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Supreme Court: Some corporations can have religious beliefs

Monday, Jun 30, 2014

* AP

The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later. […]

The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.

…Adding… From Planned Parenthood of Illinois…

All women deserve the right to the health care they need. We know first-hand how important it is for women to receive the method of birth control that works for them without hurdles or barriers. That’s why Planned Parenthood fought so hard for the birth control benefit in the first place and why we’re focused on making sure that women have access to the method of birth control that’s best for them, without cost or other hurdles standing in the way.

Today American families were served a severe blow to their right to family planning when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods even though they did stipulate that the holding is limited to small “closely-held” corporations. The corporations in this lawsuit hold an extreme view, and unfortunately there are some politicians who want to go even farther — getting rid of the birth control benefit entirely. Bosses of private, for-profit businesses should not be able to interfere in women’s health decisions, and neither should the politicians who want to roll back the birth control benefit entirely, taking away insurance coverage that millions of women benefit from.

Although the Supreme Court ruled in favor of these corporations, we applaud the Illinois General Assembly for having the foresight to pass the Birth Control Referendum. We are fortunate to live in a state that protects women’s rights to contraceptives. This referendum will help protect and strengthen the law we already have in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The non-binding referendum will appear on the November ballot as this question:

    Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?

Planned Parenthood of Illinois believes that preventive care, including birth control, is basic healthcare for women. Virtually all American women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are sexually active have used birth control at some time. Regardless of the size of the corporation, we will not let this ruling deter us from continuing to provide essential healthcare services to the more than 60,000 women, men, and teens across Illinois that entrust their basic health care rights to us — however small or large the corporation they work for.

…Adding… The Tribune has the local angle

Though not a part of today’s ruling, at least five Illinois companies have raised similar objections and are hoping that the ruling will apply to them. They are Oak Brook-based Triune Health Group; Highland-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors; Mokena-based Ozinga Bros., a Chicago-area concrete company; Hart Electric in Lostant; the Chicago law firm of Lindsay, Rappaport & Postel; and Carol Stream-based Tyndale House Publishers.

“It came out in our favor. We’re very excited about this,” said Chris Yep, owner of Triune Health Group, who attended the oral arguments earlier this year. “We’re now going to move ahead for some re-judgment on this.”

The Yeps were the first Catholic Illinois business owners to sue the Obama administration for enforcing the controversial contraception mandate. They also were the first to sue the state of Illinois over a similar mandate that went into effect 10 years ago.

Yep especially appreciated Kennedy’s concurring opinion, which suggested the government could pay for contraception itself if it was that important.

…Adding… From Congressman Peter Roskam…

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld one of the core principles our nation was founded upon, religious freedom. The federal government and the heavy-handed mandates within Obamacare cannot and should not violate the deeply held religious beliefs of these family-owned and operated businesses. After the government has granted exemptions from this very mandate for 100 million employees for commercial and political reasons, it is only appropriate that they should do so for those with objections based on their faith. I am hopeful this ruling will help protect the rights of Tyndale House Publishers in Carol Stream, Wheaton College in Wheaton, and others organizations I represent as they practice the free exercise of their religious beliefs.”

…Adding… From Gov. Quinn…

“Healthcare is a human right, and the Affordable Care Act is meant to give all Americans access to decent, affordable healthcare.

“That means full access to healthcare for every woman in America, regardless of who they are or where they work.

“A woman’s personal health decisions should stay strictly between her and her doctor.

“Unfortunately, today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision takes these choices from a woman and gives them to her employer.

“I will continue to fight to preserve the right of Illinois women to make their own healthcare decisions based on their own beliefs, not the beliefs of the person signing their paycheck.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


112 Comments
  1. - I B Strapped - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    SCOTUS sticking it to 0bama…


  2. - Archiesmom - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:40 am:

    =SCOTUS sticking it to 0bama…=

    Not so much. Read the opinion. Actually quite narrow, and Feds can provide the contraceptive coverage where qualifying companies can legitimately drop it. Going to be plenty of litigation.


  3. - Aldyth - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    So, in my privately owned company, I can impose my religious belief that transfusions are a crime against God and deny providing insurance coverage for transfusions?

    By the way, Hobby Lobby buys a lot of their merchandise from China, which has forced abortion. Apparently, when you are making your profits from a sinful resource, you can turn a blind eye to it.


  4. - I B Strapped - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:42 am:

    Well, could be, but I highly doubt Obama considers it what he wanted.


  5. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    The opinion seems to be applicable to small closely held corporations rather than large publicly traded corporations. If so, the decision seems justified for small business owners.


  6. - Archiesmom - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    = Well, could be, but I highly doubt Obama considers it what he wanted.=

    Heck of a lot better than he might have feared, especially when he saw Alito wrote the majority opinion.


  7. - Nonplussed - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    I don’t think SCOTUS cares about who the president is. They have lifetime appointments and presidents are only around a max of 8 years.

    This is another decision where we get the Constitution according to Anthony Kennedy. Remember, this vote could have belonged to Robert Bork.


  8. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    When do we start letting businesses vote?


  9. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Nonplussed - to see just how much the SCOTUS cares about who the president is, read *conservative* legal scholars on the Bush v. Gore decision, where the GOP Justices did a 180 degree turn on their previously narrow interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause, then put a footnote in the decision saying other courts could not cite it as precedence for anything in the future.

    (Which is also why I still think Ginsberg is going to retire pretty soon)


  10. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    so exactly how does the ruling affect birth control pills?


  11. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    The problem with the ruling is that it only applies to contraception–it is a rather bizarre ruling that is similar to another Supreme Court ruling that claimed to limit it’s applicability.

    Here is a further attempt at qualification: This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates, that is for blood transfusions or vaccinations, necessarily fail if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. - See more at: http://live.scotusblog.com/Event/Live_blog_of_opinions__June_30_2014?Page=2#sthash.Tx4go6Q4.dpuf

    That’s a very strange qualification especially since the contraception mandate isn’t a contraception mandate in form, but a preventative care mandate.


  12. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Don’t agree with the results of the opinion, but can’t quarrel with the decision itself. Just wonder what happens down the road when the business becomes large enough to fall under the mandated rules…. More lawsuits, I suppose…


  13. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    —so exactly how does the ruling affect birth control pills?

    It means that closely held corporations do not have to comply with the regulation requiring including birth control pills as part of free preventative care. Women who work for such employers who object to the mandate will have to purchase birth control pills on their own–until the federal government likely passes a new rule that takes the employers out of it.


  14. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Everyone should read the opinion on this one.

    As @Archiesmom points out, it is very narrowly tailored. And, as Rich’s excerpt from the Associated Press notes, “The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.”

    This is not some broad-based, revolutionary verdict. SCOTUS is not out to “get” President Obama; right-wingers dreaming of a means to gut Obamacare through religious exemptions need to wake up and realize that is not what this ruling does; and left-wingers drawing an “all-or-nothing” line in the sand need to realize the sky is not falling when it comes to contraceptive coverage, as the AP also points out.


  15. - Jay Dee - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    This is a good ruling. It limits the ruling to business that are owned by individuals with legitimate beliefs while preventing big corporations using religious liberty as a defense to improve their bottom line. Sure, this will cause litigation regarding determining the cut off, but that’s the nature of our legal system.


  16. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    ===This is a good ruling. It limits the ruling to business that are owned by individuals with legitimate beliefs while preventing big corporations using religious liberty as a defense to improve their bottom line. Sure, this will cause litigation regarding determining the cut off, but that’s the nature of our legal system.

    If it is a good ruling why does it not apply to blood transfusions and vaccinations?


  17. - Jay Dee - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    * If it is a good ruling why does it not apply to blood transfusions and vaccinations? *

    Because blood transfusions and vaccinations are not abuntantly available at your pharmacy.


  18. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    ===Because blood transfusions and vaccinations are not abuntantly available at your pharmacy.

    Neither is all birth control–because some birth control is easily available, does not mean the best choice for a person is. Though some vaccines are that easily available.

    But this is besides the point-the Court ruling isn’t about whether birth control is abundantly available, it is about whether preventative care is included in insurance policies and vaccines are identical in how they are required to be covered by federal regulation (transfusions a bit different admittedly). So why does this court claim there is a difference?


  19. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    HLobby was not objecting to providing birth control pills. Perhaps CWood, the other plaintiff, was. but this decision has opened the door to those who do not wish to provide BControl pills. what if the government decides NOT to be the alternative source?

    how narrow is the application? how many corporations? there’s already this from coverage in the Trib:

    Though not a part of today’s ruling, at least five Illinois companies have raised similar objections and are hoping that the ruling will apply to them. They are Oak Brook-based Triune Health Group; Highland-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors; Mokena-based Ozinga Bros., a Chicago-area concrete company; Hart Electric in Lostant; the Chicago law firm of Lindsay, Rappaport & Postel; and Carol Stream-based Tyndale House Publishers.

    starting a boycott list.


  20. - Steve - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Planned Parenthood and Sandra Fluke shouldn’t get down: eventually giving women free health club memberships will be around the corner in a few election cycles if ObamaCare isn’t dismantled. After all, if you don’t want women to have free health club memberships as part of health insurance you must be against women.


  21. - Archiesmom - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    * If it is a good ruling why does it not apply to blood transfusions and vaccinations? *

    Because it wasn’t before them. It’s a longstanding principle called judicial restraint.


  22. - Urban Girl - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:19 am:

    If I ever have cause to sue Hobby Lobby, I am going to use this opinion as proof that the corporate veil should not shield its owners from any personal liability as they are “essentially” the same as their business.


  23. - CirularFiringSquad - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    Wonder what the next religious beliefs will come next? Guns? Marry your lst cousin?
    Should be fun


  24. - RNUG - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    Again, the court got it right … very narrow and targeted.

    While this could affect a lot of “mom and pop” operations, a lot of them are too small for the ACA to really afeect them. In the overall scheme of things there aren’t that many really big companies that are that closely held. I can think of a few well known companies it might potentially apply to, but I’d have to check their corporate structures before naming them.

    IMO, the more interesting result of this ruling could come in the future. Will a number of publicly held (stock) corporations with espoused religious beliefs decide to do a leveraged buyout to take their companies private so this ruling would apply to them?


  25. - Jay Dee - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    ArchPundit, it was a snarky response, and I should’ve noted it. My serious answer is that it hasn’t been litigated yet. This case was about birth control and an employer’s faith. If a business owner wants to object to requiring other procedures because of his faith, then the courts will revisit the ruling to clarify. That’s how the system works; a ruling can’t be perfect on the first try.


  26. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    ===HLobby was not objecting to providing birth control pills.

    They objected to Plan B which is the birth control pill by any scientific view of what Plan B does and, of course, Plan B is just a high dose of a particular form of birth control pills. Apparently scientific illiteracy doesn’t matter to the court either so the decision seems to apply to all contraceptive care if there is a moral objection, but not vaccines. Because.

    The number of corporations is a bit hard to figure. Using the IRS rule to describe a company as a closely held corporation would mean quite a few companies qualify–something like a majority of outstanding shares held by 5 or fewer people.


  27. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    ===ArchPundit, it was a snarky response, and I should’ve noted it. My serious answer is that it hasn’t been litigated yet. This case was about birth control and an employer’s faith. If a business owner wants to object to requiring other procedures because of his faith, then the courts will revisit the ruling to clarify. That’s how the system works; a ruling can’t be perfect on the first try.

    Except the point is made in the dissent and is clearly understood because the Majority specifically said it did not apply to things like vaccines and blood transfusions. I can find some ways to separate blood transfusions in particular being as it is not preventative care and not necessarily covered by regulation (though it might be), but vaccines are exactly the same in terms of how covered by preventative care and there are objections from churches.

    Court rulings are not supposed to be about the specific policy view of the justices, they are supposed to be about principles in law, but the Majority just limited that principle application to the one issue they seem to care about. We have a term for that and it is activist court.


  28. - Archiesmom - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    =IMO, the more interesting result of this ruling could come in the future. Will a number of publicly held (stock) corporations with espoused religious beliefs decide to do a leveraged buyout to take their companies private so this ruling would apply to them?=

    The amount of money it would cost to go private would dwarf what you’d save in denying coverage, so it would be a crazy business decision. Then again…


  29. - Just Me - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    Will Hobby Lobby be able to refuse to give spousal benefits to someone in a same sex marriage?


  30. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    @UrbanGirl:

    Bingo! Justice Kennedy can claim he is narrowly tailoring the ruling all he wants. The lower courts will drive a mack truck through the hole he’s opened up in the corporate veil and keep on expanding the ever expansive scope of corporate 1st amendment rights using this as a precent. Just like Kennedy pretended his same sex marriage ruling was limited to just the states that already passed ssm and the lower courts have been given the job of making ssm the law of the land.


  31. - vttk17a1 - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Why not sever the employer-insurance relationship completely? Make insurance something employees purchase without employer involvement. After all insurance is earned compensation. Turn the present premium into additional pay.

    Let employees purchase insurance as a group. A payroll deduction could be directed to the purchase of this “benefit”.

    Then insurance would then not be something an employer provides to an employee. Insurance would be purchased by employees for employees.

    Perhaps health insurance should be an “individual” mandate for everyone subject to tax penalties. Maybe that would work better.


  32. - walker - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    I thought the majority opinions on this case were jurists who made it their cause to be “non-interventionists” and “strict constructionists.”

    Once again companies have protected individual rights as “persons.” An unimagined concept for our Founders. The law does change with the times, for this court.

    This decision could have been much worse. How many cases will seek to find the boundary between person and corporation?

    Remember Alito’s implied claim (”isn’t it true that…”) during oral arguments, that a majority vote of any corporate board speaks “as a person” for all the owners — regardless of size. So in his mind at least, the majority “religious belief” of representatives of stockholders can establish the right to avoid these laws that offend that belief. His extreme view didn’t prevail this time, but let’s see what’s next.


  33. - 4 percent - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    “…Bosses of private, for-profit businesses should not be able to interfere in women’s health decisions..”

    The private employers are NOT interfering. Women can still go and obtain birth control with absolutely no interference. However, they cannot force privately owned companies to pay for their choices.


  34. - anotherretirre - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    This is the 1st step toward President Hillary


  35. - Ahoy! - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Evidently corporations are people my friend and their “religious liberty” is more important than an individuals. This is a dangerous ruling that will now upon up further litigation of corporations denying benefits for religious reasons. Will companies now be able to deny same sex couples benefits because of their religious beliefs?

    This was just an awful ruling by the Supreme Court, very disappointed in Kennedy on this one.


  36. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    ===The private employers are NOT interfering. Women can still go and obtain birth control with absolutely no interference. However, they cannot force privately owned companies to pay for their choices.

    We have all sorts of mandates in health insurance. The State of Illinois http://insurance.illinois.gov/HealthInsurance/Mandated_benefits.asp

    Why is this different?


  37. - Jay Dee - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    ArchPundit, while I don’t agree it was an activist decision but rather limited and targeted, I concede your points on vaccinations which I don’t have an answer for at this moment.


  38. - Nonplussed - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    ==Once again companies have protected individual rights as “persons.” An unimagined concept for our Founders==

    Smartphones were an unimagined concept in 1787. But guess what? You can’t search them without a warrant. Thank the Framers for the 4th amendment, the gift that keeps on giving.


  39. - SkeptiCal - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    This all emanates from the conclusion that the 1st Amendment protected business organizations. Corporations have wide freedom to pay for politicians and now have the right as employers to impose their values on employee benefits. It certainly is a strange world where corporations have rights beyond what individuals can exercise.


  40. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    === concede your points on vaccinations which I don’t have an answer for at this moment.

    Fair enough. I would differ with you on this being limited–it’s not clear to me that it is, but I fully understand your view on that.


  41. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    == would mean quite a few companies qualify ==

    From the article “A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 85 percent of large American employers already had offered such coverage before the health care law required it.”


  42. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:48 am:

    == We have a term for that and it is activist court. ==

    Yet this is the exact same “activist court” that upheld Obamacare in the first place using a very unexpected rationale.

    Perhaps they were ruling as they saw fit on the basis of fact both then and now?


  43. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    ==From the article “A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 85 percent of large American employers already had offered such coverage before the health care law required it.”

    Hobby Lobby was one of those companies.


  44. - Aldyth - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Jay Dee, could you please point out the IUD aisle at Osco?

    There are millions of women who use form of birth control as treatments for diagnosed medical conditions that Hobby Lobby is now exempt from paying for.


  45. - Angry Chicagoan - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    This is just a terrible decision, one that seems to be devoid of any kind of consistent principle or coherent categorization. The majority has had a gut response to something and tried to make up an answer, as far as I can see.

    In general on this Supreme Court, I find it particularly noteworthy that Anthony Kennedy, ludicrously labeled as a moderate for so long, consistently has had the highest rate of voting to overturn legislative decisions of any justice — a stark contrast with fellow “moderate” Sandra Day O’Connor, an actual moderate with a little bit of libertarian sagebrush rebellion thrown in for good measure, who had about the second or third LOWEST rate of voting to overturn legislation.

    But the real practitioners of judicial restraint, so long the rallying cry of right wing advocacy if not action, are now all centrist to left of center.


  46. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    ===Perhaps they were ruling as they saw fit on the basis of fact both then and now?

    As they saw fit is the problem as I see it. If the Court ruled consistently across issues that would be one thing–I would disagree with them, but understand the principle they were setting. That is where we argue over who to appoint and confirm to the Court.

    In the case of ACA, the tax decision was somewhat odd of a principle, but in that case clearly Roberts was deciding on a principle over his preferred policy outcome.

    In this case a majority is talking about a principle, but specifically limiting its application to generalized cases–that is deciding based upon policy preferences and what activism is defined as. So they like vaccines, they don’t like contraception. What’s the difference in terms of the principle?


  47. - Mittuns - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Can we then sue the government for discriminating against the type of treatment covered at little to no cost (contraceptives) and get a public option/Medicare buy-in?


  48. - walker - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    @nonplussed: Agree. My only point was that this is as “activist” a court as we have had in my lifetime, and I just wish they would all admit it, rather than giving speeches to the contrary.


  49. - Wumpus - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    When employer provided insurance actually becomes more of an entitlement than a benefit, this matters. Let the employer chose what coverage they provide. The employee can like it or find a new job. I hate that they brought religion into this, but it seemed to be the only way to get what they wanted.


  50. - Steve - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    This is a big decision because historically , according to the SEC, a private corporation (not listed on a stock exchange) with less than 35 shareholders: is private but caan get all the benefits of being a corporation. So, Cargill, Fidelity Investments, and the Koch Industries are “closely held” huge corporations even though they employ thousands. So, those who are upset do have a right to be upset with today’s ruling.


  51. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Look folks this is a very narrow decision only applicable to a small percentage of smaller corporations. Nowhere does the opinion say that an employer can limit is its employees from obtaining contraceptives, it only says that it is not forced to provide health insurance that pays for contraceptives. So tone down the outrage…do you know how many medically necessary things many health insurance companies will not cover? Perspective please.


  52. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    == Hobby Lobby was one of those companies. ==

    Hobby Lobby was one of the 85 percent already providing contraceptive coverage prior to the ACA? Am I misunderstanding or can you provide a source for this?

    Everything else I have seen indicates the reason Hobby Lobby applied for an exemption, then risked $1.3 million in daily fines and pursued a lawsuit up to the Supreme Court was precisely because they did not offer contraceptive coverage and felt doing so violated their religious beliefs.


  53. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    == So, those who are upset do have a right to be upset with today’s ruling. ==

    They would also seem to be prematurely jumping the gun a bit, just as those who think this opens a back door to gutting the ACA are.

    From the AP “Most working women will probably see no impact from the ruling, corporate health benefits consultants expect. Publicly traded companies are unlikely to drag religion into their employee benefit plans, said Mark Holloway, director of compliance services at the Lockton Companies, an insurance broker that serves medium-sized and growing employers. “Most employers view health insurance as a tool to attract and retain employees,” said Holloway. “Women employees want access to contraceptive coverage and most employers don’t have a problem providing that coverage. It is typically not a high-cost item.”


  54. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Even if you care about religious freedom you should be upset by this ruling. 5 Catholic men think the morning after pill is icky so corporations don’t have to cover it as part of standard health insurance for female employees, and this is now the law of the land. That they didn’t extend the ruling to vaccines or blood transfusions shows this ruling was made based on Catholic doctrine not the constitution. This would be akin to if 5 Jehovah’s witnesses wound up on the court and ruled blood transfusions out of coverage. Or if 5 scientologists on the court would carve out an exception for coverage of psychological care.

    Horrible precedent. Horrible activist court. Horrible jurists.


  55. - Federalist - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Hope this helps a little. Taken from nytimes.com by Adam Liptak on june 30, 2014

    Q. What is the companies’ objection?

    A. They say that some contraceptive drugs and devices are tantamount to abortion because they can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb. Providing insurance coverage for those forms of contraception would, they say, make them complicit in the practice. They said they had no objection to other forms of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, several kinds of birth control pills and sterilization surgery.


  56. - corvax - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    As limited as it may appear to be, I can’t wait for the right-wing whining when some closely held but sizeable business cites it as authority for imposing sharia law precepts on all employees


  57. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    ===Hobby Lobby was one of the 85 percent already providing contraceptive coverage prior to the ACA? Am I misunderstanding or can you provide a source for this?

    They mention it in the original filing. Page 15.
    http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Hobby-Lobby-Complaint-stamped.pdf

    Now to be fair, they are not opposed to all contraception, but to Plan B and Ella as well as IUDs.


  58. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    == As they saw fit is the problem as I see it… What’s the difference in terms of the principle? ==

    That makes sense, @ArchPundit, as does your plea for consistency. Many, including myself, share your desire for consistency even if they wind up disagreeing with the verdicts it leads to.

    The main difference in terms of principle appears to be that vaccines do not conflict with a basic tenet of some major religions, whereas contraception does. I merely note this as the apparent difference. As for whether that constitutes a “just” or “legitimate” difference, I do not know and thus defer to the justices.


  59. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Score one for Sharia Law!


  60. - John A Logan - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    George W. Bush did not get much right, but his supreme court nominees have delivered.


  61. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    I think some of you are having a difficult time distinguishing between an overall ban on contraceptives and an exemption from including contraceptives in an employer-provided health insurance plan. If you don’t like your health insurance plan, you are free to purchase the contraceptives on your own, switch jobs for different benefits or sign up for the ACA exchanges which are required to include contraceptives (if the website is up and running). It is not the end of health care, contraceptives, abortion, or the free world as we know it. Perspective please.


  62. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    @ His Girl Friday @ 11:29 You ROCK!


  63. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Thanks for the link, @ArchPundit.

    I thought you were saying Hobby Lobby had been deliberately and consciously providing coverage for those prior to the ACA, then somehow changed their minds. As the filing notes on page 15, it was an error “Hobby Lobby’s insurance policies have long explicitly excluded - consistent with their religious beliefs - contraceptive devices that might cause abortions and pregnancy-termination drugs like RU-486.”

    Also interesting to see they start off employees at nearly twice minimum wage, made a point of raising wages during the recession, close on Sundays, provide an on-site health clinic in OK, etc. It sounds like a fairly supportive work environment.


  64. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    @ Jake From Elwood: switch jobs? come on. this is yet another piece of the right wing anti choice puzzle and I am not alone in saying bull on how this court is treating women now. buffer zone for the SC? check. women on the way in to a clinic? you need to talk to anti choicers and hear what they have to say. corporatists treated as people? check. woman who want to keep a fertilized egg out of their body? you have fewer options to assert your agency. total bull.


  65. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    ===I think some of you are having a difficult time distinguishing between an overall ban on contraceptives and an exemption from including contraceptives in an employer-provided health insurance plan.

    While I appreciate your point and others on this, the thing about the Supreme Court doesn’t take cases for particular narrow reasons like deciding on contraception in a closely held corporation (more meet the requirement than you might think and they aren’t small much of the time). They decide legal principles that can be applied to similar cases and in a case like this it can have fairly broad implications. Not as broad as some are claiming because this is a statutory case, but still quite broad in terms of requiring types of care. As I have been using above, insert vaccines instead of contraception and I think many people would change their mind–the current court seems to think that’s not a natural extension of this case, but I can’t make sense of how it is not.

    We mandate all sorts of coverage and we wouldn’t say someone can still pay for their vaccines if their employer doesn’t want to cover it.


  66. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    ==Yet this is the exact same “activist court” that upheld Obamacare in the first place using a very unexpected rationale.==

    So unexpected the solicitor general made the very argument the “unexpected rationale” was based on.


  67. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    ===I thought you were saying Hobby Lobby had been deliberately and consciously providing coverage for those prior to the ACA, then somehow changed their minds. As the filing notes on page 15, it was an error “Hobby Lobby’s insurance policies have long explicitly excluded - consistent with their religious beliefs - contraceptive devices that might cause abortions and pregnancy-termination drugs like RU-486.”

    I don’t want to go too far into the weeds here, but IUDs, Plan B, and ella are not abortificients. That they claim this is an error explains another problem with the case–the contraceptives they are opposed to because they cause abortion, don’t cause abortion. RU-486 is an abortificient, Plan B is a contraceptive.

    The owners have stated they didn’t know Plan B could be an abortificient. It isn’t. It is possible it may cause a fertilized egg not to implant, but that is an exception to how it works and the same with IUDs as commonly used. So they had asked their insurance company not to cover abortificients and the insurance company complied. They were then told that Plan B and IUDs were abortificients, which they aren’t, and came out against it. The rate at which a fertilized egg might not be allowed to implant because one of these isn’t fully understood, but it is much, much lower than the rate that natural termination occurs well after implantation.

    This would be similar to Scientologists claiming psychiatry causes suicide. It may occur–but it’s not a typical outcome or the intended effect.


  68. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    @ Arch Pundit, right except these are folks who think a fertilized egg is equal to a person and they proceed accordingly. women pay for health care but more and more the right wing anti choice machine denies my personhood by equating me with a fertilized egg, and being a caring vessel who just needs to listen to the right (wing) people. it’s humiliating and bull.


  69. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    == So unexpected the solicitor general made the very argument the “unexpected rationale” was based on. ==

    And was roundly derided for his “disaster” of a presentation, strategy and argument by liberals and conservatives alike prior to the verdict.

    Not to mention the countless mainstream news stories noting the “unexpected” nature of the verdict and the basis of “penalty but not a tax” supporting rationale when the verdict was announced.


  70. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Amalia–I think we are in agreement, but two things

    1) Vast majority of cases at issue in this decision don’t deal with any fertilized egg even

    2) fertilized egg is generally not the scientific standard–implanted egg is usually how scientists look at it, but even then you are looking at up 40% rate of natural termination.


  71. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    ArchPundit -

    Since “the pill” prevents the implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterine lining, and some “pro-life” people say life begins when the egg is fertilized, their position is “the pill” is abortion. Never mind the medical community does not agree with this.


  72. - anon - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    “There are millions of women who use form of birth control as treatments for diagnosed medical conditions that Hobby Lobby is now exempt from paying for.” Exactly. I am one of those women who have been prescribed oral contraceptives to treat other medical conditions. I am outraged that I could be denied the same health care benefits which are provided without question or scrutiny to a male co-worker. This is not a trivial matter and it is not acceptable to tell me that I should have to buy medication for treatment of my conditions out of my own pocket when no man ever has to do that.


  73. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Jay Dee

    = … business that are owned by individuals with legitimate beliefs … .=

    Care to comment on the pre 2000 adherents of Bob Jones University? Are their beliefs “legitimate”??


  74. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    @ Arch Pundit they don’t accept your scientific standard and some of the 4 are not what they want to allow a fertilized egg to keep going. the personhood approach denies my personhood. and forces me to ask if a company is religious and covers even the pill.

    next term, time for a massive protest inside the SC buffer zone.


  75. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    == They were then told that Plan B and IUDs were abortificients ==

    Not sure if the following makes much difference, but it should help clarify. It appears not that they were told Plan B and IUDs were abortifacients or mistakenly claim that those are abortifacients, but that they “could” cause an abortion. The post by @Federalist at 11:29 seems to help explain their reasoning on this point, as does the following passage from the complaint

    “Recently, after learning about the nationally prominent HHS mandate controversy, Hobby Lobby re-examined its insurance policies to ensure they continued to be consistent with its faith. During that re-examination, Hobby Lobby discovered that the formulary for its prescription drug policy included two drugs - Plan B and Ella - that could cause an abortion. Coverage of these drugs was not intended knowingly or deliberately by the Green family…”


  76. - Black Ivy - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Appropriate, sensible, fair decision rooted in clear precedent. Religious freedoms must be protected at all costs - this is America!


  77. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Formerly Known as…

    Yes, I agree that is how this came about so no disagreement at all about this. One of the interesting things–which doesn’t invalidate objections is that most Catholic university health insurance plans cover contraception and I don’t think many changed it even after the ACA controversies. What is interesting in that to me is that such coverage is so unremarkable to most people including those selecting plans at Catholic institutions.


  78. - lovecraft - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    This is why it matters who the President is. How many of these bozos were nominated by Republican Presidents? Of course, Congress had to agree. The appointment of Clarence Thomas still sickens me.


  79. - Reader - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    “I am one of those women who have been prescribed oral contraceptives to treat other medical conditions.”

    - Is your “other medical condition” treatable by other medication besides The Pill? Yes? Oh, well, then that settles that.

    “I am outraged that I could be denied the same health care benefits which are provided without question or scrutiny to a male co-worker.”

    - There is no contraceptive equivalent of The Pill for men, and men’s health care benefits DON’T cover condoms. Save your uninformed outrage.


  80. - fed up - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    Anyone who wants contraception can still get it, Their employer just doesnt have to pay for it. Pretty narrow ruling


  81. - TooManyJens - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    fed up, the issue is that when it comes to OUR health insurance, that we earn by doing our jobs, our employers’ religious beliefs can trump medical standards regarding what should be covered. Our employers’ religious beliefs matter more than our own beliefs about whether or not it’s OK to use our insurance to access contraception. Does that really seem like the right decision?

    I’d also point out that not everyone can afford the most effective contraceptive methods out of pocket. IUDs cost hundreds of dollars up front. There are cheaper methods, but they aren’t as effective.


  82. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    I think I can see the underpinnings of the Ds’ campaign to women in ‘16. Would you prefer it be Hillary Clinton or (whatever white male we nominate) making appointments to vacancies on SCOTUS?


  83. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    @ Lovecraft, Joe Biden messed up big time in the CThomas hearing. not allowing a witness with the same kind of testimony as AHill was huge. Biden was no friend to women with that hearing.


  84. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Schnorf, it’s kind of crazy how the word “conservative” has gotten twisted, isn’t it?

    I can’t imagine any of the Main Street conservatives I came up with inquiring of their female employees what kind of contraceptives they were using.

    For crying out loud, they would have been red-faced to even talk about it.

    When did “conservative,” in some circles, come to mean up in your most private business, all the time?


  85. - anon - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    @ Reader: Let me guess. You’re mansplaining my medical condition to me. Let me female explain back. (1) medical conditions which are linked to hormones are amenable to medication which is - gasp- hormonal; (2) hormonal medication for my condition has by far less serious side effects than any other treatment and avoids surgery which might lead to infertility; and (3) you are the one who is uninformed if you think that there is no pharmaceutical birth control for men. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_contraceptive#Pharmaceutical_methods.


  86. - walker - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    People form companies, partnerships, corporations, so that they are not treated as “individuals” for liability, accountability, and tax purposes. Owners don’t give up their personal rights, but their companies themselves are treated differently.

    Yet the court wants to treat them, in this and in Citizens United, as individual “persons,” potentially with all the individual rights guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. That overall principle is what is at stake. I see this dilution and fuzziness as an attack on the vision of individual personal liberty upon which our country was founded. It is very important — regardless of what specific religious or policy issue is involved.


  87. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    @anon - it appears he was referencing the inconsistencies in terms of coverage requirements under the ACA.

    For example, female “sterilization procedures” are covered but not male vasectomies. Diaphragms, sponges and female condoms with a doctor’s prescription are covered but not male condoms under any circumstances. There are a number of such examples in the formal regulations published in the Federal Register Vol. 78, No. 127., beginning on page 39870.

    That may be why your earlier comment concerning outrage at being “denied the same health care benefits which are provided without question or scrutiny to a male co-worker” was a bit confusing to some in this context.


  88. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    ====- There is no contraceptive equivalent of The Pill for men, and men’s health care benefits DON’T cover condoms. Save your uninformed outrage.

    Testosterone would be an equivalent in many cases for non-contraceptive uses.

    For contraception there are vasectomies. Mine was covered free with my insurance.


  89. - ArchPundit - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    Actually ACA doesn’t cover vasectomies, but most insurance already does. Part of this is understanding the that regulations for women’s preventative care came about as an area that was specifically targeted because insurance companies have ignored women’s needs for a long time where most of men’s needs are covered–see erectile dysfunction drugs and devices for example. Should vasectomies be covered–probably, but mostly the reason there isn’t a regulation about it is that insurance already covers it in most cases.


  90. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    Word, yeah, I have a little trouble seeing Russ Arrington asking, “So, you use the rhythm method, so we don’t have to pop for rubbers in our staff insurance, right?”, Or Dick Ogilvie? Henry Hyde? Jeez, try to even think about it.


  91. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    What Walker said.

    Corporations are now being granted personal liberties without the accepting personal responsibilities.

    If GM has the same individual rights and protections as me, than their management and board members ought to be facing manslaughter charges for those ignitions that they knew all about.


  92. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    wordslinger

    =Corporations are now being granted personal liberties … .=

    I’ll accept corporations as persons when Texas covers up executing an innocent one … .


  93. - wordslinger - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Schnorf, it’s beyond belief.

    The most flabbergasting, in recent years, is the effort by “conservative” legislators around the country to intimidate women seeking abortions by legislatively mandating medically unnecessary trans-vaginal probes.

    If you would have even said the words “trans-vaginal probe” to my old-timers, you would have been picking your Chiklets off the floor.


  94. - Fake Herzog - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    “If you would have even said the words “trans-vaginal probe” to my old-timers, you would have been picking your Chiklets off the floor.”

    If you had even said the words, “abortion is a right” to my old-timers, you would have been laughed out of the room. “I’m sorry, Mr. “wordslinger”, apparently you didn’t learn basic moral ethics in the third grade — that’s O.K., we can bring you up to speed. Let’s start with one of the Ten Commandments…Thou Shall Not Murder.”


  95. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    Fake Herzog

    Are you equating the birth control pill with abortion?


  96. - Enviros-Anon - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    The contraception issue is not the GOP’s friend. This issue makes the Republicans look like the party of the bedroom police who are waging a war on women. This may be the perception more than the reality, but it gives the opposition a very powerful weapon to use against the GOP.


  97. - anon - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    The point is that no man will be told that his employer can override his doctor’s prescription of testosterone to treat a medical condition merely because testosterone could also be used as a form of birth control.


  98. - Jeanne Dough - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    “The contraception issue is not the GOP’s friend.”

    It may seem trivial to many, and a narrow ruling by the Supreme Court to boot, but it creates additional hoops for female employees of these companies to jump through.

    While a fix was put in place for employees of Catholic universities, acquiring contraception still requires an additional doctor’s visit, or a trip to public health, as doctors treating a patient under university coverage cannot even WRITE the prescription.

    Regardless of whether they are personally affected, many women will feel threatened by this decision.


  99. - Fake Herzog - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    “Are you equating the birth control pill with abortion?”

    No. Of course, both are sinful; but obviously abortion is a different character of sin and a monstrous crime against humanity.


  100. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 5:35 pm:

    I hope all these businesses using the Catholic faith for guidance on this issue (which does not include Hobby Lobby, actually) are being just as vigilant about not covering vasectomies…


  101. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 6:10 pm:

    @ Fake Herzog…sinful to you, in your religion. a fertilized egg is not equal to me.


  102. - kimocat - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 6:21 pm:

    I presume Fake Herzog, that you are engaging in satire. Otherwise, I would question your sanity.


  103. - anon - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 6:46 pm:

    Of course they have no problem covering vasectomies, Viagra or Low T! It’s all about controlling women’s bodies and not about some “sincere” religious principle.


  104. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 7:06 pm:

    I know it’s late in the day to comment, but I have to say that this ruling is absolute garbage. Corporations are not people. Corporations cannot have religious beliefs. Corporations exist for one reason only, to make money.

    This is the ultimate takeover of the Supreme Court by the right wing theocrats. No matter how they try to make is sound rational, it is ridiculous on its face.

    The people who founded Hobby Lobby have religious beliefs. But their corporation does not. To pretend otherwise is simply preposterous.


  105. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 7:10 pm:

    Both a sound/well-reasoned and fair ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court for folks running these Businesses who have Religious, Faith-based, honest objections to funding devices or contraceptive approaches which they believe is akin to being forced to support a form of Abortion…


  106. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 8:41 pm:

    The contraception issue, abortion, gay rights, immigration, none of them are my party’s friend except among the base. That’s a very big part of why we have great primaries and lousy Novembers. That “base” ends up being perhaps 20-25% of the vote in the general, and greatly harms our ability to get the other 25-30% we need to win. Yet still the operatives can’t seem to muster the ability to persuade the candidates that if they go all in on those issues to win the primary, they’re screwed in November.


  107. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Jun 30, 14 @ 10:08 pm:

    Piffle. When you have a business structure that insulates you from personal liability for your actions - and that is the exact purpose of incorporation - then you have no right to express personal convictions through it. Tell the supremes.


  108. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jul 1, 14 @ 8:37 am:

    What the Supreme Court did was clarify an act of Congress passed with vast bipartisan support and signed into law by President Clinton which protects the religious rights of Americans. The Court has made it clear that the government can provide aborticants which terminate early forms of human life if an American’s health care insurance does not cover aborticants due to religious adherence against the ending of human life.

    Twenty years ago, this safeguard for our religious freedoms was enthusiastically endorsed by all, including nearly all Democrats. Why have so many Democrats turned away from these freedoms?

    This decision only clarified an act of Congress. Claiming it is more than that is ridiculous.


  109. - Reader - Tuesday, Jul 1, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    @anon
    “The point is that no man will be told that his employer can override his doctor’s prescription of testosterone to treat a medical condition merely because testosterone could also be used as a form of birth control.”

    You have no point, of fact or logic. Testosterone is not used for male birth control. Check the FDA. #WarOnMen. #WarOnFacts.


  110. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 1, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    the SC today said the application of the ruling can be broad, as in banning birth control pills. women will have to ask in interviews if they want to know company policy. how demeaning.

    this is discrimination. this is a war on women. elections and questions to candidates more important than ever. I am a person. an egg about to be fertilized and a fertilized egg are not equal to me. Republicans, prepare yourselves for the blowback.


  111. - anon - Tuesday, Jul 1, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    When a woman points out the serious discriminatory impact of this ruling and its attendant health consequences on women with certain medical conditions, you pull out the “#WarOnMen” fake victim card. Bring that blowback on. I’m ready.


  112. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 1, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    @ anon there are real victims not fake. this ruling and all pols with similar positions, the “personhooders” are hurting women.


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        * What do we think about Obama’s efforts to force-feed immigration reform to infant-minded in our nation?
        * "Nigerian Kitchen" Closes On Wilson
        * #HappyThanksgiving from The Sixth Ward blog!
        * In Chicago the race is on. It’s easy as ABC.
        * Lisa Madigan files her appeal.
        * The Better Government Association continues to spread the lie about public employee pensions.
        * Happy Thanksgiving. “My idea,” says Rahm.
        * Chicago parents demand answers from Emanuel after sex ed lessons revealed
        * Happy Thanksgiving


        * Governor Quinn Announces Investment to Help Regional Food Banks Better Serve Those in Need - Governor’s Investment Will Ensure Lower Cost and Higher Efficiency for Services Reaching Nearly 2 Million Illinois Residents
        * Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action
        * Governor Quinn Statement on Abner Mikva Receiving Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor
        * Department of Insurance Announces Multi-State Settlement with Symetra Life Insurance and Symetra National Life Insurance Company - Illinois will share part of a $1.2 million penalty against Symetra Life regarding Life Insurance policies
        * Avoid Foodborne Illness This Holiday Season




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