‘Hobby Lobby’ Is Just the Beginning: A Flood of Corporate Religious Objections Is Coming


Read more of our coverage on the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases here.

The Roberts Court does nothing in small measures, so when Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, insists the decision granting closely held corporations religious objection rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is limited only to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act, don’t believe him. It’s not.

Like the Court’s decision in McCullen v. Coakley and Town of Greece v. Galloway, which also greatly advanced conservative causes but under the guise of “limited” First Amendment opinions, the decision in Hobby Lobby is an exercise in radical incrementalism. The 5-4 majority decision did not strike altogether the birth control benefit, nor did the decision rule broadly that corporations have First Amendment religious rights independent of the RFRA—but it set the path for future courts to do so.

Take first the issue of whether or not secular, for-profit corporations are “people” under the RFRA. As Justice Alito notes, the legal fiction of corporate “personhood” exists largely to provide protections to their individuals. What Justice Alito doesn’t note is that protections have never before been used to burden the rights of employees to the benefit of corporate owners.

Alito writes:

When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people. For example, extending Fourth Amendment protections to corporations protects the privacy interests of employees and others associated with the company. Protecting corporations from government seizure of their property without just compensation protects all those who have a stake in the corporations’ financial well being. And protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies.

In order to find corporations can exercise religious beliefs, Alito must conflate two very different scenarios. The first involves cases where the legal interests of employers and employees are largely aligned against those of the government; the second includes cases like Hobby Lobby, where corporate interests are trying to hide behind constitutional protections to deprive their employees of their rights. It’s a quick, but important, conflation that makes it possible for Alito to continue in the rest of his opinion to ignore the interests Hobby Lobby employees have in being free from religious discrimination by their employer.

With that judicial sleight-of-hand accomplished, Alito moves on to the larger question of just how a corporation can exercise these newly found religious rights. As it turns out, corporations practicing religious beliefs is remarkably simple, and just because a corporation seeks to maximize profit doesn’t mean it can’t do so in the name of religion:

While it is certainly true that a central objective of for-profit corporations is to make money, modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so. For-profit corporations, with ownership approval, support a wide variety of charitable causes, and it is not at all uncommon for such corporations to further humanitarian and other altruistic objectives. … If for-profit corporations may pursue such worthy objectives, there is no apparent reason why they may not further religious objectives as well.

Did you catch that? If some corporations can support charitable causes, Justice Alito reasons, why not allow others to pursue religious causes such as avoiding complying with federal law?

As if sensing the alarm bells ringing in the wake of just proclaiming the existence of corporate religious rights, Justice Alito is quick to point out that because both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation are “closely held corporations,” the Court’s order is limited to similar businesses. Justice Alito doesn’t go so far as to say that the decision actually limits religious objections to those kinds of businesses—it just notes that no publicly traded companies have raised religious objections to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) like Hobby Lobby. Yet.

Having firmly established that closely held corporations (and probably publicly traded ones as well) can assert religious objections under the RFRA, the Court turns its attention to the birth control benefit specifically.

And here is where the Court’s deeply ingrained misogyny shines brightest.

Justice Alito writes that the Hahns and the Greensthe families who, respectively, own Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobbyhave a sincere religious belief that life begins at conception and that their religious beliefs provide both that they offer insurance coverage for their employees, but only insurance coverage that conforms to those religious beliefs. Justice Alito takes this as an opportunity to misstate the coverage requirements of the ACA. “Before the advent of the ACA, they were not legally compelled to provide insurance,” wrote Alito, “but they nevertheless did soin part, no doubt, for conventional business reasons but also in part because their religious beliefs govern their relations with their employees.”

Of course, the ACA does not require employers to provide any health insurance coverage for their employees. Instead, the law requires those employers that do provide health insurance coverage offer that coverage equally for both men and women.

This a la carte type of coverage, where employers maintain ultimate veto authority over the scope of employee benefits, is of course the endgame to all these contraception challenges, and by opening the door to religious objections like Hobby Lobby the Court has set the stage for just that. The parties in Hobby Lobby sincerely, and wrongly, believe that emergency contraception and some forms of intrauterine devices (IUDs) act as abortifacients. But according to Alito, it doesn’t matter that the Greens and Hahns are wrong. All that matters is that they sincerely believe they are right.

[I]n these cases, the Hahns and Greens and their companies sincerely believe that providing the insurance coverage demanded by the HHS [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] regulations lies on the forbidden side of the line, and it is not for us to say that their religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial. 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 decision is a bad one. So bad, in fact, that Alito spends the rest of his attention in the decision explaining that the Court’s conclusions are not as radical as they appear. “HHS and the principal dissent argue that a ruling in favor of the objecting parties in these cases will lead to a flood of religious objections regarding a wide variety of medical procedures and drugs, such as vaccinations and blood transfusions, but HHS has made no effort to substantiate this prediction,” Alito writes. “HHS points to no evidence that insurance plans in existence prior to the enactment of ACA excluded coverage for such items. Nor has HHS provided evidence that any significant number of employers sought exemption, on religious grounds, from any of ACA’s coverage requirements other than the contraceptive mandate.”

HHS provided none of the evidence Justice Alito asks for because, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg points out in her dissent, “[u]ntil this litigation, no decision of the Court recognized a for-profit corporation’s qualification for a religious exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA.” In other words, that evidence didn’t exist because until this decision no corporation had made those kinds of claims.

Alito must really be concerned that his opinion will be dismissed as radical because his next move is to suggest that what the Obama administration really wants to do is force insurance coverage for abortions. If only!

“It is HHS’s apparent belief that no insurance-coverage mandate would violate RFRA—no matter how significantly it impinges on the religious liberties of employers—that would lead to intolerable consequences,” says Alito. “Under HHS’s view, RFRA would permit the Government to require all employers to provide coverage for any medical procedure allowed by law in the jurisdiction in question—for instance, third-trimester abortions or assisted suicide.”

Alito continues:

In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall it if conflicts with an employers’ religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interest (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.

In other words, it’s not discrimination if it affects women, and it’s probably not discrimination if it affects the LGBT community either. Oh, and there’s a good chance conservatives will use this opinion to launch a broader attack on civil rights protections in the name of religious liberty even though (wink wink, nudge nudge) the Court is only concerned with the contraceptive mandate.

Not surprisingly, it took Justice Ginsburg more than 30 pages to dispense with that dangerous nonsense in a scathing dissent that simply shreds Alito’s claims that his opinion is a narrow one.

In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Compelling government interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a “less restrictive alternative.” And such an alternative, the Court suggests, there will always be whenever, in lieu of tolling an enterprise claiming a religious-based exemption, the government, i.e., the general public, can pick up the tab.

This is not the first time Justices Alito and Ginsburg have been on opposite sides of a gender employment discrimination case. Last term, while Justice Ginsburg was reading from her dissent in Vance v. Ball State, the case that severely curtailed who is considered a supervisor for purposes of sexual harassment claims, Justice Alito rolled his eyes at claims she made that the decision didn’t reflect the realities of workplace harassment. It was a rare moment of displayed hostility by a sitting justice toward a colleague, but one that perfectly captures the disdain Alito shows for women, and especially women workers.

Like she did in Vance, Ginsburg schools Alito on the workplace barriers women face, and once again it’s clear Alito doesn’t care.

Ginsburg writes:

In the Court’s view, RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith—in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ.

But just what kind of accommodation will satisfy the conservatives on the Roberts Court remains an open question. Justices Alito and Kennedy suggest accommodating corporate religious beliefs the same way the administration is currently trying to accommodate nonprofit religious beliefs as one possibility. Naturally, the Court withholds judgment on whether it believes the current religious accommodation is actually constitutional, and with cases winding through the appellate courts on that very question, that’s very much a live issue, as is nearly every issue in these cases.

Just how far do corporate religious rights extend? Who knows. Will federal courts be put in a position to pick and choose which religious beliefs are sincerely held and which ones are not? It looks that way. Will the decision be used to enable employers to object to providing other health-care services, like HIV treatments? Seems likely, but we’ll have to wait for the lawsuits.

In fact, it seems Monday’s decision really only answered one question: When given the opportunity, will conservatives on the Court rule against the fundamental humanity of women?

The answer is yes. Every time.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Jessica Mason Pieklo on twitter: @hegemommy

  • kitler

    Great article.

    And pro lifers are very very pleased with the ruling.

    • Hugh Jassole

      Off topic- I once met a kitten that was mostly white with black ears and a small black patch between its nose and mouth. It’s name was kitler! Please take no offense to this. It’s just that I never imagined I’d ever encounter that name again.

      • JB

        HJ, I think your screen name is hilarious, actually, Not that you are, but I had a good laugh over this one. Peace.

        • Shan

          “I think your screen name is hilarious, actually,”

          OMG, I didn’t notice that until you mentioned it!

          • fiona64

            I didn’t either! LOL!

    • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

      Pro lifers should either be put in ” marks, or be replaced by the correct expression anti women.

    • Pinkladyapple

      Proof right there that they are also anti-contraception, no matter how many times they try to deny it.

  • fiona64

    The anti-choicers are doing a gleeful dance of joy … without realizing that if all it takes is “sincerely held religious beliefs” on the part of a business owner for those “beliefs” to be inflicted upon an employee, they should get ready for Muslim-owned businesses to make women wear burqas. (The Venn diagram overlap for Islamophobia and anti-choice behavior, from my observation, is rather large.) This ruling is just as big a turd as Citizens United.

    • VeteranMom

      Or to refuse to hire women as employees at all.

      • fiona64

        Heh. My husband used to moonlight at a local hobby shop. There was a huge problem with one of the employees (who was a buddy of the manager) sexually harassing women who worked there. Rather than fire the harasser, they fired all of the women. I am not making this up.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Well, we all know that those women, simply by being women were a temptation to that poor man-after all, he can’t be expected to control his penis, now can he?
          That is the other side’s pathetic attempt to justify any and all behavior, sadly.

      • colleen2

        Republican women don’t like it when other women work outside the home. It threatens them.

  • Hugh Jassole

    Part of this ruling should require the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga to adopt the children of their employees that will exist due to this ruling. Same should go for all pro-lifers. If they want abortion illegal, then they should adopt all these children that would’ve been aborted… Instead, apparently they would rather have unwanted children born and raised by people who didn’t want them in the first place, but guess what? Some of those unwanted children grow up to be just real “piece of shit” people that we all have to deal with as adults. Who can blame them? I bet a lot of us would be horrible people, if we grew up unloved or feeling like a burden, because the family is barely getting by. I don’t get it… Just like our congress that votes to send our nations youth into war, but won’t send their own kids to fight the fight that they voted for!

    • VeteranMom

      The ruling concerns contraceptives, not abortions. The business owners singled out several forms of birth control and falsely claimed that they cause abortions, which they clearly do not. Unfortunately, the SCOTUS decided to ignore scientific and medical evidence in favor of the personal feelings of a business owner.

      • Hugh Jassole

        Hello VMom, yes, I understand the ruling concerns “emergency” contraceptives and iuds. My opening sentence was concerning that. Then I went off on a mini-rant. Sorry bout that.

  • Nicko Thime

    I like the term FORCED gestationist because this is about forcing women into subjugation using the superstition of religion as a weapon.

    That said, theocracy is totalitarian in nature. Once inveigled into government it always leads to the corruption of personal liberty.
    Madison warned us. He told us to keep religion as perfectly separated as possible from our secular government and now we have the Catholic gang turning us back to pre-revolutionary EUROPE where kings ruled by divine right and some “church” had their dirty hands around the rulers neck or in his pockets, while declaring that gawd had made it all good.
    This is why they KEPT religion out of our Constitution. The biblical religions never promote liberty. They always promote dogmatic belief. There isn’t a single democratic principle in the Bible. It teaches blind obedience to a magical being, not individual liberty.

    A shitstorm is coming and it is squarely on the most activist, ideologically radical, corporately owned and fascist court in our nation’s history. I hope we survive.
    Religious Crusades are a bitch.

    • Arachne646

      There are a whole lot of believers in the “biblical religions” who want that “wall of separation between church and state” kept in as good condition and as high as possible! I presume, by those, you meant the Abrahamic religions, Christians, Moslems, and Jews? I’m not just talking about progressive denominations and believers, either, there are lots of conservatives apart from Evangelical Christians who just want to live their faith, rather than get other people to change the way they live.

      REAL religious freedom is a very important value to members of smaller religious groups, too, not just secular people! There are some extremely determined theocratic Christians out there, and I agree with you that they need to be stopped.

      • Nicko Thime

        REAL religious freedom will come when we all stop believing the silly superstitions about magical beings.

  • http://www.friv2gaming.com/ Friv 2

    judgment that can change a lot of things in the lives of many people, so you need to consider carefully and properly, thanks
    http://www.yepi10game.com | http://www.friv3gaming.com

    • expect_resistance

      Flagged for spam!

  • Davey Joe

    This Court has opened the floodgates to Coroporations. They can and will do anything and spend any amount because a Coroporation is now a person with individual liberties. It is truly a sad and disgusting time in our history being dictated by activist Right Wing Justices that have no shame and answer only to their Corporate Masters.

  • JB

    I have to agree with Alito only on one point: if the SCOTUS had rested its decision upon the science behind the issue, the justices might as well have dismissed the religious freedom argument entirely, since religion is based on anything but science. So, yes, whether or not the beliefs are scientifically validated is irrelevant, since no part of their belief system is, yet remains protected by the first amendment (talking about the individuals, not the corporation, who should have no such rights, and for good reason). On any other point, Alito and his camp are just plain wrong – they have ignored years of legislation aimed at ensuring non-discriminatory practices in hiring, promotion, wages and benefits allocation – laws that any company or corporation must acknowledge before entering into a business relationship with the public and profiting from tax dollars in the form of breaks and credits. The court has also ignored its own fundamental role of establishing precedent, while trying to assure us their decision will not be far reaching. As you point out, the fallout is yet to come, and it’s going to be major. Nice article – thanks.

    • Will Josephs

      What are the some of the pillars of Science? Uncertainty Principle — you can’t KNOW with certainty the exact location of an electron the higher its velocity; “Empty” vacuums filled with exotic particles that come into and go out of existence; Observer Effect — the FACT you look at a phenomenon affects its behavior; that our best Scientific minds admit that we hardly know anything for certain:

      “No one really understands the quantum theory. Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is– absurd [sic].” – Richard Feynman

      “Although the quantum theory is the most successful theory every proposed by the human mind . . ., it is built upon a sand of chance, luck, and probabilities.” – Dr. Michio Kaku

      Because objects spring into being when measurements are made, and measurements are made by conscious beings, many brilliant scientists conclude this proves the EXISTENCE OF GOD or some cosmic consciousness, logically giving rise to the declaration, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of the quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” – Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner.

      Given the above, which is more absurd and requires more faith, to trust the absurd nature of Quantum Theory predicated as it is upon chance, luck and probabilities or God (Wigner’s ‘consciousness’) as the author of a universe that still holds many mysteries that only He knows and understands and still keeps the most brilliant male minds pondering, uncertain, and confused.

      You gonna trust Neil deGrasse Tyson? and his faith in sand, chance and luck or the Almighty, Infinite God who created the universe and holds it in the palm of His hand, Who is not limited by the speed of light because He is Light and therefore can travel at or above the speed of light and therefore out of time.

      The more Science you know the less you know we know and the greater the argument for God!

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204175763653939&set=a.1247528587965.2038630.1221949455&type=1&theater

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Yes, I will take Neil DeGrasse Tyson over the purveyors of superstition and inaccurate information.

      • JB

        @willjosephs:disqus I appreciate your attempt to link science with spirituality, but perhaps it’s wise to tread lightly on the subject of physics, because it so happens I’ve been married over 30 years to an engineer who specializes in quantum mechanics. Now, I’ve had a different career so I’m not claiming expertise at all – I certainly could not design a superconducting particle accelerator that would suck you into a black hole in a femtosecond. But by osmosis I have gained sufficient understanding to know that the bits and pieces of information you supply here do not constitute a linearly progressive, logical argument for the existence of G*d. It even does nothing to support the existence of the G*d Particle. I don’t mean to dispute your right to believe that Wigner and his friend had a direct link to the Divine, but it’s important to realize that in the world of science, theories are based on trends instead of singular events, and nothing is absolute. Scientists are not so smug as to ever stop investigating the nature of the universe. Can your religion say the same?

      • colleen2

        I am certain that God does not want to force women to have as many children as our bodies can bear . I am absolutely certain that using effective contraception is both moral and responsible. My contempt for men who use God to try to convince women to submit to their bullshit cannot be overstated.

  • Will Josephs

    You can’t legally abrogate anyone’s religious rights codified within the Constitution (1st amendment) and by statute (RFRA) to provide a subset of Americans identified by gender (female) and ideology (hyper-feminism) a benefit (not a Constitutional right!) at the expense of the former!

    Paid-for abortifacients are a benefit and therefore a privilege; not a right. They are not codified in the Constitution nor within a statute — the ACA that passed Congress without a single GOP vote and was signed by hyper-partisan, go-it-alone Barack Hussein Obama did NOT contain the mandate that businesses pay for religiously objectionable benefits!

    The mandate was later ADDED within the 15,000 pages of statutorily non-binding regulations by unelected Kathleen “Glitchy” Sebelius without the approval of Congress and without Constitutional authority to do so. In short, the contraception mandate is neither in the Constitution nor the statute!

    And that’s why SCOTUS ruled lawfully and Constitutionally and why those who hate and/or ignore the Constitution are DEAD WRONG — just like Hillary Rodham Clinton was DEAD BROKE when she left the White House in 2001, after her husband’s Impeachment Odyssey.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204303679771762&set=p.10204303679771762&type=1&theater

    • fiona64

      Which of your private medical decisions should your employer be allowed to make, Will?

      Oh, wait! This ruling quite specifically excluded any prescription medication or medical procedures except for those used by women.

      Take your MRA crap back to PUA.

      • Will Josephs

        Actually, wrong again. The ruling covers all types of contraceptives including those used by men. Men use condoms, coitus interruptus, vasectomies, and the rhythm method and I’m glad for my employer NOT to have to pay for any of these. Condoms, used by both men and women, are about $0.85 each!

    • Unicorn Farm

      “The mandate was later ADDED within the 15,000 pages of statutorily non-binding regulations by unelected Kathleen “Glitchy” Sebelius without the approval of Congress and without Constitutional authority to do so”

      You moron, regulations promulgated pursuant to a statutory scheme via notice and comment rulemaking are binding. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • lady_black

        It believes Congress has time to micro-manage details that the legislation itself gives authority to the corresponding agency to hash out. That’s the only thing I can figure out.

    • Jen L

      Hi, I know that this will shock you, but employees ALSO have a right to religious freedom, including the freedom to not adhere to their employer’s religious dogma. According to this ruling, the owners of a business have the right to force their religion on their employees, because the owners have a GREATER, more important right to freedom of religion than the employees, even if the employer to employee ration is 2: 500,000. Two people have a greater right to religion than 500,000 other people do, because the two who win are rich.

      The drugs aren’t abortifacients, as the article clearly explains. You should try reading sometime.

      And no, it doesn’t make me hyper-feminist to believe that women have a right to our own religion, a right to privacy in health care, and a right to gender equality in health care. The SCOTUS has already ruled on those matters and agree with me.

      Since you’re doing the bidding of the rich, perhaps they could purchase a clue for you.

      • Nicko Thime

        They are religiously opposed to clues.

      • B Harris

        I have read several comments to different blogs concerning this Supreme Court decision and in your comment you reference a ratio. I just wonder what is the ratio that must exist that requires owners to forfeit their constitutional rights? 1:1. 1:2, 2:1, 2:2, etc.

        What do we do as a democracy when two groups have constitutional rights that seem to be at opposition with each other?

        If an owner closes their business for a religious holiday and the workers are required to take their vacation at that time but they do not worship that religion or believe in any religion, is that a violation of the workers constitutional rights? Are they being forced to follow in the owners religious beliefs?

        If we want religion out of government and government out of religion, then how can government force for-profit operating, religious owners to perform a service that goes against their religious beliefs?

        • fiona64

          A business owner’s constitutional right to practice religion does not include the right to inflict his or her beliefs on employees. Oh, and Sparky? This wasn’t a 1st Amendment case.

          We’re not a democracy, we’re a democratic republic … wherein tyrannical majorities to not get to decide the rights of minorities.

          I ask this in all sincerity: were you homeschooled? Because your grasp of civics seems to be a little … limited.

          • B Harris

            I stand corrected that I did use democracy and not a republic. My apologies.

            I did not state that this was a First Admendment case but this case is built on the owners practice of their religious rights as protected in the First Admendment.

            I am interested, you chose to not answer my questions but instead to attack me. First you gave me a “cute” nickname and then you questioned my educational background. Which is something that I have seen in these posts, a tendency for the posters to attack people and not focus on the issue.

            fiona64 since you stated it, my question is why not? Why doesn’t an owner of a business have the right to run the business based on their personal religious beliefs without the interference of government?

            If you get the chance I would be interested in your thoughts on each of my previous points.

          • kitler

            Because they are imposing their religious beliefs on their employees who may have different beliefs

          • B Harris

            Ok. Owners and workers may have differing beliefs, but why cannot an owner run their business based on their own religious beliefs?

            Does your respones apply to the business that forces their employees to take vacation during the holiday that the owners celebrate, whether or not the workers hold the same beliefs?

            Does an owner have the right to say “stop” to the government forcing them to adhere to the corporate beliefs of their workers?

          • fiona64

            Owners and workers may have differing beliefs, but why cannot an owner run their business based on their own religious beliefs?

            Because ::wait for it:: YOU DO NOT GET TO FORCE YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEF ON OTHERS.

            Does your respones apply to the business that forces their employees to take vacation during the holiday that the owners celebrate, whether or not the workers hold the same beliefs?

            Please name one single, solitary business that does this. I’ll wait.

            Does an owner have the right to say “stop” to the government forcing them to adhere to the corporate beliefs of their workers?

            WTF does this even *mean*?

          • fiona64

            why cannot an owner run their business based on their own religious beliefs?

            Since I don’t think you understood anything that has been said previously, let me try to put this point in concrete terms for you:

            — Why can’t a business owner make blacks sit at a different part of the lunch counter?
            — Why can’t a business owner put up a sign that says “No Jews allowed”?
            — Why can’t a business owner put up a sign that says “No Irish need apply”?
            — Why can’t a business owner hire only men, even if women are equally qualified for the job?

          • B Harris

            Great, we are getting closer to talking about issues and not attacking the person.

            The rights of certain protected groups are protected by the government.

            I am familiar with that.

          • B Harris

            So, what we are getting to is the Federal Civil Liberties Act. That protects the constitutional rights of protected groups: “Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce. Title II”.

            and Title VII: “prohibits discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin (see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2[41]). Title VII applies to and covers an employer “who has fifteen (15) or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year” as written in the Definitions section under 42 U.S.C. §2000e(b).”

            Except for certain narrowly defined exceptions where refusal of employment would be considered a civil violation but where the ability of the company to provide its services could be hampered, i.e. Playboy only has to hire women as Playboy Bunnies.

            So, with these facts in hand can Hobby Lobby restrict what birth control it offers to women.

            In a Republic, we have created a process by which each party can bring its grievances to the courts. They have and the courts gave its ruling.

            It tried to find a compromise of a woman’s right to health care in general and the owners specific objection to specific types of birth control.

            “Some argue that anti-discrimination laws in matters of public accommodations create a conflict between the ideal of equality and individual rights. Does the guaranteed right to public access mean the business owner’s private right to exclude is violated? For the most part, courts have decided that the constitutional interest in providing equal access to public accommodations outweighs the individual liberties involved.” -LEANNE PHILLIPS – OCT 2007

            The Right to Refuse Service: Can a Business Refuse Service to Someone Because of Appearance, Odor or Attitude?

          • fiona64

            So, with these facts in hand can Hobby Lobby restrict what birth control it offers to women.

            Which of YOUR medical decisions is it okay for an employer to make?

          • B Harris

            They make choices for me all the time. What doctors I can see, if my choice of doctor is not in their network I pay full price. What types if procedures are covered, chiropractic care is only covered if I can prove that it will improve the quality of my health for work and then only a certain number of visits are covered. Whether or not a vasectomy is covered. I may or may not like these restrictions but they are there.

          • kitler

            If it is my religious belief that men are inferior and that it is within my rights to deny medical care to men at my facility that is totes ok with you/

          • B Harris

            Would that make it a women’s only clinic?

          • B Harris

            I found this on facebook. “Dr. Charles Alston M.D. Women’s only clinic”

          • lady_black

            A women’s clinic is not a general hospital.

          • kitler

            No, a general care hospital that simply refuses to treat men out of religious beliefs.

            You’re a guy and you’re in emergency/ too bad! We only serve women, because serving men is against our religous beliefs!

          • B Harris

            Sure. That is the short answer.

            Do I believe that you have the right to run a general care hospital that services women only because of religious beliefs? Yes!

            Should you be allowed to deny “emergency” services to stabilize a dying patient. Sure. Your choice. Are you ready to rock the lawsuits?

            Will you, if you are truly a doctor who took the Hippocratic Oath that states “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone”, deny those medical services that will stabilize the patient and allow him to be moved to another health care facility. No, I do not think you would.

            Can there be compromise that tries to address both needs, that is what this process is all about.

          • kitler

            You are clearly not in touch with reality.

          • B Harris

            Why?

          • lady_black

            A business may “close” on any day they wish, within reason. They may or may not pay their employees for the holiday. What they cannot do is force employees to take vacation days that are offered as a benefit, in use for the business owner’s personal holidays. The employee may use them as he sees fit.

          • fiona64

            Why doesn’t an owner of a business have the right to run the business based on their personal religious beliefs without the interference of government?

            Well, let me put it to you this way: If I were a wagering woman, I would bet that you would stroke right out at a Muslim-owned business making an announcement that its female employees must wear burqas.

            We live in a secular nation. That means that religion is a personal and private matter. When you hang out your shingle to do business with the public, you do not get to discriminate based on religion. Does that make it clear for you?

            Also, could you define “tyrannical majorities” for me.

            Wow. Is civics not taught anymore? I guess it must not be. Go (re)read Federalist Paper #10, which I am providing here. It should help you understand. http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm

          • B Harris

            As I do not own the business that I am thinking of I will not name it, but as it does business on the internet and during the time it takes its religious breaks it announces that it will be closed for business and will be open after the religious holiday is over.

            Do you truly need for me to give you the name of the business or can we come to an agreement that there are businesses out there that do indeed do this. I just happen to have done business with them.

            Now as to your “wager,” what in my post would lead you to believe that I am of a Muslim faith?

            Do we not already live in a Republic that allows owners to dictate that employees must wear a “uniform?” Why then would there be a problem if the owner stated that part of the uniform be a burqa?

            “We live in a secular nation. That means that religion is a personal and private matter. When you hang out your shingle to do business with the public, you do not get to discriminate based on religion. Does that make it clear for you?”

            So, do all of my constitutional rights as a person end when I hang out my shingle?

            Could I, for example, allow certain political, social and/or religious groups to post fliers on my business and not others? Even if the my workers do not agree with those groups?

          • B Harris

            I am currently (re)reading the federalist papers link that you supplied. Thanks.

          • B Harris

            I am going to have to admit to you fiona64 that I just cannot see where the Federalist No. 10 applies here. As I have skimmed through it I see where it upholds the idea of a Republic, to which I agree, as the necessary form of government.
            But I just cannot find any reference in it to how business are to be ran, governments-yes.

          • fiona64

            You asked me to define “tyrannical majorities.” I specifically responded to that point by providing Federalist 10, which deals with that issue. I am sorry that you were not able to understand that … but your lack of comprehension is really not my fault.

          • B Harris

            tyrannical majorities was not defined in that particular document.

          • fiona64

            Yes, actually, they are. So, once again I find myself asking whether English is your first language.

          • B Harris

            And again I ask you to point out where tyrannical majorities is defined. Maybe I missed it skimming the document.

            And again I wonder why you choose to attack me and not show me where it is defined.

            I also tried a word search on the document and tyrannical was not found.

            I encourage you to point out what paragraph that is defined in.

            Thanks.

          • fiona64

            I will try to spell it out as simply as possible, since you seem not to understand it. Perhaps a concrete example will help: an example of a tyrannical majority would be two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.

            Here is an amplification of the reasoning Madison used in Federalist #10. Please, do not ask me further to explain simple concepts to you when a Google search string of “tyrannical majority” turns up literally thousands of hits. http://www.rense.com/general64/madi.htm

            PS: Thanks for admitting that you didn’t actually bother reading Federalist #10.

          • B Harris

            So, in the Federalist #10 what I understood Madison to define was the need for a Republic to keep an even balance I power from one elected power to the next. In a Democracy, he who wins rules. So the party with 51% of the vote make the rules. With a Republic the ruling party is administrator of the Laws that have been set in place as described in our Constitution.

            Your concrete example would also work if two sheep and a wolf were voting for dinner, but we also know that the wolf would just get two helpings.

            My understanding of a tyrant is one that Rules regardless of the laws in place to protect those under the tyrant’s power.

            In a democracy there would be no “tyrant” even if every rule went against the losing party because of the nature of a democratic elected party.

            Thankfully we have a Republic.

          • B Harris

            I believe that I have answered all of your questions, asked for clarification on your thoughts that I did not understand, addressed each point without making any value judgement and have not made any personal attacks upon your character, and yet you have still attacked me and have chosen to not answer questions that I have asked you but chose instead to dismiss them as “twaddle.”

            In essence, I have treated you with respect through this entire discussion. Something that I have not received in return.

          • lady_black

            The only thing that “rules” here is our Constitution, not political parties.

          • lady_black

            Yeah? Well, that wasn’t the reason she told you to read it. You asked a *specific* question concerning “tyranny of the majority.” Since you obviously have a computer, go ahead and Google that term. Majorities do not get to enforce their religious will upon minorities in a discriminatory fashion here.

          • fiona64

            You don’t read for comprehension very well, do you? I never said that you were of the Muslim faith. I said that you would ‘stroke right out’ if a Muslim-owned business demanded that its female employees wear burqas.

            I doubt the existence of the business you allege, and I will leave it at that.

            So, do all of my constitutional rights as a person end when I hang out my shingle?

            To a certain extent, yes. When you create a fictitious person in the form of a business, you are separating yourself and your assets from those of the business. While you may not ever want to serve a gay person dinner in your home, for example, and are able to get away with that, you cannot deny a gay person service in your restaurant.

            The rest of your post is a bunch of twaddle that demonstrates you have no idea how businesses operate.

          • B Harris

            What does “stroke right out” mean?

          • fiona64

            Is English not your first language? I ask this in all sincerity.

          • B Harris

            again attacking the person and not answering the question.

          • fiona64

            I am sorry; you seem to have issues comprehending basic English, so I asked a sincere question. It’s not my fault you didn’t understand *that,* either.

          • B Harris

            In your statement, ” I would bet that you would stroke right out at a Muslim-owned business making an announcement that its female employees must wear burqas.”, are you saying I would or would not support this?

          • fiona64

            Oh, for Christ’s sake. Really?

            I am saying that the mere idea of it would cause you to have a cerebrovascular accident, aka a stroke. In other words, that you would not support it.

            Now, I ask again: is English your first language? If not, I can understand your confusion. If so, I find it inexcusable.

          • B Harris

            Thank you for the clarification. So, if you were a betting woman you feel that I would be so shocked at a owner of Muslim faith asking their female employees to wear a burqa that I would have a stroke. Why would you make that bet based on our conversations?

            The statement was so incongruous with the stance that I have been taking that it did not make any sense to me.

            My apologies for the misunderstanding since the stance I have been taking would support a business owner of Muslim faith requiring women employees to wear burkas.

            I can only surmise then that you were being facetious and condescending.

          • fiona64

            My apologies for the misunderstanding since the stance I have been
            taking would support a business owner of Muslim faith requiring women
            employees to wear burkas.

            I doubt the veracity of this assertion. ::shrug::

          • lady_black

            Well, you see, a Muslim business could NOT require women employees to wear a burka. That would be discrimination based on gender. Unless it is a bona fide requirement for the job, employers cannot require discriminating dress codes for women. As an example, I would cite a hospital that lets male nurses wear scrubs and requires female nurses to wear dress uniforms and a cap. That would be illegal. You have a major problem with your stance. I find it disturbingly un-American.

          • lady_black

            What is a stroke? Are you really that dumb, or is English not your first language.

          • lady_black

            Is your Google broken? I know what it means. Look it up, she isn’t your slave.

          • B Harris

            No, my google is not broken.

            Thanks for the response as it has been some time since there has been any reply to my last post it would seem to me that all has been said. I would neve had thought that she was my slave. I just wanted to make sure that we were indeed talking about the same thing. Therefore, I asked for clarification.

            I try to not assume that I know what the other person is trying to say.

  • Will Josephs

    HIGH COURT’S OBAMACARE RULING TO HIT SILVER SCREEN

    EchoLight Studios, run by former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, will release a movie Sept. 1 that explores the Hobby Lobby case in which the Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare’s mandate that private businesses pay for insurance that covers certain kinds of contraceptives is a violation of religious freedom.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter: “The film, a documentary called One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty, has been in the works for several months. The movie makes the case that the free expression of Christianity has lately been taking a backseat to free speech, government expansion and political correctness, and the Hobby Lobby case is one example from the film…

    The movie, directed and produced by Ken Carpenter, features remarks by President Ronald Reagan and interviews with several experts on the topic of religious freedom, including former GOP presidential candidate and Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee.”

    • fiona64

      Why am I not surprised that, on top of being a creepy MRA, you’re a Santorum worshipper?

      • Will Josephs

        Wrong: I’m a God-worshiper just like Senator Santorum. What do you worship? Your uterus, your benefits provided at my expense, or your temporary privilege of committing filicide via abortion with impunity?

        #SCOTUS ruled 9-0 that all #feminist #Prochoice law school grads like @sandrafluke and her ilk need to return to Law School to re-learn the law and correctly understand the Constitution. Their recent prognostications about non-existent rights that are nothing more than benefits paid for by Other People’s Money (OPM) completely misunderstands the main tenets of the Constitution and derived statutory law.

        You can’t legally abrogate anyone’s religious rights codified within the Constitution (1st amendment) and by statute (RFRA) to provide a subset of Americans identified by gender (female) and ideology (hyper-feminism) a benefit (not a Constitutional right!) at the expense of the former!

        Paid-for abortifacients are a benefit and therefore a privilege; not a right. They are not codified in the Constitution nor within a statute — the ACA that passed Congress without a single GOP vote and was signed by hyper-partisan, go-it-alone Barack Hussein Obama did NOT contain the mandate that businesses pay for religiously objectionable benefits!

        The mandate was later ADDED within the 15,000 pages of statutorily non-binding regulations by unelected Kathleen “Glitchy” Sebelius without the approval of Congress and without Constitutional authority to do so. In short, the contraception mandate is neither in the Constitution nor the statute!

        And that’s why SCOTUS ruled lawfully and Constitutionally and why those who hate and/or ignore the Constitution are DEAD WRONG — just like Hillary Rodham Clinton was DEAD BROKE when she left the White House in 2001, after her husband’s Impeachment Odyssey.

        https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204303679771762&set=p.10204303679771762&type=1&theater

        • fiona64

          Dumbass, you aren’t paying for a single bit of my benefits. I have an employer, who provides insurance as part of my compensation package.

          Your asinine talking point is duly noted. But I will address it. My wanted pregnancy almost killed me. My son turned 28 years old last week. Frankly, I wish you could experience just a couple of hours of the hyperemesis gravidarum that I experienced for 40 weeks. In any event, should the tubal ligation that I obtained subsequently fail (they can, and do), you’re goddamned right that there will be an abortion; I will NOT go through that again. In fact, the minute the stick turned blue, I would be scheduling an abortion so fast that your ugly, misogynistic head would spin right off.

          Which of YOUR private medical decisions should someone else be allowed to make, little man? I’m curious.

        • Jen L

          You’re not a God worshiper. You’re a idol worshiper.

          And you don’t grasp that work compensation is the property of the worker, not the property of the employer. Employees paid for health care coverage with their work hours and should be offered coverage that suits their medical needs.

        • colleen2

          not YOUR god, you pathetic POS.

        • Suba gunawardana

          Why do you worship an imaginary creature, who, by all accounts is cruel, sadistic and impotent?

        • lady_black

          We pay for our OWN insurance, you LIAR.

    • Shan

      Are they going to include the part of the SCOTUS ruling that that instead of companies and institutions with a “sincerely held religious belief” it’s the taxpayers who should foot the bill?

    • Jen L

      “Erosion of religious liberty” is not very secret code for “equality for religions other than conservative Christianity.” In fact, even lawmakers have explicitly stated that freedom of religion only applies to conservative evangelical Christians, that even liberal Christians do not have a right to freedom of religion.

      But I still have a right to freedom of religion, even if people like you believe that rights are a zero-sum game and me having that right removes your right.

    • Nicko Thime

      Santorum?

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

      Nuff said

  • Will Josephs

    A woman asks, “If a woman’s chosen form of birth control is to keep her clothes on, should her employer be forced to purchase her wardrobe?”

    Why or why not?

    • Shan

      Just flag this shite.

    • Unicorn Farm

      Flagged for rampant sexism.

    • lady_black

      Well, if clothing was a prescription drug, I would say yes.

  • fiona64

    And a bunch of Federal contractors are asking for a “religious exemption” from the executive order that forbids them to discriminate against GLBT people. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/religious-groups-lgbt-hiring-hobby-lobby

    • Arachne646

      Bigotry cloaked in religion is still bigotry.

  • Susan Sered

    The SCOTUS ruling highlights the power of the Courts to decide what “counts” as religion (as opposed to cults, sects, heresies, spirituality, etc.) This is a power that traditionally has been used in ways harmful to women. http://susan.sered.name/blog/morality-hijacked-by-religion/

  • labman57

    I sincerely believe that the moon is made of cheese.
    God told me so.

    Therefore, I insist that my employees enjoy the moon rock omelets that I have prepared for the annual company breakfast.

    • Nicko Thime

      What kind of cheese?

      };-D

  • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

    I suggest you all americans who do not like this sick verdict of the SCotUS, gather outside Hobby Lobby stores, stand there screaming at the customers who apparently do not share our views, telling them how sick and evil they are, and that they will burn in hell for shopping at Hobby Lobby. After a while I guess we might even see Hobby Lobby Escorts helping customers inside. But why not – you are just using your freedom of speach (let us see how big the buffer zones will be in this case!)

  • Becky05

    “Of course, the ACA does not require employers to provide any health insurance coverage for their employees.”

    The ACA requires that companies with 50 or more employees provide health insurance or pay a fine for each employee.

  • Paul Davis

    How do you square the idea that “the CEO and the board have a religious belief that may be acted on by the corporation”, which is what the decision says, with “the corporate officers are shielded from lawsuits by the corporate person”, which is the rule the officers hide behind when their corporation does something wrong and someone is injured as a result. This is clearly contradictory, if the CEO is personally responsible for the morals of the corporation he must be responsible for the moral FAILURES of the corporation. Personally.

    • fiona64

      Yep. Somewhere, Hobby Lobby’s liability lawyers are facepalming … because the corporate veil has just been shredded.

  • http://batman-news.com Gordon Cash

    Just the beginning of a flood of corporate religious objections? Of course it is. If anyone out there actually believes the Hobby Lobby 5 at SCOTUS didn’t see this coming, I have a bridge for sale.