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(Salon)   As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the Obamacare/birth control case tomorrow, its conservative justices are faced with a dilemma: support the religious right, or support laws which shield corporations from liability?   (salon.com) divider line 256
    More: Fail, Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, obamacare, moral dilemma, religious values, racial identity, hypocrisy, conservatisms  
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2462 clicks; posted to Politics » on 24 Mar 2014 at 6:07 PM (25 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-24 08:14:37 PM

RoyBatty: Target Builder: It is absolutely jaw dropping that a legal fiction to smooth the running of businesses could be interpreted to give a company the right to influence elections and elected representatives under the guise of their Freedom of Speech, so I'll not be the least bit surprised if they rule companies also have the right to be assholes on religious grounds.

I'd so like to see a smackdown to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.

I think I could vote blindly for any candidate that promises to deal with that decision.


If spending money is political speech protected for corps., shouldn't it be required that all political spending be approved by the share holders?
 
2014-03-24 08:14:44 PM

serial_crusher: officeday: serial_crusher: Wouldn't it be nice if we had single payer healthcare and didn't have to deal with this argument?

Not trying to be a smart aleck, I swear. It is a fact that a certain percentage of the U.S. populace does not pay any federal income tax, and admitedly I do not understand what a "single payer" system entails, but would assume that the cost of insuring all Americans would be dependant upon federal taxes collected. Not asking if it is moral, ethical, or fair, but is it even POSSIBLE for the tax base to pay for this? I just get the feeling that the "middle class" will end up paying a disproportiniate (sp?) share compard to the "poor" and to the "rich". We can't afford much more. Just not certain if we need to kill the poor or kill the rich.....

The underemployed are getting subsidies from Obamacare as it is now.  Would that necessarily be any different?  Some changes to the tax code would probably have to be implemented, but cutting insurance companies out as middle men would only help things right, not make them worse?


I don't know. I don't like insurance companies, but I also have an inherent distrust of the gov't.... Heck, I don't even want a smart electric meter in my house....
 
2014-03-24 08:15:38 PM

bobothemagnificent: DamnYankees: bobothemagnificent: The could rule the whole thing unconstitutional.

What whole thing?
The WHOLE damn law, in its entirety.  Don't forget that Stevens, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito wanted to do just that originally because they thought that this law created powers that the constitution never intended the government to have to begin with.  Don't be surprised if that comes up again in private discussions.


lh6.googleusercontent.com
 
2014-03-24 08:15:39 PM
'cuz FREEDOM

blog.heritage.org


ie freedom to become a wage slave with sore feet to appease your corporate masters
 
2014-03-24 08:16:27 PM
This dilemma is predicated on the assumption that the Supreme Court operates on rules and logic rather than gut feelings. "Because we say so," has always been the motto of the institution.

If five of them think a faceless organization has identity enough to 'Free Speech' unlimited money at candidates then they can also say it is capable of having undefined religious beliefs. And only after the vote do they have to come up with an explanation for why nonsense is now law.

The ridiculous is always possible at the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
2014-03-24 08:18:05 PM

Corvus: k1j2b3: I think they have a pretty good case here, based on this statement. They have built their business around Christian values and are very clear what they are on their website and other corporate materials.

So if I am a Jehova witness company I don't have to pay for insurance that covers surgeries?

If I am a Company that believes in pacifism (which Christ actually said he was for, unlike banning contraception) I don't have to pay taxes that go to making war weapons?

Or do you think only certain religons get this benefit?


I had a hippie religion teacher in high school who gave himself a made up conscientious objector tax credit every year to cover whatever portion of his taxes would have gone to the military.  He was quite proud of it.

I heard they audited him a couple years after I graduated.

/ Difficulty: catholic school.  Anti-birth control, anti-abortion, anti-war kind of hippie.
 
2014-03-24 08:18:47 PM

Xetal: Teiritzamna: Likely no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA

Well there is a compelling government interest here and a pretty broadly tailored law.  That was the entire point of my post, that your religion typically does not excuse you from following the law and the ACA is the law.


Actually, although I think it is, there is a question over whether mandating health care is a compelling government interest.  Here the government shot itself in the foot because they already exempt non-profit religious corporations from complying with the law.  By doing so, the government is basically saying, ":well the goal of mandated insurance isn't so important that we would want to inconvenience religious folks, or small businesses, or a whole bunch of other exempt entities."  That is not helpful.

But that's not where the trouble is.  The trouble is that the law is definitely not narrowly tailored and the least restrictive means the government could use to get to its goal.  If the government wanted everyone to have health insurance, it could either command people to do so over their religious objections, or it could just buy the insurance itself.  Under Single Payer the government would be the provider and the religious views of your employer wouldn't matter.  But it didn't do that.   Thus there is a known more narrow law that could have been written that wouldn't impact rights.  

compare to honor killings.  Stopping murder is kinda one of the fundamental roles of government, so easy win on compelling interest.  And narrowly tailored/least restrictive?  The law criminalizes murders. I don't know of any way to criminalize murder except to criminalize murder.  Done.
 
2014-03-24 08:20:11 PM

Omahawg: 'cuz FREEDOM

[blog.heritage.org image 402x400]


ie freedom to become a wage slave with sore feet to appease your corporate masters


Scumbag Hobby Lobby: fights to not provide you with birth control, makes you sit in a hut outside while you're menstruating.
 
2014-03-24 08:20:31 PM

Satanic_Hamster: If spending money is political speech protected for corps., shouldn't it be required that all political spending be approved by the share holders?


Technically it is.  Generally they rarely pitch a fit because the company can show that by helping get Senator X or Congresswoman Y elected, "better" laws were written and the business did well.  Or at least, that was the goal of management.  Which is all that is required of corporate governance.
 
2014-03-24 08:21:57 PM

Omahawg: 'cuz FREEDOM

[blog.heritage.org image 402x400]


ie freedom to become a wage slave with sore feet to appease your corporate masters


Actually, they can completely comply with the law, not offer their employees birth control in their insurance, and not get fined millions of dollars a day.

All they have to do is to stop offering health insurance to employees at all.  Sure, they'd get hit with about $2000 in fines each year per employee who ends up getting a subsidy, but since they're spending about $4000 per employee per year on their part of the health insurance it would actually end up saving them money.
 
2014-03-24 08:22:18 PM

Burning_Monk: What I don't get, at what point can an election be completely bought(/paid for) by a foreign entity? and what are the safeguards?


Voter ID laws.
 
2014-03-24 08:22:37 PM

hubiestubert: The thing that folks have been trying to repeal, what going on fifty times, and having already sent it to the Supreme Court once already? Yeah, our Beamish Boy can KEEP living that dream...


Especially as this isn't a case involving a constitutional provision . . .
 
2014-03-24 08:33:14 PM

Darth Macho: If five of them think a faceless organization has identity enough to 'Free Speech' unlimited money at candidates then they can also say it is capable of having undefined religious beliefs. And only after the vote do they have to come up with an explanation for why nonsense is now law.


Actually it was Congress (in a law signed by President Clinton) that passed a law that gave religious protections to corporations.  At least the one that is most relevant to this case.

Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.42 U.S. Code § 2000bb-1(a)

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise . . .the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.1 U.S. Code § 1

How dare the Supreme Court interpret laws that way that Congress told them to! Unthinkable. :)


 
2014-03-24 08:33:37 PM

factoryconnection: vernonFL: The Amish have to put reflectors on their buggies, they objected but they lost their case.

If the Amish can be forced to put reflectors on their buggies, then I dont see how Hobby Lobby and these other religios people can win.

I forgot about that case, but having grown up in SEPA I was definitely familiar with it.


Who cares about reflectors, they need to clean up after their horses!!!

//Live in Lancaster County. I can't go to a library near where I work because of the smell!
 
2014-03-24 08:35:22 PM
Even Fox News Employees Think Ann Coulter Works For Fox News (Featured Partner)
 
2014-03-24 08:35:35 PM

serial_crusher: Gyrfalcon: Coming late to your conversation, but they can believe anything they want. The issue SHOULD be, can they subsequently force their EMPLOYEES to behave, and conform their legal behavior to, those beliefs, where such beliefs conflict with a) the employees beliefs and b) the law of the land.

I admit I haven't been following this case too closely, but are they proposing firing people who would choose to purchase insurance that did cover birth control?  I don't see how you arrive at the conclusion that they're "forcing" their employees' behavior without something along those lines.
Far as I can tell they're just not wanting to be forced to pay for it, which is substantially different than what you're suggesting.


I don't believe insurance that covers birth control is any more than insurance without it, so it's not a monetary issue. They're not forced to pay for it, they just object to it on moral grounds.
 
2014-03-24 08:35:45 PM

DamnYankees: RoyBatty: Good point, but I guess that's what this case is about, isn't it? Is Hobby Lobby breaking the law or not?

Well, sort of. There are 2 distinct issues here:

1) Is a corporation entitled to claim religious rights protections.

2) If so, is this particular case a violation of those rights.

The court could certainly decide that corporations do have religious protections, but that in this case they don't apply since its a law of general applicability.


That is the feeling that I got - if I remember correctly, at least one of the lower court decisions held (apart from finding that the specific claims made by Hobby Lobby had no merit) that businesses generally were not eligible to make religious freedom claims under the laws in question. Especially after Citizens United, I suspect that the Supreme Court wants to clarify what their stance is here (and I suspect that they'll come down on the side of the business).

On the other hand, I doubt whether even the most conservative members of the Supreme Court will be too moved by Hobby Lobby's claims that the specific law they're being made to comply with constitutes an infringement upon their or anybody else's religious freedoms.
 
2014-03-24 08:36:29 PM

DamnYankees: Throughout this entire debate, I've always been confused by the basic issue. There seems to be 2 ways to phrase this issue, in terms of religious rights.

1) The corporation itself has rights based on religious beliefs held by the corporation, and you determine those beliefs by looking to the religious beliefs of the controlling shareholders.

2) The corporation doesn't have its own religious beliefs. Rather, the religious rights of individuals include the right to own stock in a corporation and direct such corporation's actions such that they comport with your religious beliefs.

Do we know which claim is being asserted? Both?


I don't think it matters, because both can be refuted by the Domino's v. McDonald precedent (a unanimous 8-0 decision; Samuel Alito had not been confirmed yet), the one that basically says that corporations do not have a race, even if they are completely controlled by members of a single race. I'm sure the argument can then extend towards religion.  The problem for the corporatists is that if that happens, this might then be used to reverse the Citizens United ruling, since, if a corporation can't have a race or a religion, how can it have a political preference?
 
2014-03-24 08:40:32 PM

Teiritzamna: Xetal: Or pay less than minimum wage because of their religious beliefs?

Likely no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA

Xetal: Or refuse to have female managers because of religious beliefs?

There are already employment exceptions based on religion, although most of those statutes require the company to be a non-profit.

Xetal: Or refuse to pay taxes because of religious beliefs?

Likely no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA

 Xetal: Or commit "honor killings" against employees who don't live up to Hobby Lobbys moral code in order to restore their family honor?

Oh hell no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA


While I think you're reaching the correct result, you're getting there for the wrong reasons.  In some of these cases (including Hobby Lobby, imho) RFRA does not apply because it does not impose a substantial burden.  Not because it satisfied strict scrutiny.  Murder laws would survive strict scrutiny, but minimum wage laws might not, and certainly the ACA would not.  However, in those cases a plaintiff would have a difficult time showing that the laws substantially burden a sincerely held religious belief.
 
2014-03-24 08:40:58 PM
This is a very very dangerous decision.  Simply because you can declare any belief you want.  If you can ignore any law you don't like simply by claiming it goes against your religious beliefs, then laws have no purpose and no way to enforce them.  Today its birth control.  Next thing you will see a corporation claim that minimum wage and all other labor laws are a violation of their "religious beliefs".
 
2014-03-24 08:43:50 PM

IlGreven: I don't think it matters, because both can be refuted by the Domino's v. McDonald precedent (a unanimous 8-0 decision; Samuel Alito had not been confirmed yet), the one that basically says that corporations do not have a race, even if they are completely controlled by members of a single race. I'm sure the argument can then extend towards religion.  The problem for the corporatists is that if that happens, this might then be used to reverse the Citizens United ruling, since, if a corporation can't have a race or a religion, how can it have a political preference?


Domino's doesn't hold that.  Not even a little bit.

Domino's holds that a shareholder who executed contracts on behalf of his company cannot raise claims based on the claimed discriminatory breach of those contracts because he wasn't a party to the contracts - his company was.   In the Majority opinion, Scalia in fact implied that the company could raise claims for discriminatory breach under section 1981 itself, even though the act specifically was drafted to defeast racially based contract dickery.

Domino's is thus about a shareholder's inability to stand in the shoes of his company for the purposes of a breach of contract suit.  It had nothing to do with a company';s ability to raise race based discrimination claims and definitely nothing to do with religious claims under RFRA.


/Also the only justice who didn't sign onto the opinion was Alito - this was a Scalia jam.
 
2014-03-24 08:43:53 PM

DamnYankees: The court could certainly decide that corporations do have religious protections, but that in this case they don't apply since its a law of general applicability.


Karac: "Whether corporations can hold religious freedom rights is a moot point, because even if they did, the PPACA is a law of general applicability and they'd still have to obey it."


Are you missing something here? Or am I?

Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.42 U.S. Code § 2000bb-1(a)
 
2014-03-24 08:44:20 PM

Talondel: Teiritzamna: Xetal: Or pay less than minimum wage because of their religious beliefs?

Likely no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA

Xetal: Or refuse to have female managers because of religious beliefs?

There are already employment exceptions based on religion, although most of those statutes require the company to be a non-profit.

Xetal: Or refuse to pay taxes because of religious beliefs?

Likely no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA

 Xetal: Or commit "honor killings" against employees who don't live up to Hobby Lobbys moral code in order to restore their family honor?

Oh hell no - compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored law trumps RFRA

While I think you're reaching the correct result, you're getting there for the wrong reasons.  In some of these cases (including Hobby Lobby, imho) RFRA does not apply because it does not impose a substantial burden.  Not because it satisfied strict scrutiny.  Murder laws would survive strict scrutiny, but minimum wage laws might not, and certainly the ACA would not.  However, in those cases a plaintiff would have a difficult time showing that the laws substantially burden a sincerely held religious belief.


The court does not get to determine what is or isn't a sincerely held religious belief.  The first amendment requires that all branches of the government treat every religion as equally valid.  Since religion is just a made up set of beliefs according to old fairy tales, you can create any religion you want.
 
2014-03-24 08:45:07 PM

Talondel: Darth Macho: If five of them think a faceless organization has identity enough to 'Free Speech' unlimited money at candidates then they can also say it is capable of having undefined religious beliefs. And only after the vote do they have to come up with an explanation for why nonsense is now law.

Actually it was Congress (in a law signed by President Clinton) that passed a law that gave religious protections to corporations.  At least the one that is most relevant to this case.

Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.42 U.S. Code § 2000bb-1(a)

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise . . .the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.1 U.S. Code § 1

How dare the Supreme Court interpret laws that way that Congress told them to! Unthinkable. :)


And subsection B says that the burden is legal if it's in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

Now, with medical bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy, and the general health of the populace at issue, then the 'compelling interest' is certainly within the ballpark.  And the waivers granted to explicitly religious institutions could actually help - the government can point to them as an example of how they're trying to make the burden as light as possible.
 
2014-03-24 08:45:28 PM

Talondel: While I think you're reaching the correct result, you're getting there for the wrong reasons.  In some of these cases (including Hobby Lobby, imho) RFRA does not apply because it does not impose a substantial burden.  Not because it satisfied strict scrutiny.  Murder laws would survive strict scrutiny, but minimum wage laws might not, and certainly the ACA would not.  However, in those cases a plaintiff would have a difficult time showing that the laws substantially burden a sincerely held religious belief.


Oh sure - I was just having fun with anaphora.  Also i have seen this line of argument and had to deal with it about 1000 times on facebook, so i decided to amuse myself this time.  But yeah, you are right w/r/t failing at the substantial burden prong.
 
2014-03-24 08:45:35 PM
Warlordtrooper:  Next thing you will see a corporation claim that minimum wage and all other labor laws are a violation of their "religious beliefs".

Arbeit macht frei.
 
2014-03-24 08:46:16 PM

Warlordtrooper: This is a very very dangerous decision.  Simply because you can declare any belief you want.  If you can ignore any law you don't like simply by claiming it goes against your religious beliefs, then laws have no purpose and no way to enforce them.  Today its birth control.  Next thing you will see a corporation claim that minimum wage and all other labor laws are a violation of their "religious beliefs".


No.  The law requires that a plaintiff challenging a generally applicable law must show that the challenged law places a substantial burden on a sincerely held religious belief.  I seriously doubt any court would have a problem seeing through such claims and not being "sincerely held."
 
2014-03-24 08:46:22 PM
I fully expect Scalia hand down a ruling that allows corporations to peirce the veil when convenient without sustaining any liability to shareholders and let anyone that does so claim their company as a tax-exempt church.
 
2014-03-24 08:47:03 PM

Talondel: DamnYankees: The court could certainly decide that corporations do have religious protections, but that in this case they don't apply since its a law of general applicability.

Karac: "Whether corporations can hold religious freedom rights is a moot point, because even if they did, the PPACA is a law of general applicability and they'd still have to obey it."

Are you missing something here? Or am I?

Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.42 U.S. Code § 2000bb-1(a)


Yes, you are missing subsection b.
 
2014-03-24 08:47:16 PM

Karac: Now, with medical bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy, and the general health of the populace at issue, then the 'compelling interest' is certainly within the ballpark.  And the waivers granted to explicitly religious institutions could actually help - the government can point to them as an example of how they're trying to make the burden as light as possible.


No those actually hurt - as they undercut a finding of compelling interest.  Oh its so compelling> well then why did you exempt every small business and any religious non-profits?

And the narrow tailored/least restrictive bit is even worse for the government, as i explained above.
 
2014-03-24 08:47:21 PM

Talondel: Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.42 U.S. Code § 2000bb-1(a)


I'm not familiar enough with RFFA jurisprudence to answer this. I've been arguing on a constitutional basis. I'd be interested to read any discussions about this.
 
2014-03-24 08:48:15 PM

Talondel: Warlordtrooper: This is a very very dangerous decision.  Simply because you can declare any belief you want.  If you can ignore any law you don't like simply by claiming it goes against your religious beliefs, then laws have no purpose and no way to enforce them.  Today its birth control.  Next thing you will see a corporation claim that minimum wage and all other labor laws are a violation of their "religious beliefs".

No.  The law requires that a plaintiff challenging a generally applicable law must show that the challenged law places a substantial burden on a sincerely held religious belief.  I seriously doubt any court would have a problem seeing through such claims and not being "sincerely held."


Since all religion is, is a made up set of beliefs, any court ruling that a belief is not "sincerely held" is violating the first amendment rights of a person who wants to hold those beliefs.
 
2014-03-24 08:49:17 PM

DamnYankees: I'm not familiar enough with RFFA jurisprudence to answer this. I've been arguing on a constitutional basis. I'd be interested to read any discussions about this.


Generally RFRA tracks with the old pre-employment division first amendment jurisprudence, except for the fact that the dictionary act explicitly makes RFRA applicable to corporations, a question that would be more open in a first amendment context.
 
2014-03-24 08:49:43 PM

Barry Lyndon's Annuity Cheque: It's like Sophie's choice for assholes.


I actually LOLd and seeing that I've spent the last hour arranging my grandmother's hospice care I needed that. Thank you!
 
2014-03-24 08:50:29 PM

Warlordtrooper: Since all religion is, is a made up set of beliefs, any court ruling that a belief is not "sincerely held" is violating the first amendment rights of a person who wants to hold those beliefs.


Not even close.

You are conflating the reasonableness of the beliefs, which a court cannot question, and the sincerity of those beliefs, which a court has to under first amendment and RFRA analysis.
 
2014-03-24 08:50:30 PM

Warlordtrooper: Since all religion is, is a made up set of beliefs, any court ruling that a belief is not "sincerely held" is violating the first amendment rights of a person who wants to hold those beliefs.


That's completely false. A court is surely capable of determining whether or not you're lying about what you believe.
 
2014-03-24 08:51:40 PM

Teiritzamna: Karac: Now, with medical bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy, and the general health of the populace at issue, then the 'compelling interest' is certainly within the ballpark.  And the waivers granted to explicitly religious institutions could actually help - the government can point to them as an example of how they're trying to make the burden as light as possible.

No those actually hurt - as they undercut a finding of compelling interest.  Oh its so compelling> well then why did you exempt every small business and any religious non-profits?

And the narrow tailored/least restrictive bit is even worse for the government, as i explained above.


It has to be a compelling interest, not an overriding one.  The interest is getting as many people health insurance as possible.  They can simply say that they exempted businesses with under 50 employees because those businesses would not have likely been able to afford either the premiums or the fines.

I have a compelling interest in paying for broadband internet.  But if it doesn't override paying the mortgage.
 
2014-03-24 08:51:55 PM

DamnYankees: Warlordtrooper: Since all religion is, is a made up set of beliefs, any court ruling that a belief is not "sincerely held" is violating the first amendment rights of a person who wants to hold those beliefs.

That's completely false. A court is surely capable of determining whether or not you're lying about what you believe.


People change religions all the time.  Its not impossible to switch your beliefs.  The government (which the court system is a part of) telling you that you are or are not part of a religion is a violation of the first amendment.
 
2014-03-24 08:53:12 PM

Warlordtrooper: The court does not get to determine what is or isn't a sincerely held religious belief.  The first amendment requires that all branches of the government treat every religion as equally valid.  Since religion is just a made up set of beliefs according to old fairy tales, you can create any religion you want.


Incorrect.  They don't get to determine if your religious beliefs are valid.  They do get to determine if they are sincere.

But we hasten to emphasize that, while the "truth" of a belief is not open to question, there remains the significant question whether it is "truly held." This is the threshold question of sincerity which must be resolved in every case. United States v. Seeger - 380 U.S. 163 (1965)
 
2014-03-24 08:53:26 PM

Warlordtrooper: People change religions all the time.  Its not impossible to switch your beliefs.  The government (which the court system is a part of) telling you that you are or are not part of a religion is a violation of the first amendment.


Are you just making this up? This just isn't true.
 
2014-03-24 08:56:58 PM
Hobby Lobby owners want to deny their employees the ability to purchase birth control at group rates negotiated by an insurance company.

In a just world, every judge this went in front of would cite the case "go eat a sack of yeasty bungholes" and the legal precedent of "no, I'm serious. I sent the bailiff to the slaughterhouse and he brought back a sack full of yeasty bungholes. The owners of hobby lobby will eat them now, for our amusement."
 
2014-03-24 08:57:50 PM

Karac: t has to be a compelling interest, not an overriding one.  The interest is getting as many people health insurance as possible.  They can simply say that they exempted businesses with under 50 employees because those businesses would not have likely been able to afford either the premiums or the fines.

I have a compelling interest in paying for broadband internet.  But if it doesn't override paying the mortgage.


Hey man, I would love it if the government prevailed here, but the term "compelling interest" is a term of art, much like how theory in science means something very very different than "theory" in general language.  A compelling government interest means an interest viewed to be necessary or crucial to the nation, as opposed to something merely preferred. Compelling interest usually includes things such as national security and the like.

So in your analogy the mortgage would be a compelling interest, the internet would likely be an important interest (intermediate scrutiny).

If, however, the government undercuts its interests through exemptions, including and most especially exemptions to religious groups, it makes it a harder road to argue  that the interest was so compelling.  Its like you argue that the mortgage is your most important payment, but then we offer evidence that you avoided paying it 5 times last year and spent the money on hookers and blow.*

/*not that there is anything wrong with that . . . .
 
2014-03-24 08:58:11 PM

Karac: And subsection B says that the burden is legal if it's in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

Now, with medical bills being the leading cause of bankruptcy, and the general health of the populace at issue, then the 'compelling interest' is certainly within the ballpark.  And the waivers granted to explicitly religious institutions could actually help - the government can point to them as an example of how they're trying to make the burden as light as possible.


Karac: Talondel: DamnYankees: The court could certainly decide that corporations do have religious protections, but that in this case they don't apply since its a law of general applicability.

Karac: "Whether corporations can hold religious freedom rights is a moot point, because even if they did, the PPACA is a law of general applicability and they'd still have to obey it."

Are you missing something here? Or am I?

Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.42 U.S. Code § 2000bb-1(a)

Yes, you are missing subsection b.


I'm not missing subsection b.  You're not understanding it.  Subsection b restores the "strict scrutiny" test to generally applicable laws that substantially burden sincerely held religious beliefs.  That standard is was requires a narrowly tailored law, and a compelling government interest.  If you read the prior case law on those two issues, you will see very clearly that you are taking far to broad a view.  Strict scrutiny is very difficult test to pass.  There is no way the ACA would.  The government isn't even trying to argue that it would.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_scrutiny
 
2014-03-24 08:59:34 PM

The Larch: Hobby Lobby owners want to deny their employees the ability to purchase birth control at group rates negotiated by an insurance company.

In a just world, every judge this went in front of would cite the case "go eat a sack of yeasty bungholes" and the legal precedent of "no, I'm serious. I sent the bailiff to the slaughterhouse and he brought back a sack full of yeasty bungholes. The owners of hobby lobby will eat them now, for our amusement."


Then shouldn't they also be forced to cover late term abortion?
 
2014-03-24 09:00:40 PM

Teiritzamna: DamnYankees: I'm not familiar enough with RFFA jurisprudence to answer this. I've been arguing on a constitutional basis. I'd be interested to read any discussions about this.

Generally RFRA tracks with the old pre-employment division first amendment jurisprudence, except for the fact that the dictionary act explicitly makes RFRA applicable to corporations, a question that would be more open in a first amendment context.


I like the cut of your jib.  And just about everything you've posted in this thread.  Nice to see someone posting actual, useful, legal analysis. :)
 
2014-03-24 09:01:13 PM
I asked this the other day and didn't get an answer, gonna try again.

Does anyone have the link to the story(or stories) about how Hobby Lobby's company insurance plan actually provided contraception and such, before it became politically expedient for them to be "offended"?

I know the stories are out there, I just can't find them, and this is a case of where Google doesn't help because there's too many current stories that have the same search terms.
 
2014-03-24 09:02:56 PM

Talondel: I like the cut of your jib.  And just about everything you've posted in this thread.  Nice to see someone posting actual, useful, legal analysis. :)


As well to you sir.

Unfortunately most supreme court threads rapidly degenerate into
Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be
 
2014-03-24 09:04:16 PM

Mikey1969: Does anyone have the link to the story(or stories) about how Hobby Lobby's company insurance plan actually provided contraception and such, before it became politically expedient for them to be "offended"?

I know the stories are out there, I just can't find them, and this is a case of where Google doesn't help because there's too many current stories that have the same search terms.


I dont know, i have only seen people assert that here on Fark.  Seems like it could be true.


Unfortunately the government waived any arguments regarding the sincerity of Hobby Lobby's claimed belief, so it alas doesnt much matter to this case.
 
2014-03-24 09:06:37 PM
After reading these comments [and I sincerely commend those who are trying to 'splain it in simple terms], my question is:

Is there any chance these Justices will hold individual privacy in reproductive health decisions over a company's attempts to dictate those decisions?

Or are they so narrowly constrained by the case that it's limited to this corporations-are-persons question?

/Thanks in advance for replies.
 
2014-03-24 09:09:31 PM

cchris_39: The Larch: Hobby Lobby owners want to deny their employees the ability to purchase birth control at group rates negotiated by an insurance company.

In a just world, every judge this went in front of would cite the case "go eat a sack of yeasty bungholes" and the legal precedent of "no, I'm serious. I sent the bailiff to the slaughterhouse and he brought back a sack full of yeasty bungholes. The owners of hobby lobby will eat them now, for our amusement."

Then shouldn't they also be forced to cover late term abortion?


Perhaps you're confused. Hobby Lobby is a retail establishment that sells hobby supplies. They're not an insurance company. They don't "cover" anything.
 
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