Contraception

Does Obamacare's Contraception Mandate Violate a Corporation's Religious Freedom? Maybe It Doesn't Matter.

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Today, the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case against Obamacare's contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide health coverage for birth control or pay a fine. Two closely held corporations with religious owners—hobby supply chain Hobby Lobby and Mennonite-owned furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties—are challenging the rule as a violation of religious freedom.

Because the rule is directed at businesses and the challengers are religious owners of businesses, the case has sometimes been framed as a test of the limits of corporate personhood: Do for-profit corporate entities have the same rights to religious freedom as individuals?

credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

The Supreme Court may end up deciding on those lines. But it doesn't necessarily have to. In an amicus brief siding with the challengers, the Cato Institute has argued that, while it's certainly interesting to wonder about whether corporate entities have the same religious freedoms as individuals, it's beside the point.

The issue isn't whether the requirement places a burden on the corporation, as an entity. Instead, Cato's brief, which was coauthored by senior fellow Ilya Shapiro, argues that the question is whether the contraception mandate places an illegal burden on the religious freedom of the individuals who own those corporations.

The government's argument is that because corporations are distinct legal entities from their owners, they should be judged separately and differently, as corporate bodies rather than as individuals with traditional individual religious freedoms.  Basically, the owners might be religious, but the corporation isn't, and couldn't be.  

But both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are closely held, family-run businesses. What that means is that any requirement for corporate action is also a requirement for individual action. The corporation may be legally distinct in some ways, but it can't do anything without at least one person—one individual—making a decision to do it. And in the case of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, those particular people clearly have deeply held religious convictions.

Those convictions don't disappear when making business decisions. As Cato's brief says, "those individuals do not check their religious values at the door." Those people should have the freedom to conduct their personal and work lives in a way that reflects their own deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs. When the government compels a business to do something, it's compelling individuals to do something as well.

In this understanding, it simply doesn't matter whether a corporation is legally entitled to religious freedoms. It only matters whether individuals do, and whether those individuals have the right to conduct workplace affairs in accordance with personal religious beliefs. And to believe that, you basically have to believe that free exercise protections for religious practice don't extend to the workplace. 

This isn't the only useful or interesting argument for the challengers. (The Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason magazine and reason.com, signed onto a jointly authored brief strongly defending the legal concept of corporate personhood.) But it's a useful, and to my mind, reasonably compelling one, especially because of the way it counters the conventional framing. It's also one that may end up influencing the final ruling: According to The Wall Street Journal's live blog of this morning's oral arguments, Chief Justice Roberts suggested this morning that a narrow ruling, limited to closely held corporations, could resolve the issue with minimal friction. 

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  1. but not giving is taking and Hobby Lobby is blocking my right to birth control. #argumentover

    1. I saw someone claim on Twitter today that Hobby Lobby was restricting what its female employees were allowed to discuss with their doctors. NO FUCKING JOKE YO.

      1. Libruhls will believe whatever the fuck they want to believe. Hobby Lobby == Peole who probably don’t vote Democrat, and that’s all they need to know. Being right wing and Christian is just icing on their hate cake.

    2. There was an article in the paper the other day about a local law professor who had written an amicus brief for this case. That was pretty much his entire arguement – because Hobby Lobby wasn’t giving free birth control to its female workers, it was actually taking from them by shifting the burden of paying for it to them. He seemed to believe that his theory would be accepted by Kennedy. I sincerely hope Kennedy isn’t that big of an idiot.

      1. given that Kennedy was a firebrand for striking down this whole steaming shitpile I doubt he’ll go for it.

      2. oh wow:

        “This actually forces the employees to subsidize the religious beliefs of the owners of Hobby Lobby,” Green said. “If you are going to accommodate someone’s religious practice, someone else shouldn’t bear the cost.”

        the employees by not receiving a benefit are “subsidizing” Hobby Lobby. Y’all need to pony up 10 bucks to me or else I am subsidizing your commenting.

        1. Yup. It’s a facepalmingly stupid argument, Tony-esque in scope, and this guy is convinced Kennedy will jump on it.

  2. …Chief Justice Roberts suggested this morning that a narrow ruling, limited to closely held corporations, could resolve the issue with minimal friction.

    That’s what we want from defenders of constitutional rights. The path of least resistance.

    1. I dunno, how about a broad ruling protecting our rights, rather than some way of letting the government screw us yet again? Like IT’S NOT A FUCKING TAX.

    2. Haven’t you read the constitution? The role of the Supreme Court isn’t to interpret the law objectively or safeguard the Constitution from encroachment by the executive and legislature, it’s to minimize friction. Duh!

    3. What, you guys didn’t hear, the Constitution has a constituency!

      1. How many divisions does the Constitution have?

    4. Even a decision that applied more broadly to religious would be an appalling compromise in my view. If a law violates anyone’s religious freedom, then it violates everyone’s religious freedom, whatever their beliefs happen to be. The only outcome that isn’t “path of least resistance” is no one has to provide insurance that includes contraception, etc.

    5. a narrow ruling, limited to closely held corporations, could resolve the issue with minimal friction.

      Soon to be followed by a case from a publicly held corporation, pointing out that whether a corporation is closely held or not is pretty much irrelevant to the principle at hand.

  3. I don’t like fags and I run a closely-helf Corp. So I don’t have to hire fags, right, because 1st Amendment. Right?

    Or is that a different argument, cause empls can still get contraception, and – although the gay person in question could get another job – they can’t get any job in my anti-gay corp.

    So – is that different? A different legal argument? I truly don’t know.

    Srsly asking. For a friend…

    1. Have you hit your head recently?

      1. No, but I’ll hit it right now, for you

    2. If you aren’t free to be an asshole, you aren’t really free.

      1. Right. Should we throw assholes in jail for being assholes?

    3. In my opinion you should have the the right not to hire fags, and I should have the right to protest in front of your establisment for being a fucking bigot. Fair is fair.

    4. It’s a different argument, but the same Amendment. We have the right to free association–to choose who we will and won’t hang out with.

      So, yes, you shouldn’t have to hire fags, or religious people, or atheists, or blacks, or whites, or martians, or robots, or whatever minority (or majority) faction clamoring for special (or even just equal) treatment du jour. Of course, if the best people in your industry happen to be a gay God-fearing atheist black-and-white striped martian cyborgs, and you’re unwilling to hire them because of that…then it’s your loss, isn’t it?

      Laws against descrimination are in blatant violation of this basic right, and should thus be declared unconstitutional.

  4. but remember – HL is the one forcing its moral code on employees, not the govt. Because the company’s employees are not just forced at gunpoint to work there, they are also barred from seeking work elsewhere.

    1. That, and it is denying its employees access to birth control, since there’s just no other way for anyone to obtain it.

    2. How about we change the tax code to stop twerking the market to employer-based group policies? I don’t have group policies on any other insurance I have, why should this be any different?

      Just think, if you change jobs or lose your job, you can keep your policy and not suffer any disruption in coverage. No more “pre-existing condition” nonsense. Hell, you could even shop around and tailor the policy to your needs and budget. You’d have real choice.

      Nah. Crazy talk. Better to have an impenetrable and incomprehensible bureaucracy that drives up prices, reduces choice and benefits only the pols and their slimeball cronies. GIMMEE GIMMEE GIMMEE.

      1. you and your off the wall ideas. Next thing you’ll be claiming a right to associate with whomever you please, to defend your family and property, and to keep more of what you earn. Goddamn heretics.

        1. You WILL love The Collective.

      2. But JW, getting insurnace through your employer is JUST HOW THINGS ARE, and there’s NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT!

        So just accept that we have to force Muslims to eat pork because the inevitable reality of life is that pork is the way we deliver vaccines to children!
        And it’s too politically dififcult to fix that!

      3. Even better, go to completely free-enterprise medical care. Where I live nobody I know has insurance; they pay cash to doctors, labs, clinics, pharmacies (mostly-no-prescriptions needed). There IS a govt system that is slow and full of paper-work, but IT only costs about $23/month.
        I have lived here for 23 years–MEXICO.

    3. Wierdly enough if HL was doing this for a non-religious reason, nobody would claim that the employees religious rfreedom is being violated. it’s only because Hobby Lobby is motivated by a religious conviction that NOT paying for someones birth control is “forcing their religion” on people. If they were doing it as a cost-cutting measure – well, that would be fine.

  5. PS Just so my not-well-written question doesn’t throw anyone, I absolutely don’t think the government should (or is Constitutionally allowed to – as if that matters) compel a company or person to 1) buy health insurance at all, much less 2) buy insurance for empls that includes something the employer finds offensive (like so many “women’s health” items – say, abortions and contraceptives).

    In fact, I don’t think the govt should be telling anyone they have to associate with anyone else.

    But that’s not the world we live in. So – given the world we live in, is Hobby Lobby’s concern legally different than a company that doesn’t want to hire gays? Cause – srsly – it seems to me like it’s not. But I ain’t no law-talkin’ guy…John? RC? Other law types?

    1. Are gays a protected class for federal discrimination cases?

      1. I don’t think so. They are in many states, but I don’t think they’ve been added to the federal list.

      2. No. Some cases involving transgendered people did kind of fall under existing sex discrimination statues but I’m not sure how far that applies. In states, the level of protection varies – either there’s none, or only in some cases.

    2. this isn’t about HL discriminating against a class of people, unless you want to consider the makers of the four meds the company finds troublesome to be a protected class.

      It has a compensation package that people are free to decline. The company is not refusing to hire women who may use of those four products nor does it refuse to hire or fire women who’ve gotten abortions. But I’m no barrister, either.

    3. No, it’s not the same thing since Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to have to provide certain health insurance plans to its employees.

      That’s very different from them arguing they have the right to not hire gays or fire employees outed as gays.

      1. Actually, I think Almanian is closer to what is going on. It is about religious exemption under RFRA. Just as that church in New Mexico sued under RFRA for, and got, an exemption to laws barring use of hoasca because they argued it burdened their religious beliefs, these two companies are arguing that making them support what they see as abortifacients burdens their religious belief and they should be exempted under RFRA.

    4. I think the problem comes in because the state gives corporations that choose to compensate their employees through health benefits special tax treatment. The ways this has damaged our health care sector are many, and one of them is this idea that the state can meddle in the benefits.

      1. and, of course, the solution to state meddling in an industry is more state meddling in that industry.

        1. Well, of course you have to fix the problems the original meddling caused and of course the logical solution is more of that.

      2. Well, duh.

        What I find particular obnoxious is that the progressive are willing to go to these extraordinary lengths to force Hobby Lobby to pay for things that they find morally abhorrent, but aren’t willing to spend on dime of political capital on getting rid of the tax deductions that favor employer based care.

        Every time I bring up this point about how stupid it is, the response is always “Wells that’s the way it is, and there’s nothing we can do about it … blah blah”

        Like they really don’t know and don’t care, and don’t want to know, about alternatives to their precious mandates. They aren’t interested in really fixing the problem, they just enjoy forcing conservatives to fund abortions, for the pure sadistic pleasure of it.

    5. You can try to draw lines between freedom of religion and freedom of association.

      However, recognizing that ordering a corporation to do something IS ordering individuals to do that thing really kicks the door down on a whole new round of limiting government power. SCOTUS earnestly doesn’t want to do that. But I suspect they are still smarting from the beating they took the last time they sided with the administration. This is a real toss-up, in my mind.

      1. One challenge they are going to have, BTW, is that many churches are organized as corporations, LLCs, that kind of thing.

        Ruling that a corporation has absolutely zero claim to First Amendment protections will strip those churches of their free exercise rights, as well.

        1. and the New York Times doesn’t have freedom of the press or freedom of speech because it’s a corporation.

        2. There are thousands of mom and pops (literally, mom and pop) who are organized as Subchapter S corporations. Requiring pop to buy birthcontrol for mom is a new low in government intrusion into the bedroom.

  6. I haven’t been this proud of Cato insitutue for making a kick ass argument in quite a while. Nailed it! Bravo.

    1. That is some good news there.

      When the jackboot of the police state starts to fall on the ski-resort class things will start to change.

      When the guard dog gets off the leash and starts to bite his master, the master will have to put him down.

      Also, how fucking stupid does a cop have to be to pull some shit like this? My God.

      1. You know what’s funny? They’re not even cops!

        1. They are members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association:

          https://www.fleoa.org/aboutus.aspx?id=85

    2. speeding, drinking and using drugs.

      Why else do you go on a ski vacation?

    3. According to the U.S. Forest Service, officers said they often see people driving dangerously in the Ski Valley area, speeding, drinking and using drugs. The saturation patrol was designed to catch those people breaking the law and putting others in danger.

      Well, if the officers “often see” people doing these things, why don’t they stop those people instead of these other people who are definitely not doing those things?

  7. Suderman, you are really raising the alt-text bar. Deserves a shout-out.

    1. I never knew what alt-text was until I realized the comment section here is obsessed with it.

  8. “But both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are closely held, family-run businesses. What that means is that any requirement for corporate action is also a requirement for individual action. The corporation may be legally distinct in some ways, but it can’t do anything without at least one person?one individual?making a decision to do it. And in the case of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, those particular people clearly have deeply held religious convictions.”

    I can not buy that argument. The corporation must be distinct even if closely held. It is odd to concede it is ‘legally distinct in some ways’ and then say ‘but hey, not in THIS way!’ It is a creature of its owners, perhaps a thing which furthers the religious beliefs of its owners, but not a thing which itself has religious beliefs

    1. So, one remedy might be for closely held corporations to dissolve and reform as limited liability partnerships?

      1. I think in general the thing is if you want to form something that is distinct from you then you can not go around saying the thing is essentially (and has your characteristics).

        1. why not? they formed the corporation. it stands to reason that they can say what it’s beliefs are.

    2. That’s not what is being said. Read the Cato brief. The argument is that a corporation cannot act without the actions of individuals. To compel these individuals to disregard their religious beliefs is to say that one must check the religious freedom at the door upon entering the workplace.

      1. I still do not buy that. All tools require an individual to act for it to act, but the tool remains distinct and does not have the characteristics of the user.

        1. No, in these particular cases the tools have the characteristics of the users. They are Christian companies, organized by Christians, and operated according to the owners’ interpretation of their Christian beliefs. Hobby Lobby’s website explicitly states that information (it’s in the “our company” section if you’d like to look for yourself). Many people may shop there (or refuse to shop there) for those reasons. The beliefs of the owners are part of the corporation’s identity in these cases.

    3. So, Bo, you are taking the position that churches have no Constitutionally protected free exercise rights?

      That the government could dictate that these churches violate their religious beliefs, and they would have no recourse?

      1. RC, like I said infra it is pretty complicated and problematic either way.

        Of course one response is that churches need not incorporate, and that if they do the entity they create cannot be said to exercise religion itself.

        1. So following your argument, a corporation like the NY Times or NBC or a union does not have free speech rights?

          1. A tool like a corporation can produce speech, but I do not see how even a tool that is used to exercise religion can be said to itself be exercising.

            Exercising religion strikes me as something more like ‘not incriminating oneself,’ which the Court has ruled is a right that does not apply to a corporation

            1. That’s the whole point, Bo. A tool cannot exercise an individual right itself. It can only be used by individuals to exercise individual rights. This case is about the government deciding that a tool which its creators use to exercise their religion (they view commerce as a religious activity) cannot be used in a way that is compatible with the religious beliefs of the creators. It would be like the government stating that while the individuals who own the New York Times have the right to free speech and the free press, the New York Times cannot be used to print articles unfavorable to the government. Or saying that while individuals have the right to bear arms, the gun cannot have the capacity to fire projectiles.

            2. A tool???

              More obfuscation – a corporation is a legal entity made up by the free association of people.

              Therefore, a corporation isn’t a tool or any other obtuse wording you wish to use to remove the rights of the individual owners as individuals.

              A corporation is nothing more than a legal entity setup for a specific purpose and since it is setup by one person, or by a group of people freely associating, it has the rights inherent to individuals – such as free speech, free association, etc.

              Otherwise, the little guy loses. As Bill Gates with his money, would always have his free speech and be able to pay to have it published – meanwhile, little people, without the ability to pool their money through voluntary association and the use of legal concepts such as a corporation, have no hope.

              But that’s you – obfuscate when really, really, really want the wrong side to win.

              It’d be easier if you just said – I’m comfortable with government controls on speech such as campaign finance reform, therefore I think I agree here too.

              Though that’s not you – being obtuse is you. Just know – it makes you look like a tool.

        2. Of course one response is that churches need not incorporate, and that if they do the entity they create cannot be said to exercise religion itself.

          So, if the NYT wants First Amendment protections, it need not incorporate, either?

          And in what sense does a corporation “speak”? Just as corporations can’t worship, only individuals can, corporations can’t write or talk, only individuals can.

  9. Is this more KulturKrieg?

    1. Yes. Get some popcorn.

    2. You know who else framed things in German?

      1. Carpenters in Munich?

        1. Actually, I was thinking of your mom.

          1. When are you not thinking of my mom?

            1. Uh, never?

    3. KulturKampf, actually.

      1. Krieg is war, Kampf is struggle.
        As you wish

        1. If it’s war, it’s gotta be Krieg. BlitzKampf doesn’t have the same ring to it.

        2. Correct, but KulturKampf is the term used by historians to describe the tensions between conservative and progressive cultural factions in Bismarck-era Germany.

          1. Like the tensions between sheep and wolves. Bismarck was putting bishops in prison.

  10. I listened to the sides on NPR this morning, and this case is excruciatingly muddy. Neither side has good arguments. The only clean way out of this is to overrule the entire notion of requirements for health insurance beyond the public health related and catastrophic.

    And I have to add this Cato argument to the list of bad arguments. “…any requirement for corporate action is also a requirement for individual action”. So what? If I have a religious objection to gathering payroll taxes because the proceeds from my poor 18-year-old employees are sent to millionaires, I can opt out? Seriously? If I don’t want the obligations of working under an overreaching state, then I shouldn’t own a corporation.

    1. The only clean way out of this is to overrule the entire notion of requirements for health insurance beyond the public health related and catastrophic.

      Or to restore freedom of association.

    2. Seriously? If I don’t want the obligations of working under an overreaching state, then I shouldn’t own a corporation. be alive

      FTFY

    3. It’s a question not of whether the law is right (it isn’t) but rather of who gets a pass. Does making Jesus cry excuse you from the law?

      Having been on the wrong side of many an unjust law I hate to defend one. Maybe I’m seeing a slippery slope where there isn’t but I still wonder how far religious exemptions can go and who can claim them.

      1. A closely held or sole proprietor company owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses could deny blood transfusions by insurers.

        I don’t have an issue with it but that slope could get crazy.

        1. It could go either way though. Either it could be used as a precedent to exempt religious people from anything – which would bring up the question of what makes a religion “official” enough for exemptions.

          On the bright side, it could set a precedent which would lead to so many exemptions that the law would be effectively nullified.

          1. “what makes a religion “official” enough for exemptions.”

            I don’t think you can answer that without violating someone’s religious freedom.

            Religious freedom and freedom in general are exactly the same thing. Once you make religion special, you have to define what is or is not religion and once you have done that, true religious freedom is impossible.

        2. And no one except other Jehova’s Witnesses would work for that company.

      2. MikeP is right. Having government meddle in health care is inevitably going to be a giant clusterfuck. The solution is pretty clear.

        1. Just like with education. No government involvement makes it easy to understand and protect the rights of individuals.

          1. Agreed. Once the government is supposed to have a role in education then you have fights over what is going to be taught and whether what is taught or not violates this or that right of the students involved. You can not get away from this even with vouchers, because then people will say that making them pay for teaching this or that violates their rights.

            Likewise with health care. What is covered and not covered, mandated and left out, becomes constant political and judicial fodder.

            If there were no involvement all that time and effort would be saved.

        2. Exactly, MikeP and Suthenboy.

          A government of vast reach and power is simply, fundamentally, inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. This is just one example, but there are myriad others. Take the “commercial speech” doctrine, for another that is right there in the same amendment.

      3. The argument I always make is that the exceptions that apply to religious people must apply to everyone (at which point they wouldn’t be exceptions, I guess). Otherwise, some government official or Judge gets to decide what is and is not a legit religious belief. And that is a bad situation. Of course, no one but libertarians and anarchists wants to hear that because it would mean that all sorts of things would be off limits to lawmakers. If there are to be religious exceptions to laws, then anyone should be able to claim them.

        MikeP’s example about taxes is an interesting one. Suppose my religion is opposed to the existence of government at all. Should I be exempt from paying any taxes?
        Obviously there are limits to religious freedom that are legitimate. The law doesn’t and shouldn’t give a pass to Thugee adherents for robbing and murdering people on the road. And we all agree pretty much that a religious person shouldn’t be forced to make a cake for a gay wedding or provide birth control to their employees. But what about something like paying taxes. Not paying your taxes doesn’t hurt anyone else or violate anyone’s rights. But most any non-anarchist knows that taxes must be collected somehow. SO what is the non-anarchist argument for requiring a person to pay or collect taxes if that violates their religious convictions?

        1. If there are to be religious exceptions to laws, then anyone should be able to claim them.

          Fun fact:

          In the case Dhillon v. British Columbia, the court ruled that defending the religious rights of Sikhs to honor their tradition of wearing turbans trumps any safety precautions that inspired Canada’s helmet laws. As a result, Sikhs are now allowed to leave their helmets at home in order to ride their motorcycles with a turban on their head.

        2. Oh, Zeb. You know this one! It’s FYTY.

          1. Well, sure. I largely share your anarchist perspective on things, philosophically, so as far as I can see all justification of government action comes down to that. But what do the libertarians who insist that they are not anarchists say?

            1. That there are things that veer much closer to legitimate to tax for, and those are the things that cannot be opted out of. Providing for the Common Defence, Promotion the General Welfare, that kind of thing. The problem is that we cannot have nice language because statists take it and twist the shit out of it until interstate commerce (for example) becomes “growing wheat for your own consumption”

            2. Zeb, I think the answer is that government has to provide what economists say are true ‘public goods’ (things that in individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others) because otherwise they would not be provided, and without these things life and liberty could not really be enjoyed.

            3. But what do the libertarians who insist that they are not anarchists say?

              That these issues would never (OK, maybe very rarely) arise under a “night watchman” state.

              1. right. minimize the conflict in the first place and THEN figure out the rest.

                1. Yes, of course that would be a much better situation. I wouldn’t be too worried about any of it in a night watchman sort of state.
                  But as things are, I worry that religious exceptions to laws will get us into a situation where, de facto at least, there are religions established by the state. There may be lots of them, but if you are not part of a religion that some court decides is legit, then you are screwed as far as religious freedom goes. I think that is a worse violation of the first amendment than making people pay for birth control (that is a violation of different constitutional principles and religion shouldn’t even have to be part of the discussion).

                  1. But as things are, I worry that religious exceptions to laws will get us into a situation where, de facto at least, there are religions established by the state.

                    All the better reason to give all restrictions of any law given to any religion to every individual as well.

            1. fuck Yoda’s tits yes!

            2. I suddenly picture some terrible 80s sitcom (or possibly game show) “That’s Yoda!”.

        3. SO what is the non-anarchist argument for requiring a person to pay or collect taxes if that violates their religious convictions?

          Long complex subject. You could alter the fundamental way taxes are collected. Yes, you could still make the argument when at some point a tax ultimately catches you, but you could at least make it more of a choice.

        4. The argument I always make is that the exceptions that apply to religious people must apply to everyone (at which point they wouldn’t be exceptions, I guess).

          Last time I made that argument, I got called a bigot.

          As I understand it now, government carving out exceptions for religions on a case-by-case basis is the essence of religious freedom.

          1. Not having the exception is hate.

          2. Yeah, what good is having freedom if you can’t lord it over other people who don’t share your beliefs?

  11. oh look an infographic on the subject.

    haven’t we banned those yet?

    1. Who will rid me of this meddlesome fund?

  12. What happens when Hobby Lobby says, “Fuck it, we won’t provide any insurance for anybody. You’re on your own.”

    That would be a win for the Social Justice League, right?

    1. It would put more people in line to try and sign up through the exchanges, so yeah, I think it would.

      They could then inflate and spin the number of people seeking insurance, but not getting it, through the exchanges. See! People love and desire Obumblecare!

    2. This provision was never about increasing coverage or access, it was a political wedge.

    3. As the NPR report had it this morning, this is exactly the government’s proposed solution: Don’t offer insurance and have the employees get their subsidized insurance from the marketplace.

      Hobby Lobby’s response is that they really do want to provide their employees insurance. They just don’t want to provide IUDs or Plan B. All the rest is a-ok.

      1. All or nothing.

  13. Why no trolls trotting out their ‘corporations aren’t people’ bullshit?

    1. They’re TOO busy updating their signs to PEOPLE AREN’T CORPORATIONS.

    2. Stupid caps lock.

    3. They do not have to. If corporations are people they are people separate than their owners, that’s the whole point.

      1. People separate from their owners and defined by their corporate mission statement?

        1. That’s a good point, and many have suggested that a narrow way for the Court to rule is that corporations with explicitly religious statements may be protected under RFRA, while others would not.

          But I still think it is problematic. Corporations are essentially tools, or strategies. You create one so your business is separate from you, so it can outlive you and so its liability does not fall onto your personal assets. Like any tool you might put dedicate or put it to a religious use, let’s say you have a pickup truck which you use solely to take donations from the church to various missions. But does the tool itself have a religious claim?

          1. Of course it is problematic. That is the whole problem. Having government tell people what they must and must not purchase is a guarantees a giant fuck-up.

            Does the truck have a claim? Maybe. If I run the Church of Life and it is the church’s truck and you want to force me to use it to haul people to ovens, then yeah the truck has a pseudo claim as the driver could be considered part of the truck.

    4. Common law states that they are. “Corp” is even the Latin root.

  14. Actually, the “parade of horribles” such as businesses could refuse to hire gays, refuse to cover blood transfusion, not have to abide by labor regulations, etc. are total red herrings. Each case looks at if there’s a compelling state interest, is this the least restrictive means to that end, etc. So if Hobby Lobby wins, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other employers win if they used the decision to argue a religious defense to other regulations. They could very well lose, it’s weighed on a case-by-case basis.

    1. True, but how would a non-discrimination law concerning gays escape but a health insurance mandate like this not?

      1. Preventing discrimination is considered a compelling state interest. Anti-discrimination laws (probably) are the least restrictive means. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m willing to bet businesses and/or individuals have attempted to claim a religious defense to discriminate and it hasn’t flown. (In fact, isn’t that pretty much what happened with the photographer and baker in the gay marriage cases? And they lost)

        1. It is tricky.

          Some argue that the compelling interest in anti-discrimination laws is to ensure people are not shut out of markets for certain services. I think if that is the interest then it is, today, hard to argue it is that compelling (after all, as noted, those gay couples could easily find other photographers and bakers) and that any exemptions would so undermine that system.

          But protecting health is kind of an archetypical state interest, and unwanted pregnancies are pretty serious. Additionally, the government can argue, because of our messed up tax system most people get their health insurance from their employer and so they have to go through them.

          1. “…the compelling interest in anti-discrimination laws is to ensure people are not shut out of markets for certain services.”

            I had to laugh. With regards to the gay wedding cake case, I would bet they had to go out of their way to find a baker of wedding cakes that was not gay.

            1. the florist was even worse.

          2. But protecting health is kind of an archetypical state interest, and unwanted pregnancies are pretty serious. Additionally, the government can argue, because of our messed up tax system most people get their health insurance from their employer and so they have to go through them.

            That’s absurd. You don’t need health insurance to acquire birth control pills. Nor do you need birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That argument doesn’t pass the laugh test.

            1. That is not how the courts are going to look at this.

              They will merely say ‘is protecting health a compelling thing for government to do?’ And the answer is probably going to be ‘yup.’

              Then they will say ‘is increasing access to birth control a way to protect health?’ And the answer is going to be yes too, because there are tons of studies that when people use birth control regularly all kinds of negative things (from pregnancy costs to abortions, ironically) decrease.

              Now you and I will note that you do not have to mandate birth control coverage by insurers to increase use of birth control, but the court will just ask if this is a reasonable way to do that, and it is at least reasonable that if insurers cover birth control more people will get it and use it.

              The key will be: is mandating insurers cover it the way to achieve that which achieves it with the least burden on people’s religious exercise?

              1. No. The least burden solution would be to provide a birth control tax credit for what a woman spends out of pocket. No infringement on religious freedom whatsoever.

          3. I would argue birth control coverage isn’t compelling. You don’t have to have sex. And birth control is widely available & inexpensive. The administration has also shot itself in the foot by granting waivers, extensions, etc., with the law, including some waivers to religious employers who objected. So it’s difficult to argue it’s that compelling an interest.

            1. None of that matters. People do have sex, and if the measure makes it more accessible it is reasonable to think more people will get and use it, preventing at least some of the negative consequences to citizen health.

              The waiver argument is stronger. The government has to argue that exempting hobby lobby and the like would undermine all the benefits of the contraceptive mandate, but the fact that they have given waivers to others makes that harder.

              1. The drugs are used for other health-related purposes than preventing pregnancies.

                But the religious folk don’t understand that. Nor do they seem to care that they are paying for penis pumps (nobody has ever sued over this that I’m aware). I think it’s pretty clear what the motivation, at the most basic level, is here: the Abrahamic religions’ obsession with policing women’s sexual habits.

                1. Yes, they are used for other purposes, but by far the most common use is for pregnancy prevention. Besides, please explain to us how these religious companies force these poor women who need birth control for health related concerns to work at their sweat shops? I’m pretty sure there are literally hundreds of other retail establishments that hire women.

                  As to your last point, most laws seem to be enacted, at the most basic level, because some group of assholes want to police the habits of others, including many of the laws that you happen to like. You love the idea of legislation to control global warming, which will dictate what kind of cars, lightbulbs, and fuels I can use, regardless of my opinions on the matter. You don’t give a damn what I think constitutes appropriate health insurance, preferring a state mandated plan. In fact, I’m struggling to think of what policy for which you’ve argued that isn’t you deciding for others how they get to behave. Oh, but your decisions are apparently based on pure reason, not a celestial specter, so it’s okay.

                  One more point: I’m not sure how refusing to pay for a service for someone equals policing their habits. If I refuse to pay for your lawn to be mowed, am I policing your lawn habits?

      2. If weighed on a case by case basis, I would think that a person’s ability to do the job and not hinder others from doing theirs would be considered.

        A guy who shows up for work every day and does the job but thinks to himself how cute some other guy is affects the company in no way. It is a passive condition which boils down to a thought crime.

        Forcing employers to provide contraception to employees when in the minds of the employers that is murder based on their religious belief is no passive condition.

        I am just spitballing here. That seems sensible to me so the courts would probably not go that way.

        Besides, y’all are looking at the wrong slippery slope. The contraception mandate, as you pointed out Bo, is a political wedge and also another step towards the broccoli mandate.

        1. The case by case is not the business burden that falls on the employer (sadly, they do not care much about that). It is the burden on religious exercise vs. how important it is for government to do what it wants to do, with the possible effective alternative ways of doing that available that would not burden the religious exercise considered too.

          1. I see no burden on religious exercise. Not hiring a gay person does not make gay people not exist. The employer is offended by gays? Hiring them or not does not facilitate or hinder gayness.

            The only burden the employer can claim is the burden on his business.

            The contraception mandate is very clearly a burden on religious exercise.

            1. The employer does not claim hiring the gay person hurts his business bottom line, he says that he thinks homosexuality is wrong and to hire and pay someone who engages in it makes him complicit in the wrong (likewise, the baker who refuses the gay wedding cake order says it is making him complicit in something he thinks is an abomination, a gay marriage), just as the employer who has to provide contraception coverage argues you are making him complicit in its use (which he thinks is wrong).

              1. “…he thinks homosexuality is wrong and to hire and pay someone who engages in it makes him complicit in the wrong…”

                I know that is what he says, but it is not credible. The gay guy is gonna be gay whether he works for a bigot or not. I am pointing out that employing or not employing gays has no effect on gayness in the world, thus the employer is not complicit in another person’s basic nature simply by giving him a job.

                If he were forced to purchase lube for the guy, or hold gay orgies after hours in his place of business that would be a different story.

                1. “The gay guy is gonna be gay whether he works for a bigot or not.”

                  Well, and the employee can use birth control whether it is covered by their employee insurance or not. It is the perceived complicity that the plaintiff argues burdens their religious exercise.

                2. “If he were forced to purchase lube for the guy, or hold gay orgies after hours in his place of business that would be a different story.”

                  But the argument would run exactly like that. “I don’t want to pay no homo ’cause he’ll by a lot of homo stuff”. To some, simply letting gay people exist is construed as a personal harm and personal endorsement.

    2. They could very well lose, it’s weighed on a case-by-case basis.

      I find it odd that an amendment that is expressed in absolute terms (“Congress shall make no law”) gets applied on a case by case basis, depending on whether Congress has a compelling interest in passing that law.

    3. Actually, the “parade of horribles” such as businesses could refuse to hire gays, refuse to cover blood transfusion, not have to abide by labor regulations, etc. are total red herrings.

      What’s the problem?

  15. As Cato’s brief says, “those individuals do not check their religious values at the door.” Those people should have the freedom to conduct their personal and work lives in a way that reflects their own deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs.

    But if I want the freedom to conduct my personal and work life in a way that reflects my own deeply and sincerely held non-religious beliefs, I guess I’m SOL.

    1. “You have the freedom to not the let door hit you in your ass, on your way out.”

    2. I completely agree. I find it troublesome that, in order to be a “concientious objector”, you typically have to have a formal religious belief that forbids the action being objected to.

      This is particularly harmful for atheists who make no claim to religion, but it’s also harmful to those who either have only vague religious convictions, and to those who have religious convictions that are either in contradiction to the main belief they hold, or are an extension to the main belief they hold.

      I find it deeply offensive that we have the freedom to believe what we want to believe, but only if the State agrees that it’s a valid belief!

  16. Hobby Lobby’s response is that they really do want to provide their employees insurance. They just don’t want to provide IUDs or Plan B. All the rest is a-ok.

    I have to assume the government’s position is also that there can only be one-size-fits-all comprehensive health coverage, and the notion of supplemental coverages is completely outside the bounds of acceptability.

    1. Nah, it’s just they draw the line on “required” vs. “supplemental” somewhere Hobby Lobby isn’t cool with. I think the most important thing about this case is that Hobby Lobby only cares about four of the required types of contraception. That’s all.

    2. It is preferable that a person have no insurance at all than have a plan that is not regulator approved.

      1. Regulators decide what is and isn’t insurance. Plans that aren’t regulator approved aren’t really insurance to begin with, so employees that lose non-approved plans only lose a fiction created and forced on them by insurance corporations. Really, by losing those plans, the employees are being set free, right into the loving arms of the regulators.

  17. I have to assume the government’s position is also that there can only be one-size-fits-all comprehensive health coverage, and the notion of supplemental coverages is completely outside the bounds of acceptability.

    Except for cable tee-vee.

    A la carte channel selection is an inalienable human right.

  18. The legalities of the case, given current law (both statute and precedent) is indeed confusing.

    What gets me is simply the fact that Obama (and liberals) is continuing to push this.
    If this guy really were the leader of our country, he’d give a shit about its people and how THE WIDE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE RELIGIOUS and just change the law as written to avoid this issue.

    That’s what pisses me off and proves liberals are complete fucking assholes. FUCKING ASSHOLES. they don’t give a SHIT about the beliefs of the other people in this country. They think religion is a sort of disease, and they’re all better than the rest of us, and they don’t have to respect our right to practice at all, and fucking shoot us if they feel like it, just because we’re religious. Assholes like Tony talk circles about community adn democracy and respecting people’s rights, but at the end of the day they’re the most egocentric people and can’t imagine that the other people’s opinions matter.

    1. It’s all proof that the left/liberals are fucking fascists and not remotely liberal in the classical sense, and the right side of the political spectrum is the only place where beliefs of liberty are held. The only thing that people who disagree with have to point to is social conservatism, which they vastly overblow, and only even gets injected into law because of the way law has gotten into all parts of our lives. At the end of the day only the right side, even hard line social conservatives (not that there are any anymore*), would be fine with a live and let live policy where most laws that effect people’s lives in these realms were rescinded

      1. *no, there aren’t anymore real hardline social conservatives. Pointing to that one old fuck senator from bumblefuck alabama who said that one stupid thing doesn’t count. Most people live in the populated blue states, and these people are hardly southern baptist assholes. The only social conservatives left are fucking dying old people in the south. They’re outnumbered like 100-1 by the more cosmopolitan people in the rest of the country who either already do or would happily move towards more freedom-oriented solutions to law in the social spheres of our lives.

        But every fucking clollege fuck and cosmotarian has to point to these few fucks and overblow their shit as an excuse to not get on board with the simple fact that the right is the last astion of freedom remaining.

        It’s like, there’s 8 million people in my state, new jersey, let’s say 20% are republicans. Do you really think 1.6 MILLION people in NEW JERSEY are fucking hardline southern style social conservatives? Please. Liberals have to act like this because they can’t do fucking math like the rest of us and they have nothing else to back up their stupid shit

        1. Edwin,

          The college fuck cosmotarians never both to ask themselves why the party of federalized control of everyone’s diet, trash disposal habits and light bulbs is somehow “socially liberal”. The Democratic party is socially reactionary.

          1. I think what they mean by ‘socially liberal’ is socially tolerant, and for a long time toleration has been tied to immutable characteristics rather than chosen behaviors. So while the liberal is intolerant of the person with bad trash disposal habits, the idea is that the person could change those habits, while the same can not be said of the conservative that is intolerant of a homosexual.

            That’s the idea I think. For a libertarian, of course, it is not only the wrong answer but the wrong question.

            1. There is nothing “socially tolerant” about the Democratic Party Bo. Just because they are tolerant of some groups doesn’t make them tolerant. Democrats are completely intolerant of gun owners, people with strong Christian religious views, people who object to abortion, people who smoke, or really anyone who the Democrats can identify as “poor white” or “white rural” or in general “white trash”. The Democrats as a group hate those people and obtain a good part of their personal self worth from feeling superior to them.

              1. I agree the Democrats are quite intolerant of a lot of people, I was just trying to explain to you what many of them, and many of these awful cosmos, see as the difference upon which they hang the idea that liberals are more socially tolerant and liberal than conservatives. It is that people who smoke or who object to abortion or own guns are engaging in actions they do not like, while the people conservatives do not like, for example gays, are part of a supposedly immutable group.

              2. John +1000

                This is a pretty solid definition of most democrats.

          2. //The Democratic party is socially reactionary.

            oh yeah, the left is reactionary period. They still think it’s the ’60’s. Nothing the right proposes do the left react to in a calm, reasonable manner. Any cuts in budgets are deemed racist attempts to murder old and/or poor people. Suggestions not to be pussies abroad/ militarily are called warmongering. etc. etc.

            I remember in college I had a professor of American history, during the Bush years, who would literally scream in class in the middle of lectures constantly about George Bush, regardless of what period of history he was talking about. He’d literally fins some shitty transition from the subject matter. And he would actually throw spittle sometimes.

        2. Liberals have to act like this because they can’t do fucking math like the rest of us and they have nothing else to back up their stupid shit

          Emphasis added. They’re basically using scare tactics to keep as many socially liberal/ fiscally conservative (or moderate) independant voters from voting for those EVUL RETHUGLIKKKANZ. Because “OMGZ, IF THOSE EVUL TEATHUGLIKKKANZ GET ELECTED THEY’LL FORCE WOMEN BACK INTO THE KITCHEN AND PUT BLACKS BACK IN CHAINZ!!!!!111!!!!11!!”

          The fact of the matter is Roe vs Wade has been in effect since 1972 and hasn’t been overturned despite having many years of pro-life presidents, and fewer, but still several, years of RETHUGLIKKKAN control of congress. Likewise the Civil Rights Act has not been overturned, nor has the wellfare state been rolled back in any meaningful way. Fuck, the one time there was some, any, wellfare reform it was under a Democrat president.

          And yet, every election cycle we have to listen them scream and yell about WAR ON WYMENZ!!!! and SOCONZ!!!!!!111!!! NEOCONFEDERATES!!!!!1!!!111!! It’s all bullshit, and So. Fucking. Tedious.

        3. cool story, bro

    2. “If this guy really were the leader of our country, he’d give a shit about its people and how THE WIDE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE RELIGIOUS and just change the law as written to avoid this issue.”

      I think you may be on to something there Ed. The Obama admin has spent a lot of time deliberately rubbing shit in our faces. As Bo pointed out above, this mandate was inserted specifically for that purpose.

    3. Assholes like Tony talk circles about community adn democracy and respecting people’s rights, but at the end of the day they’re the most egocentric people and can’t imagine that the other people’s opinions matter.

      But those other people’s opinion’s are wrong, and should be corrected for their own “well-being.”

      Seriously.

      1. There is a facebook meme running around showing a picture of a prototypical smug fascist douche bag saying something to the effect of “I care about what is taught in schools because I don’t want to be surrounded by stupid people”.

        I have several liberal friends who have posted this meme without any sense of irony. The fact that the guy in the picture looks so smug and turns anyone outside the hive completely off never occurs to them. Nor does it dawn on them that there might be something wrong with using the power of the gun to dictate what parents can teach their children.

        1. You are referring to this, I take it?

          1. Yes. Public education doesn’t exist for the benefit of parents or students, it exists for the “benefit of the social order”. That is full on fascism. I am sure John Green is too profoundly ignorant to understand that. But that is what it is.

            1. I’d be willing to bet that every failed civilization in the history of mankind failed due to some sort of collectivism. It seems to be human nature to use organized violence to force individuals to submit to the collective.

              1. Well it is without question the desire of some to force a collective on the others. Those states do fail, eventually. Unfortunately people are also risk averse and unwilling to stand in the way of this ‘progressive’ mentality if it’s just a little at a time…or so it seems.

            2. Does the same hold true when it’s for the “benefit of the moral fabric”?

              1. Depending on how you define “moral fabric”, yes it can be. Public education has always been sold as a way to make people “better citizens” or “more productive”. That idea has some issues in its own right. But I wouldn’t call it fascism because those people have always said that is only a part of the reason why we should have public education. They also said that it should benefit children and be responsive to parents’ wants and needs.

                This asshole does none of that. The whole statement is a giant “fuck you, this institution exists for the benefit of the collective and if you personally don’t benefit, well that is just too bad.” It is his use of the term “social order” and his upfront disregard for public education serving any other interest, that makes it fascist.

                1. I see where you’re coming from. It’s not him saying that everyone does benefit – since everyone’s in the collective, but trying to justify negative, arbitrary impositions on individuals then, yes, the good (for whichever nebulous abstraction you pick)really isn’t that good.

            3. Anytime one of these assholes gets on their soapbox about “benefits of the social order” my first thought is “I bet that sounds a lot cooler in the original German.”

              1. Anytime one of these assholes gets on their soapbox about “benefits of the social order” my first thought is “I bet that sounds a lot cooler in the original German.”

                Collectivism is as old as civilization. It wasn’t invented by Marx or Mussolini.

          2. It’s assinine for several reasons.

            First, he openly admits that public education “does not exist for the benefit of students” or parents (I noticed teachers are absent from that), but for “society”. So the primary concern for schools shouldn’t be the people most directly affected by them, but the people only tangentially affected by them.

            Next is this gem: “We have discovered as a species that it is useful to have an educated population.” So I guess the population now only exists to be useful to the species? Hmm. Also, there are some Homo sapiens over in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, who would love to cut off this guy’s head because of the population he wants to educate. So I guess some members of the species didn’t get the memo.

            Then, he assumes that just because he “likes” paying taxes, that everyone else should as well. Or just STFU and get on with it.

            And of course, paying taxes is the only way to fund education. He of course wouldn’t like donating to charity.

            Plus, who the fuck is this John Green guy that someone went through the trouble to take his picture and put words on it?

            1. that last question was my first: who the fuck is John Green and why should I care?

              1. John Michael Green is an American author of young adult fiction and a YouTube video blogger and creator of online educational videos.

                I actually now think I remember some video where he rants about why healthcare is so expensive (looks like the same guy). There were some good points mixed in with some bad ones. He definitely came off as an asshole.

            2. You can’t argue with them anymore. They have spent so much time talking to each other and having their views reinforced that they are beyond reasoning with. I could have made that GIF and posted it on here as parody of what fascist assholes these people are. Yet, I didn’t have the chance since they made it themselves and are serious.

        2. Because if there was no government run education, there would be no education at all.

        3. I don’t want to be surrounded by stupid people

          …which is why I support school choice.

    4. Most people favor the contraception coverage, most women use it, and I fail to see what’s liberal about being subjected to the religious bullshit of your employer in a context of employer-provided health insurance.

      1. Because you don’t have to work there you half wit. You are subjected to all sorts of illiberal bullshit from your employer. It is called working.

        You actually think putting a boot on a person’s face and telling them they must pay for something that violates their conscience is the “liberal thing to do”.

        You really live in a sick upside down moral universe Tony.

        1. I don’t think corporations should be considered people who get to ignore laws they don’t like because they believe in sky Santa. Do you? What planet are we on?

          1. But you think it’s OK to spit in the face at like 75% of the country with the force of the gun. And you think you or Obama have legitimacy after doing this. What planet are YOU on?

            1. Spitting in people’s faces with the force of a gun. Hm. Can’t quite wrap my head around what this mixed metaphor is referring to.

              1. well, a lot of people have said they don’t like that element of the law. a LOT. And even you know the demographics of religious belief in this country. The administration could easily rescind that section of the law. But they’re not

                It’s referring to how you’re forcing people to do something they strongly disagree with, when you really don’t have to.

                Yeah, spout some bullshit about taxes. But that’s just about the only thing that’s a basic requirement for a government. Shit like the birth control mandate is NOT

                1. why did I even respond to that?

                  You don’t understand what the spitting in people’s faces is? Then what the hell are we talking about, Tony? If nobody’s being offended here and compelled into behavior they don’t like, then what the hell have we been talking about?

                  1. Everyone is at one time or another compelled to do things they don’t like, particularly if you like doing things like killing babies or running red lights. That the government has the power to compel is not the issue here.

                2. But a majority agrees with the Obama administration’s argument in this case, according to the WSJ poll.

                  1. When the democratic process appears to work in favor of its agenda, it loves democracy. When it doesn’t it loves authoritarian approaches as an alternative.

            2. Tony thinks that liberty is something to be imposed upon society.

              Seriously.

              To him a lack of imposition is itself an imposition.

              The guy’s brain is broken.

        2. You don’t understand, John! If government doesn’t force the employer provided insurance to cover contraception, then the employees will have no access to it! The only fair thing to do is to force the employer to provide no insurance at all! Because Tony is an idiot!

      2. The difference we are going to have with you there is that the way in which an employee can be said to be ‘subjected’ to the religious beliefs of their employer is quite different than the way in which the employer would be ‘subjected’ to government mandates.

        1. Say what you will about bullshit natural rights, but corporations don’t have them. To the extent that they are considered persons, it’s to benefit society, not corporations. Which is unnecessary to point out since even people are subject to government mandates called laws and everyone thinks that’s a good thing.

          I don’t prefer an employer-based healthcare system. Not one bit. My concern here is treating corporations as entities that can ignore laws because of religion.

          1. This is totally unresponsive to what I said to you.

            1. That’s how it rolls, Bo.

            2. That happens a lot.

            3. Flesh out what you mean by the difference you referred to.

              1. And then it pulls this nonsense because it is too disingenous to argue with any good intentions at all.

              2. The difference I mean is that an employee is not really ‘subjected’ to their employers whims because they can just leave the job, but a employer under the mandate is subjected in the sense that they will be fined and/or thrown in jail for not complying.

                1. And the corporation is free to disincorporate and become a faith-based nonprofit, or the employers can go practice their religion in their private time like they’re supposed to. Employing people comes with certain rules.

                  1. Please explain how a retail chain is supposed to become a faith based nonprofit.

                    Also, I doubt you’d find many religious people who say that their religion is only in private and should have no effect on the way the conduct themselves in public.

                    Seriously, do you think before posting?

                    1. Please explain how a retail chain is supposed to become a faith based nonprofit.

                      Stop selling stuff for profit and file the appropriate paperwork?

                      Also, I doubt you’d find many religious people who say that their religion is only in private and should have no effect on the way the conduct themselves in public.

                      I find lots of religious people want to impose their nonsense beliefs on other people, such as employers who want to police their employees’ medical lives because Jesus. I’m just saying I think religion gets more than adequate deference in US law.

                    2. Stop selling stuff for profit

                      That’s freedom for you – do it exactly like we want you to – or live in poverty.

                      Because that’s what the majority agrees with. I guess bath house in the 80’s would’ve been outlawed given national majority opinion?

                      Seriously – you are beyond worthless – you are weak, ineffective totalitarian scum.

                      I’ll never for the life of me understand how someone can end up like this – how someone can assume they should control the most mundane of details of every individual simply because they think it’s best.

                      Thanks to Tony however – one thing I’ll never forgot nor fail to understand is just how vile and disgusting it truly is.

                      In Tony’s world – simply by trying to create a business, help the economy and create new jobs, you are responsible to uphold his morals and not doing so will be enforced at gun point.

                      It’s evil.

                    3. The fact that you cannot see the direct correlation between what you are so angry about (religious people wanting to impose their views on others) and what you want to do (impose your views on others) is what makes you hard to take seriously.

                      An employer not wanting to pay for something to which they object is not policing “their employees’ medical lives” any more than me not wanting to pay for your groceries is policing your eating habits or not feeling like buying you porn is controlling your sex life. I find it hard to believe that you are actually arguing this point.

            4. It’s okay, Bo. Maybe next time he’ll show up looking to engage people’s arguments in good faith, instead of talking past people, making smug insults, and begging the question, as he’s done in every other thread he’s ever participated in.

              1. Literally. Every thread it has ever been on it has pulled this crap.

      3. but you don’t see what’s illiberal about forcing business owners to buy things they don’t want to?

        You have deliberately selective perception

        All your talk of community and legitimacy via democracy is all for naught. The reality is you don’t care about your fellow man, you just want your pet agenda to be the law

        1. Of course I want my pet agenda to be the law. As a liberal I just believe it should be run through the democratic process first and not dictated. What do you want?

          Businesses are forced to do or refrain from doing a lot of things. That’s what happens when you don’t live in anarchy.

          1. “As a liberal I just believe it should be run through the democratic process first and not dictated.”

            So you are against Lawrence v. Texas or Roe v. Wade, to take two examples in which courts refused majorities to make their pet agendas into law?

            1. The judiciary is part of the democratic process… For the thousandth time, I do not favor direct democracy on all matters.

              But what is your preferred process? That’s by far the more interesting question.

              1. I do not see what good your answer about the judiciary being part of the democratic process is. It is the part of the democratic process that checks the excesses of democracy. If you are OK with that, then how are you different than the people here, who just think there should be things, like the private behavior at issue in Lawrence, that should be protected from the democratic process.

                1. It’s answer is acceptable to it because it got an outcome favorable to its agenda. That is all. If the reverse happened, well you know how it would react.

                2. This is all responding to a straw man. I’m good with some things being constitutionally protected from simple majorities. Those things are specific, however.

                  1. Some things are constitutionally protected from majorities, but you certainly don’t seem to care when you disagree with them.

                  2. This is all responding to a straw man.

                    If you ever became good at recognizing strawman, the cognitive dissonance you’ll experience when you recall any comment you ever posted will likely result in a severe cardiac episode.

                    My suggestion….learn, learn, learn!

              2. The judiciary is part of the democratic process… For the thousandth time, I do not favor direct democracy on all matters.

                Right. You agree with the democratic process, except when you don’t, and that’s when you appeal to authority.

                1. But what do you believe sarc? How do you think things should go? Because outside of a system similar to the one we have, it seems as if the alternative is you get your way on everything because you say so. Nobody has really ever offered a coherent alternative to what I’m talking about.

              3. more direct democracy. I think it is obvious that more democracy would be a good thing, and people ought to even be able to vote on issue of interpretation.

                As it stands now we don’t vote for shit, so fucks like you ruin the country

                1. Edwin the only problem with more direct democracy is balancing against tyranny of the majority. Just sayin’. And the electorate does have the ability to replace representatives but it fails to do so in spectacular and predictable fashion.

                  1. so far we’ve got extreme tyranny of the extreme minority. The fact that you voted for the guy doesn’t lend legitimacy, because everybody just votes to keep the OTHER guy OUT of office.

                    I’ll be glad to take a very large shift towards more democray and less repiblic for the forseeable future.

                    1. I agree with Edwin. Our system tilts way too heavily against democracy, as it happens.

                    2. so far we’ve got extreme tyranny of the extreme minority.

                      Based upon what?

      4. I fail to see what’s liberal about forcing people to pay for things that violate their beliefs.

        1. What about the Anti-Drivers-License-Adventists?

          1. do you ever respond or address what people actually said? Seriously, the only thing you have is strawmen, moving the goalposts, and deflecting.

            1. It perfectly addresses what was said. Let me restate: should people be allowed to drive without licenses because their religion says drivers licenses are an abomination? Or should they be required to pay for the license despite this belief?

              1. Re: Tony,

                Let me restate: should people be allowed to drive without licenses because their religion says drivers licenses are an abomination?

                That question does not address the situation being discussed; it is a bad analogy. People can still choose to drive without a license with the lingering risk of getting caught. Or they can choose NOT to drive. The State is not making you drive a car or pay for someone ELSE’s driver license, or someone else’s car for that matter.

                In the case of Hobby Lobby, the STATE is compelling the company to pay for methods of contraception that the owners of the company feel go against their religious dogma – that is, the State is compelling the company to fork out money for goods the owners find objectionable for religious reasons; this is not much different than the State compelling a Muslim store owner to provide pork bellies to his workers. The actions of the government are a clear violation of the 1st Amendment right to religious freedom.

                1. Hobby Lobby is not being forced to provide health insurance. It’s not being forced to employ people. It’s not being forced to be a company. The 1st Amendment question is certainly not clear (or it wouldn’t be at the SC). The plaintiffs are looking for a brand new religious exemption to the laws of Congress. To my mind it’s an exemption that harms a 3rd party (employees), and therefore not valid.

                  1. Well, you’re an idiot, and your arguments are moronic, so I’m not sure why what you think matters.

                  2. Re: Tony,

                    Hobby Lobby is not being forced to provide health insurance.

                    It’s called a MANDATE for a reason. Stop insulting everybody’s intelligence.

                    It’s not being forced to employ people.

                    What does this have to do with anything, or even your contention that HL is not being compelled to provide health insurance? If you’re trying to shoehorn your analogy, you’re not going to succeed by throwing red herrings around.

                    The 1st Amendment question is certainly not clear (or it wouldn’t be at the SC).

                    Well, it is clearly not clear to YOU.

                    The plaintiffs are looking for a brand new religious exemption to the laws of Congress.

                    Even if that were the case, so what? If Congress approves laws that violate individual’s rights, then the individuals have every right to fight those laws in any way they legally can.

                    To my mind it’s an exemption that harms a 3rd party (employees), and therefore not valid.

                    It doesn’t harm the 3rd party you allege. If the company was not providing certain contraceptives to its employees before, then the employers are not being harmed if they don’t receive those contraceptives for free now. They are not worse off now than before.

                  3. Shorter Tony:

                    Hobby Lobby can just choose to DIE!

                    Muslims who don’t want to eat meat can choose to commit suicide!

      5. “employer-provided health insurance.”

        Contraceptives aren’t health insurance.

  19. A company should be free to offer benefits at any level they choose or no benefits at all. Likewise you may choose to accept employment on those terms or not.
    Nothing compensates workers better than options created by a healthy economy and diversity of choices.
    Some may choose minimal health insurance and other benefits for higher pay.
    This entire issue is a matter of freedom for the employer and the employee.

  20. Chief Justice Roberts suggested this morning that a narrow ruling, limited to closely held corporations, could resolve the issue with minimal friction.

    And this is exactly what we will get. Roberts is should always be remembered is a craven unprincipled crap weasel who equates popularity with personal and institutional legitimacy. So he will write a narrow decision that throws a bone to religious freedom and gives this party some relief while not being broad enough to protect much of anything else. This will in Roberts’ view keep the liberals, whose respect and affection he desperately wants, from getting too angry while giving the people on the right who appointed him what he thinks will be half a loaf they can live with.

    Roberts is of course a first rate fool. The actual result of such a decision will be to satisfy neither side, do little if anything to protect religious freedom and leave the court with even less legitimacy in the eyes of the country than it had before.

    1. If SCOTUS rules that Hobby Lobby, a corporation, is not protected by 1st amendment because that only applies to persons, then does that mean 1st amendment doesn’t apply to corporations that publish newspapers, have tv networks, etc.? I don’t see that happening so I agree SCOTUS will come out with some convoluted and narrow ruling that favors Hobby Lobby.

      1. They will limit the case to its facts so as to make it generally useless in any other context. Also it will be a plurality opinion with the real hacks (Suiter, Kagan, Ginsburg and the wise Latina) writing that corporations don’t have any rights, Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy writing they do in all cases, and Roberts writing some horrible convoluted separate opinion saying that the rights can attach in cases of closely held corporations with sincere religious objections to a less than compelling government mandate.

        1. And the thing is, this is the best case scenario.

          1. Oh cmon. Best case scenario is a 9-0 vote that says “Hey, we are going back to an Enumerated Powers reading of the constitution, Obamacare doesn’t appear to be on the list, and is now null and void”.

            …. oh you mean, like, realistically. nevermind.

      2. I highly doubt they reach the constitutional question. This is more likely to turn on statutory interpretation issues, specifically the meaning of RFRA/RLUIPA. It’s already established (under Employment Division v. Smith) that there’s no 1st Amendment exception to generally applicable laws on religious grounds, and that was in the case of an individual (meaning the corporate personhood thing doesn’t matter in a constitutional sense anyway).

        The real work here will probably be on whether RFRA/RLUIPA were intended to apply to corporations as well as natural persons, but only as a statutory matter rather than a constitutional one.

      3. Good point, creech.

        And as I have long said, every single thing that is published by a corporation was written by an individual. Imposing any restrictions, including “commercial speech” restrictions, on a corporation is prior restraint of an individual’s speech.

        It would be nice if this case had come up as a Holy Free Speech claim, rather than based on one of the more second-rate freedoms.

        1. Yes. And I think Freedom of Speech has to be read in combination with the Freedom of Association. All a corporation is is an association of people. If it is the case that the price of association is forfeiting other rights, then you no longer have freedom of association.

    2. “This will in Roberts’ view keep the liberals, whose respect and affection he desperately wants,”

      If Roberts so desperately wants to the respect and affection of liberals, why does he more often than not rule contrary to them in big, divided cases? That seems like an odd strategy for someone who wants ‘desperately’ to win their respect and affection.

      1. Roberts, if you listen to his speeches, is obsessed with the public legitimacy of the court. He rules against liberals because he is by and large conservative in his views. But, I really think he was stunned by the liberals going insane and eating the furniture over Citizens’ United. It was this reaction, I believe, more than anything that gave rise to the ridiculous Penaltax opinion. He honestly believes that he can cut a path that will keep liberals from losing respect for the legitimacy of the court. That is what he did in the Obamacare decision and I bet that is what he does in this one.

        1. But how would he further the legitimacy of the court by a ruling that infuriates conservatives?

          I think it more likely that Roberts has a judicial mindset you just do not like or get. He has ruled a narrow, middle ground route on quite a few ‘unsexy’ cases as well.

          1. But how would he further the legitimacy of the court by a ruling that infuriates conservatives?

            He doesn’t understand why it will. That is why he is a fool. He will go down as a man obsessed with being liked and respected by everyone who ended up being neither by anyone.

            1. I think he might be motivated by a desire to not have his Court be one that breaks 5-4 with the 5 GOP nominees on one side and the 4 Democrat nominees on the other, because that hurts the Court’s legitimacy in that it appears to be a political playpen. But that is different with being popular with liberals. I doubt he cares about that because he is a lifelong conservative and usually rules in ways that make liberals angry.

              Additionally, I think he honestly has a judicial philosophy of trying to reach narrow decisions. This of course fits nicely with his other aim I talked about, because it makes for less 5-4 decisions.

              1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I heard a while back that the Robert’s court was arriving at a historically high rate of 5-4 decision.

                1. Seems there is something to that
                  http://www.theatlantic.com/pol…..rt/259155/

                  1. That is an interesting chart. The Court seems to have maintained a fairly constant rate of 1-vote decisions until the 1930s.

                    Why am I not surprised that the current trend seemed to start during the FDR administration?

      2. that’s what John is saying, he doesn’t. He tries to narrow the decisions so as to be useless

  21. I’m not sure I buy Cato’s argument. It’s effectively an argument that the insiders of a closely held corporation (since the dispute doesn’t involve sole proprietorships, partnerships, etc.) can pierce the corporate veil from the inside out whenever it suits them — in this case, to effect their personal religious beliefs through corporate policy — but turn around and resist efforts to piece the corporate veil if someone suing the company wants to claim that the corporation should be considered a mere alter ego of the insiders. Not only is reverse veil-piercing (and especially insider reverse veil-piercing) strongly disfavored, but this really smacks of the insiders of a closely held corporation wanting to do business through the corporate form only when it suits them and only on their terms.

    Also, what happens when there’s a dispute among shareholders of a closely held corporation, which happens all the time? If the brother who owns 1/3 of a company has a colorable argument that his brothers who own 2/3 of it enacting whatever religious-based practice harms the value of his share, then we get a whole fun lawsuit about the other two brothers violating their absolute fiduciary duties to the minority shareholder.

    It seems to me the entire constitutional/RFRA/religious freedom aspect of this case can be avoided by relying on settled principles of corporate law. Hobby Lobby is free to change itself from an LLC to a partnership or sole proprietorship if it likes.

    1. “It’s effectively an argument that the insiders of a closely held corporation (since the dispute doesn’t involve sole proprietorships, partnerships, etc.) can pierce the corporate veil from the inside out whenever it suits them — in this case, to effect their personal religious beliefs through corporate policy — but turn around and resist efforts to piece the corporate veil if someone suing the company wants to claim that the corporation should be considered a mere alter ego of the insiders.”

      Exactly.

      1. Here’s what your missing:

        Anything you can sue a corporation for, you can also sue the individual(s) who actually did it for. The corporation is responsible in addition to the individuals. Liability law recognizes in very explicit terms the responsibility of both the corporation and its agents. In effect, the action of the individual is attributed to the corporation.

        This case is posing the question of whether the dual agency, in effect, of the corporation and its people runs both ways. If you can’t compel the individuals to do X, does it make sense to say that you can compel the corporation to do X, when the corporation cannot do X without individuals doing X?

        1. I do not think that analogy works because it is about who ‘did’ what. Of course the individual who acted in the corporation’s behalf ‘did’ the same act as the corporation. The question here though is about burdens on religious exercise. Think of this: the corporation would always have to follow whatever corporate law exists, but the individual(s) do(es) not (they could leave the corporation and work in a different form).

          1. I do not think that analogy works because it is about who ‘did’ what.

            That’s the whole point. You cannot say that a corporation “does” anything in the absence of actual people doing that exact thing. You cannot prohibit a corporation from doing anything without prohibiting everyone who works there from doing that thing.

            Think of this: the corporation would always have to follow whatever corporate law exists, but the individual(s) do(es) not (they could leave the corporation and work in a different form).

            So, the NYT can be prohibited from publishing articles critical of the government, because the individuals can just quit working for the NYT and do something else if they want to criticize the government.

        2. Exactly RC. A corporation is not the government. It doesn’t get to have immunity from the criminal actions of its employees.

          The contrast between corporations and governments is instructive. The general rule is that a government cannot do anything illegal. So when a government employee does something illegal, they are by definition not acting in their official capacity and they not the government is liable. The government is a separate entity from its employees.

          Corporations don’t get that luxury. The corporation is one and the same as its owners in that it is responsible for all of the misconduct its employees engage in in their official capacity. That makes corporations nothing but an extension of the individuals who own them.

          1. That is exactly the opposite of reality John. The whole point of a corporation is to create a separate legal entity from the owners in order to gain certain privileges like limited liability.

            1. Not with regard to crimes and torts you idiot. The corporate val only shields the owner from the corporation’s debt. It doesn’t shield the owner from criminal liability for his actions done in the name of the corporation. If it did, Berny Madoff and various other Wall Street crooks could never have been prosecuted. Both the corporation as an entity and the employees individually are criminally responsible for crimes committed in their official capacity.

              You also are as an employee responsible for any torts you commit. Employees are just generally not sued because the corporation is the deep pocket.

              I am still looking for a subject you are not profoundly and remarkably ignorant about Tony.

              1. You said that corporations are “nothing but” an extension of the individuals who own them. That is not true. They are separate legal entities. True, you can’t throw a corporation in jail. For the same reason, corporations shouldn’t be able to have religious beliefs.

                1. True, you can’t throw a corporation in jail.

                  That is only because it is physically impossible. Corporations can and are convicted for crimes and subjected to all sorts of financial and injunction punishment up to and including the dissolving of the corporation.

                  They are separate legal entities.

                  I don’t think you understand what “extension” means in this context. Extension means a separate thing that has all of the owner’s rights.

  22. If the ruling goes against HL, and I were HL management, I’d just ax the health plan. Problem solved.

    1. They could and just pay the penalty. And what about the Little Sisters of the Poor case? Is that coming up separately or in conjunction with this one?

      Linda Greenhouse wrote in the New York Times that allowing the nuns to win would be “giving into a school yard bully”. That is right, the stupid bitch actually called a group of elderly nuns who live a life serving the poor “school yard bullies”.

      1. It’s separate. Today is just Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood.

      2. They could and just pay the penalty.

        Which would mean they are being penalized for their religious beliefs, would it not?

        1. I like the cut of your jib, RC.

        2. Yes it would.

        3. No, they’d be taxed for their religious beliefs. It’s different because…I forget why.

  23. So – I remain confused why arguing to not wanting to pay for some parts of health insurance for my employees – on the basis of religious belief – is different in some way from not wanting to hire some peron because their beliefs/condition/acts offend those same religious beliefs. But the latter isn’t even up for debate among most people (SLD applies as always), but the former….some of those same people will entertain.

    Interesting.

    And – to me – showing just how FUCKING FUCKED UP ALL THIS FUCKING GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF EVERYTHING IS. It’s utterly nonsensical.

    Appreciate readig everyone’s thoughts on the issue. This is why I come to Reason. This is also why TANFL….

    1. I think it depends on the belief in question.

      There’s a difference between a Catholic group hiring a woman who is Protestant, and hiring a woman who is pro-Choice, and hiring a woman who is pro-Choice and openly talks about the abortions she has had.

      Let’s say Hobby Lobby had a job applicant come in and, in the job interview, state “I intend to have abortions with the money you pay me, just so you know.”
      (Yes, nobody intends to have abortions, but let’s go with the hypothetical for now)

      Now, should Hobby Lobby be compelled to hire that person? I kind of think not. For the same reason that the contraception mandate is wrong. There’s a difference between paying someone money which is fungible and can be spent on anything, and paying someone in abortion coupons.

      Health insurance isn’t fungible, and there’s a statistical certainty that *some* women will use their insurance to purchase these particular products.

      1. You doing something I object to with money I have given you, is not the same thing as my being forced to pay for that thing. It is a subtle difference but a significant one.

        1. I agree. That sums it up nicely.

          The certainty that THIS dollar will go to THAT thing that one finds morally impermissible makes a difference.
          And when you aggregate people in insurance pools, statistical likelihoods become mathematical certainties.

  24. This is why positive rights are unworkable.

    Any time you have a positive right, that entails someone forcing someone else to come up with the “stuff” that the right is to.
    And any time you start forcing people to do shit, you’re going to end up forcing people to do shit that violates their beliefs.

    It’s inevitable. Solution: Don’t have positive rights.

    1. Why do self-described lovers of freedom spend most of their time looking for rights that can be gotten rid of?

      1. Because the rights to be gotten rid of are rights that violate more fundmanetal rights of other people.

        The right to not be compelled to do things against your will trumps the right to get free shit.

      2. Why do self-described lovers of truth spend most of their time arguing against stuff that’s false?

      3. Re: Tony,

        Why do self-described lovers of freedom spend most of their time looking for rights that can be gotten rid of?

        Entitlements (i.e. “positive rights”) are the antithesis of freedom. Positive rights places an undue burden on a person to provide another with a good with no previous agreement to exchange or trade. That’s called theft or chattel slavery.

      4. See, if you understood libertarianism, it wouldn’t be a mystery.

      5. Why do self-described lovers of freedom spend most of their time looking for rights that can be gotten rid of?

        Because they aren’t rights?

        Just because you attach that word to an entitlement or privilege doesn’t magically transform it into a right, you know.

      6. If the impositions on others you support were actually rights, then you’d have a point. Unfortunately, they aren’t and you don’t. Freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. I missed the definition of freedom that includes being forced to do things by another. Oh wait, that sounds like another definition “a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them” (a slave, if you’re slow on the uptake). Therefore, any definition of rights that would place a burden on someone without their consent does not in any way fit with freedom and in fact is exactly the opposite thing. That’s why lovers of freedom consistently call you an idiot. You just don’t seem to have a grasp of the definitions of the words you use.

        1. All rights are impositions on others who would act in violation of those rights; all rights are secured via the exact system you guys treat as a “fundamental” attack on some basic right (one that, as it happens, doesn’t actually exist in practice or theory–the right not to be taxed). Furthermore, rights didn’t stop being invented (or discovered) in the 19th century. Liberals have continued the process while libertarians have decided it’s all over and done with. A right to healthcare requires no greater imposition on anyone than a right to own property. Both require taxes to actualize, and both require restrictions. There is no such thing as no tradeoff, you just have to decide which ones make people the best off.

          All you guys are doing is begging the question. That can’t be a right because it’s not a right!

          1. Liberals have continued the process while libertarians have decided it’s all over and done with.

            Nonsense. Liberals are just rationizing excuses to vote themselves money from the treasury. They are just self-interested greedy assholes who want to take what doesn’t belong to them.

            Libertarians are continuing the project of attempting to construct a universally just and equal society.

          2. There are so many things wrong with what you typed that I really don’t know where to begin.

            First of all, perhaps you have a problem with the definition of “rights” as it is being used. A libertarian (as well as those who set up the Constitution) would define a right as something endowed in human beings either by a creator (for the religious) or inherent in the human condition (for those of the agnostic or atheistic persuasion). The right to defend oneself or express oneself, or to be free from enslavement, is something that does not rely on technology or the development of an industry. In other words, there is no inherent right to a product or service, because such a right would be conditional on the existence of the product or service, not something inherent to being human.

            Liberals, therefore, cannot have “discovered” or “invented” rights. They’ve only seen products and services and decided that society would be better off if those things were defined and controlled by a small set of elite individuals, usually themselves. Then they’ve artificially branded those things as rights. But again, those rights do not exist in the absence of the product or service in question.

          3. Also following from this is that by definition no right can be an imposition on anyone else. Your first statement makes no sense in the first place. All rights impose on those who would violate them? That’s like claiming my car is an imposition on the thief that steals it. It makes no sense and reveals how you see people. Negative rights, in your view, are an imposition on your ability to control others. Why not just be honest about your intentions?

            All rights are not secured by taxation. I realize that your worldview is that all things are a boon granted by the government, but my right to defend myself from attack is secured by me. It does not require a government to exist, nor does it need to be secured. Indeed, the government, if anything, attempts to restrict my right to defend myself by limiting the means and circumstances by which I may legally do so. Other negative rights also do not require a government to secure them and are also routinely violated by the government.

            To put it another way, you cannot stop me from speaking freely, worshiping freely, printing what I want to print, and so forth without the use of force against me. Government is the only entity that has the legal right to use force to enforce its decisions. Corporations don’t. Individuals don’t either. Only governments can deprive individuals of rights on any large scale.

          4. Of course, in the small scale, a mob could use violence to infringe on a person’s rights or a person could be tricked through fraud, which is why we need a government. I realize this may come as a shock to you, but people built roads, bridges, and so forth, educated children, and took care of each other without government doing it for them throughout human history.

            Of course, a government will need funds to operate, but such funds can be raised through means other than the forcible seizure of a person’s income, which is theft. There are many other ways to conduct taxation (the federal government ran for over a hundred years without income taxation) that are much more moral than the income tax. Nobody has argued that “the right not to be taxed” exists on this board that I’ve seen, and I’ve been here for a while. They have argued that being taxed for a government that one does not support and that engages in immoral acts is unjust, yes. But that’s not the same thing, and your claim that it is is another example of your dishonesty.

            A “right” to healthcare requires a considerable imposition that does not exist when talking about property. If I own a car, or a plot of ground, or a loaf of bread, my ownership does not create any issue for another person. Of course, I could drive my car into someone’s car, throw leaves off of my lawn onto my neighbor’s, or slap someone with my loaf, but those things are not inherent in my ownership.

          5. Your “right” to healthcare, however, immediately places a demand for service onto those whose role in society it is to provide healthcare, including doctors, nurses, drug companies, hospitals, and so forth. There is no way for me to exercise this right without involving someone else and demanding their property or labor. It’s also a right that is incredibly nebulous. What does “healthcare” mean? It pretty much is whatever is wanted at the time. In other words, a right to something with an almost limitless definition is a right to exert almost limitless control over others. I realize you don’t see that as a problem, but I’m pretty sure most people would.

            In summation, the person begging the question here is you. You blithely assert without evidence that in order for rights to be actualized, whatever that means, there must be taxation. You assert, in a provably wrong manner, that the right to own property is the same as a right to healthcare. You essentially assert that whatever you say is a right is a right. In short, your argument is based on question begging.

  25. And another thing …

    Not covering contraception violates the employees religious freedom.
    But mandating maternity coverage doesn’t?

    The entire law is rife with mandates that restrict individuals choice about what to “spend” their “compensation” on. Including the choice of whether to spend it on health insurance in the first place.

    1. Maternity coverage could Hazel, if the Shakers were still around. I don’t think there are any religions who think having children is against their conscience.

      1. Right, but there are many other things that are NOT covered by every health plan.

        Sex changes aren’t covered.

        If a corporation doesn’t cover sex changes, is that homophobic bigotry?

        If the government doesn’t FORCE the corporation to cover sex changes, is that institutional bigotry?

        If the company objects to being FORCED to cover sex changes does that mean that the company is forcing it’s religious views on employees?

        How come it only BECOMES a religious liberty violation when the party being compelled objects to doing it for a religious reason?

        If you refuse to preside at my Satanic Mass wedding, because you’re not a satanist, are you violating my religious liberty?

        1. How come it only BECOMES a religious liberty violation when the party being compelled objects to doing it for a religious reason?

          Umm, because being compelled to violate your religion is the definition of a violation of your right to freely exercise your religion?

          1. You misread me. For some idiot reason, it’s the EMPLOYEES religious freedom that is being violated, when Hobby Lobby has a *religious* objection to paying for contraception.

            Suppose Hobby Lobby simply didn’t want to cover contraception because it’s expensive, or something (hypothetically).

            The absurdity of the argument is that that *wouldn’t* violate the employees religious liberty. It only violates their religious liberty because not giving is taking, and not giving, for a religious reason is taking and imposing your religion on people.

  26. “Hey look, it’s Tony. Let’s all ‘argue’ with him as if he has any desire whatsoever to understand what we actually believe.”

    (That’s you lot, that is.)

    1. I already understand it. It’s not exactly complicated. You’re just wrong.

      1. A person demonstrates understanding of his opponents’ arguments by responding to the points that were actually made in a thoughtful and germane manner.

        Saying you have understood is not an acceptable substitute for being able to demonstrate understanding.

      2. Of course your total inability to prove anyone wrong by cogent argument shows clearly that your above statement is without attribution. Your comments are so easily, laughably, crushed by elementary argument that it’s a little sad. As I believe one poster here stated, it’s like taking batting practice for when we actually have to argue with someone who can make a point.

        1. From my perspective that rarely happens.

          1. That’s because you have no insight into how illogical your arguments are.

          2. From my perspective that rarely happens.

            Yes, because in your world you are always correct and your side always on the side of good, whereas anyone who disagrees is always wrong and your opponents only operating our of stupidity, evil, or corruption.

            For any normal human – if they read this description about themselves and had honestly been arguing that way – it would prompt them immediately to stop, back up, and contemplate where they went wrong because this scenario only exists in fantasy.

            Tony sees this as further proof he’s right.

            & if he could – he would not hesitate to enforce his beliefs at the direct action of the government’s guns, instead of this slow crap with courts, and fines, and stuff.

            & that’s really all anyone needs to know about him.

  27. The high courts already affirmed the first amendment rights of corporations to spend without (many) limits on political campaigns. Obamacare grants religious exemptions. No one has a constitutional right to contraceptives, so refusing to pay for non essential services on religious ground seems more than fair to me.

    Can the government compel a Rabbi who runs a bookstore to spend his own money to distribute free Korans to his employees? The religious objection would be the same.

    It’s amusing how liberals are suddenly all about upholding the “law” if it concerns their major policy. If we deported every undocumented foreign national in this country to uphold immigration laws, there would be no small amount of outrage among left wing groups. The constitution does not afford minority students any sort of advantage in the college admission process, but AA is cause celebre in their circle.

    Everyone is a conservative in America, they all have their brand of morality that trumps the law.

    1. Re: XM,

      It’s amusing how liberals are suddenly all about upholding the “law” if it concerns their major policy.

      Are you seriously accusing proggies of being a bunch of sniveling hypocrites?

  28. The corporate structure is simply a legal and tax necessity for the owners to be able to conduct business . It is essentially forced upon them and should not alter their rights to conduct business according to their conscious .

  29. and all of this would be moot if employers weren’t required to provide insurance – there is not conflict if the employer pays the employees their wages, and then the employee purchased a health plan (or porn or drugs) of their own choosing.

    It is the government mandate that is creating the conflict!

  30. How can corporations have “rights?” A corporation isn’t even a thing – it’s a fictitious construct.

    And how is any mandate of the form “Thou Shalt Buy What I Tell You To” constitutional by any stretch of the imagination? Did they merely redefine slavery?

    1. A corporation has the many of the same legal rights as individuals because the courts and society have recognized that a corporation is nothing but a group of individuals freely associating and as such, the mere fact they decided to contract certain work/goals to a single entity should not mean they lost any rights they enjoyed as individuals.

      Additionally note, many corporations are owned by one single person. There’s no reason that an individual operating under a corporate structure should lose rights they would enjoy as individuals.

      The is especially true because, as was said above, individuals are not protected against negatives actions they individual make simply because they are in a corporation.

      IE – build a corporation and use it to defraud people and you will go to jail.

      Additionally note, many corporations are very small, one-person owned, and geared towards specific charities, such as that family at work with the very sick child, who needs life-saving, but non-covered, expensive surgery has a non-profit for donations.

      What about grassroots organizations? You want to get a town to give money to kick out a politician that allows pollution?

      No can do – the fact they made a corporation means they lose their rights.

      But the rich individual, running for re-election, he’s fine to do as he pleases, because he’s an individual.

      There are other examples if you’d like – I’m sure you can find them around.

      Shorter version is: freedom demands it.

  31. So I take it sotomayer, et al are not writers for reason.com.

  32. The status of corps is irrelevant because the point of the 1st Amendment’s prohibition of religious establishment by the Fedl govt, is precisely to prevent socialism or authoritarianism of the type represented by the Obama healthcare law. And it’s astonishing that our chief justice still knows so little history that he believes the govt can levy taxes discriminately.

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