Corporations Rush To Take Advantage of Hobby Lobby Loophole

We all of us with sane minds, those not clouded by religious and other such mythological clap-trap, knew it was just a matter of time before the corporations masking as Jesus Jumpers decided to roll down the Hobby Lobby rabbit hole.

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From RawStory:

The 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case claimed the decision was narrowly focused on closely held corporations that objected to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on religious grounds.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned in a scathing, 35-page dissent that her colleagues had “ventured into a minefield” with their ruling, arguing that the majority had invited “for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith.”

It took only one day to prove her predictions accurate.

The court on Tuesday, the day after its ruling, ordered three appeals courts to reconsider challenges by corporations that objected to providing insurance that covers any contraceptive services – not just the four contraception methods covered in the Hobby Lobby case.

The plaintiffs in all three of those cases are Catholic business owners, including the Michigan-based organic food company Eden Foods.

“I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control,” said Michael Potter, founder of Eden Foods. “What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that?”

The appeals court that rejected Potter’s motion argued the business owner’s claims more closely resembled “a laissez-faire, anti-government screed” than a religious objection – although the Supreme Court has asked the lower court to reconsider his arguments.

The Supreme Court also declined to review a government petition to overturn lower court rulings that upheld religiously based challenges to all preventative services under the Obamacare mandate.

Should religious beliefs be subject to challenge?

The ruling takes claims of religious scruples for granted, wrote columnist Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times.

“But how are government agencies or the courts to know when claims of religious piety are just pretexts for some other viewpoint, such as libertarianism or misogyny?” Hiltzik continued.

A federal judge in one of those cases reopened by the Supreme Court wrote in her opinion that the sincerity of the plaintiff’s religious beliefs were “unchallenged,” while the theology behind Catholic teachings on contraception were “unchallengeable.”

Hiltzik argued that those religious claims should, however, be subject to challenge.

“Shouldn’t the courts, at the very least, determine if a family-owned company follows its religious precepts consistently?” Hiltzik asked. “If this were the test, by the way, Hobby Lobby itself might fail: its 401(k) plan for employees has invested via its mutual funds in companies that manufacture and distribute precisely those drugs and devices that it objects to providing via its health insurance plan.”

That investment could violate teachings in a Catholic moral manual cited by Hobby Lobby’s own attorneys and noted by Alito in his opinion to show the contraception mandate placed a “substantial burden” on their religious expression, and therefore violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Legal argument rebutted by moral theology

Alito cited Father Henry Davis’s 1935 Moral and Pastoral Theology to demonstrate “the circumstances under which it is wrong for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but that has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another.”

The conservative Catholic justice concluded the court had no authority to determine whether that burden was substantial or not, and should instead defer to the moral judgment of Hobby Lobby’s owners.

“Yet interpreting statutory language like ‘substantial burden’ is precisely what the Court is supposed to do,” wrote Leslie C. Griffin, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Narrow decision?

Ginsburg described the Hobby Lobby ruling as “a decision of startling breadth” — and that might be an understatement.

Already, the Becket Fund, a religious law firm that represented Hobby Lobby, lists 49 pending federal cases involving for-profit companies claiming religious objections to the ACA and another 51 that involve nonprofit organizations.

Critics have said the majority based its ruling on faulty science, arguing that IUDs and emergency contraceptives do not cause abortion – as Hobby Lobby’s owners claimed to justify their religious objection.

Alito ruled that courts had no authority to tell the craft store’s owners “their beliefs are flawed,” although he insisted the ruling offered no similar “shield” to other forms of discrimination.

However, a group of religious leaders on Wednesday asked the Obama administration to exempt them from an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, signed on to a letter sent by Catholic Charities and other faith-based groups seeking a religious exemption to the order.

“Without a robust religious exemption, like the provisions in the Senate-passed [Employment Non-Discrimination Act], this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom,” the faith-based group wrote.

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11 Responses to Corporations Rush To Take Advantage of Hobby Lobby Loophole

  1. jess

    July 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    The letter from lil Ricky over there at brokeback saddleback was done way before the HL decision Mike. Him and others want to have special dispensation and absolution from big gubbmint to discriminate against “teh gheyz” This will only get way worse. I am hoping a Muslim group comes up with something and goes to court, it’s the only way these morons in congress would fix this at the expense of another sky daddy religion that isn’t the “one, real true one”

    • Michael John Scott

      July 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      I’m not a big Muslim fan but I would like to see what happens too. The point being I suppose that most people in the US aren’t into Muslims.

  2. James Smith

    July 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    It isn’t about religion at all. It’s about self-centered cheap bastards not wanting to spend a penny extra for the well-being of others. That’s the real christian principles at work.

    If they could, the would not provide any health care at all, nor paid vacations, holidays, or anything short of slavery.

    That’s approved in the bible, isn’t it? It must be OK, if it’s in the bible, it MUST be true.

    • Michael John Scott

      July 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      I agree James. Religion is the excuse.

    • jess

      July 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Not even being cheap bastards James. It’s all about the wimminz having the sexytimes and by god enjoying themselves while having them. We CANNOT have that at all. But there is no war on womenfolk at all.

  3. Jim Moore

    July 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I just subjected many Facebook “friends” to this rant. It’s a bit out of context, but I think you can imagine what precipitated it.
    Here goes…

    Richard, neither an IUD nor Plan B terminate pregnancy. Until a fertilized egg implants, there is no pregnancy…and there has been a ton of commentary, even from the justices who sided with Hobby Lobby, to refute this. The SCOTUS comment was that it did not matter if the claims were true…all that mattered was that HL owners “sincerely believe” in the falsehood. Hmm.

    Then there’s the defense of their investments. Sensible to a point, but as an environmental activist, I can select from portfolios that do not, for example, include oil investments. HL could assemble 401-K options for employees that meet their alleged ethical standards…or empower employees to place their 401-K, including match, with outside firms if the employee is not keen on the HL choices. So the claim does not hold water any better than a sieve.

    As for individual responsibility, Lu, you and I both are eligible for Social Security, and we both get Medicare. We both now benefit from the opportunity to secure additional -supplemental- insurances to embellish Medicare (at a reasonable cost and without being denied coverage for preexisting conditions…and without caps), in part because of the ACA. Why do we get these benefits? Because we EARNED them, and because the ACA ensures we can’t be denied.

    Similarly, health insurance is NOT A GIFT from an employer…now or before. It is COMPENSATION for work. It’s part of a contract between the employer and employee, and HL has just given its employees who choose and IUD – and those who need Plan B – a pay cut compared to employees of other corporations who have not yet exploited the “religious exemption” option just endorsed by SCOTUS. And HL imposed this pay cut because they have a sincerely held belief that utterly defies science. But no big deal, right? It’s HL’s “right” to believe bullshit if they want to, and based on that unsubstantiated bullshit, impose their “sincerely held beliefs” on every employee whether that employee is Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Christian Scientist….whatever. You work in my craft store, and while you may not share my personal beliefs, you WILL, by god in heaven or wherever, sure as hell adhere to my beliefs – or pay thru the nose.

    So, as for personal responsibility, how’s this? The average cost of an IUD is $500 to $600 for someone who pays cash. Nothing to it…just a month’s net take-home pay for someone earning minimum wage. http://community.babycenter.com/post/a23184139/cost_of_iud_without_insurance_coverage. Meanwhile, Viagra is still covered by HL’s insurance. Apparently a boner is a god-given right, but not getting pregnant from that boner is not. Meanwhile, MANY women avoid birth control pills because of well known and very nasty side effects – including cancers, heart problems and more. And then there’s the diaphram – that marginally effective boner killer that one gets to insert on the fly…if Mr. Boner is willing to wait while you dig it out of the plastic case, apply the spermicidal jelly, and HOPEFULLY insert it properly in the heat of the moment. But don’t take my word for it. Published research from NIH. The first-year probabilities of failure during perfect use are 11-12% for the sponge, 10-13% for the cervical cap and 4-8% for the diaphragm. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8354373

    Plan B – one dose runs $35 to $60. And this cost is to women making minimum wage. So, just a day’s pay. No big deal, right. The kids can eat NEXT week. http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/eccost.html

    So, in the HL world, we can have a bunch of men running around with 4-hour boners, and women get to choose from hormone formulas that threaten health, mechanical methods that are unreliable at best (including condoms)…and often require immense discipline when faced with the urgent needs of Mr. Boner, or they can just keep their knees together…assuming, of course, they have a choice in the matter.

    The floodgates have been opened. “In light of its ruling on Hobby Lobby and a related suit, the Supreme Court ordered three appeals courts to reconsider cases in which they had rejected challenges from corporations that object to providing insurance that covers any contraceptive services at all.” http://www.thomasmore.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Letter-of-Remand.pdf
    This isn’t the end. We are just getting started down the road to “religious exceptionalism” – as in myriad religious exemptions to not just health insurance mandates, but many other exemptions.

    Consider. We have learned beyond all doubt that vaccines are beneficial. The scares were largely fabricated by “medical” professionals who have been convicted of fraud. And yet, we have zealots who refuse to use vaccines, and diseases we thought were once wiped out are making a return with a vengeance. What happens when a company like HL seeks an exemption for paying for vaccines? That is where we are headed, and that is the importance of this case.

    Am I pissed? You’re damned right I’m pissed. This has little or nothing to do with religious belief. It has everything to do with dismantling the ACA. and, Lu, if you are so against the ACA, then it seems reasonable to also suggest that we should all surrender our Medicare. After all, Medicare is the dreaded single-payer system Obama wanted and had to give up on, because it had no prayer of passing. How about if the state of CA just cuts out statins and BP meds because they have a “sincerely held belief that these drugs are an “abomination” in the eyes of god? That’s exactly what happened with the HL case.

    • Michael John Scott

      July 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Man….this is so good! You know you could have actually written a post with this? I guess I’ll have to 🙂

    • jess

      July 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      “Am I pissed? You’re damned right I’m pissed. This has little or nothing to do with religious belief. It has everything to do with dismantling the ACA. and, Lu, if you are so against the ACA, then it seems reasonable to also suggest that we should all surrender our Medicare.”

      Not only dismantling the ACA but going back to try and dismantle RoevWade and the Griswold ruling as far as privacy goes. they want to take some of us back to the days when coat hangers and knitting needles used with crochet hooks, were tools used in abortions. Hey Hobbly Lobby sells them so they get a two fer as far as profits. I am pissed beyond all sane reasoning with this. More companies have come out today with cases like the Cafflick in charge of Eden foods and now he can discriminate because jeebus. A college, same thing we want to discriminate.

  4. Marsha Woerner

    July 3, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Well, I have not agreed with a lot of the recent 5/4 decisions by the Supreme Court, but I’m not willing to say that they flat out made the wrong decision (although I really do disagree). But there are 2 of them that I do think that SCOTUS made the WRONG DECISION. The decision made in the case of Gore v. Bush was wrong; every single one of the judges argued the exact opposite of what their party affiliation said that they should have said. It was a total travesty, and I don’t believe that our Supreme Court would do that.
    This 2nd is this latest. The decision is not well-founded and it seems to be along the lines of “we don’t like this law, so we will use whatever we can to allow people around it!”
    We keep hearing the Republicans talk about how we don’t want a Supreme Court that makes its own laws. “No activist Supreme Court!” But that only counts when they don’t agree with the Supreme Court! GW stacked the Supreme Court so right – they can’t help but be activist, but it’s even worse than that! I’m still ready for several Supreme Court impeachments to be suggested, but I know they won’t go anywhere. But with all of the noise that you hear from individuals to say “impeach Obama!”, I think that the Supreme Court has broken more laws, impeachable lawbreaking, that Obama can even consider!

  5. Pennyjane Hanson

    July 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    i agree….this has nothing to do with sincerely held religious views….either from hobby lobby or scotus. if hl’s beliefs were all that sincere they wouldn’t be doing business with people who provide abortion on command…they do business with those Asian folks because it is profitable. when one ignores their sincerely held religious views because they make money on the deal….that’s called idolatry. they don’t worship God, they worship money. this scotus, in every decision they have made…even the few that seemed moral on the surface…all you have to do is follow the money…that is the reasoning for their decision. this decision is about power and control.

    i’m reminded of mitt Romney’s famous “47% tape”. the 47% part didn’t tell me anything i didn’t already know…it was just another cynical political evaluation, aren’t all political evaluations cynical? what i learned was the depth of mr Romney’s capitalistic depravity when he was talking (later in the tape) about the factory he toured in china. you could smell the ejaculate on the tape as he described the conditions the workers at that factory labored under. the women lived in dorms, slept on bunks stacked five high and were charged rent, deducted from their paychecks. (ooohhhh, that feels good). they were fed rice and fishheads and were charged board, deducted from their paycheck. (ohhh, so good!) and on and on until the end…where he described how the factory was surrounded by electric fenses (oh my….i’m almost there) not to keep the workers in but to keep out the rest of the society who would give their right arms for a shot at a job like that! (whoooopppppiiii!!!!!!!) corporate utopia….complete control of workers who are ever so grateful for a chance to be totally exploited.

    folks….please don’t be deceived, these are not christians they are interlopers from a whole ‘nother place. that’s the place where Christ shook the dust from His sandals and moved on to more fertile grounds for His message.