortifacients, just via taxes now instead of via an insurance company.

IUDs are not abortifacients. Just so we're all clear.
posted by winna at 11:32 AM on July 1 [35 favorites]


The flimsy, self-refuting arguments we're seeing from supporters of the majority opinion in comments here and around the Internets are a pretty good indicator as to why the Court's five conservatives felt the need to add the Bush v. Gore-style "this opinion only applies to this unique set of circumstances" disclaimer. The opinion can barely square itself with itself, and when you follow the "bare assertions of religious beliefs are enough to invalidate settled scientific questions and duly passed laws of the United States" logic for nearly any religion other than Christianity, and for nearly any other issue other than reproductive freedom, there is no doubt that the Court's conservative wing would have arrived at a different outcome.

And, of course, while we liberals are demoralized by having our asses handed to us, the conservatives still think they're the ones losing:
You might have imagined that social conservatives would temporarily put their persecution complexes on hold and spend a few moments savoring yesterday's Hobby Lobby victory. But that's just not the kind of thing right-wingers do. The sense of victimization must be sustained. That's why Rick Santorum's film studio chose yesterday, a day on which movement conservatism scored a huge win, to announce the upcoming release of a documentary depicting the movement as subject to ongoing -- and literally Hitlerian -- persecution...
...
Notice the release date for the film: September 1. This is clearly meant to be a base motivator for the midterms. But why announce the release date on the very day when you'd think these folks would be saying that the doomsday clock for religious freedom in America was pushed back a few minutes?

Because they can't bring themselves to say that they're winning. They have to keep arguing that they're still oppressed. This works as a team-building measure (right-wingers like feeling oppressed). It helps prevent movement complacency. And, well, these folks really do still think they're under the jackboot.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:42 AM on July 1 [12 favorites]


Accusations of persecution are projection, and it's their go-to tool. They consistently and predictably accuse the left of doing the exact things that they are doing (though they move a few words around and insert more Jesus). It's what they do.

In Texas we do have on interesting political moment that gives me some hope; back when Clayton Williams was running against Ann Richards for governor, he made his infamous joke about rape being something women should "lay back and enjoy." And he lost. It might be oversimplification to say that was the reason he lost, but it sure didn't help him any. Heck I was a fundie kid in a fundie home at the time and I remember recoiling and hating the man. I would have voted against him, I was just too young.

And then there was the outcry of Texas women for Wendy Davis a year ago, and Letiticia Davis demanding to know why her male colleagues refused to recognize her right to speak.

Will they and Clinton be able to do the same trick of translating "look at this anti-woman fuckery" into victories? Fingers crossed.
posted by emjaybee at 11:57 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


The bitter tears of the American Christian Supermajority
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:59 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Should we employ neutral observers to track sex acts to keep people on the right side of the ledger?

And you thought *Census takers* had a rough time of it.
posted by GrammarMoses at 12:22 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


timely thread on access to abortion medication.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on July 1


I think I may have started the Teahadist phraseology. I also refer to the Open Carry lunatics around here as YeeHadists. To their faces. Which is so funny...they have to work it out, and it's like watching a dog try to do algebra...

As to the ruling, I've been following this thread, and I've read the rulings, and the analysis, and the followups and the clarifications. I've listened to talking heads, I've donated to the usual places I donate whenever the Supremes or political bobbleheads pass a new law restricting women's rights because...uterus.

I'm angry, I'm sorrowful, and I'm fucking tired. I've been hit with sticks, I've been screamed at, I have death threats...all because I believe that women are people, and should therefore be treated like fully autonomous entities with agency.

And I'm beginning to think that the fight is lost. I mean, I don't have enough money to fight the Kochs or the Roman Catholic Church or Hobby Lobby. Sure, I can boycott HB, and chemical plants and cathedrals...but what fucking difference does it make? I can donate 10% of my income to Planned Parenthood, and it's not going to make a fucking difference. I can walk women into the last 2 clinics in Texas, until they close...but other than helping those individuals (which I fully intend to do), it's not making a dent in the tsunami of Right Wing Ideology that is going to overtake everywhere but the coasts of this country.

I'm depressed, and I'm heartbroken that 5 Roman Catholic men decided that all birth control can be removed from healthcare plans, because...Jesus. I'm despondent, and demotivated, and frankly, I just don't know what to do next. I've come face to face with the realization that the Religious Right considers ALL autonomous women to be the enemy, and I think it's only a matter of time before we begin to see the Christian version of the Taliban...(see Quiverfull and the doctrinaire Christian Patriarchy movements, for example.)

In the last 20 years, reproductive rights have been eroded consistently at the state and federal level. Women have been arrested for having miscarriages, doctors are murdered, clinics are bombed, women who use birth control are called sluts and whores on national media with full corporate sponsorship, and now common birth control methods are being called abortifacients...a patently false statement.

Even in the ruling, the Supremes said "well, The Greens don't understand science, but they really, really believe their own bullshit, so we're going to give them an exemption because...Jesus."

Short of a Lysistrata style general strike...which is hardly likely to impact a bunch of 80 year old dudes...I've go no idea how to fight a rule that could only be overturned in Congress...a group which has done nothing for almost 8 years because...black dude in the white house.


We're fucked. I don't know how we will get unfucked. But man, we've lost so much since the days when President Eisenhower (R) was the Chairman of Planned Parenthood.
posted by dejah420 at 12:29 PM on July 1 [45 favorites]


I think it's OK to feel overwhelmed.

It's a cliche now, but remember The Starfish Story.

You can donate, you can help, you can be a resource. You won't be able to help everyone. No one can. But you can help this woman, and that one, and that one.
posted by mochapickle at 12:40 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Jesus, dejah. For the however many years I've been around here, you've always had hope and optimism; you've been inspiring on womens' issues.

To see you of all people so disillusioned brings the horror of this stuff home in a really tragic way.

I hope that didn't come across the wrong way; I'm trying to say that if they've even gotten to someone as vocal and powerful as you.. I dunno. I don't have a uterus and I'm not American so maybe this is all coming out wrong or I shouldn't be speaking or something.

I think a general strike by all women (and all men who support women) may be the only way. But again, I'm a man, and these are at base issues about women, so I don't get to tell you how to solve anything. But count me in if there's anything we men can do to help turn the tide.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:41 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


(I hope that doesn't sound naive. I don't meant to be. I just feel like whatever you can do will help change the life of someone for the better.)
posted by mochapickle at 12:42 PM on July 1


Yeah, yesterday there was a lot of insistence the ruling only applied to the so-called abortifacents that conflicted with Hobby Lobby's religious beliefs (how weird to type that), but the clarification today extends the ruling to ALL contraceptives mandated by the ACA.

The (re)criminalization of non-procreative sexual activity continues apace.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:42 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


I wonder how/how long it'll be until someone tries to overturn Lawrence v Texas, zombieflanders.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:44 PM on July 1


You might have imagined that social conservatives would temporarily put their persecution complexes on hold and spend a few moments savoring yesterday's Hobby Lobby victory.

That's hilarious. The idea that anyone would imagine that is pure absurdism.
posted by juiceCake at 1:02 PM on July 1


Not so a for-profit corporation / Workers who sustain these operations ...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:20 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I prefer the term "Teahadists."

I've always liked "Y'all Qaeda".
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:49 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


I author a knitting blog, and I've previously written about this matter on it. Today I shared this cartoon on my knitting blog's Facebook page, and though the response has mostly been positive, I have gotten a few negative comments and lost maybe seven followers. Which was totally worth it if I made even one person aware of what she or he is supporting by shopping at Hobby Lobby.
posted by orange swan at 4:17 PM on July 1 [12 favorites]


Today I'm seeing news reports that the Court has clarified that its ruling applies to all methods of birth control provided for under the new health care law, not just the four that Hobby Lobby was objecting to.

Is there a direct link to that clarification from the Court? I'm seeing several news stories about it, but they don't link to any official documents and I didn't see anything on the Supreme Court's home page.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 PM on July 1


Brandon Blatcher, that's the understanding I have from this. It has to do with the related cases that they denied cert on today or remanded for reconsideration.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:44 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Honestly if we really want to talk about saving lives, the genocide that must be discussed is the one of spontaneous abortions. Somewhere between 15-30% of all children that are conceived will perish, often without their mother even knowing they existed, simply because medicine is not sufficiently advanced enough to save them. Science has taken us a long way from the infant mortality rate of times past, but it hasn't taken us nearly far enough.

If one truly believes that a fertilized egg is a human being with a right to life, it would be incumbent upon that person to be lobbying for research that could preserve the life of these untold millions of innocents, many of whom did not even have the opportunity to implant.

NO ZYGOTE LEFT BEHIND.
posted by hegemone at 4:59 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


If one truly believes that a fertilized egg is a human being with a right to life, it would be incumbent upon that person to be lobbying for research that could preserve the life of these untold millions of innocents, many of whom did not even have the opportunity to implant.

NO ZYGOTE LEFT BEHIND.


I know that you're joking, but that feels worrisomely close to reality right now.
posted by clockzero at 5:01 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'm with clockzero. All parody is currently iffy, as there are people who will take it as useful brainstorming.

I am so angry and frustrated. Thanks, all, for this thread. It has helped me from feeling totally deflated.
posted by meese at 5:08 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


So the five who voted for this are all men, and I believe are all Catholic. I suppose in hindsight it wasn't that big a surprise.

All the comments about how Hobby Lobby was decided by "five men" seem to be missing any sense of history. Back in 1990, Justices Scalia and Kennedy — two of the "men" in the Hobby Lobby majority — decided a ground-breaking case on religious exemptions, Employment Division v. Smith. The Smith decision was the basis of the part of Justice Ginsburg's dissent in Hobby Lobby where she rejected the companies' constitutional claims. Scalia wrote the opinion in Smith, which was famously hostile to those seeking religious exemptions to "generally applicable" laws.

Congress objected so strongly to the 1990 Smith decision that it enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993, which gave extra rights to religious persons to get out of having to follow laws that would otherwise apply to them. As the majority opinion in Hobby Lobby notes: "By enacting RFRA, Congress went far beyond what this Court has held is constitutionally required."

My understanding is that RFRA uses the word "person" without defining it, suggesting that Congress intended to import the existing legal definition of person (including "corporations"), rather than limiting "persons" to some narrower group (like just human beings, or just humans and nonprofits), which Congress easily could have done if it had wanted to. RFRA passed almost unanimously — by a voice vote in the House, and with only 3 Senators voting against it. It was signed into law by President Clinton.

So, the decision by Scalia and Kennedy in Hobby Lobby is not just a decision by some "men" about who they'd personally like to see win in a dispute between the Obama administration and religious companies. The justices in the majority include two people who had been chastened by a bipartisan Congress and a Democratic president. As Justice Alito rightly stated in the majority opinion in Hobby Lobby (joined by Scalia, Kennedy, et al.): "The wisdom of Congress’s judgment on this matter is not our concern. Our responsibility is to enforce RFRA as written."

None of this is to say that the Hobby Lobby decision was right, or wrong. I actually agree with Scalia's decision in Smith; I dislike the whole idea of religious exemptions, and I would have been happy if the anti-Smith law, RFRA, had never been enacted. But the fact remains that RFRA is the law of the land, regardless of my own views. And the question of whether the law was correctly applied in Hobby Law seems to be a pretty close question. To focus on the male gender of the judges in the majority seems odd, given that two of them would presumably agree with Justice Ginsburg that the government's action in the case was constitutional. (As it happens, the majority avoided deciding the constitutional issue, so we can't know for sure.)
posted by John Cohen at 5:12 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


clockzero: it troubles me as well.

That's kind of the path I try to walk down with people. It just seems as though folks are very unaware of how many embryos get summarily tossed out just as a matter of course. A consistent belief system would recognize that those embryos should be fought for just as much, no matter how great chromosomal aberration.

But this sort of reveals that according to that line of thinking, there is no abortion doctor so hostile to the life of "children" as women's actual bodies. I like to think if people thought it through all the way, they'd see how deranged that belief system is, but I don't even really know if that's something I should have faith in anymore.
posted by hegemone at 5:14 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I believe the "five men" argument has a lot to do with the oral arguments where Scalia (and others) did not seem to understand the birth control they were talking about.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:14 PM on July 1 [12 favorites]


Ya'll may be right though because now I'm really uncomfortable with the fact that my rage-parody could double as a manifesto for some people.
posted by hegemone at 5:17 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


All the comments about how Hobby Lobby was decided by "five men" seem to be missing any sense of history.

Five Catholic men, who made ruling the Pope would be proud of.

Fun fact: This Supreme Court is composed only of Catholics and Jews, which are not majority religions in America and if fact have faced substantial bigotry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:19 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


John Cohen: "men"

Why the scare quotes?

Are they not men?

Are...are they Devo?
posted by kagredon at 5:28 PM on July 1 [23 favorites]


WHEN OBAMACARE'S A LAW

YOU MUST WHIP IT

posted by kagredon at 5:37 PM on July 1 [30 favorites]


WHEN OBAMACARE'S A LAW

YOU MUST WHIP IT


Ok, I deem this one admissible
posted by clockzero at 5:46 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else listen to the Diane Rehm Show today? Barry Lynn from Americans United kicked ass on his assessment of the HL decision. Nina Totenberg's comments were mostly a disappointment to me. (Barry's comments echoed many in this thread. Hi Barry?)
posted by futz at 6:55 PM on July 1


Not to make light of anything we've been through on this, but it dawned on me just now, finally, that Hobby Lobby is kind of an ironic name.
posted by newdaddy at 8:59 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Five Catholic men, who made ruling the Pope would be proud of.

Amazing coincidence, that. And that they ruled against a native religion which they don't happen to believe in, previously.
posted by empath at 9:16 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Okay, apologies if I repeat anyone in this thread by accident...I've just returned to Canada after a long weekend in the States (and am more relieved to be back than usual).

Not that anyone needs to know this, but when I was in middle and high school, I had the world's worst periods, bar none. I am generally the least violent person there is, but I once almost attacked a female friend of mine who casually mentioned that she didn't understand what the big deal about menstrual pain was, because she didn't feel much. For me, it was at least three days of agony a month before it tapered off. I felt like I was dying. I was not some sort of pain wuss. As a Type 1 diabetic, I had been doing injections and blood draws for some time, no problem. I've snapped my elbow in half, and I'm not going to say the pain was quite as bad, but in some ways it was comparable. I would barely be able to keep from screaming. I remember a friend trying to "walk it off," holding my shoulder, as we marched around and around a classroom.

When I was prescribed hormonal birth control, I was in no way dating or anywhere near ready for sex; I knew that, my doctor knew that. Without exaggeration, I can claim that it changed my life. Quickly, the three-day agony turned into one mild day, and now it's barely anything. Sure, now it also has other uses (no kids, thanks), but the thought that someone could have denied me that blessing (and yes, that is an ironic term) because of some fear that it might help me fornicate or cause an abortion that is not possible fills me with absolute rage. Even if it had been for purely contraceptive purposes? Guess what, it's none of anyone's business unless I choose to share, so it doesn't matter, much like it doesn't matter what a sexual assault victim was wearing or whether she was a "good" girl.

I realize that jokes about PMS are incredibly tired, but all I can think is that this is one group of people who you do not want to toy with, particularly because this is the same kind of group that encourages the Second Amendment. I would be delighted if every single woman called in sick with terrible cramps on the same day, but I imagine they would be the ones to pay for that.
posted by ilana at 9:22 PM on July 1 [11 favorites]


John Cohen: And the question of whether the law was correctly applied in Hobby Law seems to be a pretty close question.

I don't see how this is a close question at all. I can't entirely put aside my own ideology and distaste for the outcome, but the points raised in Scott Lemieux's analysis of the decision are, to me, beyond question. I'll just quote what I think are the strongest points, but feel free to cite anything else you think is wrong in the piece, or anything you feel Lemieux omits that casts the majority opinion in a better light.
Secular, for-profit corporations cannot exercise religion. The majority cites no precedent on behalf of its assertion that secular, for-profit corporations can be "persons" under RFRA. This should not be surprising. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observes in her dissent: "The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities."

There is no "substantial burden" on the religious freedom of religious employers. Even if one accepts for the sake of argument that Hobby Lobby can be a "person" for RFRA purposes, the biggest problem with its argument has always been the necessity for the challengers to show that the contraceptive "mandate" imposes a "substantial burden" on its religious beliefs. It is extraordinary implausible that Congress intended for any bare assertion of religious conflict to trigger strict scrutiny for every federal regulation. It is proper for the courts to be highly deferential on the question of whether a litigant's religious beliefs are sincere, but whether the burden on these beliefs is substantial is an inquiry the courts are not merely permitted but obligated to make. This inquiry should dispose of the challenge to the mandate, because in this case the burden on employers is trivial. The ACA's regulations do not require anybody to use contraceptives contrary to their religious beliefs, and the employers are not implicated in the decision to include contraceptives as part of the package that employers must provide employees in order to maintain the tax benefits of paying employees in health insurance in lieu of wages.

The majority ignores the burden on third parties. The intent of RFRA was to restore the state of free exercise law as it existed prior to Oregon v. Smith. But under these precedents, as Justice Ginsburg points out, "[a]ccommodations to religious beliefs or observances...must not significantly impinge on the interests of third parties." This is a major problem for the majority's opinion, because it has the effect of denying "legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs contraceptive coverage that the ACA would otherwise secure." While the burden of the contraceptive "mandate" on employers is trivial, the burden the majority's exemption creates on employees is substantial. By holding that the former trumps the latter, the majority goes far beyond what Congress intended in RFRA.
A lot of the talk about this case has focused on the absurdity of the corporate parishonerhood angle, but even if we assume that Congress did intend to imbue these abstract legal entities with the right to exercise religion, I fail to see how the burden imposed on those abstract legal entities is significant, or why the majority should be let off the hook for ignoring the much more significant burden imposed on the employees who don't share the ideology of the corporation. If you take the unprecedented idea that corporations can exercise religion seriously, we're still left with a case of balancing competing interests, and in this case, is there any doubt that the Justices own Catholic faith and distaste for contraception would enter into that decision, or any evidence that they took the significant burden imposed on the employees seriously?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:38 PM on July 1 [23 favorites]


New Yorker: The Trap In The Supreme Court's "Narrow Decisions"
The template here is the court’s voting-rights jurisprudence. In the 2009 case of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, the court upheld a challenge to an application of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice Roberts’s decision was “narrow,” and it even drew the votes of the court’s more liberal members. Four years later, though, Roberts used the Northwest Austin precedent as a wedge to destroy both Section 4 and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as much of its effectiveness, in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. The liberals who signed on to the Northwest Austin decision howled that they’d been betrayed. But it was too late.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:58 PM on July 1 [8 favorites]


Supreme Court Upholds Little Caesar’s Right to Feed Christian Employees to Lions
posted by Drinky Die at 10:14 PM on July 1 [8 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: The liberals who signed on to the Northwest Austin decision howled that they’d been betrayed. But it was too late.

Hey, conservatives, why don't you tell us all again about how liberals never reach out to try to meet you halfway, or three quarters of the way, or 99% of the way until you fucking pull the football away like you do every goddamn time.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:19 PM on July 1 [11 favorites]


Justice Isn’t Blind: It’s Cranky By 5pm
Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the title “Extraneous Factors in Judicial Decisions,” strike a blow to the image of judges as impartial arbiters: Essentially, at the end of a long stretch of reviewing cases, the judges’ decision-making ability was as lousy as a kindergartener’s focus right before a snack break.

The Israeli judges studied by the researchers made decisions in three distinct periods broken up by a snack break and a lunch break. As the below graph shows, the odds of a judge granting prisoners parole reliably rose and fell depending on how long it had been since the judges’ last break.
Perhaps someone needed a nap?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:37 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


A few minor points at the end of a loooooong thread:

I cannot believe the lack of discussion by the Court about the whole question of substantial burden. They just wildly opened the door to religious claims being as outlandish as you want, as far removed from a chain of causation as you want, without even a little bit of questioning what the burden actually is. They say: Instead, our “narrow function . . . in this context is to determine” whether the line drawn reflects “an honest conviction,” and there is no dispute that it does.

The most mealy-mouthed and telling remark from Kennedy's concurrence, in the first (real) paragraph: In our constitutional tradition, freedom means that all persons have the right to believe or strive to believe in a divine creator and a divine law.

Fuck. You. Completely erases the existence of people who are non-religious, who are religious in a tradition that does not follow majoritarian monotheistic-esque principles (anything animistic, for example). Yes he later talks how you get to establish your religious or nonreligious self-definition. But in the first words made that set the tone for the decision, it just assumes that being religious is more important than being non-religious, and the only way to be religious is to be Christian.

Of course that's still not as bad as p.38 in the majority decision where they flat-out say this is different than complaints about subsidizing religious groups with tax revenue because it's not a religious objection to the subsidy, but a secular one. If you're religious you get protection, if not you don't.

And the majority's use of Braunfeld is frustrating. They cite it to say that the Court has always heard from businesses who have religious issues with general laws, and try to hold themselves as more superior from Ginsburg/dissenters. And just elide over the fact that it was rejected on the merits - I'm sure the people in Braunfeld get a lot of comfort from being told that they're a sign of the Court's high-mindedness, even though nothing came of it for them.

Let alone that Braunfeld was wrongly decided.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:41 PM on July 1 [18 favorites]


Since some people seem to think that universal healthcare would be the solution to this: I live in the Netherlands where we have somewhat universal health care (through insurance companies, but the government decides what they have to cover), but contraceptives are not covered here either. They often are covered by optional extra insurance that you can buy, but usually the cost of that is higher than the cost of the contraceptives itself. There is no religious reasoning here, the idea is that the government pays for things that are not foreseen and not part of normal life. You also have to pay for glasses yourself, for example, or regular painkillers, bandages, etc. (I disagree with this reasoning, FWIW, just mentioning it here). It doesn't matter if you don't use it for birth control.
posted by blub at 3:07 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I'm depressed, and I'm heartbroken that 5 Roman Catholic men decided that all birth control can be removed from healthcare plans... I'm despondent, and demotivated, and frankly, I just don't know what to do next.

But birth control really wasn't removed from the health care plans. That's why the court said its reasoning is narrowly limiting to these circumstances. Look:
The Department of Health and Human Services has already developed a way to exempt religious non-profit corporations—such as churches, charities, and hospitals—from the legal mandate to pay for employees’ contraception coverage. In what amounts to an accounting trick, they permit those corporations to purchase plans without such coverage, and then require that insurance companies themselves independently provide it to the uncovered employees. Because pregnancy is quite a bit more expensive than contraception, this apparently ends up not imposing any additional net cost on the insurers. The result is that employees of religious non-profits end up with no-copay contraception coverage, exactly as if the employer were required to provide it directly, but the employers are satisfied by this ledger shuffling that they aren’t being compelled to violate their most deeply held moral convictions. Which, one would think, is a win-win.

Against this background, the Court simply held that since HHS has already found a way to achieve the government’s aim of ensuring employees have access to free contraception without compelling non-profit employers to act against their profound religious convictions, they must do the same in the case of for-profit employers, at least where the for-profit corporation is “closely held.” The majority quite explicitly denied this ruling has any implications for cases where there might not be such a happy win-win means of achieving the government’s ends, at no additional cost, without forcing employers to violate their convictions. ...

Personally, I have no sympathy whatever with the substantive moral views of Hobby Lobby’s owners. But I’m dismayed at how many friends who style themselves “liberals,” even recognizing the ruling will make no immediate difference in employee access to contraception, seem to regard it as an appalling betrayal that the Court refused to license what amounts to purely symbolic compulsion of people with retrograde ideas. If we accept that the exemption here makes no functional difference to whether people are covered, however, that’s the only rationale left for insisting on direct purchase of coverage by employers—and not, I had thought, a legitimate rationale for government coercion in a liberal democracy.
posted by John Cohen at 6:01 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


the exemption here makes no functional difference to whether people are covered

This is simply not true yet, since HHS has not acted since the Hobby Lobby decision, and we don't now what will happen next.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:36 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


I'm curious if this works in the other direction too.

For example, if a closely held corporation is one that the owners hold to Judaism, could an employee file suit because there aren't separate fridges in the break room?

Or could the company dismiss an employee that someone brought in a BLT or a cheeseburger and treifed the fridge?

I also wonder if Hobby Lobby has done the math and found that money not spent on birth control > money lost from bad publicity + money spent on more maternity leave.
posted by plinth at 6:46 AM on July 2


I don't know how many times you need it explained to you, but given yesterday's clarifications it's clear that they are removed from the plans. Your link even says that the plans will no longer cover birth control, but it's saved by the "accounting trick" for religious organizations. A similar "accounting trick" has been suggested as a solution in cases like HL, but either due to legal or parliamentary difficulties, it's not clear HHS will or even can repeat it. Not only that, but challenges to that "accounting trick" are likely to be decided in a SCOTUS decision in the very near future. Multiple people with long-time deep knowledge of SCOTUS--including one of the Justices--point out that "narrow limits" arguments have been discarded fairly easily by conservatives on Roberts court, sometimes within a couple of years.

So, until (1) HHS hands down the exemption (and is allowed to do so), and (2) the exemption survives any challenges unscathed, the situation exists, and the possibility of it worsening seems fairly high.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:47 AM on July 2 [13 favorites]


could the company dismiss an employee that someone brought in a BLT or a cheeseburger and treifed the fridge?

I think this may actually already be actionable in kosher delis here in NYC, and I'm not sure they'd be wrong to do so.
posted by corb at 7:06 AM on July 2


NYTimes Op Ed: Give Scotusblog a Seat in Court
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:09 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Ann Friedman: What a Woman’s Choice Means to the Supreme Court and Social Conservatives
This idea — that women can always find another way to get the coverage or care they need — underpins just about every recent restriction on women's health. What’s another 24-hour mandatory abortion waiting period? To a woman who lives 25 miles from the nearest provider, it’s everything. What’s one more tweak to a law about the width of clinic doors? To a clinic that can’t afford to remodel, it’s everything. What’s a minor policy change that means you have to pay full price for that IUD? To a woman who makes $14 an hour, it’s everything.

A choice isn’t really a choice when you can’t find another job, or when it’s the end of the month and the checking account is empty and the morning-after pill costs $50 without insurance, or when the only approved birth control methods won’t work for you. For decades, activists have invoked a woman’s “right to choose” — choose when it’s the right time for her to have children and when it’s not, and to choose which contraceptive method to use in the meantime. In theory, women are still allowed to make these choices in America. In practice, though, to choose you must have options. Health insurance is one of the things that guarantees options and access. Freedom, as the conservatives say, isn’t free. For a choice to be a true choice and not a default, sometimes we have to subsidize it.
[...]
Needing a blood transfusion or a vaccine, as the Court sees it, isn't the consequence of a "choice" you make. It is necessary medical care for you to live your life. You don’t choose to need protection from an infectious disease. You don’t choose to need a liter of new blood. You do, however, choose to have sex — if you’re a woman. And so contraception, the majority of justices say, is different. The implication is that women can freely choose to either abstain from sex or have lots of children, which most of us understand is not a choice at all.

The Supreme Court’s decision — and most reproductive-health restrictions passed by lawmakers across America over the past several decades — expresses the view that women make their choice when they choose sex, and it's up to them to figure it out after that. That there is no social or moral or governmental obligation to make it easier for them to make choices that follow from a perfectly human impulse to want sex but not babies. For women, sex is an option, an inessential luxury like LASIK eye surgery. Hey, the Court is saying, we’re not telling you not to have sex! We’re just telling you that if you do, you’ll find it difficult to maintain a career, gain financial footing, or live a healthy life. You’ll just have to work a little harder, it says. Find the loopholes. Drive a little farther. Pay a little more. You’ll find a way — you women are resourceful.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:23 AM on July 2 [28 favorites]


This idea — that women can always find another way to get the coverage or care they need

But this ignores that what the ruling actually says is not that women can find anyone way to get coverage but that the government can find another way to secure that coverage--free of charge--to women. The ruling explicitly recognizes that the government has a compelling interest in doing so and actively exhorts it to take steps to achieve that end.

I mean, there's certainly room for some anxiety about the various kinds of slip 'twixt cup and lip that might occur to either delay or prevent that from occurring, but it strikes me as intellectually dishonest to simply ignore that strikingly different rationale on which the decision is based.
posted by yoink at 8:30 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


And if the Repblicans take the Senate in November, and/or the White House in 2016, please to explain exactly how much birth control they're going to provide.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:37 AM on July 2 [10 favorites]


My understanding is that RFRA uses the word "person" without defining it, suggesting that Congress intended to import the existing legal definition of person (including "corporations"), rather than limiting "persons" to some narrower group (like just human beings, or just humans and nonprofits), which Congress easily could have done if it had wanted to. RFRA passed almost unanimously — by a voice vote in the House, and with only 3 Senators voting against it. It was signed into law by President Clinton.

This. This is what is wrong with the influence of religion in US politics. Almost no one is willing to oppose something seemingly bland (but ultimately a large hole in the church/state wall) because Jesus. Having a religion is a religious test for office in the US, not by law, but by custom.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:47 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


yoink, a large part of the concern on this point is implied in that piece zombieflanders posted: even if the government or insurance companies step in to provide this care, it's added complexity, and added complexity reduces access. People get used to dealing with their insurance - it's a frustrating system, but at least you only have to learn it once when you get the plan. If women have to deal not only with their insurance, but then with some extra program for this, some aren't going to have the time/knowledge/energy to access this benefit they deserve.
posted by Corinth at 8:50 AM on July 2 [9 favorites]


But this ignores that what the ruling actually says is not that women can find anyone way to get coverage but that the government can find another way to secure that coverage--free of charge--to women. The ruling explicitly recognizes that the government has a compelling interest in doing so and actively exhorts it to take steps to achieve that end.

This is the same vicious, shitty tactic they took with the VRA, though. Of course the government could do it, but it's subject to the vagaries of, well, the government. And the the government simply won't do it, although it's not for lack of trying. Title X (for low-income women) and Planned Parenthood's federal subsidies have already suffered huge slashes in funding and support, and it is the stated goal of more or less the entire GOP to destroy both entirely. And let's not fool ourselves that the minute anyone suggests the government subsidize or pay outright for contraception that the conservatives and libertarians will froth at the mouth that the government shouldn't be in the contraception business (or even the slightest connection to it), because of the mythical free market utopia where women will somehow all have access because of the benevolence of insurers and their fellow human beings, a benevolence that has thus far not come into being without the government stepping in. It's impossible that the majority is unaware of this, and statements from some seem to embrace this tactic. They knew what the real-world outcome is, and that's what they aimed for. All the talk about the government providing it is just that, talk, a CYA so that they don't come out and say that they oppose access to contraception.

To put forth this idea of the majority as either dewy-eyed innocents or stealth advocates of government expansion of health care despite all of the evidence to the contrary, unaware of the context and consequences of their arguments, is the actual intellectual dishonesty here. I understand the desire to live in the world of the hypothetical, but that world is bullshit, it keeps on getting shown to be bullshit, and will continue to be proven to be bullshit. Ginsberg knows it, she's telling us how it's going to go down, and the history of not just the Roberts Court, but the fight for reproductive freedom and where it is today continually proves her right and this Pollyanna-ish attitude wrong.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:58 AM on July 2 [13 favorites]


According to someone on facebook, the conservative argument for why Hobby Lobby is okay supporting companies that make baby killing drugs in their retirement plans is that "(1) to be a viable, desirable employer, a corporation has to offer mainstream retirement plans; (2) choice of retirement plan should be up to the employees, not the employer; (3) the money in the retirement plans is primarily the employees' money, even if there's an employer contribution; and (4) the chain of money is such that only a tiny amount of the employer's money is very indirectly going to these products, so it doesn't necessarily constitute supporting these products."

All of this sounds reasonable enough, but why is it different for health care?
posted by jeather at 9:06 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


The ruling explicitly recognizes that the government has a compelling interest in doing so and actively exhorts it to take steps to achieve that end.

While striking down the method the government chose to achieve that end, yes. Which, unless and until the government implements another method, puts a burden on women affected by the ruling to find coverage on their own.
posted by cjelli at 9:08 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


the exemption here makes no functional difference to whether people are covered

This is simply not true yet, since HHS has not acted since the Hobby Lobby decision, and we don't now what will happen next.

Presumably, HHS will act consistently with the majority opinion. I assume the Obama administration will give the same accommodation to the for-profit corporations that it's given to other entities.
posted by John Cohen at 9:21 AM on July 2


I think this may actually already be actionable in kosher delis here in NYC, and I'm not sure they'd be wrong to do so.

I'd imagine it would be if you broke kosher on the fridges used for actual sold food by being careless, but that's different because it's interfering with business operations. I don't think there'd be a case if it were putting a ham-and-cheese sandwich into the breakroom fridge (also, isn't storing employee food in fridges used for preparing publicly sold food a violation of health code most places anyway?)
posted by kagredon at 9:22 AM on July 2


Against this background, the Court simply held that since HHS has already found a way to achieve the government’s aim of ensuring employees have access to free contraception without compelling non-profit employers to act against their profound religious convictions, they must do the same in the case of for-profit employers, at least where the for-profit corporation is “closely held.”

And just like when they struck down the Voting Rights Act, everyone and their dead grandmother knows that the Court will strike down whatever remedy the government might come up with.

The conservatives of the Supreme Court epitomize disingenuousness.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:24 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


isn't storing employee food in fridges used for preparing publicly sold food a violation of health code most places anyway?

It's a violation everywhere (in NA at least). Violates HACCP principles; basically your own personal food, we have no idea what it's been contaminated with at home. Restaurants can be shut down for this kind of violation. /derail

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:33 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Presumably, HHS will act consistently with the majority opinion. I assume the Obama administration will give the same accommodation to the for-profit corporations that it's given to other entities.

Which will last until President Palin is sworn in.

Rights should be subject to the whims of the electorate ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:33 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


But this ignores that what the ruling actually says is not that women can find anyone way to get coverage but that the government can find another way to secure that coverage--free of charge--to women. The ruling explicitly recognizes that the government has a compelling interest in doing so and actively exhorts it to take steps to achieve that end.

I mean, there's certainly room for some anxiety about the various kinds of slip 'twixt cup and lip that might occur to either delay or prevent
[actual provision of necessary medical care] from occurring

I'm not sure if it's the apparently callous uninterest in the most important part of the whole question or the bizarrely genteel euphemism for it that's more annoying about this, but in any case, I think the confidence and optimism expressed here is both unwarranted and beside the point. Unwarranted, because there's ample room here for multiple species of anti-woman fuckery above and beyond that of the Supreme Court, and beside the point, because the mandate for covering contraception was already in place before this decision and the ruling can only weaken women's access to health care in any plausibly-resultant scenario. This interminable, arbitrarily exceptionalist punting of responsibility for providing proper and appropriate medical care to women is utterly beyond the pale.
posted by clockzero at 9:34 AM on July 2 [11 favorites]


The conservatives of the Supreme Court

That's exactly what bothers me about SCOTUS. The judges should be impartial with no discernible political affiliation. The only way they should (in an ideal universe) be described as 'conservative' is legally; do they construe legal questions narrowly or widely?

Politics simply shouldn't ever into it. I get that it does, but it's yet another way of how the system in the USA is fundamentally broken in ways the original framers of the Constitution never--at least in this case, I think--expected or intended. What the USA really needs is a nonpartisan government commission that selects judges (from county to SCOTUS) based on (gasp) legal expertise. Not politics.

But then, every damn thing in the USA is politicized. I have no idea how you guys are going to get out of the hole you've dug yourselves, but I'd venture to guess that depoliticizing many governmental functions would be a good start. Anyone below the level of an actual legislator, Cabinet secretary, or judge should be a bureaucratic position--there is no good reason for electing sheriffs, for example. Or, especially, judges.

Because then you get this shit, where it's pretty easy to predict exactly how SCOTUS will vote on anything that touches women, QUILTBAG folks (not mutually exclusive categories), or corporate freedom.

And, seriously, I'm sick of this Pollyanna bullshit about "well the government can just provide it."

The government cannot because one of the parties has such a basic intransigence on any issue regarding women that never will the government ever--unless somehow the Teatalitarian tide gets turned back--provide women with a basic healthcare need.

But boner pills, absofuckinglutely.

Goddamn.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:51 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


That's exactly what bothers me about SCOTUS. The judges should be impartial with no discernible political affiliation. The only way they should (in an ideal universe) be described as 'conservative' is legally; do they construe legal questions narrowly or widely?

Why? That's a pretty odd constraint to put on a judge, considering the the entire legal realism scholarly project has demonstrated pretty clearly that judges are humans and ideology predicts the majority of ruling behavior.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:01 AM on July 2


The judges should be impartial with no discernible political affiliation. The only way they should (in an ideal universe) be described as 'conservative' is legally; do they construe legal questions narrowly or widely?

While there are plenty of legal questions where there might actually be a 'right' and 'wrong' interpretation of the law, any case that gets to the Supreme Court is going to be ambiguous enough that the judges basically have to use something other than a strict reading of the laws in question as a basis for determining the outcome. I suppose they could flip a coin, but more likely, they're going to tilt with their political preferences. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. The FDR appointed court made some fairly sweeping liberal changes on not entirely rock-solid legal reasoning, and changed the country for the better, IMO.

Ultimately it all comes down to elections mattering. If you want to change the court, you have to make sure that Hillary (or whoever) wins in 2016.
posted by empath at 10:03 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


How on earth is that odd?

Judges are supposed to be impartial arbiters of law. Period. They may have a legal ideology, and that's fine. Having a political ideology deciding how the bench rules is poisonous to the entire concept of justice, as we see right here in this very case.

For example, on the Supreme Court of Canada, I have no idea how our justices vote in elections, which party/ies they favour, nothing. Inferences can be made based on who appointed them, but inferences only. Their political leanings are simply not part of the equasion.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Those companies’ insurers were required to provide contraception in separate policies, for free—something the insurers were happy to do, because even expensive contraception is cheaper than childbirth.

I have seen this sentiment posted here more than once and I don't get it. I have been on more than a few different kinds of BC, I always had health insurance, and the only time the prescription was less than $30 was when I was in college and was getting it from the student health center without my insurance. I feel like I've always wondered why an insurance company would make anyone pay for BC when having a baby is soooo much more expensive.

So why now, after the government made them, have they suddenly realized that this was something they could afford to do? Why haven't they been doing this all along?
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:19 AM on July 2


Having a political ideology deciding how the bench rules is poisonous to the entire concept of justice

no its not, because thats not how it has ever worked ever anywhere.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:27 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


You have got to be joking. You're saying it's totally okay for political ideology to trump legal reasoning?

Because that's exactly what happened in this case.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:29 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


And if the Repblicans take the Senate in November, and/or the White House in 2016, please to explain exactly how much birth control they're going to provide.

The inclusion of birth control as a required service under insurance was the result of administrative rule making in the first place, so if the GOP controlled the White House and the Congress they could just remove the original rule anyways making this whole discussion about the court and RFRA moot.
posted by Jahaza at 10:30 AM on July 2


They may have a legal ideology, and that's fine. Having a political ideology deciding how the bench rules is poisonous to the entire concept of justice, as we see right here in this very case.

What's the distinction between a legal ideology and a political one?

Our system assumes people will act in their own interests -- even judges -- and is set up to trap and channel those actions toward the greater good in a more or less transparent way.
posted by notyou at 10:31 AM on July 2


it's yet another way of how the system in the USA is fundamentally broken in ways the original framers of the Constitution never--at least in this case, I think--expected or intended

That's not really a good guide to anything, though. Something as basic as "more or less all white men get to vote" violates the framers' intent, but a state establishing an official religion doesn't, and imprisoning people for criticizing the government doesn't.

For example, on the Supreme Court of Canada, I have no idea how our justices vote in elections, which party/ies they favour, nothing.

That seems to reflect differences in news coverage more than differences in how the two courts operate. You can find Martin-Quinn ideal points for the Canadian supreme court too, and just from glancing Don Songer found that judge ideology plays a powerful role in Canadian supreme court decisions (but that the Canadian court also has a tendency to produce unexpectedly unanimous decisions).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:32 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


You have got to be joking. You're saying it's totally okay for political ideology to trump legal reasoning?

I assure you I am not joking.

Your premise is that there are two clear and distinct things: one is political ideology and the other is legal reasoning. That is a false premise.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:34 AM on July 2


A legal ideology is how one interprets the law--we see it all the time when discussing SCOTUS, the Constitution, and originalist vs whatever the other term is I forget.

A political ideology is what is going to kill women.

Guess which one made the decision here?

That's not really a good guide to anything, though. Something as basic as "more or less all white men get to vote" violates the framers' intent, but a state establishing an official religion doesn't, and imprisoning people for criticizing the government doesn't.

What I meant--and said poorly--is that the idea of a politicized Supreme Court seems pretty counter to what was intended in the Constitution to begin with.

That seems to reflect differences in news coverage more than differences in how the two courts operate.

That's possibly true. However it's worth noting that even if it's differences in news coverage, the likeliest explanation is that Canadian news services simply DGAF about the political ideologies of the SCC Justices, and neither do the Canadian people (apart from the PM, obvs).

Your premise is that there are two clear and distinct things: one is political ideology and the other is legal reasoning. That is a false premise.

You can't wave that away as a false premise without explaining why it's false.

Political ideology made this decision. Not legal reasoning.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:36 AM on July 2


I'd imagine it would be if you broke kosher on the fridges used for actual sold food by being careless, but that's different because it's interfering with business operations. I don't think there'd be a case if it were putting a ham-and-cheese sandwich into the breakroom fridge (also, isn't storing employee food in fridges used for preparing publicly sold food a violation of health code most places anyway?)

From my understanding, on strict kosher places, if you even walk inside with a ham-and-cheese sandwich they have to go get it cleansed by a rabbi.
posted by corb at 10:37 AM on July 2


Why haven't they been doing this all along?

The ACA happened.

Before the Affordable Care Act, it was yet cheaper still to either write plans that didn't fully cover the costs of childbirth, or else find ways to drop coverage or deny claims for plans that did. Here's a brief summary from HHS about how the ACA affected medical care for women:
Insurance Companies Can’t Deny Coverage to Women. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, most insurance companies selling individual policies could deny coverage to women or charge them more due to pre-existing conditions, such as cancer and having been pregnant.

Women Pay Lower Health Care Costs. Before the law, women could be charged more for individual insurance policies simply because of their gender. For example, a 22-year-old woman could be charged 150% the premium that a 22-year-old man paid. In 2014, insurers will no longer be able to charge women higher premiums than they charge men.

Women Can Receive Preventive Care Without Copays. Beginning on August 1, 2012, about 1 in 3 women, or 47 million, under the age of 65 gained guaranteed access to additional preventive services, like mammograms and birth control, with no out-of-pocket costs.
There's also this more detailed look at the question of preventative care specifically.
posted by cjelli at 10:38 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Your understanding is wildly incorrect so please stop saying things like that, corb.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:38 AM on July 2 [8 favorites]


There is no value-neutral, apolitical way to be an appellate judge in a common law system. If you don't believe me, then really sit down and study some big-ticket Supreme Court decisions, and really think about the choices the judges have to make in order to reach the decisions that they do. The idea that a judge can just neutrally read from the law, as an oracle reading vapors, is an appealing but long-outmoded illusion.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:40 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


It is also the case that Supreme Court Justices are not always so neatly "liberal" or "conservative" - these are shorthand labels applied by others.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:42 AM on July 2


A legal ideology is how one interprets the law--we see it all the time when discussing SCOTUS, the Constitution, and originalist vs whatever the other term is I forget.

A political ideology is what is going to kill women.

Guess which one made the decision here?


Guess you're not interested in having this conversation so I'm out. But here's a friendly reminder that operating under the delusion that one can easily divorce normative and positivist legal interpretation, and further divorce them from politics and an even broader value system, is not only puerile but a central claim of right-wing originalism.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:43 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


really think about the choices the judges have to make in order to reach the decisions that they do.

Thanks for the assumption that I don't do so.

Once again: this is a blatantly political decision, not one based on actual legal reasoning.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:43 AM on July 2


So what you're saying, cjelli, is that it was more expensive to cover birth control because they didn't really cover pregnancy that well to begin with. I get it now. Thanks.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:43 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


But boner pills, absofuckinglutely.

I just wanted to say, that's a tmesis you used upthread, FFFM. I learned that just the other day.
posted by newdaddy at 10:52 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the assumption that I don't do so.

If you want to understand US jurisprudence, then instead of relying on self-study, read books on relevant historical jurisprudence. For example, The American Judicial Tradition by G. Edward White.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:01 AM on July 2


What I meant--and said poorly--is that the idea of a politicized Supreme Court seems pretty counter to what was intended in the Constitution to begin with.

So does the idea of even all adult white men voting. But states establishing official religions, or the federal government imprisoning people for criticizing it, don't.

What was intended in the Constitution to begin with was a limited herrenvolk democracy not too dissimilar from Apartheid South Africa and extremely limited protection against governmental intrusion into what you or I would understand as freedom and liberty.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:03 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


I feel like I've always wondered why an insurance company would make anyone pay for BC when having a baby is soooo much more expensive.

Essentially, because women will figure out a way to get birth control anyhow, most of the time.
posted by jeather at 11:22 AM on July 2


If you want to understand US jurisprudence

Let me be clear then.

This ruling was based on

a) legal reasoning

or

b) political ideology?

Because everyone in this thread is pretty much clear that it's b and not a. Are you disagreeing?

What was intended in the Constitution to begin with

I was trying to make a point about unintended consequences leading to a broken system but forget it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:30 AM on July 2


Hey, feckless? You seem like you're getting real fighty about this and I can't see any reason for it - can you please try to dial it back?
posted by agregoli at 11:32 AM on July 2 [6 favorites]


I prefer the term "Teahadists."
I've always liked "Y'all Qaeda".


I'm kind of partial to "Talibaptists," myself.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:49 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Fox panelist says single women depend on government because they don't have husbands to depend on.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:49 AM on July 2


I'm not getting fighty, I'm getting frustrated that people aren't bothering to read the words that I am writing.

That fox panelist, however, can go fuck themselves in whichever way they find most uncomfortable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:51 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


The Atlantic: Hobby Lobby Is Already Creating New Religious Demands on Obama
A group of faith leaders is urging the Obama administration to include a religious exemption in a forthcoming LGBT anti-discrimination action.

Their call, in a letter sent to the White House Tuesday, attempts to capitalize on the Supreme Court case by arguing that it shows the administration must show more deference to the prerogatives of religion.

"We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need," the letter states.
posted by cjelli at 11:59 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


we read the words you wrote. Its just that:

" a) legal reasoning

or

b) political ideology?"

is a false dichotomy.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:00 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


11 Photos Show Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hates Supreme Court Mansplaining as Much as You (via elizardbits' tumblr, obvz)
posted by NoraReed at 12:00 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


People are allowed to disagree with your opinions - it doesn't mean they didn't read your words. Regardless, no need to get snarky.
posted by agregoli at 12:04 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


I just wondered aloud to someone whether it counts as a boycott if the business you're boycotting is a place you never patronized in the first place.

I wonder whether it would be more effective to refuse to patronize entire shopping centers just because they happen to contain a Hobby Lobby, and writing the management of the shopping center, as well as the management of the stores you would otherwise patronize, to let them know that you will be shopping elsewhere as long as Hobby Lobby is there.

I have no idea whether this would actually cause Hobby Lobby's leases not to be renewed, but it would be great if they were forced to relocate to a van down by the river.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:05 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


On the bright side, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepard were fired from The View.
posted by Splunge at 12:07 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


NoraReed, you grabbed the wrong link - this one is 11 Photos Show Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hates Supreme Court Mansplaining as Much as You.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:09 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


From my understanding, on strict kosher places, if you even walk inside with a ham-and-cheese sandwich they have to go get it cleansed by a rabbi.

I prefer my sandwiches cleansed by rabbis. It could be a marketing slogan: Our ham and cheese sandwiches are made from the freshest ingredients and cleansed by rabbis.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:12 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Fox panelist says single women depend on government because they don't have husbands to depend on.

I can't. I can't even. How dare I ask for equal pay to support myself?
posted by mochapickle at 12:14 PM on July 2 [9 favorites]


A group of faith leaders is urging the Obama administration to include a religious exemption in a forthcoming LGBT anti-discrimination action.

Does this mean the LDS can go back to hating on blacks?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:14 PM on July 2


Fox panelist says single women depend on government because they don't have husbands to depend on.

I don't know why, but this particular bit of vile bullshit pushes me over a line. Fox news is a propaganda company, plain and simple. They shouldn't be allowed to call themselves a news corporation when so much of what they do entails overtly normative political speech. I'm so tired of hearing this kind of baseless anti-government rhetoric, always couched in the most offensively misogynistic/xenophobic/neoliberal/evangelical language possible.
posted by clockzero at 12:18 PM on July 2 [8 favorites]


fffm I think what people are finding frustrating is that your insistence that there's an option of "legal reasoning" untainted by ideology doesn't seem to have engaged with the legal realism movement that informs a great deal of contemporary thinking on how judges reach the rulings they reach. Put simply (to my not extensive understanding), legal realism concluded that the common law system is inherently subjective and the conclusions ultimately reached by judges are driven by the various ideologies (social, political, moral) of the judges making the rulings, and that this is always the case. There's no neutral umpire just calling the law the way it actually is, all judges are rendering verdicts based on ideology.

You can disagree with that (there are people who do, usually on the right end of the spectrum), but you'll need to articulate reasons why, rather than merely restating your opinions.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:29 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


Before the Affordable Care Act, it was yet cheaper still to either write plans that didn't fully cover the costs of childbirth, or else find ways to drop coverage or deny claims for plans that did.

The upshot is that Hobby Lobby will get everyone else to subsidize their plans because Jesus.

1. Fewer contraceptions users in their employees ⇒ more pregnancies

2. ACA ⇒ pregnancies covered

3. 1 + 2 ⇒ higher per-employee costs for Hobby Lobby

4. ACA ⇒ open competition ⇒ Hobby Lobby plan's price = everyone else's price

5. 3 + 4 ⇒ Hobby Lobby's plan is subsidized by all plans that do cover contraceptives
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:30 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


oh shit you're right IAmBroom, sorry! go to that one instead! that coat hanger necklace article was really linkbaity and not very interesting and it featured 0 pharaoh-esque collar/necklaces and was therefore inferior in every way to the one with Ginsberg looking bored and disappointed

let this be a cautionary tale to all of you to not be like me and have like 40 tabs from tumblr open at any given time and then accidentally copy/paste the wrong one (at least that one was at least related to reproductive health issues and I didn't accidentally link fanfiction or a Civ V unit guide or something)
posted by NoraReed at 12:32 PM on July 2


I did wonder how many of the conservatives in the coat hanger article have a "Never Forget" bumper sticker or button or poster, which, by their logic, would be "celebrating" 9/11.
posted by kagredon at 12:36 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


is a false dichotomy.

You have yet to explain why. So until you do, I'm going to be making the distinction. Because the distinction is important. Why? Because political ideology makes the decision for them. Which is the exact opposite of what judges--from your local county judge right up to SCOTUS--are supposed to do.

A group of faith leaders is urging the Obama administration to include a religious exemption in a forthcoming LGBT anti-discrimination action.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAARGARBL

You can disagree with that (there are people who do, usually on the right end of the spectrum), but you'll need to articulate reasons why, rather than merely restating your opinions.

I'm very, very, very, very much not on the right end of the political spectrum. The whole point of jurisprudence is that it is blind, no? That's why there are so many statues of a blindfolded Justice with scales outside so many courtrooms. To be blind, in this metaphorical sense, is to look at the law, and not at personal political ideology. I am not saying anything any different than hundreds of people have said in this thread; I refer you to comments like "five Roman Catholic men" etc.

My (also non-lawyer) understanding of the dissent is that the majority was ruling purely according to their faith and politics, and shoehorning in a (bad/thin/nonexistent) legal reason. They started with their conclusion, in other words, and worked their way backwards from there. That is the exact opposite of how the legal system is supposed to work, no? Judges should judge each case on its merits and arguments, not make up their minds beforehand. (NB: I think the same follows for the left wing of the Court, it's just that they so rarely support decisions that somehow manage to only punish women.)

Again I'm not saying anything different than many other commenters here. This was a political decision and the whole point of separating the judiciary from the legislative and executive functions of government is to avoid the taint of politics making decisions, instead of reading the law and arguing from there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:39 PM on July 2


I did wonder how many of the conservatives in the coat hanger article have a "Never Forget" bumper sticker or button or poster, which, by their logic, would be "celebrating" 9/11.

I suspect that some of them may not have a problem with that analogy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:40 PM on July 2


That is the exact opposite of how the legal system is supposed to work, no?

The point... and one of the points of the legal realism movement is that whatever idea we have in our minds about how the legal system is "supposed" to work, in actuality (in reality... hence "realism") that's not how it works in a common law system.

The stronger strands of legal realism on both the left and the right make this a virtue, using the law in powerful way, but across the legal spectrum, agreement holds and the insight is generally upheld that judges do act based on things other than an abstract ideal of scientific law.
posted by Jahaza at 12:50 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


The whole point of jurisprudence is that it is blind, no?

No, not at all. Not in the senses which you are conflating. Neutrality towards parties, fair application of the law, etc. are fundamentally different concepts than other huge issues which go into appellate jurisprudence, especially since the ins and outs of "neutrality towards parties" and "fair application of the law" are very frequently not so cut and dried in practice.

You should take it as a great big shining hint that the "judge as mere neutral umpire" simile has been most vocally pronounced by such esteemed figures of neutrality as John Roberts and James Clark McReynolds.

You should consider reading about legal philosophy and historical jurisprudence. It's very interesting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:52 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


In any case I am no longer engaging in this derail/portion of the conversation.

Notice how this 'narrow' ruling is, less than 72 hours later, has people trying to use it to justify discrimination against QUILTBAG folks? That is deeply disturbing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:54 PM on July 2


[Guys, cool it a bit.]
posted by cortex at 12:56 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


That is the exact opposite of how the legal system is supposed to work, no? Judges should judge each case on its merits and arguments, not make up their minds beforehand.

The point of legal realism, though, is that the merits of the vast majority of contested issues of law are sufficiently ambiguous that a large range of outcomes can be justified by resort to the merits of the case. The term they use is "indeterminate" meaning both that the law itself is sufficiently unclear that it doesn't render any particular outcome "correct" and that law or legal reasoning isn't what determines individual judge's outcomes. One of the ways they proved this, early on, was by pointing out that the canons of interpretation are filled with contradictory principles. The law is, in practice, a tool kit for the post hoc justification of decisions based in something else.

I wonder if part of the problem here isn't that legal realism and it's proponents are fundamentally concerned with describing how the legal system works and you're more concerned with articulating a normative vision of how the legal should work. The observations of the legal realists (which are, as I said, broadly accepted outside of conservative circles) is that your normative vision is essentially an impossible one.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:56 PM on July 2


Notice how this 'narrow' ruling is, less than 72 hours later, has people trying to use it to justify discrimination against QUILTBAG folks? That is deeply disturbing.

Well, yes, and at the same time, since the ruling says on like page 5 that you cannot use it to discriminate against people for anything other than contraception, assholes are going to be assholes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:56 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I did wonder how many of the conservatives in the coat hanger article have a "Never Forget" bumper sticker or button or poster, which, by their logic, would be "celebrating" 9/11.

Or how many are cool with wearing necklaces with a cross on them.
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:58 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


Working my way through cjelli's Atlantic link re: LGBT employment rights. The letter is an important (and appalling) read.
Often, in American history--and, indeed, in partnership with your Administration--government and religious organizations have worked together to better serve the nation. An executive order that does not include a religious exemption will significantly and substantively hamper the work of some religious organizations that are best equipped to serve in common purpose with the federal government. In a concrete way, religious organizations will lose financial funding that allows them to serve others in the national interest due to their organizational identity. When the capacity of religious organizations is limited, the common good suffers.
...
As we know you understand, a religious exemption in this executive order would not guarantee that religious organizations would receive contracts. Instead, a religious exemption would simply maintain that religious organizations will not be automatically disqualified or disadvantaged in obtaining contracts because of their religious beliefs.
Essentially, they want federal contractors to have all the protections and benefits a corporation receives when contracting with the federal government, yet with the freedom of excluding LGBT workers from employment. Who's not to say those very LGBT people they seek to exclude are not "best equipped to serve in common purpose with the federal government"?

Better invest in some rock salt. Slippery slopes ahead.
posted by mochapickle at 12:59 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


How long exactly do you think that's going to last, r317? Not only did they make a sickening ruling, but they then left the door open for themselves to say "well, yeah we said before it could only be applied to X but...."

Unless I'm mistaken, someone's already referred to that a few hundred comments up, and that the court has done exactly that in another 'narrow' ruling that then got expanded? I may be crossing threads in my head.

I'm now very suddenly very worried about the SSM cases wending their way to SCOTUS for next term.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:01 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


How long exactly do you think that's going to last, r317? Not only did they make a sickening ruling, but they then left the door open for themselves to say "well, yeah we said before it could only be applied to X but...."

It's a good question. I honestly don't know the answer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on July 2


I think the answer is "as soon as another religious exemption case goes to SCOTUS."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:04 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Gah, over on the Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan can't understand what all the fuss is about?

Andrew, I don't even. You really disappoint me.
posted by newdaddy at 1:39 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


When I graduated college I worked for a temp agency that offered us some third party plans that were at a slight discount from just buying it yourself.

I was on birth control.

The prescription plan and medical plan did not cover pre-existing conditions for the first year.

They told me birth control was a pre existing condition and wouldn't be covered so I had to pay full price. And because I had income, I no longer qualified for the discounted rate at planned parenthood or any of the state aid programs. Also going to the lady parts doctor. I distinctly remember saying "of course it's pre-existing, I've always had ovaries."

(Fwiw everything was pre existing with them. I had a reaction to a medication I started taking while on the plan and had to go to the ER. They denied coverage because it was a pre existing condition. I had to spend almost a year getting doctors to sign forms saying I had never been treated for the reaction previously.)
posted by sio42 at 1:59 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan would sell his own mother to the devil if that's what it took to preserve his position as the preeminent "reasonable moderate" lapdog to conservatives.
posted by kagredon at 1:59 PM on July 2 [8 favorites]


From the Sullivan's column: When I see the panic and near-hysteria among some liberals in response to the Hobby Lobby ruling, I have to wonder what America they think they’re living in.

The one in which law after regulation upon assassination has for years now been put to service to restrict access by women to legal health care, Andrew. Come on over some time - this universe is right next door to yours.
posted by rtha at 2:03 PM on July 2 [15 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan would sell his own mother to the devil if that's what it took to preserve his position as the preeminent "reasonable moderate" lapdog to conservatives.


And many self-proclaimed liberals for that matter.

With reasonable moderates like that, that's how we end up in the polarized political situation we're in.

(But that's a derail I would engage in every time Sullivan is mentioned so will stop right now.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:06 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


"Andrew, I don't even. You really disappoint me."

Disappointed in professional disingenue Sullivan being baffled by right wing/libertarian attacks?
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Euurgh, why are we even discussing the latest fart symphony to come out of Andrew "What, Me, Disingenuous?" Sullivan's mouth?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:12 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Freedom Whore - Abortion, Shame, and the Right to Deny Me My Rights (by Martha Plimpton) (TW: graphic pictures)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:14 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


hobby lobby is already creating new religious demands on obama

:(
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 2:47 PM on July 2


Some of the comments on that Martha Plimpton article are amazing.

I am 71 years old and fought this fight once. In 1959 I lost a very close girl friend at 16 years of age when she in desperation over being pregnant and unmarried took a double barrel shotgun and put it against her pregnant belly and pulled the trigger. I vowed I would do what ever was necessary to change the way women were used and thrown away by men and the state. I still cry about her to this day.

Whatever it takes ladies, we can do it again. Abortion must be kept a safe and available choice for all women.

posted by kagredon at 2:51 PM on July 2 [16 favorites]


I keep reading RFRA as RTFA and expecting a call for the Justices to learn wtf an abortifacient actually is and I keep being disappointed
posted by NoraReed at 3:30 PM on July 2 [13 favorites]


For sure your tune would change, I suspect, if a Muslim employer decides to only hire women willing to wear a hijab as a uniform. It's that very hypocrisy that is a problem here.

Damn, maybe that's why I can't get seed funding for Wahhabi Lobby.
posted by psoas at 8:44 PM on July 2 [15 favorites]


Hobby Lobby's Labor Costs
You’ve probably heard the news: the U.S. Supreme Court has found in favor of Oklahoma-based retailer Hobby Lobby’s objection to providing its employees with birth control under Obamacare. The case’s breadth has been completely misinterpreted, though. Contrary to the mainstream opinion, it is not about “religious freedom.” It is true that Hobby Lobby’s managers and executives probably do have some private opposition to contraception (like a lot of people.) However, if we present this debate as being solely a question of religious freedom, then we lose track of what is really going on. Hobby Lobby, in alliance with the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, has invented a new way for employers to lower their labor costs. They are shielding it in a debate about religious freedom that is actually a paper tiger.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:39 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


For claims like that, I want more than a blog post with no numbers. Given that contraception tends to be cheaper than pregnancy, arguing that fighting contraception coverage is cheaper than paying for it is a dubious assertion, and one that I'd like to see some figures on.
posted by klangklangston at 12:50 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


JCPenney Allowed to Sacrifice Employees to Appease Cthulhu
The Penney estate, devout cultists and owners of the multibillion-dollar chain of mid-range department stores, joined by CEO Mike Ullman, sued the government in 2012 when new federal employee protections made it illegal for them to hire virgin maidens for the sole purpose of spilling their blood on the Altar of the Cosmos, with the hope that such an offering will prolong the Great Old One's slumber in the sunken city of R'lyeh.
posted by frimble at 12:52 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Time to deploy the chrono-ray upon Scalia the Hut and the other four stooges.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:53 AM on July 3


For all of you quinoa-eating, soy milk-drinking hippies out there, Eden Foods, Inc. makers of EdenSoy milk and other macrobiotic noms, also challenged ACA's mandatory contraception mandate in court.

This organic food company is refusing to pay for employees’ birth control [Grist]

[Owner Michael] Potter isn’t bothering to faux-apologize this time. He told The Daily Telegram of Adrian, Mich., that he’s “grateful” for the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling. And, just in case there’s any confusion about where he stands, he called President Obama a “dictator” who’s trying to take away citizens’ rights.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:51 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I tried to discuss basic human rights with Conservative Relative and Conservative Coworker (at different times) before all this. I asked if they felt every human had a basic right to food, shelter, and healthcare. They said sure, as long as they earn it.

So I think they and EdenSoy dude have a very different idea of what rights than I (and a lot of us) think.
posted by sio42 at 5:20 AM on July 3


fffm, you're backing yourself into a corner taking on all comers, including people who know more than you about the subject, to defend a poorly considered point.

You have yet to explain why.

Because "the law" is written as well as interpreted by people. It is not initially objective or made by superior beings for us to use. The argument that one interpretive rubric is "ideological" while another -- coincidentally the one you see as in your interest -- is "rational" is a classic example of hegemonic ideological rationalization. Substitute "divinely created" and you have the other side's key avoidance of admitting interest or bias. ("Strict constructionism" is a great example of how there is none so anti-ideological as an ideologue.)

You called out corb above for talking out of her ass about kashrut. Well, now you're talking out of the same orifice about legal and political theory on which there is a huge and complex literature.

There's an old joke among Marxist social scientists that goes: "You have an ideology, he has a culture, and I have a philosophy."

If you believe this decision was motivated by political ideology, that doesn't mean the alternative outcome you'd prefer would have been neutral. The law is created through political processes and enforced and applied through political processes. Of course its interpretation will always be political, and each competing interest will insist its interpretation is neutral legal rationality.

It's ok to be wrong sometimes.
posted by spitbull at 6:08 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Put differently, the use of the word "law" for human governmentality and for natural phenomena obscures a significant difference between the two contexts. Human "laws" only exist in the form in which they are practiced. That's why we have institutions designed to interpret them as part of our political system.
posted by spitbull at 6:18 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


spitbull: ahem.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:35 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


So I think they and EdenSoy dude have a very different idea of what rights than I (and a lot of us) think.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean, can you clarify?
posted by corb at 7:40 AM on July 3


I'm not sure I understand what you mean, can you clarify?

I think the sticking point is "as long as they earn it." Rights are not earned. I don't earn the right to free speech; I have the right to free speech.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:05 AM on July 3 [11 favorites]


Their claim was that they were obliged to use money belonging to the company to create an option for employees to use a medical product which the company's owners claim is contradictory to their religious beliefs. However:

1) that money used for health care is a portion of what employees would be getting as wages anyway, and thus belongs to the employee and not the company, and


That's really the most maddening thing about this to me. We've been conditioned to think about employer-provided health care in this way as if it's some random act of kindness. Even the word "provided" creates ambiguity in that regard. But until the ACA mandate (which still has a huge hole to drive through and an option to just pay a fine if you as an organization think it's wrong or it would be cheaper) it was just another thing a company decided to offer or not in order to attract labor. It's wages in a different form.

Since our goofball tax system means that it's untaxed compensation it's far better for you to get it from your employer than pay the same amount in post-tax wages, but it's still compensation. There are compelling arguments that wage stagnation has been in part or whole caused by rising health care costs.

So if we let HL and their like say they deserve an exemption because of what those compensation dollars are being spent on, why is there any line there? Why can't they say they now have a right to engage in decisions about how every penny of their employee's money is spent? Which of course opens the door to pretty much any sort of hiring discrimination against any class of workers. We're not letting women as a protected class be a preclude to the birth control issue so why would anything else matter?

The fact that health care purchasing is compulsory now (for a subset of employers) seems irrelevant to me. A minimum wage is also compulsory. You're compelled to pay that employee - so you have a say in what that payment gets used for now? Obviously it's not just the minimum wage portion of the salary that you should get control over - the majority of the cost of any health care plan cost is not birth control related, so you could just say that the employee payment portion covered that if you were apportioning.

So where do we stop?

I find claims that Scalia et all were obligated to make this ruling in light of the RFPA hard to swallow for my go-to Scalia reason: If the man could find it in his reasoning to say that an ounce of pot grown for personal consumption just might maybe cross state lines and because of that just might maybe possibility, the commerce clause applies... he had room to interpret an ambiguous use of "person" as a single entity with a heartbeat and had room to interpret least restrictive to include just paying the fine for not providing insurance.
posted by phearlez at 8:12 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I apologize, I misread that. I mean, I don't think that food,shelter, and healthcare are human rights either, but I thought sio42 was trying to say that there was a difference between their conservative friends and Edensoy.
posted by corb at 8:13 AM on July 3


Which of course opens the door to pretty much any sort of hiring discrimination against any class of workers.

I honestly believe that was the exact intent of this ruling. I commented somewhere above saying this, but basically I think they opened the door a tiny crack, claiming it can't be opened further... and magically, it'll get kicked wide open real soon. There's already people trying to use the decision to allow QUILTBAG discrimination. (Which I hope Obama will shut the hell down fast in light of his EO the other day forbidding discrimination on gender identity or sexual orientation in federal contractors.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:17 AM on July 3


Your daily awesome: Clergy Protest Supreme Court By Handing Out Condoms At Hobby Lobby
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:20 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I mean, I don't think that food,shelter, and healthcare are human rights either....

...The world seems to disagree with you upon that point.

I present to you Article 25, section 1 from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as drafted by 50 member states from the United Nations in 1948, and adopted later that year by all but eight member nations (who abstained, but did not dissent).
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 AM on July 3 [11 favorites]


I mean, I don't think that food,shelter, and healthcare are human rights either....

...The world seems to disagree with you upon that point.


Not to mention a famous guy from the Middle East.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:37 AM on July 3 [7 favorites]


sio42: "I tried to discuss basic human rights with Conservative Relative and Conservative Coworker (at different times) before all this. I asked if they felt every human had a basic right to food, shelter, and healthcare. They said sure, as long as they earn it.

So I think they and EdenSoy dude have a very different idea of what rights than I (and a lot of us) think.
"

They don't even understand the fucking CONCEPT of "rights", yet they blithely use "Freedom" and "Natural Rights" and "Natural Law" and "Constitution" over and over.

Fuck these troglodytic, misandrist, misanthropic humanoid entities.
posted by symbioid at 8:38 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Food goes towards Life - Shelter and Healthcare go towards Pursuit of Happiness, no? I guess Healthcare also aligns with Life. Why would a company get Liberty over those other base needs?
posted by agregoli at 8:38 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


The hypocrisy of people who say they believe in a "pro-life" stance, yet deny the very fundamental things required for life (by refusing to provide those things -- I mean, even if we're not going to talk about man as a social animal with certain social needs as well as the mere individual survival mechanism of food, shelter, water, which is the very very very minimum that any so-called "Pro-Lifer" should advocate for full provision of every human. Of course, since this isn't *really* about pro-life, and only about making a woman carry a child to term and then after that, you're on your own...

It's a sort of inverse of our modern "Socialism for the rich; Capitalism for everyone else": Instead of socialize the losses, privatize the gains, it's privatize the losses (that is, fuck you, you're carrying that baby and we won't do shit to help you, because "Socialism").

Pro-lifers who are pro-death penalty; pro-lifers who are for war are all fucking the biggest of hypocrites, and if they spent half as much time fighting against war and the death penalty, maybe we'd make the world a nicer place, instead of destroying half of it in the name of some fucking deity.
posted by symbioid at 8:50 AM on July 3


That's because they're not pro-life, they're anti-slut. Sure, there are a minority of anti-choicers who are consistent inasmuch as they are against death penalty and war--but for some reason they don't speak up much.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:52 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


And in case there was any doubt in your mind that for most conservatives it's all about the slut-hating:

Somebody get eyeballs on Sandra Fluke. She may do something dumb. After all now she has to pay for her own birth control.
— ericbolling (@ericbolling) June 30, 2014

My religion trumps your “right” to employer subsidized consequence free sex.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 30, 2014

More here.

(via TPM)
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:52 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


well there goes my good mood
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:56 AM on July 3


feckless fecal fear mongering: "That's because they're not pro-life, they're anti-slut."

They are also pro-me, anti-you (not you personally, the general you/other).
posted by Big_B at 8:57 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there's that too. Although the Venn diagram of 'anti-choice' and 'anti-queer' is almost a perfect circle, so they are anti-me personally.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:00 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Thanks for those who clarified.
Yes, I meant that the conservatives and edensoy guy do not think basic human rights are basic human rights but instead think depriving humans of those things is a right.
posted by sio42 at 9:03 AM on July 3


Ahem

No one said you had to respond, fffm. The general issue is still interesting and highly relevant, and you raised (perhaps introduced) a terminological point of confusion.

Claiming law can ever be made apolitically is a strategy for domination. No matter who claims it. Law is a fundamentally political institution in all human societies.
posted by spitbull at 9:05 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Spitbull, you addressed a comment to fffm. He responded by mentioning that he wasn't going to participate in that part of the thread any more. I think that's fair.

Continuing to address someone who has agreed to let something go is a little weird.
posted by mochapickle at 9:10 AM on July 3 [5 favorites]


Re: political vs. legal reasoning: I think understand both sides on this issue. To put a finer point on it, a justice can hold both political principles and legal principles, somewhat independently arrived at, and attempt to abide by them in all things. That justice, in considering a case, can start with the law as she understands it and reason from the facts using what her legal principles might be and arrive at an outcome which those who share her political principles might find erroneous. She would then have to decide which is more important, her legal or her political principles, no? Though I'm no SCOTUS scholar, I have the impression from my reading that this has happened to more than one justice in history and they end up siding with their legal principles. I think Sandra Day O'Connor may have experienced some of these events.

A worse case is a justice who decides what the outcome should be based on political beliefs and then finds a plausible-sounding legal rationale, but ignores many previously self-declared principles en route to that finding. Again, no legal scholar, but I get the impression that several current conservative justices have taken this route.

I'm not sure, but this may be what fffm was getting at, but perhaps inartfully so. Also, my reading of the issues may be totally off.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:49 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I allow that my initial quoting of the Declaration of Human Rights was in response to corb, but it strikes me that it's relevant to the general thread as well, namely:

* The United States signed this declaration in 1948. It was one of the nations that wrote this declaration. So in doing so, it pledged to acknowledge that everyone has the right to "medical care and necessary social services".

I wonder - if a member nations' government drops the ball, is there a way for a citizen of that nation to go to an even higher tribunal? What I'm getting at is - this case was escalated through the state courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, can it be escalated up even further whereby someone at Hobby Lobby brings a case all the way to the U.N.?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:18 AM on July 3


Mental Wimp, the problem is that so-called legal principles and so-called political principles are not nearly as discrete as one might like to think. People do not get to "choose" between the two, even if they really are consciously trying to keep everything separate. This is not just an issue of inartful phrasing, but of bad framing. When one's arguments rely on such a false dichotomy, the building blocks are not in place to tackle these issues.

Legal realism is a very, very big topic within jurisprudence. If you really do think that the entire legal realism movement has been a sham, then people are going to expect a much more involved explanation as to why you think so, based on something more substantive than a "common sense" feeling, or a glance at Wikipedia.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:30 AM on July 3


Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as drafted by 50 member states from the United Nations in 1948, and adopted later that year by all but eight member nations (who abstained, but did not dissent).

It is a non-binding resolution, adopted by diplomats and official governments from many countries, in a particular year 60 years ago. That does not mean, despite its grandiose title, that the majority of the world's population or even of the nations of the world and their diplomats agree with its principles currently.
posted by corb at 10:33 AM on July 3


Can we not have the stupid goddamn magical unicorn candy argument yet again?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on July 3 [11 favorites]


In fact, it's also worth noting that there is cricitism of its principles belonging primarily to a specific subset of Western practices yet claiming universality.
What needs to be pointed out to those who uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be the highest, or sole, model, of a charter of equality and liberty for all human beings, is that given the Western origin and orientation of this Declaration, the "universality" of the assumptions on which it is based is - at the very least - problematic and subject to questioning.
posted by corb at 10:38 AM on July 3


That does not mean, despite its grandiose title, that the majority of the world's population or even of the nations of the world and their diplomats agree with its principles currently.

The claim was "rights than I (and a lot of us) [believe in]." It was not "the majority of the world's population [believes this]." Please, don't shift the goalposts before the World Cup is over.
posted by cjelli at 10:38 AM on July 3 [9 favorites]


Also, they are perfectly reasonable principles. What rights do people have inherently then? The right to give fuck all about their fellow humans?
posted by agregoli at 10:41 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


With respect to ideology and legal realism, I think the problem with this decision is that its central holding, that corporations can exercise religion, relies on no legal precedent, so the ideology of the five Catholic men who make up the majority opinion is relevant in a way that it might not be if they had been able to cite any kind of legal basis for that holding other than "Hobby Lobby believes X, and that's good enough for us." Well of course it is -- you're all Catholics who believe that contraception is wrong.

It's undeniable that ideology plays a part in all legal opinions, but when you're essentially inventing a new doctrine of corporate exercise of religion, it's proper for people to question whether your ideology may be playing too large part in your opinion. Of course we can't do anything about it other than wait for new justices, but I understand why people are upset about the ideology of the Justices playing such a huge part in this.

This is why Supreme Court nominations are so powerful -- they get the hard cases, the ones that often rely on a Justice using their own beliefs about how the world works to interpret the law, and in some cases, such as this one, to create law out of whole cloth. The only way to respond is to get better Justices on the court, ones that represent more diversity of opinion and experience than the current set.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:46 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


And those criticisms are wrong because they commit the genetic fallacy.

The majority of countries in the world at the very least pay lip service to the ideal of human rights. It is also the case that human rights treaties have an independent effect on countries to refrain from violating human rights.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:51 AM on July 3


"In fact, it's also worth noting that there is cricitism of its principles belonging primarily to a specific subset of Western practices yet claiming universality."

To cherry pick that quote from the linked article is disingenuous. Especially since it makes clear that within an Islamic academic context, the right to "medical care and social services" is implied through the "right to sustenance."

There are legitimate criticisms of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as rights theory in general, but this criticism is not one that supports your contention in any meaningful way.

(Be aware that some of us have already encountered this essay and others like it, so aren't going to accept a naive gloss.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on July 3 [9 favorites]


corb: In fact, it's also worth noting that there is cricitism of its principles belonging primarily to a specific subset of Western practices yet claiming universality.

That is a very interesting essay which I'm bookmarking but it's important to note that the author does not reach the conclusion that human rights don't exist within Islam or are unimportant, the way the Chinese government sometimes does relative to Chinese thought and culture when they want to justify harvesting organs from political prisoners or executing journalists.

He or she is just objecting to the modern conception and enumeration of human rights being derived entirely from Western and Soviet thought and culture and is saying that this fact causes serious problems for Muslim women who recognize human rights problems with the treatment of women and partriarchical structures in their cultures and then have no context other than the Western, fairly anti-Islam context, under which to advocate for human rights.

The essay goes on to enumerate a proposed list of human rights derived from Quranic and Islamic scholarship, coming up with a few that surprisingly parallel the more socialist and Communist end of the UNHDR like a "Right to Develop One's Aesthetic Sensibilities and Enjoy the Bounties Created by God" and a "Right to ‘The Good Life’".
posted by XMLicious at 11:24 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]


An illustrated guide to american personhood.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:29 AM on July 3 [4 favorites]


it's important to note that the author does not reach the conclusion that human rights don't exist within Islam or are unimportant, the way the Chinese government sometimes does relative to Chinese thought and culture when they want to justify harvesting organs from political prisoners or executing journalists.

If there is a culture which does not have some conception of human rights, I have not personally encountered it, and would disbelieve in its existence unless given evidence otherwise. It's my understanding that every culture and people has its own concept of what human rights are, but those definitions vary according to a lot of cultural principles, which differ according to geography, positioning, religion, and a host of other things. The Chinese government may declare that human rights don't exist, but that's a really different thing from saying that Chinese thought and culture has not acknowledged human rights.

My beef is more with the idea that there even can be any kind of universality when it comes to the issue of human rights. Collectivist societies are going to have different ideas than individualist societies, honor cultures from non-honor cultures. Maybe it's the postmodernist in me, but I would say that in that case, elevating one particular definition of what human rights are over other definitions, and expecting it to apply broadly to every society on the globe - or more specifically, expecting that everyone should share that definition simply because it has been codified by some for others - would be problematic.
posted by corb at 12:04 PM on July 3


What are we crafting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Hobby Lobby case?

Shameless self-link to another share on my knitting blog's Facebook page, but it is a damn good share.
posted by orange swan at 12:12 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want to Have Birth Control
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:43 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


"If there is a culture which does not have some conception of human rights, I have not personally encountered it, and would disbelieve in its existence unless given evidence otherwise. It's my understanding that every culture and people has its own concept of what human rights are, but those definitions vary according to a lot of cultural principles, which differ according to geography, positioning, religion, and a host of other things."

While not an extant culture, Classical Greece had no real conception of human rights that would make sense to us today, and Classical Greek thought is still incredibly present in Western conceptions of politics. Notably, the Greeks had no real concept of individual rights, but rather duties and responsibilities to the Polis along with a social stricture that encouraged different levels of freedom. But Aristotle's ruminations on slavery can't be really squared with any coherent rights theory as we understand it today, which is really an outgrowth of Enlightenment values. But even in early Enlightenment political thought, e.g. the Republicanism of Machiavelli, arguments were generally justified through consequence rather than rights (i.e. Machiavelli believed that republics were the best form of government for ensuring the general prosperity or avoiding ruin for states, not that people had an inherent right to self government). Even the "rights" language of the essay you linked is somewhat dubious; it's reframing a lot of stuff that is seen as theological obligation into the language of rights. That's because of Western cross pollination in political theory, not because of the language of the Quran.

Seriously, despite your ecumenical impulse of allowing different formulations of human rights, you're still being doubly myopic by grounding this in your experience (i.e. "personally encountered") and Western rights theory.

My beef is more with the idea that there even can be any kind of universality when it comes to the issue of human rights. Collectivist societies are going to have different ideas than individualist societies, honor cultures from non-honor cultures. Maybe it's the postmodernist in me, but I would say that in that case, elevating one particular definition of what human rights are over other definitions, and expecting it to apply broadly to every society on the globe - or more specifically, expecting that everyone should share that definition simply because it has been codified by some for others - would be problematic."

That's not a coherent argument against the idea that access to medical care and social services is a universal human right. You're muddled on universalism and rights, but by attempting to argue against the universalism of human rights, you're engaging in a semantic argument without actually arguing against the precept. As mentioned above, Islamic philosophy can be translated into a rights-based rubric without losing the applicability; the Chinese government denies the idea of human rights because of a specific bias that they have with regard to their authoritarian state, but they don't deny a general obligation of the state to provide medical care and social services. You can see that in the general Chinese philosophy of the "mandate of heaven." It's worth noting that even outside of "rights" specifically, both Chinese and Islamic political philosophies deal extensively with "justice." "Rights" are one way of formulating justice; they would have been incoherent to Socrates, but The Republic is all about how to conceive of justice. (Hell, even monkeys recognize fairness and justice.)

Arguments about elevating or privileging one conception of rights over another have to be made with the specifics of those contentions, and the post-modern critiques here are too general to be applicable at the level you've made them.
posted by klangklangston at 12:59 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


the Chinese government denies the idea of human rights because of a specific bias that they have with regard to their authoritarian state, but they don't deny a general obligation of the state to provide medical care and social services. You can see that in the general Chinese philosophy of the "mandate of heaven."

I think it's important to note that even under some cultures which feel it's an obligation of various classes or state agencies to provide care for others, it doesn't need to be, and often is not, formulated as a right that individuals are entitled to - which is what I think is causing this misconception that the "more conservative" do not believe in providing care to others simply because they may have said people are entitled only to what they can earn. The concept of noblesse oblige (which is actually a concept I was raised in and do believe in) means that as a privileged person, you have some obligation to provide for those who are less well off than you or under your responsibility - but it doesn't claim that those people have a specific claim to a specific standard of living that you must provide. The charity that you are expected by right of birth and privilege to provide is something you owe yourself and your family and your honor to do, not that other people are owed by virtue of their being born.

The concepts of noblesse oblige or charity are, in fact, really important ones to a lot of conservatives, but the thing is, they are diametrically opposed to and cannot exist alongside a concept of entitlement. If someone has a right to demand something of you, then you are not demonstrating anything about charity or honor in providing it - it is being demanded at the point of a sword and you have every right to strongly oppose it. It's the same reason some religions strongly oppose church and state being combined - not because it will pollute the state, but because it will pollute the religion - because people will be forced to be righteous and not be righteous from their own choice, thus perverting the concept of moral free will.

I consider myself conservative in a lot of ways politically, and I oppose the concept of the state forcing people to provide social services, but I spend a lot of my free time and money engaged in providing for the poor and those who are otherwise vulnerable. I work in a field that allows me to do so, even though I make less than 1/3 of the pay in that field as another one I am equally qualified for, but does not allow me to do so. I won't get in a pissing contest about who helps people more, but I will certainly say that I strongly feel my own charitable endeavours can hold up their head in the company of others here.

I oppose the concept of a "human right" to food, shelter, or medical care, but that doesn't mean I don't think it's a good and kind and honorable thing to provide if you can - and there is a strong cultural misunderstanding if you are conflating one with the other.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on July 3


I oppose the concept of a "human right" to food, shelter, or medical care

And yet you support the right to own guns. Which are obviously far more important than being able to eat, stay healthy, and have a roof over your head. /hamburger

People gotta look after each other. People cannot be trusted to do so voluntarily, and indeed the majority of people cannot afford to do so. What you're talking about is essentially the whole notion of monarchy and aristocracy that your country had a bit of a disagreement with a couple hundred years ago.

Food, shelter, and medical care are basic human rights. Period. There is not a single cogent argument saying otherwise that doesn't boil down to "Fuck you, I got mine."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:33 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering, I absolutely agree with you, but I also feel there's a difference between a human right and a Constitutional right. And things like food, shelter and medical care should be both.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:38 PM on July 3


My beef is more with the idea that there even can be any kind of universality when it comes to the issue of human rights. Collectivist societies are going to have different ideas than individualist societies, honor cultures from non-honor cultures. Maybe it's the postmodernist in me, but I would say that in that case, elevating one particular definition of what human rights are over other definitions, and expecting it to apply broadly to every society on the globe - or more specifically, expecting that everyone should share that definition simply because it has been codified by some for others - would be problematic.

More problematic than affording any powerful entity the opportunity to hand-wave away basically any mistreatment of people, though? It does seem to me that there is in reality a great deal of commonality in the sort of fair treatment that can be demanded and compelled between individuals at some level in society who are regarded as equals, even in the cases where the exercise of concentrated power has assured that this only applies among a very small group of aristocrats or oligarchs. I think differences have much more to do with categorically including and excluding who is an equal and peer, like excluding all women, excluding those who aren't members of the right religion, or those who aren't members of the right sect of the right religion.

I believe that individual religious freedom is important too, but as many people have articulated above this looks rather more like the incremental accumulation of power and an attempt to exercise control over other people in society rather than a genuine exercise of individual religious beliefs within the bounds of individual citizenship. The fact that they have no qualms about paying for investment in companies that make contraceptives inclines me to think that if we could have NSA-like knowledge of the people whose supposed genuine religious beliefs are being gestalted into those of the Hobby Lobby corporate entity, we would probably find that they actually don't mind contraceptives so much when there's some personal benefit to them involved.

Sort of like how in hindsight we found out that almost all (all?) of the Republican ringleaders of the Monica Lewinsky affair either went on to have their own illicit extramarital liasons or actually had both wives and mistresses at the time they were prosecuting the campaign against Bill Clinton. (Which is hypocrisy of the sort I'm sure that Democratic politicians would just as readily engage in, it's just that Republicans seem to be gifted at providing the most ostentatious and clear examples of it in concert, so frequently the dominant contenders for the Gold Medal in Synchronized Cravenness.)

But even if the Hobby Lobby corporate person's parents scrupulously practice what they preach, you can also have a genuine religious belief that people who are unfit according to some religious standard should be executed, and we don't allow that.

That's on the other side of the point where your individual religious practices and beliefs override those of the other people whom you want all of the benefits from living in a society with. And so is the point where you want your religious beliefs to propagate through all of the business and financial mechanisms society has set up and maintains for our collective benefits, when it's to the degree that you want the abstract legal-financial instruments you participate in which society has set up and invested with all sorts of special protections and abilities to radiate and enforce your religious beliefs with a compulsion that can trump and deny the basic work and health benefits and protections society accords to its members - benefits which, by the way, are of much smaller magnitude and monetary value that what society furnishes to the owners of Hobby Lobby through the ability to leverage themselves and shield themselves via corporate organization.
posted by XMLicious at 1:39 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I oppose the concept of a "human right" to food, shelter, or medical care

I cannot understand this at all. It seems like the most immoral of possible stances, even if you spend time trying to help people out of the goodness of your heart. I just don't understand how having those views can square with a self-conception as a good person.
posted by OmieWise at 1:42 PM on July 3 [10 favorites]


> And in case there was any doubt in your mind that for most conservatives it's all about the slut-hating: More here.

Jesus fuck that's depressing. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there's a #CloseYourLegs hashtag. Ugh.
posted by homunculus at 1:44 PM on July 3


I also feel there's a difference between a human right and a Constitutional right.

Yeah, and the first trumps the second, in spades, as far as I'm concerned.


And things like food, shelter and medical care should be both.

No argument here whatsoever. I'd love to see the Canadian Constitution amended to include that very clause, actually. I'd love to see the US Constitution also amended in the same way.

I cannot understand this at all. It seems like the most immoral of possible stances, even if you spend time trying to help people out of the goodness of your heart. I just don't understand how having those views can square with a self-conception as a good person.

Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:44 PM on July 3


Yeah, and the first trumps the second, in spades, as far as I'm concerned.

Yeah, for sure.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:46 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Noblesse oblige means people can only lift themselves up as far their benefactor sees fit.
This country has touted itself as a place of freedom and opportunity. This means a level playing field, which various groups have fought tough battles to make level and it's still not.

This country was not set out to be and will not become a land of serfs begging for a scrap from the lord and lady's table. This ruling puts employees as serfs, hoping for a benevolent overlord.

Fuck that shit. We have a government by, of, and for the the people...women are people, African Americans are people, LGBTQ are people, people in poverty are people.

Our government is here to benefit us, the people, all of us. To bring up noblesse oblige in a thread where an entire class of people has now been made to be second class, and the door has been opened to do the same to other classes, seems utterly and willfully delusional.
posted by sio42 at 1:54 PM on July 3 [5 favorites]


Holy shit (pdf)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:59 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


noblesse oblige or charity

I think you ought to know, I regard it as extremely sketchy and deceptive to interchangeably swap around "charity" and "noblesse oblige" when the latter is being used in its original meaning as a member of a hereditary nobility preserving the public image and self-image of innate superiority of their family and class as an "obligation" to themselves, rather than even the 20th century meaning of "nobility" as "selflessly gentlemanly or ladylike and virtuous of character".
posted by XMLicious at 2:01 PM on July 3 [10 favorites]


"I think it's important to note that even under some cultures which feel it's an obligation of various classes or state agencies to provide care for others, it doesn't need to be, and often is not, formulated as a right that individuals are entitled to - which is what I think is causing this misconception that the "more conservative" do not believe in providing care to others simply because they may have said people are entitled only to what they can earn."

Well, yes, if you wrongly construct a rights theory, then you shouldn't be surprised that many states don't adhere to it. You're mistaking your over-emphasis on individualism through Western liberalism for a determinant statement on normative state roles. Translating an "entitlement" to an obligation framing doesn't actually achieve the rhetorical goal you're hoping for.

"The concept of noblesse oblige (which is actually a concept I was raised in and do believe in) means that as a privileged person, you have some obligation to provide for those who are less well off than you or under your responsibility - but it doesn't claim that those people have a specific claim to a specific standard of living that you must provide. The charity that you are expected by right of birth and privilege to provide is something you owe yourself and your family and your honor to do, not that other people are owed by virtue of their being born. "

Right, and that's why "noblesse oblige" is not a functional theory of rights or states or justice, and is instead an archaic social notion that would be daft to use as a construction of state obligation or even individual obligation (moral strictures aren't congruent to state obligations; the "oblige" there is a sloppy artifact of language).

"The concepts of noblesse oblige or charity are, in fact, really important ones to a lot of conservatives, but the thing is, they are diametrically opposed to and cannot exist alongside a concept of entitlement."

That's incoherent nonsense. Noblesse oblige did, in fact, exist alongside a concept of entitlement. In fact, even at the literal sense of entitlement with property, it's just gibberish to hold that noblesse oblige didn't exist with entitlement — the notion of property right at its barest individualistic/liberal sense is that one is entitled to do what one wishes with property, and that may include charity or noblesse oblige (which, again, it's worth distinguishing noblesse oblige from an actual obligation in law).

"If someone has a right to demand something of you, then you are not demonstrating anything about charity or honor in providing it - it is being demanded at the point of a sword and you have every right to strongly oppose it."

This is incoherent nonsense polluted with Xeroxed Randism. At the very simplest, it's disproven by basic contract law (to keep on a property scheme that you should have fewer objections to) — one can be charitable or honorable by fulfilling the terms of a contract without contesting it or seeking to undermine it, even if that contesting or undermining is formally legal; for example, acting within the spirit and the letter instead of just the letter.

"It's the same reason some religions strongly oppose church and state being combined - not because it will pollute the state, but because it will pollute the religion - because people will be forced to be righteous and not be righteous from their own choice, thus perverting the concept of moral free will. "

That's irrelevant to the arguments here on rights; there are significant differences between arguing for underlying human rights and separation of church and state.

"I consider myself conservative in a lot of ways politically, and I oppose the concept of the state forcing people to provide social services, but I spend a lot of my free time and money engaged in providing for the poor and those who are otherwise vulnerable."

That's great, but it's vanity. Personal, individually and capriciously provided social services are ineffective. It's essentially moral masturbation when compared to doing broader social good with the reach of the state.

"I work in a field that allows me to do so, even though I make less than 1/3 of the pay in that field as another one I am equally qualified for, but does not allow me to do so. I won't get in a pissing contest about who helps people more, but I will certainly say that I strongly feel my own charitable endeavours can hold up their head in the company of others here. "

Psst, I'm writing this from work. This is an irrelevant contention meant to buttress your individual moral claims, but it doesn't support your argument.

"I oppose the concept of a "human right" to food, shelter, or medical care, but that doesn't mean I don't think it's a good and kind and honorable thing to provide if you can - and there is a strong cultural misunderstanding if you are conflating one with the other."

Right. You have an incoherent liberal individualistic philosophy that you assuage through individual work while ignoring the broader picture. We've gone through this before. It's essentially magical thinking.
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on July 3 [18 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: Holy shit (pdf)

If you give a mouse a cookie, it'll want an injunction.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:04 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Ugh, I guess it's not unexpected, but to everyone saying that if the employer doesn't provide the coverage, the insurer can.... SCOTUS just gave the insurer and the employer a clear path to say no.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:06 PM on July 3


Wow, I didn't realize that Wheaton was run by assholes. I thought they were a liberal liberal arts college.
posted by klangklangston at 2:07 PM on July 3


Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Audio of oral arguements ... sort of interesting to hear the tone and interruption patterns of both the justices and lawyers. There are distinct sides being taken. Mr Clement stood his ground and argued vigorously and was mainly questioned by Sotomayor, Ginsberg and Kagen. When Gen. Verrill tried to make the government's case he was pounded by Scalia, Roberts and Alito. Bryer tried to help him but he seemed flustered. Kennedy did nothing spectacular and Thomas remained abstinent.



That's so much better than my plan to go and shit in the aisles.
Man walks into bank Hobby Lobby and POOS on floor several times with a 'calm but angry' look.
posted by phoque at 2:24 PM on July 3


From the dissent in the Wheaton College injunction:
And the Court concluded that the accommodation “constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government’s aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty.” Ibid. Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today. After expressly relying on the availability of the religious-nonprofit accommodation to hold that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates RFRA as applied toclosely held for-profit corporations, the Court now, as the dissent in Hobby Lobby feared it might, see ante, at 29–30 (GINSBURG, J., dissenting), retreats from that position.
Gettin' testy.
posted by notyou at 2:26 PM on July 3 [9 favorites]


So far, the money quote from that PDF seems to be:
This grant of equitable power is a failsafe, "to be used sparingly and only in the most critical and exigent circumstances." ... Scalia, J, in chambers.
Emphasis mine.

And, holy fuck, they did exactly as predicted; left themselves an opening that could be cracked wide open by every immoral asshole who doesn't believe women deserve access to basic healthcare.

To expand on r317's point, for anyone not reading the PDF, it basically boils down to: insurers and third party administrators are only required to provide contraception services if the appropriate HHS form is filled out. Wheaton refuses to fill out the form, arguing (wrongly, in Sotomayor's well-reasoned and well-written opinion) that it places a burden on their exercise of religion by forcing them to make someone else provide contraception. Sotomayor points out that this is blatantly untrue; it is the government that forces someone to pay for it; filling out the form (which is like, four boxes to fill in) merely affirms that you are claiming the religious exemption.

This Hobby Lobby decision just keeps getting worse and worse and worse. Expect Roe to be essentially overturned within two years if someone can get a case to SCOTUS, imo.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:26 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Gettin' testy.

And how!
[P]utting...aside [the burden this ruling would place on HHS], why wouldn’t Wheaton’s claim be exactly the same under the Court’s newly-fashioned system [of notifying the government instead of a provider]? Either way, the end result will be that a third-party administrator will provide contraceptive coverage. Surely the Court and Wheaton are not just objecting to the use of one stamp instead of two in order to avail itself of the accommodation.
posted by cjelli at 2:30 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


> Wow, I didn't realize that Wheaton was run by assholes. I thought they were a liberal liberal arts college.

There's Wheaton College Illinois, and Wheaton College, Massachusetts.

Wheaton College, Massachusetts, is a historic women's college, recently co-ed, and like you described. Their motto is "That They May Have Life and Have it Abundantly" (Yes, I've got a personal connection.)

Wheaton College, Illinois - I believe it's got pretty good academics, but I'd call it a bible college. Its motto is "For Christ and His Kingdom". Christ is very worried about women's uterine linings.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:37 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


Apropos tweet for throwback Thursday from President Obama.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:42 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Legal realism is a very, very big topic within jurisprudence.

Yes, but is it au courant?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:46 PM on July 3


Holy shit (pdf)

When was this posted? NY Times and Scotusblog and everyone don't seem to be on it yet. Lyle must have thought he'd have the weekend off.

Sotomayor points out that this is blatantly untrue; it is the government that forces someone to pay for it; filling out the form (which is like, four boxes to fill in) merely affirms that you are claiming the religious exemption.

Well no. Because you don't have to merely fill out the form. You have to fill out the form and send it to the administrator to provide notice that they have to provide contraception. Which seems totally unneccesary. Why can't you just object to the government? It's their regulation you're objecting to after all, not the administrators? If you're gonna arms-length something, arms-length it, don't half-ass the arms-lengthing.

Wheaton College, Illinois - I believe it's got pretty good academics, but I'd call it a bible college.

A bible college is a specific thing, not just a college with a religious mission and the founding of Wheaton College (IL) predates the bible college movement and emerges from a different historical place.
posted by Jahaza at 2:48 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Well no. Because you don't have to merely fill out the form. You have to fill out the form and send it to the administrator to provide notice that they have to provide contraception.

Well yes. Read the PDF. That is what Sotomayor said.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:49 PM on July 3


Surely the Court and Wheaton are not just objecting to the use of one stamp instead of two in order to avail itself of the accommodation.

The story about the conscientious objector in the dissent can be turned to show the difference here.

The conscientious objector objects to being drafted, tells the government, and then the government goes out and finds someone else to draft.

Under the ACA regulation model, the conscientious objector objects to being drafted and signs a notification, which he or she then has to send to someone else telling them that, because of their objection, that person is drafter instead.

I think it's reasonable to morally distinguish the cases. (If the underlying act, provision of military service or provision of birth control, is the kind of thing you object to in the first place.)

And the moral distinction is the essence of the difference in considering a religious burdening, not a difference in procedural outcome.
posted by Jahaza at 2:52 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Unless you're suggesting that I've misrepresented what Justice Sotomayor said?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:54 PM on July 3


Well yes. Read the PDF. That is what Sotomayor said.

Thanks, I did read the PDF. I'm responding to what you wrote in addition to what she wrote. The point is that filing out the form is not all that the regulation requires the objector to do. There's nothing objectionable about literally filing out the form.
posted by Jahaza at 2:54 PM on July 3


Responding to 5:54, previous comment responds to 5:49

I'm suggesting that either or both of you are wrong if you think the issue is just filing out a form.
posted by Jahaza at 2:56 PM on July 3


Well, yes. They can't just fill out the form and leave it sitting on a desk somewhere, they do actually have to send it in.

Wheaton is, in fact, objecting to actually filling out the form.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:56 PM on July 3


I'm suggesting that either or both of you are wrong if you think the issue is just filing out a form.

I'm suggesting, in that case, that you re-read the dissent. That is exactly the objection that Wheaton raised.

Under the ACA regulation model, the conscientious objector objects to being drafted and signs a notification, which he or she then has to send to someone else telling them that, because of their objection, that person is drafter instead.

This is more or less the opposite of what Sotomayor said. She made it quite clear that the government and the law create the obligation for someone to pay for contraception, and that filling out that form is merely saying "Not me." It is not forcing Wheaton to place the burden on someone else, because that burden already exists. Your twisting of the conscientious objector example is not helpful, because it's completely wrong.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:01 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Wheaton College, Illinois - I believe it's got pretty good academics, but I'd call it a bible college. Its motto is "For Christ and His Kingdom". Christ is very worried about women's uterine linings.

I went to Wheaton (the IL one) and yeah it's definitely not a Bible college, although it is strongly, strongly Evangelical. My impression while there is that about 50% of the student body would be totes on board with all this crazy bullshit, about 10% of the faculty would be on board, about 100% of the administration, and about 900% of the alumni donors. Unfortunately guess who calls the shots.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:03 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Responding to 5:54, previous comment responds to 5:49

I'm suggesting that either or both of you are wrong if you think the issue is just filing out a form.
posted by Jahaza at 2:56 PM on July 3 [+] [!]


Well, yes. They can't just fill out the form and leave it sitting on a desk somewhere, they do actually have to send it in.

Wheaton is, in fact, objecting to actually filling out the form.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:56 PM on July 3 [+] [!]


Seriously? I want to scream. If a company decides to provide cars to its employees as a benefit, the vehicles still have to meet all the federal regulations of street-legal automobiles, including headlights, airbags, and, yes, even the morally objectionable seatbelts. This is for the protection not only of the driver but everyone else on the road. No religion, no matter how staid and full of SCOTUS justices, would be allowed to exempt itself from this requirement because sanity. But when it comes to health insurance and lady parts, oh, my. Even though the preventive care requirements are not only for the policy holder's, but everyone's benefit, now we get all squishy and whisper urgently to each other about how far these poor religious folk can be pushed in taking some of the employee's compensation and buying health insurance coverage for them. It's bullshit.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:04 PM on July 3 [8 favorites]


It seems like the most immoral of possible stances

That's exactly why libertarians are so proud of taking such a stance. I got mine, you aren't my problem, society is a fiction, only individuals have agency, here have a cookie peasant, aren't I nice?
posted by spitbull at 3:07 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


The concept of noblesse oblige (which is actually a concept I was raised in and do believe in)

In case anyone doubted whether the end goal of libertarianism is feudalism.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:17 PM on July 3 [7 favorites]


So, okay, basically what SCOTUS has done now has said that the government now has to contact the insurer and make them pay?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:18 PM on July 3


Wheaton is, in fact, objecting to actually filling out the form.

I'm not sure that's the case. See my comment at 5:52 about the draft objector analogy. And see the court's order today that suggests that the notice that was provided willingly by Wheaton to HHS (not using the form) is legally sufficient to invoke the provision of contraceptives legally required by the insurer:
"the applicant has already notified the Government—without using EBSA Form 700—that it meets the requirements for exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement on religious grounds."
And then there's this:
"The applicant contends, by contrast, that the obligations of its health insurance issuer and third-party administrator are dependent on their receipt of notice that the applicant objects to the contraceptive coverage requirement."
Which suggests to me by implication that it's the direct conveyance of the notice, not the certification (which is what I take to be equivalent to "filing out the form") that Wheaton objects to. (It would be helpful to have their brief.)

(Boy am I glad I qualified my comment yesterday with a "may." I wasn't expecting this.)

This is more or less the opposite of what Sotomayor said.

Well that's kind of the point.

Your twisting of the conscientious objector example is not helpful, because it's completely wrong.

I think we can disagree without engaging in hostile rhetoric about how we disagree.

If a company decides to provide cars to its employees as a benefit,

One of the very issues here is that the company is by law required to provide the "cars" to its employees or pay economic penalties while depriving its employees of health coverage.

So, okay, basically what SCOTUS has done now has said that the government now has to contact the insurer and make them pay?

They've said that if the government wants to make the insurer pay they may do the notification of the insurer and that if the organizations notify HHS (not using the form) the government is enjoined from punishing them. Technically, the government isn't required by the order to notify the insurers.
posted by Jahaza at 3:20 PM on July 3


The problem is with the law as written, the insurer (or 3rd party) isn't required to pay unless the form is filled out and sent in, near as I can figure. No form, no legal basis to make them pay. That's what I meant about cracking the 'narrow' ruling wide open.

The question is, how on earth is the government supposed to know who is claiming the religious exemption if they won't say they are?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:21 PM on July 3


I think we can disagree without engaging in hostile rhetoric about how we disagree.

It would help if you didn't twist examples to suit your unique notion of how the burden is constructed and what the notification form actually does.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:23 PM on July 3


This NYTimes article infers that it IS about the form:

The difference between a form sent to insurance companies and plan administrators on the one hand and a letter sent to the government on the other mattered, the college told the justices, “because it believes, as a religious matter, that signing the form would be impermissibly facilitating abortions and therefore forbidden,” the brief said.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:24 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


The question is, how on earth is the government supposed to know who is claiming the religious exemption if they won't say they are?

Because they are willing to tell and have told the government that they are claiming the religious exemption.
posted by Jahaza at 3:26 PM on July 3


I... don't even know what to say to that. I think you must have read a different dissent than I did.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:28 PM on July 3


> The question is, how on earth is the government supposed to know who is claiming the religious exemption if they won't say they are?

Because they are willing to tell and have told the government that they are claiming the religious exemption.


No, the fact that they've written a letter rather than fillling out the form is a sign that they are not "willing" but instead are trying to have it both ways. They're like a sulky little kid whining that "you just said to get in the bath, mom, you didn't say I had to use soaaaaaaaap....."

Wheaton thinks they can get away with covering their ass by writing a letter rather than filling out the form, so they can pat themselves on the back for not having caved in but still be able to turn around and say "but, look, we didn't fill out the form, so we technically didn't comply with a policy that'd give out evil birth control." It gives them too much of a chance to say "well, actually, it's not the form so we technically didn't agree to that."

It's stupid. Fill out the form or don't. A "letter" isn't the same thing because a letter is not the legally-binding document that the law requires.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:40 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


If a company decides to provide cars to its employees as a benefit, the vehicles still have to meet all the federal regulations of street-legal automobiles, including headlights, airbags, and, yes, even the morally objectionable seatbelts. This is for the protection not only of the driver but everyone else on the road.

Jesus, take the wheel.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:40 PM on July 3


"That's exactly why libertarians are so proud of taking such a stance. I got mine, you aren't my problem, society is a fiction, only individuals have agency, here have a cookie peasant, aren't I nice?"

Which is also why it's totally o_0 to try to use non-Western state/justice/rights concepts to support a radically individualistic Western liberal conception of responsibility. There are trade offs in how other cultures conceptualize rights theories versus how America does, but basically none of them are more individualistic — they would all argue for a greater obligation/entitlement framework.

I dunno, I've obviously got my own set of biases, but I went to a third-tier state school and still managed to get a critique of American foundational documents and assumptions as part of my basic education. If anything, I would have thought that it'd be more prevalent, given that it's a core part of Plato's Republic, which is pretty damn cheap to teach.

I'm struggling to come up with an analogy because understanding that tension between individual liberty and "general welfare" is so fundamental to every political system ever. It's practically on the level of Newton's laws in physics, except that no one reads Newton because he was an appallingly abstruse author even for his time. But it's something that you should be conversant with if you want to have any sort of credible political discussion about American politics — knowing why the framers made the decisions they did is important, even if you disagree with them (and I disagree with them on plenty of points). And didn't every undergrad who had to take an American Politics or Civics class have at least one asshole who couldn't even conceive of any criticisms of Locke's Second Treatise? This stuff is 400 years old and still relevant, so it's not like there hasn't been ample opportunity to think about it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:41 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


The Wheaton brief is here(pdf).

roomthreeseventeen, they do in several places say just "signing" as is reflected in that NY Times article, but they also (e.g. on page seven) repeatedly say "signing and delivering" (i.e. to the insurer/administrator) is what they are objecting to.
posted by Jahaza at 3:41 PM on July 3


From the dissent: “Not every sincerely felt ‘burden’ is a ‘substantial’ one, and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:47 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


It's stupid. Fill out the form or don't. A "letter" isn't the same thing because a letter is not the legally-binding document that the law requires.

A letter can be a legally binding document for many purposes (especially those only requiring notice, which is all that's needed here.)

Wheaton agrees with you that a letter isn't the same thing. That they agree with that is key, because if they did think it was the same then they would have no reason to object. They're saying that it's different, but still sufficient to the government's purpose, which must, per RFRA be fulfilled in the least restrictive way.
posted by Jahaza at 3:48 PM on July 3


It seems to me that forcing the government to add a layer of red tape (getting the letters, logging them, notifying insurers) would be restrictive enough, if it was even mandated that insurers accept the government's notification as a requirement to pay. But from what I can tell, the government now has to change the law. Which, good luck? That's pretty restrictive.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:51 PM on July 3


(Ah, I didn't know about the specific meaning of Bible College. Thanks for the correction.)
posted by benito.strauss at 3:54 PM on July 3


Wheaton agrees with you that a letter isn't the same thing. That they agree with that is key, because if they did think it was the same then they would have no reason to object. They're saying that it's different, but still sufficient to the government's purpose, which must, per RFRA be fulfilled in the least restrictive way.

And the least restrictive way would be to make everyone use the same damn form.

Letting them get away with a letter just leaves them room to weasel out of some other health care issue at the last minute- "well, actually, now that we think about it the letter we wrote just says [foo] but it doesn't say [baz], so we can't cover [baz] either." It gives them too much wiggle room.

That's why the government came up with the damn form, so everyone is on the same damn page.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:55 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


A letter can be a legally binding document for many purposes

But not, crucially, for this purpose.

And, in terms of the alleged religious objection, signing a letter saying "We want the religious exemption" is exactly the same as filling out the (incredibly simple and non-burdensome) form as far as 'causing' someone else to pay for contraception goes. I keep getting confused, who is it who wants to have their cake and eat it too?

Or on preview what Her Imperial Majesty just said, way way way way better than I did.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:56 PM on July 3


And the least restrictive way would be to make everyone use the same damn form.

It's supposed to be least restrictive for the party who says their religious beliefs are being impinged on, not for the government.

Using the same form for everyone would be more efficient, but mere efficiency is not generally held to be a "compelling government interest" as RFRA requires to meet the exception to protection.

But not, crucially, for this purpose.

You're begging the question. It's not for this purpose because the regulation requires the form, but it could be if the regulation only required the letter and under RFRA the government has to justify the requirement of the form against the objection.

From the dissent: “Not every sincerely felt ‘burden’ is a ‘substantial’ one, and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.”

All well and good for her to write that in the dissent from the order, but the Hobby Lobby opinion says the opposite, that it's up to the petitioners to say what is a substantial burden, and the court's unlikely to overturn what they just decided this week.
posted by Jahaza at 4:09 PM on July 3


Or, you know, not. But you've apparently chosen this hill to die on, for whatever reasons are important to you, so I think I'm going to go for a walk.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:13 PM on July 3


Can you speculate for me, in what scenario would filling out a form would be a substantially greater burden than writing a letter? I understand that you believe that Hobby Lobby is making that determination for its own self, but clearly you accept that there are circumstances in which an institution conceiveably could find it a burden, and so I'm asking what you personally would imagine those circumstances are.

Because the only circumstances I can see would be "burdens" more related to how they can weasel out of the issue in the first place, and that just feels like cheating. Clearly you have thought up some other plausible alternative reason, and I'd like to hear what that might be.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:16 PM on July 3


A letter can be a legally binding document for many purposes

Next year I suggest you try paying your taxes by mailing a letter to the IRS saying:

Here are my figures and here is a check for how much I owe you.

Sincerely yours,
Jahaza
posted by JackFlash at 4:26 PM on July 3


All well and good for her to write that in the dissent from the order, but the Hobby Lobby opinion says the opposite, that it's up to the petitioners to say what is a substantial burden

By that argument, they (or someone else) could come right back and say writing a letter is a substantial burden, or that any kind of notification at all is a substantial burden.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:43 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Can you speculate for me, in what scenario would filling out a form would be a substantially greater burden than writing a letter?

I don't, and I think Wheaton (not Hobby Lobby) doesn't really either. I think "sign the form" has been used as a shorthand in some places, but in the meat of their brief, I think it's clear (like on page 7), that what they've objected to is not signing the form per se, but signing the form and delivering it to the insurer. So rather than merely certifying their objection, they're forced to directly implicate themselves in notifying the insurer that the insurer is to provide the service.

It's this distinction of notice to the government vs. notice to someone else to act in one's place that I was trying to get at with the reworking of the Draft analogy above.

It's also possible, though I think less likely, that they are objecting to signing the form rather than writing a letter because the form has all this language about how the insurer/administrator will now do thus and such, whereas it would be sufficient for documenting their objection to have a form that just recorded the objection simpliciter. A letter can simply record their objection, but in that case they might also not reject a simple form returned directly to the government.

By that argument, they (or someone else) could come right back and say writing a letter is a substantial burden, or that any kind of notification at all is a substantial burden.

I don't think so, because in that case the government can come back and say that actually does make it impossible (and not merely less efficient) to administer the exception and so there is a substantial burden imposed on the government. It's possible though that the court might reject that as well, because the government could just make the exception the universal rule (if it actually doesn't burden insurers as they seem to have suggested by their acquiescence to funding birth control in the exception cases) or by the government paying for it itself universally. But then again, I thought Monday that the exception plan including the form for nonprofits was going to be upheld based on the Hobby Lobby ruling endorsement of it as a solution for commercial companies to whom it had not been offered, but I was wrong there, so maybe the majority in HL will be willing to go further.
posted by Jahaza at 4:53 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


But then again, I thought Monday that the exception plan including the form for nonprofits was going to be upheld based on the Hobby Lobby ruling endorsement of it as a solution for commercial companies to whom it had not been offered, but I was wrong there, so maybe the majority in HL will be willing to go further.

I, on the other hand, saw this coming a mile away. The contraception mandate, and probably the employer mandate as a whole, will be effectively outlawed within a couple years. Note that we the real people still have to buy insurance or pay a fine.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:12 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


There's lots of crazy things about all this, and it's been noted here and elsewhere -- plenty of times -- but this move by Wheaton College of Illinois to shift the burden to the government of notifying the insurance company Wheaton College of Illinois has hired of the College's refusal to subsidize contraceptives, thus making it the responsibility of the insurance company really, REALLY drives home the point that all this craziness goes away if we just switched to Single Payer.
posted by notyou at 5:26 PM on July 3


So, which religions are "real" religions and which of their beliefs are sincerely held? And how do I convince the court of that? And if I do, is my religion officially established?
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:35 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


It's possible though that the court might reject that as well, because the government could just make the exception the universal rule (if it actually doesn't burden insurers as they seem to have suggested by their acquiescence to funding birth control in the exception cases) or by the government paying for it itself universally. But then again, I thought Monday that the exception plan including the form for nonprofits was going to be upheld based on the Hobby Lobby ruling endorsement of it as a solution for commercial companies to whom it had not been offered, but I was wrong there, so maybe the majority in HL will be willing to go further.

So if the religious exemption has to be done in a less efficient way, then do my taxes go to subsidize that religion? Then aren't my religious freedoms being trampled on?
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:49 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I think "sign the form" has been used as a shorthand in some places, but in the meat of their brief, I think it's clear (like on page 7), that what they've objected to is not signing the form per se, but signing the form and delivering it to the insurer.

Okay, then, can you suggest for me a scenario in which putting an envelope in the mail is too great a burden???
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:02 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I'm sure the court will respect the religious wishes of soldiers who converted to a pacifistic religion if the soldiers no longer wanted to fight in a war. And the court definitely wouldn't question if those particular beliefs were sincerely held.
posted by Green With You at 6:05 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


OK, and if this exemption now applies to non-profits, does it automatically apply now to the closely held corporations?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:16 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Wait, am I missing something here? From my understanding of the Wheaton brief, their objection is not that submitting the form is burdensome from an administrative point of view, it's that submitting the form would then start the process that would trigger the alternate coverage of birth control. Their complaint, as I understand it, is that they can't leave their employees in a coverage-less limbo, which is such an ugly and awful place to stake their flag.
posted by kagredon at 6:22 PM on July 3


I think it's time for EMILY's list, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and friends to band together to establish the First United Church of Contraception and Abortion, or FUCCA. Members of the FUCCA chuch would pray to the Holy Mother FUCCA (sisters are doin' it for themselves, deity style!), who commands them to use contraceptives, and when necessary, to terminate pregnancies.

I eagerly await word of how Messrs. Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito will examine the sincerity of these religious beliefs.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:25 PM on July 3 [5 favorites]


it's that submitting the form would then start the process that would trigger the alternate coverage of birth control

...as would writing a letter to the government?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:29 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


...as would writing a letter to the government?

The form specifically includes a section that's sent directly to the insurer; writing a letter does not.
posted by kagredon at 6:31 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


kagredon, sure, but if your letter is just a step away from the insurance company, I don't really think that you can differentiate between these two things as religious practice.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:34 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Well, I agree with you, the Seventh Circuit court agrees with you, Sonia Sotomayor agrees with you, but Wheaton does not, apparently.
posted by kagredon at 6:35 PM on July 3


maybe next someone will file a suit asking to be exempt from hiring women on the grounds that the government will require someone to provide them with contraceptives. I wouldn't even be shocked at this point.
posted by kagredon at 6:37 PM on July 3 [8 favorites]


And, holy fuck, they did exactly as predicted; left themselves an opening that could be cracked wide open by every immoral asshole who doesn't believe women deserve access to basic healthcare.

More and more I think that was the entire goal, the 5 Horsemen are inviting religious challenges from all comers with the specific intent to implement the Tea Party agenda writ-large from the bench where it's failed in national elections.

This Court has lost all credibility to being anything other than the black robed extension of the extreme Right.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:54 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


T.D. Strange, I sort of feel like this is one of the biggest things to have ever happened at the SCOTUS level, and it doesn't seem to be getting that much attention because of the holiday. I mean, when a Justice writes, essentially, "you can't trust us," uh, where do we go from here?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:01 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I mean, when a Justice writes, essentially, "you can't trust us," uh, where do we go from here?

Work for a Democratic wave in 2016 and a national push for a Court packing plan. The Supreme Court is a creature of statue, and has been brought to heel before by the political process.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:32 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


"I eagerly await word of how Messrs. Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito will examine the sincerity of these religious beliefs."

Uh, I'm not. When religion and employer interests conflict, employers win. It's their bulwark against backsliders.
posted by klangklangston at 7:36 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Legal realism is a very, very big topic within jurisprudence.

Yes, but is it au courant?


With all due respect, if you have to ask this question, then there is nothing I can tell you which would be more useful than simply cracking open a book on legal philosophy and/or historical jurisprudence. Even the Wikipedia entry on Jurisprudence isn't too terrible.

The tl;dr version is that "why can't people just apply legal reasoning, without also applying political ideology" is roughly equivalent to "who will be the next King of France". Even when people part from legal realism proper, they are still finding ways to explain how and why legal reasoning does not exist in a vacuum. It is seductive, but toxic, to think that "good" moral positions are apolitical or nonideological, especially when it comes to these positions as they relate to what goes down in appellate courts.

If, after all that, you still think that is wrong, then such is life, but people aren't going to take that opinion seriously until you tackle head-on some well-settled arguments.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:39 PM on July 3


I may be misconstruing this, but isn't Wheaton basically demanding to change the system from opt-out to opt-in?
posted by gingerest at 8:08 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


More and more I think that was the entire goal, the 5 Horsemen are inviting religious challenges from all comers with the specific intent to implement the Tea Party agenda writ-large from the bench where it's failed in national elections.

This Court has lost all credibility to being anything other than the black robed extension of the extreme Right.


They lost that a while ago, I think.

is roughly equivalent to "who will be the next King of France"

Actually, despite the arguments between the Houses of Bourbon/Borbon and Orleans, that's a really, really bad example to use.

I may be misconstruing this, but isn't Wheaton basically demanding to change the system from opt-out to opt-in?

That is exactly what they are doing, both for employers and for insurers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:09 PM on July 3


But it's something that you should be conversant with if you want to have any sort of credible political discussion about American politics — knowing why the framers made the decisions they did is important, even if you disagree with them

This is kind of how I feel about Americans talking about aristocratic systems. You may think they're immoral as hell, but to argue that they've been completely eradicated the world over ages ago and are completely relegated to the far distant past shows a shocking lack of awareness, and a truly infuriating one to someone with living relatives who have lived and were raised under those systems. If you want to talk about how these things work, you should be conversant with other places where they are still relatively current and/or work differently.
posted by corb at 8:20 PM on July 3


Yeah but the thing is you are basically advocating for a return to that system, so your disingenuousness rings particularly false this time.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:21 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


I mean, you can't invoke noblesse oblige without implicitly advocating for feudalism, no matter how you present your almost always dishonest and/or uncontextual quotes about things you think support you.

You're wrong, is what I am saying. Human rights are human rights.

Be honest, and answer a simple question with a yes/no:

Is the right to bear arms more important than the right to food/shelter/healthcare?

All I am asking for is a yes or no.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:24 PM on July 3


maybe we can not do this here? like, any of it?
posted by kagredon at 8:28 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


[Seriously. Take up a written correspondence or something, but we need neither the argument nor the counterargument here.]
posted by cortex at 8:29 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]


Heard and understood, cortex.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 PM on July 3


I may be misconstruing this, but isn't Wheaton basically demanding to change the system from opt-out to opt-in?

Yes, you're misconstruing it. Wheaton asks in their brief for the same accommodation offered in the Little Sisters case, that they be allowed to opt out by manifesting their desire to opt out to the government, rather than to the plan administrators directly. So there's still a process necessary for opting out.
posted by Jahaza at 8:44 PM on July 3


There is a process for opting out. It's filling out form 700 whatever. As required by the law in question. What part of that is unclear?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:45 PM on July 3


I don't understand your point FFFM. There is a process for opting out now, there would be one under Wheaton proposed relief, so to answer gingerest's question, no, Wheaton is not asking for a switch to an opt-in system.
posted by Jahaza at 9:01 PM on July 3


Which is to say, it is not unclear to me or to Wheaton that there already is a process for opting out or how to invoke that process.
posted by Jahaza at 9:04 PM on July 3


What's not to understand? The law provides an incredibly simple way to opt out. What do you not get about that? Fill out a totally simple form, send it off. Done. You've opted out.

Where's the problem here? Honestly. Show us where filling out that form is burdensome. You keep asserting things, but you're not actually providing any cogent--or even relevant--arguments.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:06 PM on July 3


FFFM, if you look at EBSA Form 700 [doc], you will see that it says that it must be sent to the relevant health insurer or third-party administrator, as appropriate. Wheaton specifically doesn't want to do this. They only want to communicate their opting-out to the government. They argue that the government should then handle the business end of ensuring that women have access to the relevant contraceptives.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:10 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


No, that's not their objection. Their objection is that filling out the form somehow means they are forcing someone else to do what they will not. Which is not, explicitly, the case; the government and law place the burden for paying on someone. The only things the form does are a) saying "Not me," and b) "I am claiming the exemption."

There is nothing more to it, no matter what they claim. The law requires the form. Sending a letter is saying the exact same thing signing the form would say. See EmpressCallypigos' comments above.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:14 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


As I understand it (IANAL), the burden is that submitting the request for exemption in the normal way automatically triggers the exemption in which the insurer covers the cost, so according to Wheaton's interpretation it's still a case in which the government is making them take an action which provides contraception, even if they themselves are not paying for it. As you and several people in this thread and Justice Sotomayor have pointed out, all that they're practically doing with the alternative is inserting another step into the process, but I guess under some kind of arcane rules-lawyering, it's okay if it's the government who actually forwards the request to the insurer.
posted by kagredon at 9:17 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


FFFM, you should read the SCOTUSblog analysis.

You should also read Wheaton's reply brief. To wit: "And why wouldn’t the Supreme Court’s solution in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius—under which the Little Sisters informed the government of their objection without signing and delivering EBSA Form 700—work just as well here?"
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:20 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I've read the brief and Sotomayor's dissent and the order from the Court.

The 5 are being assholes, end of story.

Wheaton are being assholes, end of story.

There is a legal way to opt out. It is not burdensome, and would take any administrative person less than three minutes to fill out--less time than it takes to compose a letter.

It's bullshit and everyone knows it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:22 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


IOW, please stop defending bigotry. It's grotesque.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:25 PM on July 3


I mean, let's be honest: if Hobby Lobby or Wheaton or anyone else were operating under a sane interpretation of what constitutes endorsing contraception, we wouldn't be having this discussion but ahahaha here we are
posted by kagredon at 9:26 PM on July 3 [6 favorites]


Jahaza: ". Wheaton asks in their brief for the same accommodation offered in the Little Sisters case, that they be allowed to opt out by manifesting their desire to opt out to the government, rather than to the plan administrators directly. So there's still a process necessary for opting out."

But Little Sisters and the rest are all, ultimately, seeking the same automatic exemption status that's already conferred on houses of worship, right? They're saying that being a nonprofit religious organization should mean that it's automatically assumed they won't be paying for reproductive health services by dint of the nature of their organization, i.e. that the mandate does not apply to them. And this interim decision means that they're a step closer to that, because they are being granted permission to opt out without following the procedure set forth in the mandate, although they are still being required to opt out.
posted by gingerest at 9:27 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


Plus, Hobby Lobby isn't a nonprofit. They are a for-profit company that actually invests in companies that manufacture BC and abortifacients.

Hypocrisy is disgusting.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:29 PM on July 3


FFFM--I'm not trying to defend or endorse Wheaton's actions (I can't speak for Stitcherbeast or Jahaza, but I haven't interpreted either of their comments as endorsement either), and I agree that the decision is abhorrent, but I think it's important to understand exactly what kind of twisty legal judo they're employing.
posted by kagredon at 9:31 PM on July 3


The twisty legal judo they're employing is letting political ideology trump legal reasoning. But we've already been through that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:34 PM on July 3


And in the immediate term, what Wheaton and Little Sisters are saying, "We're a nonprofit religious organization. Look, the government can say that women have a right to reproductive health care, but that doesn't mean we have to make it easy for them to exercise that right, because we disagree on religious grounds. We told the government, they agree, it's their problem. Why should we have to instruct the insurers that we're exempt from the mandate? We think it should be automatic anyway, the way it is for houses of worship."

SCOTUS just made a decision that said that Hobby Lobby, a closely held for-profit corporation, has religious rights that trump the rights of women to access reproductive health care through their employer-mandated health care program. Religious nonprofits can very easily and reasonably make the argument that their corporate identity exists solely due to their shared religious beliefs, and that having granted a religious exemption to the mandate to a corporate body that is only coincidentally religiously against abortion, SCOTUS must exempt all religious nonprofits, whose corporate identity is religious in nature, from the mandate.

It's twisty legal judo, and it's moving towards an opt-in system for religious nonprofits.
posted by gingerest at 9:46 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I like how notifying the ins co of the objection makes them hypocrites, but investing in contraceptive manufacturers does not. They're hypocritical hypocrites. And we all know how Jesus felt about hypocrites.
posted by bleep at 9:47 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


But Little Sisters and the rest are all, ultimately, seeking the same automatic exemption status that's already conferred on houses of worship, right?

The lawsuits and the pleas for relief are different (in e.g. Little Sisters, et al. and in Wheaton) and there are several dozen cases.

In the case of Wheaton, the plea for relief in Wheaton's original complaint (pdf) asks for an injunction against the enforcement of the final rule: "against Wheaton and other organizations that object on religious grounds to providing insurance coverage for abortifacient contraceptives and related education and counseling" (page 47).

This relief would seem to require some form of opting-out. "Wheaton and other organizations" would have to register their objection somehow to be included in the relief. It doesn't ask for an automatic exemption of a class based on some passive characteristic (e.g. an exemption of all employers with a religious mission).

I also glanced at the complaint (pdf) in the case of Little Sisters. It's more complex, involving objections to more forms of treatment and doing other things like asking for the certification of a class action. I can't at this late hour figure out of they seek an automatic exemption or would be satisfied with an opt-out system.
posted by Jahaza at 10:22 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


(It's really weird to see the name Little Sisters in this context, because to me that means the LGBT bookstore in Vancouver BC, which is owned by friends and where we got Canadian gay married, and which spent years and years and I don't know how much money fighting Canada Customs over the right to import gay books into Canada. Anyway, it's weird.)
posted by rtha at 10:29 PM on July 3 [3 favorites]


As always, what Digby said.

The hits just keep on coming.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:25 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Omg he's an idiot. Is he unaware that contraception used to only be available to married women?

Ugh.
posted by sio42 at 6:55 AM on July 4


By 'he' you mean Santorum, yeah?

The idiocy isn't quite news on that front..
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:07 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


With all due respect,

the things I pointed to are real. I can reproduce them in my head. Debaters do it all the time. Take a position you don't agree with and using rules of formal argument and selected facts and make a argument for that position. Lawyers and hence judges are very good at that. It's done all the time in the real world ("legal realism") and it's called advocacy, and is necessary in an adversarial proceeding. It's also possible to examine all the evidence and try to decide in your heart of hearts what is, in fact, true. I know this happens, because not only have I done it, but others have and written about it.

It's a bit patronizing for you to say, "Well, this is all settled, we've discussed it, blah, blah, blah *pat, pat* don't worry about your quaint little ideas," without actually at least partially giving a reason why none of these apparent truths are really true. Yes, everyone's reasoning is colored by their experience and prior positions, but you have not demonstrated that there is not a clear difference between reasoning backwards from ends and examining a question from first principles and rigorously applying them to the best of ones abilities. Saying that the legal profession has decided there is no difference or that one of these just doesn't exist is to deny reality, in my opinion.

In science, there are principles that can be applied, but decisions must be made that are colored by the scientist's beliefs. Nonetheless, good ones try to avoid letting those decisions predetermine the outcomes. Some scientists, nevertheless, cook the books, deliberately choosing methods and measures that will support their original hypothesis. This doesn't allow me to immediately jump to the conclusion that all is scientific realism and that all we know in science is the result of political ideology. To my untrained brain, this seems analogous to what you're saying, and what you've written so far seems to support this rather than explaining why legal reasoning is different.

Finally, even though I don't think it's productive to continue this discussion, as I sense you are tired of it and feel that you are educating an ignoramus, I note that based on a quick search the issue is far from settled even in legal scholarship.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:32 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why you are so resistant to learning about this topic. Your links are from people who have, indeed, read books on jurisprudence.

Your first link is by somebody deeply engaged with what he is arguing against. Depending on your point of view, he either corrects a misunderstanding about legal realism, or he attacks a laughable straw man. Either way, he tackles these arguments "head-on", as I had mentioned upthread - he has more or less actually done his homework. He knows that nobody would take seriously an article which simply said, "why can't judges decide the law in a non-ideological manner", so he deploys deep reads of Holmes, invocations of quantum theory, and McDonald's.

Your second link is a more befuddling choice on your part. The article concerns a book by one of the major figures in legal realism, which is of note to address misunderstandings about legal realism and disagreements between legal realists.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:46 AM on July 4


Maybe because some of us believe that this 'legal realism' nonsense you're going on about is a total cop-out by the legal profession, essentially stating "well, you know, fuck what the law says, go with your gut."

I have no idea why you are so resistant to such a really damn simple idea.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:54 AM on July 4


Your condescension and refusal to acknowledge that this decision was bad law made due to purely political ideology is also a good reason why I, at least, won't listen to you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:59 AM on July 4


Plus, as Sotomayor pointed out, the Court's enormous and probably illegal overreach in Wheaton.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:23 AM on July 4


Okay, then, can you suggest for me a scenario in which putting an envelope in the mail is too great a burden???

Let's be clear, as well, that Jahaza's metaphor does not hold here - this is not passing your draft notice onto some other random person. This is an exchange of paperwork with an agency - your insurer - who you already exchange a shit-ton of other paperwork with.

I think HHS should double-down on this "least restrictive" concept and mandate that every insurance company send a one checkbox form to each customer with a postage-paid envelope to return it in. DO YOU WANT YOUR HEALTH CARE TO INCLUDE BIRTH CONTROL ITEMS? If that could be less intrusive I don't know how.

Hell, you don't want to have to send that form back to your insurance agency? I'm even okay with that too - have the postage paid envelope go to HHS to process. I look forward to FOIAing them so I can publish the names of every single place that makes this election.
posted by phearlez at 11:41 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Maybe because some of us believe that this 'legal realism' nonsense you're going on about is a total cop-out by the legal profession, essentially stating "well, you know, fuck what the law says, go with your gut."

You realize, of course, that this is the standard right wing complaint about decisions such as Roe v. Wade.
posted by yoink at 12:08 PM on July 4 [6 favorites]


Since I'm not right wing by any stretch of the imagination, that's irrelevant.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:00 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Since I'm not right wing by any stretch of the imagination, that's irrelevant.

I fear you may not have quite grasped the point.
posted by yoink at 4:55 PM on July 4 [4 favorites]


I've thought for years that they've stopped going directly after Roe and are going after Griswold. Even though I thought this case would go badly, I didn't expect things to fall quite so far so fast.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:53 PM on July 4 [2 favorites]


I've thought for years that they've stopped going directly after Roe and are going after Griswold.

My Con Law professor was the general counsel to the Catholic League. I can confirm that you could tell that this would have been his strategy.

When we covered Griswold, he began by saying, "okay, everybody just open your casebooks to the copy of the Constitution in the back. Don't refer to the case just yet. Only look at the Constitution. Please locate a 'right to privacy' in the Constitution. Where do you find it? And if you can't find those words, then where is it?"

To be fair to him, that was more or less the extent of his editorializing, and it was even relevant, considering how fractured the opinion is. In Griswold, a majority of the Justices concluded that the Constitution contained a right to privacy, but they couldn't exactly agree where such a right would have sprung from.

This is why anti-choice jurisprudence in the US tends to hover around the idea that one should not allow personal/moral/political feelings to help create law. (These same jurists are almost always hypocritical, of course, but that is a separate issue...)
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:32 PM on July 4 [5 favorites]


Isn't the Catholic League basically Bill Donohue and a secretary?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:40 PM on July 4


They don't represent your average Catholic in the US, that is for sure, but they can still bring lawsuits just as well.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:03 PM on July 4


Isn't the Catholic League basically Bill Donohue and a secretary?

And a general counsel, apparently. Couldn't tell you much beyond that. Once again to my professor's credit, he never once mentioned it in class. Google-Fu was what uncovered this aspect of his CV.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:11 PM on July 4


Sticherbeast: Please locate a 'right to privacy' in the Constitution. Where do you find it? And if you can't find those words, then where is it?"

What I wouldn't give to hear that guy answer the question of where in the Constitution the right of closely-held corporations to exercise religion is. Say what you will about the "penumbras" and "emantions" logic in Griswold, but at least that's grounded in an interpretation of the Constitution, not in allowing the petitioner's religious faith to trump both statutes and science.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:14 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


“When Corporations Become Indistinguishable from Churches, Government Isn’t Far Behind,” Jim Wright, aattp.org, 04 July 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 10:33 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


I fear you may not have quite grasped the point.

Oh I saw the point you were making clearly enough. Tarring me with the same brush as misogynistic assholes, however, isn't really something I'm interested in entertaining.

Ergo, irrelevant.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:05 PM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Basically, a strictly constructionist view on the constitution would find no basis for guaranteeing a right to privacy, the foundation for the legalization of abortion, contraception and 'sodomy'. Right wingers are very fond of pointing that out, and I think it's a legitimate reading of the constitution, taken absolutely literally. Liberal judges found their own justification for a right to privacy, by reading between the lines, and they called it a 'penumbral right'.

In fact, the dissent in Griswold, specifically uses your argument:
And like him I do not to any extent whatever base my view that this Connecticut law is constitutional on a belief that the law is wise or that its policy is a good one. In order that there may be no room at all to doubt why I vote as I do, I feel constrained to add that the law is every bit as offensive to me as it is to my Brethren of the majority and my Brothers HARLAN, WHITE and GOLDBERG who, reciting reasons why it is offensive to them, hold it unconstitutional. There is no single one of the graphic and eloquent strictures and criticisms fired at the policy of this Connecticut law either by the Court's opinion or by those of my concurring Brethren to which I cannot subscribe - except their conclusion that the evil qualities they see in the law make it unconstitutional.
If all the judges gave a supposedly 'impartial' reading of the constitution, a lot of the rights we take for granted would evaporate.
posted by empath at 12:23 AM on July 5


No one is trying to tar you with any brushes, that's not why the ideological beliefs of the people who agree with you on this is relevant. The reason it's relevant is that it's worth you considering what the actual ramifications are of judges abiding by the fiction that there are clear legal answers that they are merely reasoning their way to. We don't really need to make this a thought experiment, because we have historical and contemporary data: when judges claim to divorce themselves from ideology, they overwhelmingly, in practice, decide cases in ways that are hurtful to the less powerful elements of our society. If you're going to have an opinion on thsee issues you have to engage with that history to be intellectually honest.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:15 AM on July 5 [3 favorites]


Tying it back in with the questions upthread about Canadian jurisprudence: a huge part of the reason why Canadian jurisprudence tends to be much less conservative is because of the overwhwlming dominance of the Living Tree Doctrine, which is an explicit rejection of the idea of ideology-free law.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:21 AM on July 5


Before this thread dies, I had to share a comment by Rad​Gal​70 on a TPM thread that amused me to no end:
This will continue until sanity is restored - and since Roberts and his fellow panty sniffers are there for life, it's going to take a long time for sanity to return. In the meantime, I am renaming my lady parts my hobby lobby.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:25 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Only look at the Constitution. Please locate a 'right to privacy' in the Constitution.

Isn't this?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures,...
I suppose an argumentative personality might say the word privacy isn't used, but certainly the meanings overlap almost perfectly.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:29 AM on July 5 [7 favorites]


He knows that nobody would take seriously an article which simply said, "why can't judges decide the law in a non-ideological manner",...

OMG, you so totally nailed my naïve point of view. Perfectly. Well, I must bow to your superior insight at this point, because, well, I can no longer cling to my oft-stated and closely held belief that judges can, in fact, decide the law in non-ideological manner. Totally. I mean, like, wow, I must think there is a strict dichotomy between using and no using ideology, broadly construed, because that's surely the what I was talking about. If I were smart I would have talked about the conscious attempt or lack thereof to reason from first principles and whether that should be how one approaches the law, perhaps using an analogy with the scientific approach, and avoid talking about the success or failure in that attempt, right? Then we'd have something to talk about, because then I wouldn't be the little naïf, I would be a big smart person like lawyers. So I guess, having my argument totally dismantled, I lack anything more to say.

So, to summarize,

1. All judge only refer to their political ideology when adjudicating cases, regardless of their content, because legal realism.
2. No judges attempt to set aside personal politics when adjudicating cases, so results never deviate from the personal political philosophies of the judges no matter how strong all the legal principles may push in the other direction, also because legal realism.
3. There is no controversy about the absolutism of legal realism, because straw men.
4. It's okay to parody the position of the other side if you can make it seem like they are totally unreasonable in their assertions, because good tactics.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:49 AM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Fourth Amendment doesn't work here, not by itself, not without other inflection. Pointedly, Griswold was not about searches and seizures. Besides, in order to conflate those different meanings of privacy, you would actually have to apply some sort of extralegal judgment that it should do so - an idea which you had earlier you had dismissed!

You should read Griswold v. Connecticut and see what the various Justices had to say. The arguments about penumbra and emanations are very interesting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:52 AM on July 5


Mental Wimp, your argument by analogy to the scientific process is essentially what late 19th early 20th century jurists thought they were doing, and the argument fails in 2014 for the same reason it failed a century ago: law is not science. In science there are (often) correct answers that are provable and repeatable. Those just don't exist in law. Two judges reading the same statutes and precedents and with the same good faith belief that they're applying non-ideological legal reasoning can and will reach different results in the same case. One of the foundational texts in legal realism is a speech Oliver Wendell Holmes gave in which he described law as "the prophecies of what courts will do," and this is what he's talking about. Science is a tool that uncovers objectively true facts about the universe. "Legal reasoning" is a tool that can legitimately reach any number of a host of outcomes in essentially any case that is contested enough to reach the stage of appellate review; lawyers are limited to predictions as to what courts will do because there's not a right answer. That judges often attempt (or pay lip service to attempting to) to set aside their ideology is basically irrelevant, because they can use the tools of legal reasoning and interpretation to reach a host of conclusions in any case. There's not a "right" answer like there is in science. Legal reasoning doesn't work that way.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:27 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Mental Wimp, here is a decent rundown on legal philosophy. The entire field, inside and outside of realism qua realism, is devoted to addressing the fact that you can't just "read the law" without referencing other principles and guidance. Even originalists, etc. still proudly refer to canons of construction and other structural elements to shape their decisions. Their reliance on these rules reliably produces archconservative results. They might claim that their techniques are apolitical, and yet it ought to be telling that originalism is exclusively a conservative position. And if you are thinking about some other way of reading the law which would not avowedly incorporate extralegal judgment, then maybe you should explain in workable detail just what it is that you are talking about. What sort of decision tree do you think a Justice ought to use? "Just follow the law" is not an answer here, no more than the whole of ethical philosophy can be seriously, literally replaced by "don't be a jerk".

As it stands, it should be significant to you tha your stated point of view is flummoxing so many lawyers, because it goes against the learned experience of how the law works in the US, let alone judicial review.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:31 AM on July 5


I suppose an argumentative personality might say the word privacy isn't used, but certainly the meanings overlap almost perfectly.

Either you read the law as it's written or you don't. And if you don't, politics enters into it. You might think that a right to privacy is implied by that clause, but I might not, and that's a political question, not a matter of right and wrong. There's no way around it. Hell, the whole concept of judicial review exists nowhere in the constitution.
posted by empath at 9:45 AM on July 5


Either you read the law as it's written or you don't. And if you don't, politics enters into it.

Not necessarily. I think you can read the Second Amendment in a "what the fuck" way without necessarily taking politics into account.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:26 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I would think the fact that it's one of the most frequently debated topics in America would make it clear that it's political.

I think people equate 'partisanship' with 'politics' and they're two different things.
posted by empath at 10:33 AM on July 5


empath: I think people equate 'partisanship' with 'politics' and they're two different things.

Well, they used to be, anyway.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:09 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


If all the judges gave a supposedly 'impartial' reading of the constitution, a lot of the rights we take for granted would evaporate.

Only if you ignore that the constitution also has a few things to say about unenumerated rights. It specifically says any rights it left out explicitly are still assumed to be rights because people weren't so stupid in those days as to believe the law was the source of its own legitimacy. Even way back in those backwards days of early American history, people understood that human judgment and human values not defined explicitly in law were the ultimate basis of legal reasoning and the ultimate source of the legitimacy of law.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:09 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


The entire field, inside and outside of realism qua realism, is devoted to addressing the fact that you can't just "read the law" without referencing other principles and guidance.

Well, duh, as anyone said anything to the contrary? Straw man. Again. There are obviously layered legal principles, logical principles, prior decisions, and even consideration of potential outcomes. I don't think you understand the discussion.

I beginning to suspect there's a lot of baggage some lawyers bring to this topic, because simple statements are being reflected back saturated with things not said, things that would be quite surprising for an intelligent person to say were they to say it. I'm afraid it's pointless to continue the discussion under these conditions.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:12 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Saulgoodman, unfortunately, the Ninth Amendment doesn't work like that, especially in practice since 1833. Even if it did work like that, reflect on what it means to protect unenumerated rights: the choice of which unenumerated rights to enforce, and against what intrusions, would necessarily require judgment beyond what the fiction of pure legal reasoning.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:51 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I don't think we ever in the past had the illusion that law reduced to logic or math. We understood that human judgment played a role. Now we like to talk and act as if that weren't so.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:13 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


If it involve human judgement, it's political. I mean clearly some people believe in the right to have an abortion and some don't. There is no non-political way to determine whether there is. If the Supreme Court is going to decide the issue, it's a political decision, period.
posted by empath at 1:40 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Put another way, legal philosophy is the study of how people apply "human judgment" to the law. It is overwhelmingly accepted that ideology is always a factor. This flows from legal realism, but it is not restricted to legal realism. Either way, within the legal universe, the only people saying otherwise are archconservatives. So, if you believe that judging must be nonideological, but you are not also an archconservative, then you have a lot of explaining to do.

Saulgoodman, what do you think of the fact that you had raised the Ninth Amendment, as you had? Was it relevant to you, whether or not that response was correct? Since it was incorrect, have you reevaluated what had led you to give it? And yet there are indeed a very few people who argue about a "Silent" Ninth Amendment. How do you think their arguments play into this?

...

Mental Wimp, do you understand that your reading of the Fourth Amendment upthread was incorrect as a matter of law? Do you understand why this is the case?

Regarding Griswold: Who brought up the Fourth Amendment, and for what reason? Of those concurring Justices who felt that the right to privacy could indeed be drawn from the specific language of a particular Amendment, how many felt that the Fourth Amendment was the right answer? Why was it that number? Of those concurring opinions which said that the right to privacy could be drawn from the specific language of a particular Amendment, why did they choose other Amendments?

Even outside of the mere precedential value of Griswold itself: imagine that you were arguing Griswold before the Court. What problems would the Court have found with your reading of the Fourth Amendment?

What was the majority's rationale? Why does it differ so sharply from what you have been arguing? Or, if you do agree with the majority's rationale, then could you please clarify your position?

If you still believe that your interpretation of the Fourth Amendment was, indeed, correct, then could you please explain what changes would have to be made to US legal interpretation in order for others to agree? If you feel that even that remark relies on incorrect assumptions, then can you at least anticipate, in workable detail, the primary arguments you would have to counter?
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:42 AM on July 6


Also: how are people defining "ideology"? I am relying on a common dictionary definition. If you are using a different, specialized definition of "ideology", then which of those definitions are you using? If you were doing this, then why did you not indicate this earlier?

For common dictionary definitions, here's Merriam-Webster:
a : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
b : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
c : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program
So, with that in mind, would somebody please tell me how to interpret statutes, reconcile conflicting laws, evaluate future consequences, etc. without using a) a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture, b) a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture, or c) the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:10 AM on July 6 [1 favorite]


The 9th Amendment could be given more weight than it is. Only legal tradition and historical circumstance account for why some amendments and provisions of the constitution are treated as sacrosanct while others are easily reinterpreted and applied differently over time. My point actually was that the history of the treatment of unenumerated rights in American law is a good counter example to originalist or strict constructionist arguments. It is not incorrect to say the law could take a completely different view on many things based on exactly the same constitution, had historical development in the law gone differently.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:22 AM on July 6


A thread on the Religionlaw list explores the difficulty we have dealing with religious liberty issues in an evenhanded manner that doesn't give deference to culturally dominant religions: "On a different strand of the seamless web." I agree with Professor Brownstein's argument:
Many briefs supporting the town of Greece and the Court's opinion in that case treated the religious liberty arguments of plaintiffs with complete distain. The authors of many of those briefs and the same justices who wrote the opinion upholding coercive and discriminatory prayer practices in Town of Greece insisted that the religious liberty of Hobby Lobby must be protected.

As Chip suggests, a tradition, or support for a legal regime, of religious liberty for me but not for you cannot be fairly described as a commitment to religious liberty.

An incidental, but not insignificant, result of this kind one-sided support for religious liberty is the burden it places on those of us who try to defend and promote religious liberty and equality for people on both sides of the culture wars.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:32 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: I don't think we ever in the past had the illusion that law reduced to logic or math. We understood that human judgment played a role. Now we like to talk and act as if that weren't so.

You are pretending that natural law is a new concept. It is not.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:19 PM on July 6


That's...not really what natural law means.
posted by kagredon at 7:06 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Federal Judge tells the Supreme Court to STFU.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:53 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Gitmo Detainees Cite Hobby Lobby in New Court Filing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:57 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]


From the link:

"Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons—human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien—enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the [Religious Freedom Restoration Act]," the lawyers argue.

I've got know idea if that filing is good or bad from a legal perspective but from a filling-in-the-hole-in-my-heart-even-just-a-little-bit perspective, that quote hits the spot.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:33 AM on July 7


I beginning to suspect there's a lot of baggage some lawyers bring to this topic

The conversation in this thread took a strange turn. The arguments from interested lay people about how legal decisions are made and what they represent seemed to clash more and more with what the lawyers in the thread were saying. There did not seem to be room to both disagree with the decision, and also admit that the decision does not represent some radical break with how legal decisions are made. I think part of the problem is that terms that seem as if they are just standard English actually have particular legal definitions. I see this all the time in my own field on AskMe. People use descriptive words (depressed, inattentive, delusional) to talk about (and in the most egregious cases, lay diagnose) situations and people. Those same words mean very different things in actual psychopathology. They are terms of art, sometimes related, sometimes almost not related at all, to the common sense meaning of the word. When people are using the same word, but for one person the word carries with it a whole baggage of philosophical meaning and for the other it's just a basic common-sense word, it can be very hard to have a productive conversation.
posted by OmieWise at 11:35 AM on July 7 [6 favorites]


I think part of the problem is that terms that seem as if they are just standard English actually have particular legal definitions.

Eh, I'm not convinced. Jargon can be a prison, and the fact that legal constructs intended to shield owners from financial responsibility now have *souls* that need protection seems problematic from the outside.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:43 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Eh, I'm not convinced. Jargon can be a prison, and the fact that legal constructs intended to shield owners from financial responsibility now have *souls* that need protection seems problematic from the outside.

I don't think any of the lawyers in this thread think this decision was rightly decided; at least, I don't. For me, the problem is that "this decision was based on ideology" is a criticism that can be leveled at every legal decision ever. The problem with this decision is that the ideology driving it is bad and harmful, not that they deviated from the impossible task of doing "pure" legal reasoning.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:48 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


that legal constructs intended to shield owners from financial responsibility now have *souls* that need protection seems problematic from the outside.

I don't know how many times it needs to be said, but they did no such thing. The owners of the corporation were the souls in question here, not the corporation.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on July 7


It's tempting to call something "jargon" when it's really "field knowledge that I don't feel like learning" or "field knowledge that I don't particularly respect."
posted by en forme de poire at 11:53 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I don't know how many times it needs to be said, but they did no such thing. The owners of the corporation were the souls in question here, not the corporation.

You're missing the point, empath. Previous case law in the US always very clearly held that there must be a legal "corporate veil" that separates the owners of a corporation from the corporation itself under the law, making them distinct legal entities, as a necessary condition for the additional shielding from legal and financial liabilities the corporation as a legal entity enjoys. In this ruling, in effect, the courts completely obliterated that longstanding distinction and elided corporate and personal person-hood in ways that are historically unprecedented, illogical, and dangerous.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:59 AM on July 7 [7 favorites]


I don't know how many times it needs to be said, but they did no such thing. The owners of the corporation were the souls in question here, not the corporation.

It's an eat your cake and have it too moment. You're not *financially* on the hook due to the legal golem, but your *morals* can be outraged.

The simple, easy line to draw would be "you want corporate protection? It submits to the law."

But no, they even tried to couch their insanity by creating (federally) "closely held corporations."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:00 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Just consider what would happen if Hobby Lobby were sold to a pro-choice liberal, who nevertheless was mercenary enough to try and claim the exemption for financial reasons. I'm positive the court wouldn't allow it. I think it's pretty clear that the owners alone can have religious convictions, not the corporation. I don't think anyone would argue that it's ridiculous to carve out exemptions for single proprietorships.
posted by empath at 12:02 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


The simple, easy line to draw would be "you want corporate protection? It submits to the law."

Or alternatively, "you want to participate in the economy? you have to abandon your firmly held religious beliefs."
posted by empath at 12:04 PM on July 7


Or alternatively, "you want to participate in the economy? you have to abandon your firmly held religious beliefs."

I manage it without incorporating. So do many businesses.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:06 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I beginning to suspect there's a lot of baggage some lawyers bring to this topic

Setting aside legal philosophy in favor of observed judicial behavior, Supreme Court justices basically make their decisions by voting in favor of the policy alternatives they like better. The most you can say is that their idea of "policy alternatives" is more nuanced and multidimensional than most common or garden variety citizens hold. The only major holdout against this idea (see "attitudinal model") is lawyers or law-school profs.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:08 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


No, you only have to abandon them if you want special legal protection from personal liability provided by the American government under its special form of legal organization.

Anyone can and has always been able to do whatever business they want as a sole proprietor--with the same caveats that they can't blatantly discriminate against customers based on whatever beliefs they hold, whether they want to try to rationalize them as special religious beliefs or not, without being personally liable for whatever legal damages they might become liable for as a result of their practices.

This whole thing is about letting certain kinds of businesses create situations too legally complicated to hold anyone responsible for damage to people.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:08 PM on July 7 [9 favorites]


Its starting to seem that this decision may be incoherent.

Did The Supreme Court Just Broaden The Hobby Lobby Exception?
posted by butterstick at 12:11 PM on July 7


Or alternatively, "you want to participate in the economy? you have to abandon your firmly held religious beliefs."

Yup! Sometimes you do.

Seriously think this through. If I had a religious belief that children shouldn't eat more than once a day and I tried to operate a daycare, the fine state of Massachusetts would not give me a license. The state has a compelling interest in regulating commerce. Unless the regulations are specifically designed to favor one religion over another, or prevent the free practice of religion, the fact that they might happen to make it hard for a given person to run a certain kind of business is irrelevant.

Or, you know, we can all live in a country where observant Jehovah's Witnesses can be surgeons and fundamentalist Christians can design sex ed curriculums. Oh wait
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:19 PM on July 7 [12 favorites]


@empath: Considering that Hobby Lobby buys products from China, a place where forced abortion is a reality, I'd say that their so-called "firmly held religious beliefs" are self evidently not firmly held. And I find it bizarre that they argue that their super special Christian dollars are tainted and harmed by using them to compensate employees via health insurance that covers contraceptive methods they dislike [1]. But somehow those same super special Christian dollars are not at all tainted by sending them to China where some will be used to force abortions on women who don't want them.

And anyway, where did we get this, apparently now enshrined in law, idea that Christian money is super special and they get to dictate where and how it will be spent after it leaves their possession? Vegetarians don't get special legal consideration for their money being spent on meat after it leaves their possession. Pacifists don't get special legal consideration for their money being spent on war after it leaves their possession. But apparently once a dollar is owned by a Christian it becomes consecrated and it would be a dire sin, and deep legal wrong, for it to be spent on slutty things? How did we get to the point where this is considered a valid legal position?

And yeah, the Supreme Court two step here is rather blatant and ugly. Just a day after saying that the Hobby Lobby decision would be no problem because the evil slutty medicine would be handled via another mechanism, the same five male, Catholic, justices who said that turned right around and ruled that the mechanism they advocated in Hobby Lobby was also unconstitutional.

A question for anyone who knows how this particular bit of bureaucracy works: how is it possible that those groups can hold things up simply by refusing to file paperwork saying they have deep religious objections to contraception? Shouldn't that be a sort of pro-forma thing that the government agency in question has a "fill this out, if we don't hear from you in 30 days we'll assume you object and move things along" sort of policy to handle? If the Sisters of Perpetual Ignorance, or Wedon't Act Like a Real College or whoever won't fill out the form that says they hate contraception then why should that stop the mechanism to supply contraception from functioning?

[1] Note that as a purely factual matter none of what Hobby Lobby claimed were abortifacients were, actually, abortifacients. Justice Scalia even acknowledged that this was the case, but then bizarrely said that it would be wrong of the court to tell Hobby Lobby that their religious conviction that an IUD was abortion was, in fact, wrong.
posted by sotonohito at 12:20 PM on July 7 [7 favorites]


Its starting to seem that this decision may be incoherent.

Only if setting the ball on the tee and then whacking it is incoherent.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:20 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Not incoherent at all, just twisty and nakedly decided to arrive at a particular political position with no regard at all either for precedent or even for a transparent veil of decorum. Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy have a particular social/political goal in mind, namely reducing women's agency, producing a legal/social/political/economic environment where the validity of contraception is moved into the "controversial" column in preparation for a full scale attack on the legal availability of contraception, and generally policing the sex lives of women they deem to be sluts.
posted by sotonohito at 12:28 PM on July 7


I really look forward to founding an observant Jewish nursing home. I think it's wrong to ask anyone to work from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, so patient care might suffer, but the government better not disqualify me from receiving medicare or medicaid funding--these are my firmly held religious beliefs, after all, and the government should keep its hands off my freedom!

I mean, really. Religious beliefs might just restrict your ability to do things. Wanting special exemptions from reasonable government regulation is such nonsense. Quit your jobs and go be monks if you're so very religious and just can't bear the oppressive US business environment.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:32 PM on July 7 [10 favorites]


I really look forward to founding an observant Jewish nursing home. I think it's wrong to ask anyone to work from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, so patient care might suffer, but the government better not disqualify me from receiving medicare or medicaid funding--these are my firmly held religious beliefs, after all, and the government should keep its hands off my freedom!

Don't forget that so much as writing a letter to another hospital or nursing facility to arrange care for your residents on the Sabbath would be an impermissible burden on your religious freedoms, because you'd be enlisting others to sin on your behalf.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:59 PM on July 7 [8 favorites]


empath: Or alternatively, "you want to participate in the economy? you have to abandon your firmly held religious beliefs."

That's some Grade A sophistry right there.

Hobby Lobby was happy to participate in matching their employees' contributions to retirement plans that invest in contraceptive makers, and happy to sell products made in a country that, as sotonohito points out, doesn't share Hobby Lobby's beliefs with respect to abortion and contraception. But now, suddenly, their conscience is offended, and we must defer to their own measurement of how substantial that burden is?

Doesn't the Court at least have the responsibility to assess on its own how substantial the burden is, and also to take into account the burden placed on others who don't share the owners' beliefs? Did the framers intend for any simple assertion of religious faith to trump any duly passed federal law? And, even assuming somehow this is the right decision, how do you justify the special "dual citizen" status the owners get as being protected from personal liability when acting as a corporation, but given special deference to enforce their personal beliefs on others when acting as an employer?
posted by tonycpsu at 1:03 PM on July 7 [8 favorites]


The Fraudulent “Minimalism” of the Roberts Court
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:03 PM on July 7


Don't forget that so much as writing a letter to another hospital or nursing facility to arrange care for your residents on the Sabbath would be an impermissible burden on your religious freedoms, because you'd be enlisting others to sin on your behalf.

Only if they're Jews.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:07 PM on July 7


For purposes of this analogy TYRR is part of some weird ultra-orthodox group that considers Jewish law to be a universal moral mandate rather than a contract binding only on a specific people.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:09 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Well, and some observant Jewish people consider it uncool to ask other people to work for you. If they offer, well, that's another thing. But I digress...
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:10 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


There are lots of reasons the decisions is bad, among them, that the particular religious exemption seems to be financially and politically motivated to me, and that there were more reasonable work-arounds, but I don't object in principle to the idea that owners of corporations should be able to claim the same exemptions that single proprietors do.
posted by empath at 2:11 PM on July 7


The individual mandate does not provide for any religious exemptions, does it?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:17 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Corporations exist as a legal fiction to prevent owners from being personally liable for their businesses; as such, they are creatures of statute and linking them more closely to their owners' beliefs and actions diminishes the purpose of incorporation. Likewise, corporations (when they reach the size to be noticed by the ACA) affect many more people, and increase therefore the public interest in them and their actions. This is most salient in things like labor law — increasing the license of corporate owners to impose their beliefs upon their workers is counter to the public interest. There are articles of incorporation that may be employed by businesses created to advance a particular creed or ideology, but Hobby Lobby chose not to play by those rules.
posted by klangklangston at 2:20 PM on July 7 [9 favorites]


Saulgoodman, there actually is a religious exemption for the individual mandate, but I wouldn't go too far trying to compare the two.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:21 PM on July 7


In case anyone cares, I don't think there is anything inherently problematic about the concept of a for-profit corporation having a sincere religious belief. I just don't think Hobby Lobby meets the bar for sincerity of belief (nice inconsistent business practices bro), plus I wouldn't regard the mandatory insurance coverage for contraceptives as being a "substantial burden" for a for-profit company. So, thbbbbt.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:29 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I don't object in principle to the idea that owners of corporations should be able to claim the same exemptions that single proprietors do.

A rabbi, a minister, and a priest walk into Delaware...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:33 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


I'm old school and still view corporations as public concerns, and essentially, as public, state-sanctioned entities, so I absolutely do not see it as unproblematic for them to have religious beliefs by whatever rationale, as it creates the potential for public life to take on too much of a religious character.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:43 PM on July 7 [3 favorites]


I also think it creates a disastrous precedent to limit the power of the state to regulate its own legal constructs, as if once created in legal fiction they magically become real, independent life forms. It's a terribly dangerous arrangement.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:47 PM on July 7 [5 favorites]


Golem mit beschränkter Haftung
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:47 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


This is a religious civil war: Hobby Lobby only the beginning for new religious theocrats
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:30 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


From the link:
The company admits in its complaint that until it considered filing the suit in 2012, its generous health insurance plan actually covered Plan B and Ella (though not IUDs). The burden of this coverage was apparently so insignificant that God, and Hobby Lobby executives, never noticed it until the mandate became a political issue.
This just highlights the massive hypocrisy that drives this decision. That SCOTUS/5 didn't care that this was an admitted transparently political stance as opposed to a deeply held religious stance, in spite of the fact that their finding was based on this being a religious belief.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:05 AM on July 9 [11 favorites]


If anyone needed more evidence we aren't under the rule of law anymore: Justice declines to pursue allegations that CIA monitored Senate Intel staff and Blackwater Employee Threatened to Kill State Department Investigator. US law is more and more just another tool kit for corporate interests to use to manipulate and control weaker parties in pursuit of their interests.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:35 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Scalia’s major screw-up: How SCOTUS just gave liberals a huge gift -
With an otherwise awful Hobby Lobby ruling, right-wing judges just said I don't have to pay for warfare! Here's why
My husband, Tom, and I have been dancing gleefully with our Corgi Bessie in our modest home every evening since the Hobby Lobby ruling, because it’s clear that the conservative majority of justices has written itself into a corner in which it cannot refuse religious exemptions from selected tax obligations. The same preponderance of Supremes will have no way out of ruling, for example, that I and fellow Quakers (plus the Amish, Mennonites and others) do not have to pay the roughly 20 percent of our taxes that goes toward supporting the U.S. military.
It would actually be pretty awesome if all the folks who follow religions that include pacifism as part of their beliefs opted to decrease their taxes by 19% and cited SCOTUS.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are working on a bill to override the Hobby Lobby decision, hoping to push Republicans to come out and announce their stance on the case by casting a vote. Republicans, in response, propose a bill that does nothing. Word games and political jousting continues, in advance of the 2014 elections.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:13 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


It would actually be pretty awesome if all the folks who follow religions that include pacifism as part of their beliefs opted to decrease their taxes by 19% and cited SCOTUS.

I would love for this to be true, but all snark and satire aside, there's nothing in Hobby Lobby (or Wheaton) to justify it. It's a little disappointing that the Salon article doesn't even mention Adams v. CIR. It has been asked and answered that the RFRA does not permit a Quaker to refuse to pay those taxes which would go to non-pacifist causes. In the Adams decisions, the courts said that, while Adams' tax obligations did represent substantial burden on her sincere religious beliefs, the collection of taxes was a compelling government interest, and the uniform and mandatory collection of taxes was a narrowly tailored way to achieve that goal. The Hobby Lobby decision changes nothing about that - it was not about income tax obligations, individual or otherwise.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:26 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


Sticherbeast, thanks for the clarification.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:51 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and going a bit further, as I understand it Hobby Lobby agrees that providing health care (including birth control) to Hobby Lobby's employees is also a compelling government interest, but that the government has other ways of achieving it that do not infringe upon Hobby Lobby Inc's protected religious expression.

That's why the Court's women justices were so pissed off a couple days later when the Court appeared to take the view that the cited workaround (inform the Ins. Co. that your organization does not intend to pay) was itself too much of a burden (Wheaton College injunction).
posted by notyou at 1:35 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and going a bit further, as I understand it Hobby Lobby agrees that providing health care (including birth control) to Hobby Lobby's employees is also a compelling government interest, but that the government has other ways of achieving it that do not infringe upon Hobby Lobby Inc's protected religious expression.

The problem with this is that it assumes that there aren't already a whole bunch of people ready to jump on the chance to block those "other ways of achieving it" as well - on top of the whole bunch of other people ready to jump at the chance to say "well, it's not about contraception, but I'm a closely-held company that has a religious problem with hiring [insert demographic group here] - so since you said a closely-held private corporation can be exempted from federal laws if there's a religious objection, I can go ahead and do that, right?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:42 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


...the collection of taxes was a compelling government interest,...

Whereas, the health and well-being of women is somewhat less compelling, apparently.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:51 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


Well, no.

It's a two-part test:

Is the infringement (provision of health care including birth control) a legitimate government interest? Yes said the Court.

Is there a less restrictive (less infringing) way for the government to satisfy its interest? Also yes, said the Court.

Although it seems possible the existing less restrictive means will soon be removed (Wheaton College).
posted by notyou at 8:18 PM on July 16


Although it seems possible the existing less restrictive means will soon be removed (Wheaton College).

EXACTLY MY POINT.

And do you also understand what I was getting at with a lot of other businesses now using this as a foot in the door for other, non-healthcare issues? Because they absolutely can now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


And coincidentally, here is an example of the very non-healthcare issue that an institution has already invoked the "Hobby Lobby" ruling for:

The Oregon Department of Education granted a private college the right to deny a fully-transitioned transgender student a space in the on-campus housing with his friends.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:04 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


And anyway, where did we get this, apparently now enshrined in law, idea that Christian money is super special and they get to dictate where and how it will be spent after it leaves their possession? Vegetarians don't get special legal consideration for their money being spent on meat after it leaves their possession. Pacifists don't get special legal consideration for their money being spent on war after it leaves their possession. But apparently once a dollar is owned by a Christian it becomes consecrated and it would be a dire sin, and deep legal wrong, for it to be spent on slutty things? How did we get to the point where this is considered a valid legal position?

Because Christians want things for themselves, and those of us who believe that the vegetarians and pacifists should get special consideration are happy to see a broadening of the wedge.
posted by corb at 7:22 AM on July 17


I, meanwhile, prefer to live in a democracy where people don't get to pick and choose whether the laws apply to them based on what they pretend to believe.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:30 AM on July 17 [11 favorites]


The Oregon Department of Education granted a private college the right to deny a fully-transitioned transgender student a space in the on-campus housing with his friends.

Uggggggggh. More from the article:
In its request for the exemption, George Fox said it “cannot in good conscience support or encourage an individual to live in conflict with biblical principles.” Yet members of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, a Quaker denomination affiliated with the school, say they see no theological basis for discriminating against transgender people.
I love how people are finding a way to discriminate on a theological basis when there's no theological basis.
posted by mochapickle at 7:30 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


The question was about how Christian money being treated specially is a valid legal position, not why it may or may not be desirable to any particular individual. There is absolutely no chance that the 5-man majority has any intention of expanding the scope beyond religion-based exemptions to contraceptive coverage, which is why the answer to the original question is "there is none."
posted by tonycpsu at 7:37 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


What Does George Fox Say?

warning: earworm
posted by rtha at 7:59 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Because Christians want things for themselves, and those of us who believe that the vegetarians and pacifists should get special consideration are happy to see a broadening of the wedge.

Where should that stop, then? Because my tax dollars are going to a school - George Fox - that discriminates. I'm not okay with that. Do I get to tell the Feds that my sincerely held beliefs prevent me from funding that kind of discrimination? I mean, as much as I'd love it in my fantasy universe, that's no way to run a country and it's no way to have any kind of workable policy of how we pay for things collectively, not in this actual world where we live.
posted by rtha at 8:11 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Down that line of thinking lies the idea that we're all as individual citizens just paying for services which we individually want and the government exists as some kind of broker or middleman for these payments, which is not at all the way society functions.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Because Christians want things for themselves, and those of us who believe that the vegetarians and pacifists should get special consideration are happy to see a broadening of the wedge.

You are positing a dream world on the one hand, and refusing to acknowledge the consequences in the real world on the other. You know that this SCOTUS or one of a similar composition will never grant those considerations, that it's merely a smokescreen for enshrining enhanced rights to those who already hold power versus removing rights from those who don't. I said it above and I'll say it again: this is a profoundly fucked way of addressing the individual's rights and place compared to organizations that de facto hold a great deal more power in our society. The apparent glee at some individuals and groups having more rights than others for no other reason than that they make a profit, despite many years of established law separating the two worlds, is saddening. It's an abomination, an attack on the foundations of the way society conducts itself.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:19 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


shakespeherian: Down that line of thinking lies the idea that we're all as individual citizens just paying for services which we individually want and the government exists as some kind of broker or middleman for these payments does not exist.

FTFY.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:20 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Is there a less restrictive (less infringing) way for the government to satisfy its interest? Also yes, said the Court.

Although it seems possible the existing less restrictive means will soon be removed (Wheaton College).


Almost literally a slippery slope with the slipping happening in real time.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:25 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


If the decision goes Wheaton's way they may as well be ruling from a toboggan, yes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:01 AM on July 17 [5 favorites]


Because Christians want things for themselves, and those of us who believe that the vegetarians and pacifists should get special consideration are happy to see a broadening of the wedge.

Where exactly do we stop short of the Liberum veto? Except applied to the whole country instead of just the legislature?
posted by PMdixon at 1:58 PM on July 17


rtha that was beautiful. The hula hoop about killed me, though.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 3:31 PM on July 17


That video is an excellent reason for the internet to exist.
posted by rtha at 3:40 PM on July 17


What Does George Fox Say?

slowclap.gif
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:37 PM on July 17


Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control
More to the point, the legal argument buttressing this supposedly “narrow” ruling is already spurring Religious Right groups to ramp up their increasingly aggressive war against access to birth control.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:14 PM on July 21


That was really depressing. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 8:52 PM on July 21


What Counts as an Abortion, and Does It Matter?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:42 AM on July 23


Satanists want to use Hobby Lobby decision to exempt women from anti-abortion laws

I think I speak for many MeFiites when I say... Hail Satan?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:27 AM on July 28 [9 favorites]


Caveat before I get too excited by this - does the Federal Government officially recognize the Church of Satan as a religion?

However, if it does - this is the neatest thing since sneakers.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on July 28


Caveat before I get too excited by this - does the Federal Government officially recognize the Church of Satan as a religion?

Wait, wouldn't Federally recognition be establishment?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:38 AM on July 28


By "Federal recognition" I am referring to things like -

okay, this most often comes up in, like, military bases or in prisons. But there've been some cases where a soldier or prisoner says that "hey, my religion says I have to wear [foo]/eat [baz]/can't do [schmeh]"; and sometimes the government says "bullshit, you're making that up" and then there's a court case in which it is ultimately ascertained that the Holy Church Of The FooBazSchmeh is actually a thing and not just that soldier trying to bullshit his C.O.

That's what I mean by "Federal recognition," that the government has acknowledged that "okay, this is really a thing, and if someone claims that they need [foo] holidays or [baz] dress code leeways then the First Amendment says you gotta let them do that in the interest of religious freedom".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:52 AM on July 28


Satanism is certainly protected by the First Amendment. For example.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:03 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


That Pro-Life Hobby Lobby
posted by tonycpsu at 3:07 PM on July 29


Ruth Bader Ginsburg: My male colleagues didn’t really understand the Hobby Lobby case
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:57 AM on July 31 [4 favorites]


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