Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision Isn’t About Corporations—It’s About Individuals

|

Nicholas Eckhart / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

In the wake of this morning's Supreme Court's decision that the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate does not apply to closely held corporations like Hobby Lobby, which challenged the requirement, you'll probably hear a fair amount of commentary and complaining about the religious rights of corporations. But that's not the best way to think about the decision. The language of the ruling, written by Justice Samuel Alito, emphasizes repeatedly that it's not really about corporations—it's about the individual people who own and operate those corporations.

The gist of the decision, as Reason's Damon Root explained earlier, is that Obamacare's contraception mandate, which applies to most employers with more than 50 people as part of the law's essential benefits rules, violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law which provides that "government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability." Any exceptions should further a "compelling governmental interest" and be the "least restrictive means" of doing so.

The key to Alito's ruling arguably comes down to just two words: "a person's."

The big question isn't whether the contraception mandate violates the religious freedoms of some faceless corporate entity entirely separate from the individuals who own that company—it's whether the requirement would violate the free exercise of religious for the particular people who founded and now run the company.

As Alito writes in his opinion, "A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends….When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people."

In seeking to defend the requirement, the federal government had argued that Hobby Lobby, as a for-profit corporation, was not eligible to challenge the rule under the RFRA because corporations are "separate and apart from" their individual owners and operators. They were distinct, and not "people," and therefore ineligible for the protections of a law designed to shelter "a person's exercise of religion." Alito says, more or less, that this is nonsense: "Corporations, 'separate and apart from' the human beings who own, run, and are employed by them, cannot do anything at all."

It's pretty clear that complying with the contraception requirement would have violated the religious beliefs of the individuals in the small family that owns Hobby Lobby, a closely held corporation that expressly says in a statement of purpose that it is committed to "operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles." (As Alito also notes, no one questioned the sincerity of their beliefs.) It's the free exercise of those individuals that the RFRA is designed to protect, and it's their individual religious freedoms that most concern Alito. The focus on these individuals, with their clearly defined religious beliefs, also suggests why the ruling might not apply to large public corporations where it is arguably much harder to pin down any individual interests.

Alito's argument isn't exactly the same as the one proposed by the Cato Institute in its amicus brief on the case, but it draws from a similar line of thinking. "The real issue in these cases," according to Cato's brief, "is whether individuals who wish to conduct their business lives in accordance with their religious beliefs forfeit the right to do so when they organize their business in the form of a corporation—in particular, a closely held corporation." Individuals who choose to organize their business affairs this way "do not check their religious values at the office door," the brief argued. Alito's opinion seems to share the sentiment when it declares that "protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby…protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

323 responses to “The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision Isn’t About Corporations—It’s About Individuals

  1. This case is generating a perfect storm of butthurt from the usual suspects. It’s a triple provocation –

    -“OMG the Religious Right!”

    -“OMG contraception! Women’s access to health care!”

    -“OMG corporations!”

    They’re going to blow a gasket.

    1. You don’t think the administration sees this as a gift? The Democrats are going to spin this as war against women for the next few elections. The headlines will be ‘Conservative Court Allows Religious Employers to Take Away Women’s Access to Contraception!’

      1. Of course they’ll push that angle. They’re doing what they always accuse the conservatives of doing – promoting culture-war wedge issues in order to stir up the base.

        I mean, what else are they going to run on, the economy? Foreign policy?

        1. Well the economy is doing better than it was under Bush’s profligacy, and Obama’s foreign policy is slightly less bad than the disasters his predecessor caused, even though he’s come up with some new tricks like extrajudicial assassination to balance out Cheney’s torture fetish.

          When Obama forced the Catholic Church to have to provide contraception for its employees, I think it was a deliberate move intended to get some culture-war points for his base. I don’t think he expected the extent of the right-wing explosion that cost the Republicans three Senate seats, with formerly-front-runners talking about “legitimate rape”, Rush Limbaugh calling people sluts on his show, Santorum’s big donor saying women should keep their knees together, and a whole bunch of other confirmation that the Republican War On Women was more real than anybody including Republicans realized.

          I think he was wrong about forcing the Church to provide birth control (even though I think the Church’s position is wrong, as do most American Catholics), but Hobby Lobby is a for-profit business, which has asked the state to do it the favor of making it a limited-liability corporation instead of a partnership, and its owners don’t want to have to let the state make rules in return for the favor.

      2. 1) They’ll do that anyway.

        2) That won’t work when the economy goes to hell-serious inner hell-which it will or is already.

        1. Clearly we’re going 8th circle with this, but which bolgia?

          So many to choose from that are appropriate for this admin. Sowers of discord, evil advisers, panderers, thieves, corrupt politicians…this circle has it all.

          1. Evil Counselors…. Definitely Evil Counselors.

      3. The Democrats are going to spin this…

        You mean like TEAM Blue does with everything else?

      4. My progressive Facebook friends are already saying that. Evidently, not paying for something is the same thing as denying access to it.

        Oh, wait. That means my firm is denying me access to condoms. Oppression!

        1. Not giving is taking, doc.

          You need to brush up on your Progressive Catechism.

        2. I’ll bet they’re also denying you access to food, clothing, and shelter, since they expect you to buy those things with your own money.

          1. Yep, I can’t afford a gun, constitution allows me to have one. So if you taxpayers don’t buy me one are not my rights denied?

            1. Only as long as you’re talking about a smoothbore musket.

              1. Off topic, but Kentucky rifles (AKA Pennsylvania rifles) were commonly used by the Americans during the Revolutionary war.

      5. The Democrats are going to spin this as war against women for the next few elections. The headlines will be ‘Conservative Court Allows Religious Employers to Take Away Women’s Access to Contraception!’

        And we should care, why? I’ve got news for you, the proggies, just like the religious right you get so worked up about, are going to spin any move at odds with their agenda as “the big old meanies victimizing them”. Unless you’re willing to buy into the notion of their inalienable right to buy them shit (or in the case of the religious right make you act godly), there’s really not much point in wasting your time worrying about how they’ll spin it.

        The fact is that this is a victory for liberty. There isn’t a right to make people buy you stuff. Worrying about the fact that they’ll bitch about it isn’t going to do much for liberty.

        1. just like the religious right you get so worked up about

          No, Bo gets worked up about Soconz. If he (or you) think those are the same thing, they he (or you) have other problems.

          1. Point taken. Sloppy use of words conceded. The point stands with a simple edit-replace.

        2. Unless you’re willing to buy into the notion of their inalienable right to buy them shit (or in the case of the religious right make you act godly), there’s really not much point in wasting your time worrying about how they’ll spin it.

          There’s a local church that made much hay of the notion that the Feds were PREVENTING them from praying at the food pantry. The part they left out: they accepted Federal money, and there’s really no way they didn’t know there were strings attached from the get-go. They wanted free money, no strings attached.

        3. A “victory” would have been striking down the mandate to buy insurance in the first place.

          This ruling suggests that only genuine religious reasons from closely held corporations count. So now the court is in the business of evaluating whether your religious beliefs are genuine and that only people with enough money to own a large chunk of a corporation can claim constitutional rights. I’m not sure that this is a good thing, let alone a “victory”.

      6. My, my, concern troll *does* seem concerned this morning.

        [Insert 50-comment semantic argument from Bo about the term “concern troll”]

        1. Who’s concerned? I’m just predicting.

      7. What I’m seeing this morning is a lot of “Hobby Lobby is imposing its religious beliefs on its employees.” Separation of Church and State! First Amendment!

        1. There is nothing in the constitution about corporations not being allowed to impose their religious beliefs on anyone (employee or customer). The government, however, is precluded from doing so. So Hobby Lobby could in theory require their employees to pray together before their lunch break but the government cannot force Hobby Lobby to stop that requirement due to the separation of church and STATE that you mention. If it were separation of church and corporation, then that would be a different story. Let the market decide if Hobby Lobby is right. If you don’t like that they don’t cover birth control then I suggest not applying for employment there even though they pay higher wages than most similar stores and provide an overall better benefits package than you will likely find elsewhere. If you are really pissed that they don’t want to pay for contraception and you don’t work there, then stop shopping there and their business will either feel the lost business in their bottom line and change their minds or enough people will continue to shop there which will keep them profitable and reinforce their behavior.

          Bottom line is that it is a privately held corporation that should be allowed to conduct every aspect of their business as they see fit and it makes no sense to try to impede that.

      8. They’re already claiming that somehow allowing a few corporations owned by religious families to get out of providing “insurance coverage” for items that prevent the human body from working as intended as tantamount to “endangering women’s health.” Even though those women are still free to buy such items on their own.

  2. I think mandating anyone to cover anything is wrong. Having said that, I can’t blame the government for advancing the argument that the corporation is separate and apart from the people who own it, because that’s what every corporate law student learns from day one of law school. The entire rationale behind corporations is ‘we will put a veil up between the investor and the management of the corporation, so that way it makes sense not to hold the investor responsible for liabilities the management incurs.’

    Now the better argument is that the people who run it are not so separate from it, and with close corporations the owners are the people who run it.

    1. But the point made clearer in the Cato brief than in Alito’s words is “do not check their religious values at the office door” .. or boardroom door.

      1. Yet they invest in pharmaceutical companies that make birth control and they cover vasectomies still.

        Hobby lobby doesn’t care about birth control so much as they care about women’s and only women’s birth control.

        1. Actually, their concern was with only certain abortifacients, not birth control in general.

          1. Plan B is not an abortifacient. I know that was one of the 4 they didn’t want to cover. I don’t know what the others are.

        2. And of course, the response to that should be, “so what”, since the government shouldn’t be mandating what types of medical procedures a business should cover under its insurance plan.

        3. Your understanding of ERISA and qualified plans is shockingly inept. HL does in fact offer a 401k plan to their employees at a cost to HL. They’re not required to offer this benefit to their employees, but they do. 401k investments are not made by or for the benefit of HL. Each employee has their own account, if they choice to participate, and has options within that account. Those options might include, for example, a low cost index fund, that most definitely will include manufacturers ofthe drugs in question. In fact, as per ERISA, if HL does not offer enough diverse investments, they can be held liable by the Department of Labor. Anyhow, the employee has the choice to invest in that fund or not. No matter if the employee invests in that index fund or not, HL most definitely does not profit.

          So, in conclusion, HL is not profiting from this 401k plan. And HL is not investing in these companies, the employees are- if they so choose. HL must offer a diverse set of investment options or be liable to the DOL. And just like the just decided case, the employees can still choose to use these 4 drugs, but at their own expense.

          Would it make you happier if HL ending the 401k option that is to the benefit to the employees?

          Also, which of the 16 forms of BC that are available to HL employees denies them a right to contraception exactly?

      2. But the problem is the mandate itself; selectively exempting a small number of businesses that meet some arbitrary test of genuine religiosity seems to make the problem worse, not better.

    2. I can’t blame the government for advancing the argument that the corporation is separate and apart from the people who own it, because that’s what every corporate law student learns from day one of law school.

      So Congress could pass a law requiring that any corporation include a picture and an inspirational message from Dear Leader in anything it publishes for public consumption, and there would be no Constitutional objection?

      Note: for those keeping score, this is a “reduction ad absurdum”. We’ll get to the ad hominems later, I’m sure.

      1. I think in your example it would violate the First Amendment rights of the employees and management of the organization.

        1. and the first amendment rights of HL’s owners were the foundation of their argument.

        2. I don’t see how anyone can say that “the corporation is separate and apart from the people who own it” so that a restriction on the corporation does not violate the 1A free exercise rights, but that a restriction on the corporation would violate the 1A free expression rights.

          I also think that the distinction between close corporations and publicly held corporations is irrelevant in this context. Assuming that the 1A rights to be protected are those of the owners qua owners, I don’t see how you have, or don’t have, Constitutional rights based on the size of the ownership group.

          1. Let’s say I own 1 share of the New York Times. Can I block them from providing abortion coverage for their staff?

            1. You can propose a resolution at the annual meeting, and if it passes, then, there you go.

              What does it matter if 51% of the shares held by 1,000,000 shareholders support something as a matter of free expression or free exercise, or 51% of the shares held by two shareholders support the same thing?

              1. The process of determinism is set by each body.

                If a particular corporation wants to let every shareholder willy-nilly change course, they can do that.

                Corporations are property. Denying ppl determinism over their property is wrong-minded on many levels.

                Whatever the particulars are for decision is the matter for owner(s) to set in advance before contract begins. Most think that a type of democracy is best for decisions.

                Quantity of owners is totally irrelevant.

                The corporate veil is to protect property-owners from run-away risk, bankruptcy. Its not there to somehow make it a lower order type of ownership.

                If you only want your toothbrush to be used by yourself, that is your fucking perogative. It doesn’t matter if you live in a commune either and everyone has joint ownership and that community designates you to be the sole operator. The govt can’t come in and force communal use when the determining body (entire commune) dictates its 1 toothbrush per person. Quantity of owners has nothing to do with quality of ownership. Owners determine use. end of story.

                The sick principle behind Alito’s ideology is that as quantity of owners increases it changes from a discretely owned particle into a ‘greater good’ owned wave. its just more communism bullshit.

                1. The corporate veil is to protect property-owners from run-away risk, bankruptcy. Its not there to somehow make it a lower order type of ownership.

                  ^This.

                  I have a really hard time taking Bo seriously when he doesn’t even comprehend what he is talking about.

      2. That isn’t so absurd: arguably, the current administration has pressured companies into supporting it.

    3. Re: Bo Cara Eq.,

      I can’t blame the government for advancing the argument that the corporation is separate and apart from the people who own it[…]

      “[…] because governments are used to such incredible prevarications like, for instance, separating the corporation from the individuals that conform it whenever it becomes expedient to do so.”

      Ok, I wished you would’ve finished your comment that way.

      1. What is the rationale for separating corporate and investor liability then, in your view?

        1. I refer you to the legion of reason’s arguments with propietist (sp?) about this. Its easier that way.

        2. Re: Bo Cara Esq.,

          What is the rationale for separating corporate and investor liability then, in your view

          None. Only government separates them by fiat. That’s still no rationale to justify separating both for everything else, even if one conceded a rationale for limiting the liability of the owners and stockholders of a corporation.

          1. Only government separates them by fiat.

            That “fiat” is the application of ordinary agency law, and principles of individual responsibility, as in, you shouldn’t be held responsible for something you have no control over, and shareholders have no control over day-to-day activities.

            1. But it seems hard to say the corporations day to day activities are the expression of the owner’s religion (of course, different story for closed ones)

              1. I can invest in a company because I agree with/support its operations as a reflection of my religious beliefs, without having day-to-day control over those operations.

                Sounds like (I haven’t read the opinion yet) the Court left the untangling of whether the corporation is exercising its owner’s free exercise rights or its manager’s free exercise rights for a later day, as in close corporations these two are conflated.

                1. I was thinking of the time of formation, but your points on this are certainly good ones.

              2. Re: Bo Cara Esq.,

                But it seems hard to say the corporations day to day activities are the expression of the owner’s religion

                We’re not talking GE or Alstom Power here, Bo. If the owners of a company decided to incorporate in order to lower their tax liability (as well as other liabilities) that does not mean they renounced to their right to use their property as they see fit.

            2. Re: MegaloMonocle,

              you shouldn’t be held responsible for something you have no control over,

              That principle only pertains to criminal culpability, not civil liability.

      2. I use Reasonable to block Bo, so when you quote it, it defeats the effort.

        1. That sounds like your problem.

        2. Marketplace of ideas (you agree with)!

          You’d make a great college administrator

    4. A for-profit corporation means that you only risk the money you specifically put into it, but that might be a lot, because the more money you put in, the more potential profit. But if things go north,* they risk losing everything they put into the enterprise.

      The administration wants to pretend that choosing to put your money in a limited liability, closely-held corporation means that the government can ignore your First Amendment rights.

      *I don’t like the expression “go south” to describe a disaster. Anyway, the northern states are more messed up than the southern.

      1. And short version of stuff I referenced above is that if limited liability didnt exist, there would be other ways of doing limited liability via contract.

        And even that doesnt matter, as short of bringing back debtors prisons, we all have limited liability. Individuals limited liability is different than a corporations, but it still exists. Its (part of) what bankruptcy is for.

        1. I don’t see how you’d do that with third parties which is what counts with liability

      2. And there’s no up or down in space. For all we know, Australia is on top.

    5. There’s a major conceptual difference between a separation of involved people from individual liability and separation of involved people from their 1st Amendment rights to free association/peaceable assembly.

      One appears to bolster their 1st Amendment rights, the other appears to trample them.

      1. How do you figure the first bolsters their 1st Amendment rights?

        1. Allows them to assemble in a way that they choose, which affords them limited liability. I think limited liability is very much in the spirit of free association (being able to self-limit the amount of your association).

          1. That’s a brilliant way to put it, thanks.

        2. Because exercising your first amendment rights puts you at risk of lawsuits: people may get injured during a march you organize, they may feel wronged in some other way. That’s why we have nonprofit corporations, organizations where people can cooperate on something without putting their entire lives at risk.

          You might argue that perhaps first amendment rights should be limited to nonprofit corporations, but there’s little reason to believe that such limits are necessary or even useful.

    6. Wall between the investor and management? What on earth are you talking about? The owner of a closely corporation has absolute power the board, which means he can fire and control the management. You need to get your law school tuition back.

      1. While I havent read Alito yet, the quotes seem to imply that he made that distinction. Closely held was mentioned specifically.

        As some have pointed out, this decision was very narrow.

      2. Missed this part, did you?

        “Now the better argument is that the people who run it are not so separate from it, and with close corporations the owners are the people who run it.”

    7. So all those lefties who advocate so-called “corporate social responsibility” are just as evil, because they want to force businesses to cleave to certain moral standards.

    8. None of this would be an issue of government stayed out of healthcare.

      1. Well, yeah. But that would be too ding dang easy, and at this point impossible. So, victory for Hobby Lobby, not so much for the millions of other businesses owners who don’t want to be forced into offering so-called benefits for non-religous?but still perfectly viable?reasons.

        1. But what would be easy, and will eventually be necessary, is to divorce health care from the employer.

          In fact, that is what all the “other advanced nations” that Obama likes to harp on about do.

          The problem in the US is not private health insurance, it’s the baroque scheme of linking health insurance to employment and employers.

  3. Whenever I hear Progressives bitch about corporations “making medical decisions” for their workers, I always tell them that they should thank their hero FDR for this whole shabang.

  4. “Corporations, ‘separate and apart from’ the human beings who own, run, and are employed by them, cannot do anything at all.”

    Ding. Ding. Ding.

    Every single thing that a “corporation” does, is done by a human being. Every. Single. Thing.

    Go ahead. Name one thing that you think a corporation does that does not have human fingerprints anywhere on it, and I’ll show you that it does.

    1. We all know the Kochs aren’t human.

      1. True. They’re Kochtopi.

        1. I prefer the slightly classier “Kocktopodes”.

      2. Aren’t they half Vulcan or something?

    2. A corporation is a fictitious person created by the state. The First Amendment says that the government isn’t allowed to establish religion, and giving that fictitious person a religion would be establishing it.

      If the people who run a business want to exercise their personal religious values in running it, they can do so as a partnership without asking the state for the favor of creating a limited-liability corporation for them. If they are asking for a favor, that favor has costs.

  5. Practically speaking I can’t understand why people on the left are so hung up about people getting contraceptive measures for free. It’s not that expensive!

    1. My liberal girlfriend and I were talking about this and she even admitted that contraceptives aren’t really that expensive.

      1. Even if they were, it doesn’t matter.

        1. This.

          I can’t stand it when tell me I should be OK with the government taking my money and giving it to NPR because it’s just a few pennies per person.

          They’re my pennies.

          1. No, according to BO and our dear Senator Warren *you* did not earn those pennies, *we all did*.

      2. I had the same conversation with my wife.

        Me: If it is only 15 bucks a month for BC, why not just but it for themselves?

        Her: Because wymyns!

        /sigh

        She went to Barnard. Re-education is a slow process.

    2. Because:

      War on Wimminz
      Korporashuns are evulllll
      Government is beautiful
      Tyranny of the majority is a myth

    3. Because it has little to do with affordability. It has a lot more to do with getting your power trip on making those bastards you don’t like pay for you to do what they don’t like.

    4. It is a game of incremental gains. Conservatives have wanted to ban contraception since Griswold v. Connecticut.

      1. I blame Bush.

        1. Too much can certainly be an effective form of contraception.

          1. Thread Winner!!!(Tosses a Bitcoin into a coffe can placed at an undisclosed location. Beware the meth addicts milling about sporting the distinct aroma of piss and failure.)

          2. I can’t remember the last time I even saw that type of Bush.

            I think the razor oligopolies are responsible for the Bush less movement.

      2. BUSHPIGS!!11!!!!CHRISTFAGS!!11!!!!

      3. Yes, of course, how could I not see that?

      4. Is that the case that was mis-decided as a ‘right to privacy’ rather than the Govt was not granted the power to tell you what to do by the Constitution? That one?

        1. The right to privacy existed regardless of Griswold. The 9th Amendment guarantees that Congress won’t trample on it.

      5. That’s utterly ridiculous. They’re simply trying to bring back the RIGHT kind of contraceptive – Chastity Belts.

    5. If you give something to someone for free, then stop, that’s the same thing as taking it away. Thus cuts in benefits are theft.

      Similarly if you take something away from someone, then stop, that’s the same thing as giving it to them. Thus tax breaks are gifts.

      Furthermore, if you do both at the same time, as in cut benefits while giving tax breaks, that is a transfer from the person who was getting the benefit to the person who is getting the tax break.

      In this case you had workers who were receiving benefits, and rich corporate overlords who were paying for it.

      This amounts to stealing from workers in order to give to rich corporate overlords.

      If you are a total moron like Tony that is.

      1. Not only that, but by stealing from the workers, you are preventing them from accessing what they would have. It’s even worse than stealing, it’s stealing and then banning them from getting a new one! It’s practically the worst thing that anybody could inflict on a poor right-thinking woman!

        My brain hurts from trying to think that way.

        1. And by taking away the free means to prevent their bodies from functioning as intended, you’re endangering their health.

    6. The people on the left are hung up on pushing around religious conservatives.

    7. Further, for prevention of pregnancy, artificial birth control is an elective procedure. Artificial birth control (pills, IUDs, condoms, surgical treatment, …) are simply not required to prevent pregnancy. Nor do they treat any disease or injury (when prescribed for hormonal or other purposes, pregnancy prevention is a side-effect).

      Granted, they sure are a lot more effective than the alternative if one chooses to engage in sexual activities that might potentially result in pregnancy.

  6. I am intrigued by the notion of making contraceptive medication OTC, but I keep getting blowback from people who claim:

    1) Insurance makes my medicine cheaper!!!!

    and

    2) We need physicians to monitor for safety and efficacy!

    1. Keep in mind that before it could possibly be made OTC, it would need to be studied by the FDA.

      So, we wouldn’t be going at this blindly. Yet, we can get anti-histimines over-the-counter, so long as there’s a warning label.

    2. I am intrigued by the notion of making contraceptive medication OTC, but I keep getting blowback from people morons

      1. The “without insurance my medicine would be more expensive” argument is a real doozy.

        But I don’t understand how OTC would result in a greater danger. At least a greater danger than we currently accept from OTC anti-histimines.

        Just because your contraception is not covered by your insurance, what’s to prevent your physician from monitoring your medication and informing you of possible counter-indications?

        1. No more dangerous than driving. No more dangerous than acetaminophen. No more dangerous than drinking alcohol. No more dangerous than walking in NYC.

          And that is assuming you accept the argument that it is the government’s job to protect us from ourselves.

        2. Just because your contraception is not covered by your insurance, what’s to prevent your physician from monitoring your medication and informing you of possible counter-indications?

          Something something poor people won’t go to the doctor and ask about side effects and will all die of an embollism.

          1. What would I do if water wasn’t regulated? I might accidentally drown in my tub!

          2. They need a choose your own adventure flow chart!

            Has your mother ever had breast cancer?
            If yes was it estrogen sensitive?
            If yes you should consider a progestin-only formula!

            1. Contraceptive medication comes in over 100 formulations.

              Surely, we could test a small fraction of those formulations for safety and efficacy on the OTC market?

              1. Oh, I’m 100% in favor of OTC birth control. There are a few family history things that should be taken into consideration before taking birth control, and I think a family history of breast cancer is a major one. Maybe a big sign over the display “First time buying BC? Come have a quit chat with our staff pharmacist to help you make an informed choice.” It’s a short checklist of stuff to knock out most of the major contra-indications and monkey could do it. Shit someone could set up a Buzzfeed quiz to take care of it.

                1. It’s the same thing as you read in the fine print on all OTC medications, “Consult with your doctor before taking XXX if you have these risk factors:”

        3. I’ve seen comments from a few gynecologists that they support keeping BC prescription because it means they can wield a bit of power when it comes to getting sexually active women in for regular checkups, pap smears and the like. I don’t think this is an official justification for it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this idea was prevalent enough to make healthcare providers disinclined to see it go OTC.

          1. and if it were OTC, those gynos would not collect fees for office visits, though I’m sure this has nothing at all to do with their view.

        4. “The pill” is not the only type of contraception. Sandra Fluke was making the case for coverage for a once a year shot that completely prevents menstral cramps, which can be intense enough to cause women to lose work timr each month. To get a prescription (and coverage) a doctor has to make a judgement of whether their claim is true and the medicine would be effective. Her “friend” is a lesbian – the medical need had nothing to do with sex or pregnancy. [I will stipulate it may be a hypothetical straw dog]

          You may say – but then let her pay for it! To which I say, if you make a choice to ride a bicycle or water ski and injure yourself, why should I pay for it?

          I object to the entire concept of compulsory insurance coverage, but you can no more let people pick and choose coverage than let people not pay taxes because they oppose some function of government they object to.

          1. If Im paying ad an employer, i sure as hell can pick or choose. If you dont want me picking or choosing, pay for it your damn self.

          2. To which I say, if you make a choice to ride a bicycle or water ski and injure yourself, why should I pay for it?

            Isn’t this exactly what many athletic contracts have cooked in? They get the benefits of employment up until they take risks beyond the comfort zone of their employers, and then they get their ass canned.

            However, most people don’t have deeply rooted moral objections for being an idiot and getting yourself hurt.

          3. Thank you, you just made the case against coerced taxation.

      2. Isn’t the morning after pill OTC, that is, you don’t need a prescription for it? Basically it’s just a really really strong birth control pill.

    3. What’s really crazy is when folks admit that it would make most birth control cheaper but a few specialized formulas would be more expensive so we can’t make it OTC.

      Oh and you can get the pill OTC in fucking DUBAI.

    4. Many big pharmacy chains, including Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS, have a list of a few hundred standard prescriptions at low prices. The cheaper tier is $4-5/month; generic birth control is usually in the second tier at $8-10/month. Newer versions can cost a lot more (but Sandra Fluke’s friend needed ~$100/month pills for medical reasons other than just contraception, and most insurance would cover that anyway, as well as covering doctor’s visits for prescriptions.)

      Back when the newer generation of anti-histamines went OTC, some of my friends were really annoyed, because their insurance was telling them “You don’t need prescription Brand A, you can use Brand B, which is OTC so we don’t cover it, spend your own $30/month, and too bad if you think Brand B doesn’t work as well.” They’ve gradually gotten cheaper, and the better ones are also OTC now.

  7. It’s taking a lot self control to not go on my friend’s FB walls and tear them a new one but that would be like casting your pearls to swine…or something like that.

    1. Yep, This all the way home.

    2. I’m gonna have to block 80% of my FB “friends” for the next couple of weeks.

      1. 80%? Wow! I winnowed mine down to where only 1 person got the ban hammer today, and that’s just because I cleared her out of my ignore list last week.

      2. Click on the little down arrow in the post and select “I don’t want to see this.” If shared from a lefty site, “Black all from XYZ.”

        My FB feed is derp free. Mostly.

        1. “Black all from XYZ.”

          That’s pretty low, JW.

          1. Hey, you’ll never go back.

  8. But that’s not the best way to think about the decision.

    As an inside-the-beltway COSMOTARIAN! I’m pretty sure you know “best” is properly defined as “most politically useful to the tribe of whoever is speaking”.

  9. Individuals have the right to free speech. Should that mean that once they form a union (a type of corporation), the union does not have the same right?

    Individuals have the right to free exercise of religion. Should that mean that once they form a church (a type of corporation), the church does not have the same right?

    It’s a little frightening that this decision was only 5-4. Look at the minority here, and who nominated them for the Court, and tell me that it doesn’t matter to libertarians if there’s a Republican or Democrat president.

    1. Roberts decided in favor of Obamacare, but I see your point.

      1. True, but the way it works is Court appointments by Democrats are reliably liberal, while Republican appointments only tend to be conservative/libertarian.

    2. ^^Keep this in mind next time you insist that there is no detectable difference between the parties, or (teams, if you must).

      1. Yeah. The age of the justices argues strongly for giving the Republicans four years in 2016. Change one justice and Citizens United, Heller and this all get overturned.

        1. John, I think the problem is that no matter how long the conservatives hold the court, Heller, Citzens United, etc. are going to be overturned the minute there is a liberal majority.

          It could be 50 years from now, with massive amounts of cases and precedents backing up the First and Second amendments. The liberal justices will not respect the precedent.

          Precedent respect sadly rings one way.

          1. You are correct. So the solution is to ensure there never is a liberal majority on the court. You may hate the Republicans but the Democrats have become such fascist and the balance of the court so delicate, you can’t let the Democrats put anymore justices on the court.

            Maybe if the next Republican President can replace Scalia, who is really getting old, and one or two of the liberal justices with reliable conservative ones, making the balance less delicate, the calculation will change. But as it is, the Supreme Court and along with it most of our liberties probably hang in the balance in 2016.

            1. I’m not a huge fan of this “finger in the dam” argument. There is something more deeply flawed here when both sides of the aisle can conveniently ignore precedent and plain text of the Constitution wherever it is inconvenient. The boat was untethered over 100 years ago, and it doesn’t really matter which side of the boat we cast the rope off of, we floated away from the dock quite a while ago.

            2. Except that many justices’ decision very often don’t jive with the president who appointed them.

              1. True, but GOP appointees go left far more often than Dem appointees go right.

                1. And the Carter administration did most of the actual, real deregulatin’ in the past 50 years, for which I thank them.

                2. JW and Papaya,

                  You are right. There is no guarantee that the GOP justices won’t be just as bad. But there is at least a good chance they will be. There is no chance that the liberal justices won’t be just as bad or worse. While GOP justices sometimes go left, Dem justices NEVER go right. It is a dead certainty that any justice appointed by a Dem President is going to vote to overturn, Citizens United, Heller, and this decision at a minimum.

                  It sucks but that is just the way it is. I wish it were different and we could rely on Dems to appoint better justices. But we can’t.

                3. Frankfurter and White come to mind

                  1. White was over 50 years ago and Frankfurter nearly a century. And I am not sure you can say White ever really went “right” in any meaningful sense. I think White was exactly the center right justice that Kennedy appointed him to be. White didn’t go right so much as the Democratic Party went left.

                    1. Your lady point is certainly applicable to the GOP. The Gop of Nixon is not similar to the GOP of today.

                      And, yes, those were a while ago, but apart from the four on the bench now the Dems had quite a span with no appointees

                    2. Latter point, not lady point

                    3. John is rubbing off on you, lol.

                    4. The Dems wen from 68 to 92 without appointing one. But they have appointed a ton since.

                      And sure the GOP went right. But Stevens still went left. It is not like Stevens stayed where the GOP was in the 70s. He went hard left the longer he was on the bench. White in contrast, never really changed. He was appointed by a center right Democratic President and remained a pretty centrist judge his entire career.

          2. I don’t really care about 50 years from now…

        2. Well, similar logic in reverse with Roe and Miranda

          1. I am unaware of that there are four votes to overturn either of those cases. I seriously doubt Kennedy would vote that way.

            Moreover, even if that were true, which is a greater threat, turning abortion back to the states, overturning Miranda (a case which the court has already written in a huge numbers of exceptions) or losing our right to bear arms, losing the right for associations of people to have free speech and allowing the government to force corporations to act against their owner’s conscience?

            Whatever you think of Roe and Miranda, the reversal of this case, Heller and Citizens United would have much worse consequences.

            1. I was assuming Breyer or Ginsburg getting replaced by an Alito. Goodbye Roe and Miranda if that happens

              I think all four were rightly decided and it would bad for any to be overturned. Where I live we would have no restrictions on gun rights but would have them on absorption awful quick

              1. The fact is that you run the risk of something being overturned no matter what happens. So the question is overturning which cases would do the most damage. My view is that overturning Citizens and Heller would be worse.

                1. Reasonable lovers of liberty can certainly disagree. For my part I think there are a lot more states ready to spring into action with a Roe reversal than a Heller

                  1. Then vote Democrat. If you value abortion over all else, you would be irrational not to.

              2. Roe was only rightly decided if you buy the penumbra bullshit.

                1. Very little will change if Roe is overturned. At that time, about 30% of the country lived in states that already had liberalized abortion laws. It would go back to the states, most of which wouldn’t ban it. For women in those that did, Planned Parenthood can buy bus tickets and motel stays in states that didn’t ban it.

          2. Miranda has no constitutional basis, so reverse on!

            1. Amusing irony: Miranda ended up murdered by a guy who was read his Miranda rights and refused to talk, and got away with the murder.

    3. You’re missing the key distinction that in the liberal mind- these are for-PROFIT corporations. Those are the bad kind.

  10. I have noticed resident idiot John repeating this lie:

    “The “9-0 decision last week was the 13th time the Supreme Court voted 9-0 that the president had exceeded his constitutional authority.”

    I was curious about that claim. Turns out that

    For starters, in eight of the cases, the alleged overreach occurred under President George W. Bush, as did the court cases that challenged the administration (United States vs. Jones, Sackett vs. EPA, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School vs. EEOC, Gabelli vs. SEC, Arkansas Fish & Game Commission v. United States, PPL Corp. vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Horne vs. USDA, and Bond vs. United States). Bush’s Justice Department handled the initial court proceedings in most instances.

    http://www.politifact.com/trut…..es-obama-/

    John, Team Red leader here, caught in another lie……

    1. EMMANUEL BUSHSTEIN!

      1. (It’s a good thing Obama repudiated the stance of the Bush administration in all those cases!)

        1. And refused to allow his DOJ to defend those cases!

    2. It’s amazing! There is literally nothing that cannot be blamed on Bush!

      1. Yes, even John can be blamed on Bush! Now you’re getting it!

        1. Did anything bad happen from 2009 to the present which *wasn’t* Bush’s fault?

          1. Nothing. Yet anything that may have went well is purely due to Obama’s genius.

          2. In some cases, bad things that happened since 2009 are the fault of the Tea Party and/or the Republican-led Congress (sic).

            All good things flow from the policies of The One.

            And the universal extension of this is:

            “all good things come from progressive policies, all bad things from conservative and/or libertarian policies”

      2. I blame Bush for Shriek.

      3. Actually, that’s a very interesting fact PB brings up. It’s grade to claim the current administration is legally extreme based on cases most of which were originally brought by another.

        1. Of cours, it also suggests that the second part of Obama’s campaign mantra didn’t apply to all those cases

          1. It’s interesting if you’re trying to one-up John on a message board. Otherwise, it’s as stupid as any other BLAME BOOOSH meme in 2014:

            [Lefty]: But, but, but BOOOSH did it!

            [Me]: So, you like Bush and think of his policies as wise and well-informed?

            [Lefty]: NO!!! HE’S EEEEVUL!!!

            [Me]: So, are you, you know, like agreeing with me then?

            1. I think it’s interesting to the abstract question of whether the administration is uniquely extreme or incompetent in that area

              1. For what it’s worth, whatever one thinks of the information it hardly establishes that John. Is ‘caught in a lie.’

              2. Agreed. I have a hard time with the whole “Obama is the worst ever!!!!” He’s a less-than-mediocre president with some FDR-like impulses, but worst ever should apply to somebody who got more done. TR, Wilson, FDR, LBJ… not Obama.

    3. The dog’s puking on the floor again. Honey, can you bring the carpet cleaner?

      1. “Aw, just put it out of its misery already.”

      2. I blame Bush.

    4. Wow.

      How is it Obama has not undone all these freedom-hating Bush policies in the ensuing 6 years?

    5. And Obama didn’t drop those cases and change the government’s position on those cases because he respects Bush so much.

      If Obama’s solicitor general argued it before the Court, it is Obama’s position. The fact that it is a position shared by the Bush administration just goes to the point that Obama is just a worse version of Bush. It doesn’t excuse Obama.

      Try again retard.

      1. Yeah. Obama didn’t send his Solicitor General to defend DOMA, for example. That was a pretty big thing, too.

        Here’s the thing: Our last two Presidents have ran and governed on a base strategy. As long as they please and turn out their base, they figure, they can win elections. Bush ran on and turned out a coalition of neocons and socons with actions like faith-based initiatives, the War on Terrorism stuff (and his very line in the sand, bombastic style that pissed off liberals but delighted conservatives who saw the War on Terrorism as a clear moral confrontation between barbarism and civilization. I’d say liberals see it more as a Clash of Civilizations, Huntington style, but I digress), and playing up the whole “America- love it or leave it, patriotism v America hating” stuff.

        Obama appeals to his progressive base by mouthing the right words about gays (he just declared June “National Pride Month” or some such nonsense), passing a form of healthcare reform that gets government more involved (single payer is the prog holy grail, but its a step), and playing up the whole race/class/gender watered down, half assed cultural marxism encountered on every university campus in the U.S.

        This has made them both pretty crappy presidents who are hated by the other side, which interestingly just bolsters their support with their guys because “the wrong people” hate them.

        1. You’re so stupid you don’t even know you’re stupid. I mean, you act like you think you’re clever, when you’re dumb as a stone. It’s not even funny. It’s just sad.

          1. Sorry, this looks more like stupid groupthink pileon to anyone not in the club. It’s a fact that certainly goes someway toward undercutting the claim that the administration was uniquely extreme or incompetent, and a chorus of childish insults and ad hom dismissals hardly comes off as bright.

            1. Remind me again why I should give a fuck what a tedious fuckwad like yourself thinks about this or anything else?

              1. On second thought, don’t bother. Because I don’t give a fuck.

              2. What could be more tedious than your schtick of substance less insults?

                1. Your wannabe lawyering.

                  1. You’re like our own comic the insult dog there sarcasmic

                    1. You’re like our own bottom-of-the-class law student who trolls a libertarian blog looking for people to argue with.

                      Oh, wait. I’m sorry. You’re not like that. You’re exactly that.

                    2. I just hope for your sake that you’re making connections for that judgeship that you’ll need when you can’t make it as a lawyer.

                    3. Take a breath there grumpy!

                    4. Truth hurts, eh, your honor?

                    5. That escalated quickly

                    6. Sarcasmic had a trident

            2. Except isn’t John right, since Obama’s appointed solicitor actually, you know, argued those cases?

  11. The Economist has a very The Economist-esque sad over Hobby Lobby decision

    More broadly, the decision may make it harder for Congress to enforce the laws it passes. The Supreme Court’s left-leaning justices called the decision one of “startling breadth”. Companies, wrote Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” If her prediction proves true, this ruling is bad news not just for Obamacare, but for acts of Congress in general.

    For all that they are “liberal” (in the European sense of the word) on many topics, it seems that guns and healthcare are the two areas where the British nature of the publication shines through. And yes, I know that they employ Americans to write about America, but I think that a big reason for them not getting those two issues is that The Economist caters to an international, business elite audience. The elites, both financial and governmental, in Europe, Asia, and even parts of Latin America, expect the government to pay for health care (you might not receive healthcare, but whatever) and are shocked at the idea of common citizens having guns.

    1. the decision may make it harder for Congress to enforce the laws it passes.

      huh…didn’t realize that the job of Congress.

      1. Well, I mean,they can’t just abrogate the entirety of the rule-making to unelected TOP. MEN. That alone makes The Economist weep.

    2. I do enjoy the way that our Euro-breathren get the vapors whenever SCOTUS properly interprets the Constitution to defend the rights of the individual over the collective.

      There’s a reason we left there en masse all those years ago and since, and it’s always nice to be reminded why.

      1. I think that the tendency to have unitary governments in much of Europe, where the head of the executive must have support of the legislature, combined with either looser protections of civil rights (hate speech banned, search and seizure not really defined, etc.) or no written constitution at all, makes them simply not understand the Supreme Court at all (except for in civil rights things, but that only confirms how racist America is, a foundational European belief).

        In Europe, it seems, rights can be ignored for the cause of social order, and they don’t understand systems where people are allowed to disrupt order by asserting their rights.

        Europe ultimately values homogeneity, is what I’m saying.

        1. In Europe, it seems, rights can be ignored for the cause of social order, and they don’t understand systems where people are allowed to disrupt order by asserting their rights.

          And what is most compelling to me about this is the failure of those in charge to recognize how stifling this system is to innovation. It’s easy to see how collectivism destroys risk taking and the ability of the individual to be rewarded for sacrificing immediate gratification for longer term gains.

          Successful economies in the 21st century will have to be able to adapt to changing market needs whilst maintaining and developing societies that reward innovation. Those that don’t will remain and/or fall back in to third world status.

          They will ignore the facts on the ground at their own peril.

      2. This case was about RFRA, a Congressional statute, not the Constitution

        1. I thought the entire point of RFRA was to outline the interaction of Congressional/Executive policy w/rt the 1st Amendment free exercise clause. It would seem that when interpreting RFRA, some reference to the Constitution would make sense.

          1. Sort of. It was essentially the Congress setting a statory limit on its own laws and regulations in response to a Scotus decision saying there were not Constitutional limits there

    3. If her prediction proves true, this ruling is bad news not just for Obamacare, but for acts of Congress in general

      And I’ll pop the champagne.

    4. “The elites, both financial and governmental, in Europe, Asia, and even parts of Latin America…are shocked at the idea of common citizens having guns.”

      Exception: Common citizens working as private guards for corporate leaders or corporate property.

      See, I can bash corporations as much as anyone!

    5. Beyond all of the points you make, Congress never passed this law. It passed the ACA but the statute doesn’t contain anything regarding a mandate. In fact, its supporters lied and claimed that no such mandate was contained in the law.

      The mandate is entirely a creature of the executive branch. This decision in no way limits or implicates Congress’ ability to pass and enforce laws.

      1. Excellent point, John.

      2. It passed the ACA but the statute doesn’t contain anything regarding a mandate. In fact, its supporters lied and claimed that no such mandate was contained in the law.

        Um, what? It isn’t in the statute, and it’s a lie to claim it isn’t in the statute? I’m confused.

        1. They claimed that since it wasn’t in the statute, there was no danger of it ever becoming law when they knew all along that HHS would make it law via regulation.

          1. But regulation isn’t law. Only Congress can make laws.

            To be honest, I’ve never figured out how giving the executive branch the power to both write and enforce rules with the power of law ever passed Constitutional muster and the idea of separation of powers. Commerce clause? General welfare? Necessary and proper? How did it happen?

            1. It shouldn’t be. The idea is that since Congress has the power, they can pass laws that delegate some discretion to the executive. I think that is bullshit. But that is not how the courts have seen it.

            2. Google “Nondelegation Doctrine,” and you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to.

              Short version: In 1928 SCOTUS said that, notwithstanding the Article I separation of powers, Congress could delegate legislative authority to executive branch agencies as long as it provided an ‘intelligible principle’ to guide administrative rulemaking.

              1. Congress could delegate legislative authority to executive branch agencies

                Aren’t these Agencies self-delegating (abrogating) the authority beyond what Congress wrote in the text?

                1. Aren’t these Agencies self-delegating (abrogating) the authority beyond what Congress wrote in the text?

                  Yep. And this is exactly why there are supposed to be a separation of powers in the first place. Because when the executive gets to write what it enforces, it will always abuse its power. Always.

      3. John, that’s a good point about the mandate being a creature of the Executive, but I don’t see how the Courts opinion wouldn’t apply the same to statutory language that is similar

        1. If the ACA had specifically repealed the RFRA with regard to contraception, then the RFRA is no longer a part of the case. I still think the mandate would be unconstitutional. But at least it wouldn’t be allowing regulations to trump statutes.

          My point is that the Economist is wrong in its contention that this case necessarily limits’ Congress ability to pass and enforce its laws, since the mandate was never passed by Congress.

          1. Of course it doesn’t even address the idea that part of the reason for the SCOTUS is to “limit[ ] Congress ability to pass and enforce its laws.”

            IMO, the main reason SCOTUS exists is to put the smackdown on Congress when they write bullshit laws.

            And this idea doesn’t even consider the even more poignant idea that CONGRESS DOESN’T ENFORCE ANYTHING AT ALL. They write laws, the executive branch’s job is to “enforce” them, and SCOTUS’ job is to put the smackdown on those two branches when the shit COngress writes and the executive enforces is unfuckingconstitutional.

            1. Well, I think it’s worse. Congress itself passed the RFRA, so it’s a case where Congress wanted itself reined on, not like the Court got activist on them (nttawwt)

    6. I stopped reading that pompous over-rated piece of crap eons ago.

      1. You stopped reading your own comments?

        1. I actually LOL’d at how lame that was. You’re like some kind of Zen Master of lame commentary sarc.

    7. The Derpconomist has been firmly in the statist camp for at least a decade now.

      1. It’s also in the tank for AGW, right?

        1. Absolutely. The Economist declared AGW the single most important issue around 2007. Then the Great Recession started so AGW had to share the top spot with the world economy. Then I stopped paying any attention to what the Economist writes, so I don’t know what the current ranking is.

    8. Oh dear. If thing get bad for “acts of congress in general” we might have a horrifying outbreak of freedom.

    9. Keep in mind that abortion is illegal in the UK and Ireland.

      And bastion of the welfare state, Germany, doesn’t pay for either contraception or abortion for most women, mostly because the Christian parties don’t like it.

  12. Other Supreme Court note: I was reading Gawker this weekend, looking over their Supreme Court coverage. I just wanted to see how much of a sad the Obama appointment decision and the abortion thing made them. Three things:

    1) HOLY CRAP do they hate free speech when the “wrong people” exercise it. Not a revealation, or new, but it is interesting to see the left, which once prided itself on defending free speech, decide that it doesn’t matter when it is used to “interfere” with “a woman’s right to health care.” Best part: ROE V WADE WAS NOT BASED ON A “RIGHT” TO HEALTHCARE! It was “right to privacy.” I know why they mix up the two, but still.

    2) The reaction to anything done by Clarence Thomas is just disgustingly racist. The way they pretend that he has no independent thought and is just Scalia’s puppet… it’s simply awful. I shudder to think what these people will say when he dies. It will be like Thatcher’s death but far worse (also, remember how ugly the left was in reacting to Thatcher’s death? Seriously, those people are scum)

    Cont…

    1. 3) The revolution will eat its own. The people on Gawker who defended the court as correct on the Constitution, especially the ones who pointed out that Reid pulled similar procedural tricks when he was in the minority, were treated horribly. These same people were often lawyers (or claimed to be, anyway). Gawker, and by extension progressives, hate process and only care about results. Also, they can not stand pointing out that Democrats and Republicans are equally awful. They revert back in to TEAM thinking, and when their TEAM did it, it was totally okay and false equivalency you wrecker!

      Seriously, things are going to start getting ugly on the left as this whole “check your privelege” thing combines with the “how dare you principled people care about process” thing to make an intra-left fight that is ugly. If not in 2016, then in 2020 or 2024, we may see a repeat of Chicago 1968.

      1. Whenever the Tea Party makes me cringe or roll my eyes at their silliness or poor strategy, I remember there is serious evil in this world.

        1. Also, the tricorner hats just look dumb.

          They need some help from GILMORE, stat.

    2. I was reading Gawker this weekend

      Well, there’s your problem.

  13. As Alito writes in his opinion, “A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends….When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people.”

    Do you think Alito had a strong temptation to write “duh!” at the end of that sentence?

    1. I think he kinda did.

  14. I wonder if this whole hurly-burly could be avoided if we simply allowed people make their own decision about where to buy their health insurance?

    Nah, crazy talk.

    1. Expecting people women to pay for their birth control is oppression straight up!

      /Prog

    2. But what would stop the evil corporations from selling substandard insurance? Huh? The corporations would just rip people off because corporations! And corporations! Huh? Corporations!

    3. You are a dangerous lunatic. If I ever see you, I’ll just start shooting and assume it’s in self-defense.

      1. I’ll give people agency! I’ll leave them alone! Choice! Free will!

  15. Reading the retweets from SCOTUS Blog of the butthurt is fucking hilarious.

    Apparently the decision today ENDANGERS LIVES!!!!

    The only life endangerment I see is that the people who think that SCOTUS Blog is the SCOTUS have a vote that counts just the same as mine.

    1. and the Yahoo newsfeed is trumpeting Ginsburg’s scathing dissent – with finger-pointing picture included.

      1. I think you misspelled “incoherent”.

        1. I believe you are right.

  16. Almost all health plans cover vasectomy 100% – although there is no obvious health benefit to the man.

    How is that different? You can’t even make the case that the man is causing sperm abortions.

    1. Are they required by the federal government to cover vasectomy? Are vasectomies a violation of anyone’s religious views? Has anyone stated that being forced to pay for vasectomies requires them to violate their religion?

      If not, there’s no relevance to a decision about whether the federal government can require you to do things that violate your religion.

      1. My religion forbids killing, yet I still have to pay taxes that are used to fund bombing campaigns on people.

    2. If the government mandated vasectomy coverage, I would object to that too.

    3. Did the court rule on hysterectomies?

      No? Awww, you almost had a point.

    4. Almost all health plans cover vasectomy 100%…

      Key words: “Almost all”, suggesting that some don’t, which further allows one to infer that there is no mandate for them.

      Also, I suspect that any plan that covers vasectomy also covers tubal ligation.

      1. Dmn HTML.

        Almost all health plans cover vasectomy 100%…

        Key words: “Almost all”, suggesting that some don’t, which further allows one to infer that there is no mandate for them.

        Also, I suspect that any plan that covers vasectomy also covers tubal ligation.

    5. Rationality is not a necessary characteristic of religious belief.

  17. Jezzies gone wild. I think I got banned from the comments again 😛

    http://jezebel.com/why-women-a…..061808/all

    1. They are tolerant people over a Jezebel. They will tolerate anyone just so long as they say and do exactly as they are told.

      Seriously Susan, do you recall mandating insurance cover birth control even being an issue before 2012? I don’t. Abortion sure. But I don’t remember anyone, even the craziest feminist saying all insurance must cover birth control.

      And now not mandating that is sending us back to the dark ages. Feminists really are like trained monkeys. They just go insane and start screaming and throwing shit about whatever issue their masters tell them is important.

      1. Oh I know it all too well 😉 What’s really funny is that people there who’ve been hollering for gun control are now talking revolution.

        1. What’s really funny is that people there who’ve been hollering for gun control are now talking revolution.

          “Fine, FINE, we’ll step down and turn over the reigns of power to you, if you’ll JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP and give us some peace and quiet!”

      2. Birth control is not an issue because feminazis decided to make it one. The Christians did. Birth control, to feminists and the rest of the 99% of women in the country who use it, is considered part of basic healthcare.

        Let’s not lose sight of who the crazies are on this one. That would be the people who think an invisible man in the sky tells them that IUDs are against His will.

        1. You’re right Tony. In all this talk of paying for contraception we’ve all actually lost sight of the larger point, which is, of course, that neither the government nor employers have any business in an individual’s healthcare at all.

          1. Isaac, businesses have every right to provide insurance as a benefit to their employees if they choose to do so.

            1. Yes they do, but it would be better for almost everyone if they didn’t.

              Or it would have been better if the incentive for them to do so had never been created.

              1. If they didn’t, then people would have few options to pool their risk and the health insurance market would look like the life insurance market meaning it would be affordable as long as you were not a bad risk and didn’t need it. The only thing that saved the country from single payer was the odd historical accident that we got our insurance through our employers. Change that and people would demand single payer very quickly. Indeed, they pretty much did demand single payer for the one sector of society that wasn’t getting its insurance through their work, retirees. That is all Medicaide is, single payer for retirees.

                It sounds nice to rail on employer provided health insurance. But when you really think about it, it works much better than the alternatives.

                1. Nitpick:

                  I’m actually sure you know all the following and simply mistyped.

                  That is all Medicaide is, single payer for retirees.

                  Actually, Medicare is single payer for retirees. And LBJ was certain that it would be so wildly successful that everyone would demand that it be extended to all ages.

                  Medicaid is a means tested program to provide medical care to certain poor people and is paid for out of general revenues (both state and federal).

                  1. Actually, John, people belong to a lot of groups that are much more longlasting and enduring than their jobs (churches, social clubs etc) but none of them have been given the tax incentive that employers were given.

                2. If they didn’t, then people would have few options to pool their risk and the health insurance market would look like the life insurance market meaning it would be affordable as long as you were not a bad risk and didn’t need it. The only thing that saved the country from single payer was the odd historical accident that we got our insurance through our employers.

                  The benefit is provided by government tax incentives that distort the market and perversely incentive employers to provide it. And it’s no accident. It’s a remnant of federal price controls on labor.

        2. Birth control is not an issue because feminazis decided to make it one. The Christians did. Birth control, to feminists and the rest of the 99% of women in the country who use it, is considered part of basic healthcare.

          So pay for it yourself.

          Honestly, Tony, this is unbelievable bullshit, even for you. The Christians’ “made this an issue” merely by having the temerity to say ‘no’ to Democratic clients’ endless demands for free shit; not even to contraceptive coverage generally, but rather to contraceptive coverage for certain drugs that they consider abortifacients. That’s all. And they’re the culture war aggressors? Not wanting to subsidize abortifacient drugs makes them crazies?

          1. Believing in an invisible friend is what makes them crazies. What He tells them to do is beside the point, with respect to craziness. Though there is a little extra dose of crazy, I suppose, when you think that the all-powerful creator of the universe gives a shit about what form of birth control you use.

            I think it’s concession enough to tell the Christians that despite abortion being a constitutionally protected right, they get to have that procedure excluded from requirements for healthcare coverage. Exempting birth control (these forms of which yes they believe are tantamount to abortion–though they’re wrong) does leave room for a slippery slope. The court has either endorsed the idea that being anti-birth control is so especially valid a religious belief that it trumps legal requirements, or it has opened the door to all manner of religious exemptions from the law by closely held corporations (and presumably individual people).

            1. Go fuck yourself.

            2. I have an invisible friend – his name is Papaya and he says the best way to promote birth control is by eating at Chick-Fil-A and drinking lots of Mountain Dew.

            3. Exempting birth control (these forms of which yes they believe are tantamount to abortion–though they’re wrong) does leave room for a slippery slope.

              No, it doesn’t. Condoms are free at any Planned Parenthood and are dirt cheap at Wal-Mart. Your sophistry to the contrary, FYTW’s entirely correct that this is simply a case of the Free Shit Army demanding free shit.

              1. Are you suggesting that condoms can take the place birth control as a healthcare product? Sixty percent of women use birth control for reasons other than not getting pregnant. The argument is only that men shouldn’t be getting more free shit than women with respect to their healthcare needs.

            4. These crazies are going to use the precedent you set to impose their craziness on you when they are in power. Believe me, I know first hand: the principle that government can make people pay for arbitrary shit they don’t want is a bad principle to establish.

              As for birth control and abortion, health “insurance” should never pay for it. Pay for it yourself, or recover the money from the man involved, or rely on charity. I’d be happy to pay for your abortion through a charity, but if you tell me that I have an obligation to pay for it, I’m going to tell you to go f*ck yourself.

  18. R: PapayaSF,

    It’s a little frightening that this decision was only 5-4.

    What’ frightening is that people would accept the notion that nine robed notables have the last say on what are our individual rights, doesn’t matter if all nine were staunch and principled libertarians.

  19. I couldn’t help myself. I posted this on my FB status.

    Billy Bob: Hey, it’s 12:45 PM could you buy me some food. I have a right to have food at 12:45 PM and I need it to survive.

    Gerald: I’m not buying you any food right now. I think eating at 12:45 PM is wrong because it goes against my beliefs. I believe in eating at 11:30 AM

    Billy Bob: Why not? I need food! You are infringing on my right to get food and forcing your beliefs on me!

    Gerald: No, I’m not. You can get food anytime you want. I’m not stopping you from getting food at 12:45 PM. I’m just not gonna buy it for you at 12:45 PM.

    Billy Bob: Well food at 11:30 AM is a little more expensive then it is at 12:45 PM. I actually would need to pay 5 dollars extra if I eat at 11:30 AM as oppose to 12:45 PM.

    Gerald: You may have to pay the five dollars extra but have you ever wondered why food cost 5 dollars more at 11:30 as opposed to 12:45 PM.

    Billy Bob: No because food is a right and you’re denying me my right to eat at 12:45 PM. You hate people and want to deny me my right to eat at anytime of my choosing. You are waging a War on People!

    1. Thius would all be moot if the government didn’t have a law requiring everyone to eat at the same time and share food costs.

  20. From the Guardian:

    “Because let’s be clear: While Monday’s US supreme court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby was officially about religious freedom, the real issue at stake is sex ? namely, if women should be able to have it as freely as men….

    More than 30 years after women thought the right to birth control was fought and won, we are still having to justify why we’d like to have sex ? and why that doesn’t make us bad, immoral or disgusting people.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/com…..-women-sex

    1. *the real issue at stake is sex ? namely, if women should be able to have it as freely as men….*

      Yet, condoms weren’t one of the “free birth control” items covered by Obamacare. Whatevs, foreign commies.

    2. More than 30 years after women thought the right to birth control was fought and won, we are still having to justify why we’d like to have sex ? and why that doesn’t make us bad, immoral or disgusting people.

      No, what makes you bad, immoral and disgusting people is the fact that you’re blackmailing your employer into paying for your contraception by bringing your big brother FedGov in to crack a few skulls. You’re that kid in middle school who ran with the bullies, just to get the perks of all the lunch money the bullies shook out of the nerds’ pockets.

    3. Oh, that’s a nice false equivalence…or leading…or begging…or red herring.

      This would be like saying that a court decision striking down government censorship is actually about suppressing people’s ability to read.

      Ugh, the Guardian.

      1. The above in reference to the Guardian quote, not you Trshmnster. Cool handle, by the by.

        Trshmnster, your point was well made. These guys are bullies, only they paint themselves as victims because someone disagrees. When cornered, bullies always argue from a point of weakness or victimhood.

        Ever notice how bullies are so easy to cry when someone punches back?

    4. Why doesn’t the Guardian busy itself with UK abortion law, which is far more restrictive than US abortion law? Or it could talk about Germany, where contraception and abortions aren’t covered.

      The Guardian only has one principled stance: whatever the US does is wrong, even if Europeans do the same thing.

  21. Except the ruling says the religion of the business owners trumps the legally required benefits of their employees, not to mention their own religious beliefs. As usual with these guys, it’s all about people–the ones who own businesses and nobody else.

    And I have tried but I cannot figure out how contraception gets to be in its own special class. They claim that this ruling won’t extend to religious beliefs against vaccinations, blood transfusions, etc., but the logic doesn’t preclude that. It’s either saying business owners get to impose their religion on employees broadly or it’s saying that, somehow, the one specific religious belief about contraception is worthy of an exception.

    1. It’s slippery slopes all the way down.

    2. Except the ruling says the religion of the business owners trumps the legally required benefits of their employees, not to mention their own religious beliefs

      yes Tony that is because the owners have a constitutional right to the free exercise of their religion. Your statement is comically stupid. People’s constitutionally guaranteed rights trump whatever government legal requirements that say otherwise. The owner’s desire to keep their property trumps the “legal requirement that they give it to the government without due process” as well. By your idiotic logic, saying that would be equally outrageous.

      Your position is so laughably stupid there really isn’t any way to respond to it.

      1. People’s constitutionally guaranteed rights trump whatever government legal requirements that say otherwise.

        Begging the question. Business owners never had this right before. And only in rare cases are people allowed to disobey the law because of religion.

        Do you think you might be able to examine the merits of this opinion without your incessant need to see Obama fail at things infect your thinking? I know, stupid question.

        1. Business owners have always had the right to claim exemptions to laws that violated their religion. The Amish for example get out of all kinds of laws. The Quakers got out of the draft.

          There is nothing novel about this case. it is a simple case of the government coercing people to do something that violates their religion. Without a truly compelling need that can be accomplished no other way, the government loses. It is very simple.

          You don’t like this case because you are a fascist who doesn’t recognize the right to free exercise or really any rights at all for people you don’t like. But we already knew that Tony. You don’t need to constantly remind us.

          1. My question is how can they claim that the alleged religious belief (God tells me my employees shouldn’t get birth control in their insurance coverage) is special. Surely people can get vaccines and blood transfusions in other ways just as they can with birth control. All they did was say that the ruling doesn’t apply to those other things, but they don’t really say why as far as I can tell.

            I am not particularly big on a broad free exercise right, no. I think religious in stupid and bad for society, and that secular law should trump it a lot of the time, especially when you’re interpreting “free exercise” as the right to impose your beliefs on your employees.

            1. My question is how can they claim that the alleged religious belief (God tells me my employees shouldn’t get birth control in their insurance coverage) is special.

              Take it up with the founders. You problem is with the Constitutional guaranteed free exercise of religion. It outrages you that people who think things you find objectionable are given protection by the Constitution. That is really all there is to it.

              1. No, you’re missing the point. Someone could claim a free exercise exemption to providing coverage for vaccines. How does this opinion make that unacceptable while allowing for the exemption for contraception?

                1. It’s because the SCOTUS is walking a tightrope between the feels of TEAM BLUE and the feels of TEAM RED. See, when the religious exemption is from a mainstream religion like Southern Baptist, it’s protected. When it’s from icky fringe religions like Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s not.

                  Principals above principles, like always.

                2. Why do you have this naive insistence that government implement logically consistent policies according to some rule?

                  I thought reality was too complex for that.

                  Surely we need religious freedom, and surely that should only apply to certain areas, and not others.

                  Are you too simple and immature to understand that?

            2. All they did was say that the ruling doesn’t apply to those other things, but they don’t really say why as far as I can tell.

              The RFRA requires strict scrutiny of laws that burden religious exercise. The majority opinion flat-out states that different mandates for different healthcare coverages would involve different interest-balancing and least-restrictive-means analysis. Which, duh.

              You can’t understand why the ruling doesn’t apply to those other things because you’re a moron.

              1. I get that, but I still don’t see how they struck this balance with respect to contraception except by endorsing the idea that it’s a particularly important religious view, i.e., the RFRA right trumps the ACA right just for this.

                Maybe it’s that I can’t make a distinction in my mind between religious nonsense about birth control and religious nonsense about pork or sabbath days. I guess they just have to hope that their version of God isn’t clever enough to figure out that having government fund access to birth control in other ways doesn’t actually stop anybody using birth control. I guess it’s not really their employees’ eternal souls they’re worried about?

                1. Eh, they struck the balance through democracy.

                2. I still don’t see how they struck this balance with respect to contraception except by endorsing the idea that it’s a particularly important religious view, i.e., the RFRA right trumps the ACA right just for this.

                  They did no such thing. Try reading the opinion for comprehension rather than to fuel your butthurt.

                3. I think it just depends on the particulars of said health insurance.

                  I hate to speak for most libertarian/ish folks, but I think the line gets drawn at private businesses insurers providing different things for different plans. This is an issue of the business rather than religion.

                  UNFORTUNATELY the Hobby Lobby owners were religious, and therefore this gets couched into “religious vs. secularism” territory, where religious wackos may (probably!) will use the ruling as an excuse to try certain things. SCOTUS will probably strike those down as unconstitutional as well.

                  Even more unfortunately for us hoi polloi, this will become some political talking point used cynically for an election. My opinion is both Dems and Repubs will use the decision to make boisterous and calamitous emotional arguments solely for the purpose of personal power.

                  The whole contraception thing for the ACA was cheap political points for the Dems. If they had a different demographic, they would never have brought it up. The Dems are not your friends here. They’re just enemies with a smile.

            3. Excluding certain coverages from your employee health insurance plan, notwithstanding the fact that your employees are perfectly free to buy supplemental coverage with their own salary, is “imposing” on them. Got it.

            4. I think religion is stupid too. Having lived for a long time in country where government imposes religion and made me pay for it, I think the free exercise clause is eminently important, because it applies to exercising atheism as much as it applies to exercising Southern Baptism.

              And to answer your question: they don’t have a right to impose anything their employees, never have and never will. They do generally have a right to set the conditions of employment, and their employees can go somewhere else if they don’t like those conditions.

    3. I have absolutely no problem with employers having the right to exclude any procedure or item from the health plan they provide for their employees.

      Actually, I have absolutely no problem with employers having the right to not provide any insurance at all.

      1. I know that, but that is not the issue, any more than me saying this is about single-payer, which is what I’d prefer to the employer-based system, and which would avoid this issue.

        1. Well single payer would certainly make the lawyers rich.

          1. Single payer = VA, baby!! The Vets are experiencing the same excruciatingly bad customer service as in the NHS, Canada, and elsewhere in Europe. (Many Europeans don’t generally provide good customer service, so when they come to the US and the waitress is prompt and friendly they are blown away)

    4. Contraception is in its own special class because HHS put it there. If HHS decided that employers had to provide bacon to employees, the issue would be the same.

  22. So Romney was right about corporations being “people”, my friend?

    1. Yes. And he is hardly the only one to be right about that. So what?

  23. What happened to the legal challenge to ACA that claimed the law is invalid because new taxes have to originate in the house?

  24. What about the religious rights of the individuals who work for Hobby Lobby? Or do they not count because they have less rights than the corporation? And why is religion/contraception okay when religion/blood transfusions are not? Either every corporation gets “religious freedom” or none of them get it.

    1. What “religious right” guarantees you to get free stuff from corporations you work for?

      I don’t understand this line of reasoning. So Hobby Lobby should provide halal lunches to Muslim employees?

    2. They can choose not to work for a Southern Baptist corporation. That’s a lot more than their employer can do, because their employer is bound by non-discrimination laws.

  25. It has been noted that this opinion puts some people’s contraception coverage in the hands of government in lieu of employers. If there is a slippery slope, this reasoning could lead to more de facto government-run healthcare than was ever envisioned by the ACA.

    1. It has been noted that this opinion puts some people’s contraception coverage in the hands of government in lieu of employers.

      No, it leaves their contraception where it’s always been–in their own hands. What’s wrong with that?

  26. The government claims that “non-profit” corporations can have religious objections but not “for-profit” ones.

    Fck them.

  27. If it’s about individuals, where is the ruling that says *individuals* can opt-out of the portions of Obamacare that they find offensive? Can young individuals now opt-out of paying into the Social Security ponzi scheme which will rob them with zero returns (http://tinyurl.com/q2ln4nf)? Can individuals opt-out of paying the portion of their income taxes that would fund war?

    Nothing about the ruling regards individuals. It’s still corporatism.

    1. Precisely. I have a really hard time feeling any sympathy for businesses who one the hand gleefully accept a grab bag of government goodies – essentially what incorporation boils down to – and on the other hand complain about requirements the government hands down.

      Don’t get me wrong; I’d rather I wake up tomorrow and the state was gone. I just don’t think it makes any sense to pretend that some special carve-out for a business is some monumental victory for freedom.

  28. Once again, the libertarian’s belief that right’s of others should continue to be respected for the right’s of the bully. The very actions they fear from covering contraceptive pills in its insurance for female employees, is the sort of “sexual permisiveness” they simultaneously sanction for male employees.

    And uh, you’re sure this isn’t a corporation using its ‘personhood’ legal status to discriminate against women whose values differ from their own, under the guise of ‘religious freedom’? Maybe check it out.

    1. The very actions they fear from covering contraceptive pills in its insurance for female employees, is the sort of “sexual permisiveness” they simultaneously sanction for male employees.

      Stop trying to make the rest of society suffer for your daddy issues.

    2. Much as I despise Southern Baptism, I doubt they sanction sexual permissiveness from anybody.

      Personally, I sanction your sexual permissiveness wholeheartedly. Knock yourself out, and put a smile on as many men’s faces as you can. But I’m not going to pay for your abortions if you can’t figure out how to use a condom, any more than I’m going to pay for your dinners or motel rooms.

  29. What its about is judicial activism. The court has told religions that they will decide not only what a true religion is, but also what tenets of those religions are sincerely held…and all, I guess, on a case by case basis. Oh, and I guess they will as well tell us which corporations and their employees get to decide which religious beliefs are protected. Because…who knows.

    And Libertarians are happy.

    1. Not me. I think this is a horrible ruling.

      1. Well, I notice that Reason is bending over backwards in an attempt to justify this.

  30. Well, I see that some “Libertarians” aren’t happy with allowing a company to decide how to run their company.

    The SCOTUS, in its typically confused and roundabout way got the right answer without actually addressing the real question: If Activists can mandate, through .gov force, what a Business provides, is there any Religious Freedom to run a Kosher Deli?

    All of these Activist Suits brought against (ebil Xtian) Companies/Churches have one thing in common… the desire to use Government Violence (the threat thereof) to FORCE someone to do what the Activists want – whether it be “provide” something to employees, or to demand the creation/sale of a product to Activist customers.

    Here’s the scoop: A Company has no more “legal obligation” to provide ANY sort of Contraception or, say, make a “Gay Wedding Cake” (Or “straight” one) than does a Kosher Deli (Or Halal Tea House) has to make a Ham and Cheese Sandwich on Activist Demand

    Try using the .gov to make your local Kosher Deli give you a Ham & Cheese on Rye (or Shrimp Salad… or… or…) see how far you will get.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.