In Hobby Lobby Case Supreme Court Replaces First Amendment With Corporate Theocracy

Hobby Lobby ruling

In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Inc. the Supreme Court ended its flirtation with unanimity and ruled 5-4 in favor of corporate theocracy.

This lawsuit involved 71 for profit corporations,  that challenged the birth control mandate based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993)  which precludes laws from imposing a substantial burden on an individual’s ability to practice their religion.

While deciding that the contraception mandate didn’t meet RFRA requirements for closely held companies, the all-male majority dodged the question of whether the Government has a compelling interest in providing women with FDA-approved contraceptives.

Conventional wisdom suggested this case would split 5-4 along party lines with Justice Kennedy tilting the balance.  It was difficult to speculate which way Kennedy would rule. During argument, he asked about the implications for employees’ religious freedoms should the Court rule in Hobby Lobby’s favor.  He also asked (erroneously) if a ruling against Hobby Lobby means employers would be “forced” to pay for abortions.

Now we know.  Kennedy placed a higher priority on giving corporations the right to impose their religious beliefs on employees than on the rights of those employees.  In his separate, but concurring opinion, Kennedy went so far as to suggest no real harm done to women because the government could provide women with birth control under the “existing program.”

In her dissent, Justice Ginsberg called the majority opinion a “decision of startling breadth” – a point disputed by Justice Kennedy.  In fact, this ruling opens the door for corporations to impose their religious dogma on employees not only with respect to their access to healthcare, but potentially anti-discrimination laws, be it prohibitions against discrimination in the work place, or prohibitions against gender based pay discrimination.

In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Shenna Bellows, Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate for Maine, pointed out just how critical voting in this year’s election will be.

Neither your boss nor the government should interfere in your personal decisions about whether or when to use birth control.Today’s horrible Supreme Court decision disregards women’s health and opens the door to religious discrimination by employers. We need leadership in Congress who will stand up for reproductive freedom without exceptions.

Not only do we need a Congress that will stand up for reproductive freedom, we need a Supreme Court that knows employees are people and corporations are not.

In fact, the ruling not only gives legitimacy to the charade that corporations actually practice religions; it gives primacy to that fiction over the religious freedoms of human beings.  It also gives corporations a fig leaf to deny their employees access to a myriad of services and discriminate against them if it’s the corporation’s “religious” belief.  Let’s not forget this also amounts to further advancing gender based discrimination in healthcare.

As Ruth Bader Ginsberg pointed out in her dissent: “”Women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men.”

One can bet that if this case was about denying men access to the little blue pill, the all-male majority would have ruled differently.

Image: USA Today


75 Replies to “In Hobby Lobby Case Supreme Court Replaces First Amendment With Corporate Theocracy”

  1. It is imperative that we show up for EVERY election. Get these people out of power. There are sure to be SCOTUS appointments with the next two terms. We need to come out in force in November, in 2016, and beyond.

  2. Huck, so true. Women especially need to get out and vote Blue in 2014. Extremists are ruling our bodies if we don’t get out and vote Blue. This is truly pathetic, so disappointed.

  3. These are the people that think birth control pills are a form of abortion! If these people get into power all we would have is condoms!

  4. the funny part of all this is that when President Obama was elected (twice) the Repblicants thought he was going to destroy this country, he is not killing the counrty it is the conservative SCOTUS. This court have to run for office and be elected like every other public office and they should have term limits

  5. It’s long past time that they do. But, imo, this isn’t about religion. Religion is the smokescreen and a useful tool for the wealthy and well-connected to achieve their ultimate goal: 100% power.

    The goal of the Roberts Court is to kill the middle-class, rescind voting and women’s reproductive rights, and dismantle the U.S. Constitution in order to replace it with a “mother” Corporate Charter.

    Everything they do is to make corporations all-powerful and to decimate the power given to the People by our Founding Fathers. The Rightwingers have never given that dream up ever since their last attempt, now dubbed the Business Plot, to overthrow FDR and the U.S. Government – headed by Prescott Bush:

    You’ve got to hand it to these fascists (corporatists) … they don’t give up. Ever.

    And neither should we.

    GOTV 2014 and 2016 and get the corporatist puppets OUT of our…

  6. Don’t be so sure. The ultimate goal of these people is they want sex only in marriage and just for procreation. I remember a while back on this site I had a discussion with a stanch catholic who swore up and down they weren’t against contraception only abortion. I bet he is sitting back with a woody thinking almost there

  7. You do understand that SCOTUS positions are for life or until the justice steps down. The current SCOTUS justices have a good 20-50 years in their seats before there is any replacement with the exception of the only somewhat liberal thinking one in the group – Ginsberg. The 5 absolute corporate whores will be there even after I am dead (I am 60). Unless the people stop the SCOTUS from being appointed for life and make it an elected office (not appointed) we will never have a say in our destiny

  8. My beliefs allows me to not patronize these “religious” corporations on the grounds their beliefs are NOT compatible with my religious beliefs………..VOTE 2014/2016!

  9. While I agree there should be no lifetime appointments do you really trust the idiots of this country to vote for the most qualified person for the job. Exhibit A: Texas

  10. I disagree, Scalia age 78, Kennedy age 77, Breyer 75, Roberts though relatively young has had seizures. An appointment to the Supreme Court does not guarantee longevity. Ginsburg is 81 and will be leaving soon and we can’t have a republican replacing her.

    Even Thomas at 66, or Alito at 64 are at an age where health conditions could force them out. There will be appointments needed and within an couple of election cycles we could tilt the court in a different direction.

  11. Justice Ginsburg has it right. This is only the beginning. Today our country took another step in becoming a theocracy.

  12. My understanding of employer coverage under the ACA is that if your employer offers a plan that meets all ACA requirements you can still choose a plan from the exchange, but in that case, you cannot receive subsidies for that exchange plan.

    With this decision, I wonder if it is possible that if your employer plan does not offer contraception coverage, you could seek a plan on the exchange and *still qualify for subsidies*, on the basis that your employer plan does not offer the coverage required by the ACA? (That is, you should not have to seek separate coverage on your own and deal with multiple insurance companies).

    Would this be allowable under how the executive branch decides to implement the law?

    If so, maybe this ruling could be a blessing in disguise. Move more and more people away from employer-based coverage. Why should an employer have any say at all in your health decisions?

  13. The religious entities are a greater danger to democracy than any one wishes to acknowledge. The religious charter schools in my area are not responsible for anything and are not under the supervision of the state education department, consequently all they teach is: religion , language (not English) culture (not of any American roots)and the endoctrination of foreign values is detrimental to the future of this democracy. The corporations are arriving with their own management group to control the company and ensalve the few American workers that happen to get jobs there. Yet the cities clammor to get these foreign “investors” who are actually raping the system and getting help from the SCOTUS to do it.

  14. Actually, they are applying the concept that one sex (theirs) is designed solely for sexual pleasure, and the opposite one solely for reproduction (while supplying their own with pleasure). If such principles are not strictly enforced, Tiamat and her minions will burst open the gates of Ganzir, high will be made low and low, high; servants will rule masters and women will dominate men, cats and dogs will live in harmony and their whole comfy place in the Great Chain of Being will blow away like the morning dew.

  15. The right call? This means corporations can refuse to give you healthcare, raises, assistance and anything else it wants based on some “religious compunction”

    You just got screwed and you are happy?

  16. He is happy because like Ginsburg said this opens up that for religious beliefs you can ignore any law except tax laws. So his inner racism has kicked in. Now if he could comprehend that or can even read the decision that is another story

  17. We talk and talk about what we’re going to do in 2014 and
    2016, but these fascist neocon assholes are working behind the scene legally or criminally, it doesn’t matter to them, it goes on ever damn day, just to screw us and the country., we the people will NEVER be able to overcome all the laws this so called SCOTUS have either written or nullified for the necons benefit not ours. When the SCOTUS shreds the constitution its time for action. What does the constitution mean to these religious un- Americans, there is no longer a separation of church and State, and don’t touch their constitutional right to bare arms, thats the only
    amendment care about, even though they really don’t know what it says about a well trained militia.

  18. this has NOTHING to do with religion. Using religion was just a handy, convenient charade. If Hobby Lobby’s objections WERE religious based, then those pious pieces of toilet bowl floaters wouldn’t be buying their cheap plastic shinola from China.

    The bottom line is that Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to pay for the ACA mandated employee health care. They could care less about religion…ANY religion…as long as it doesn’t effect the bottom line. This is money driven politics using religion as a front at its absolute worst and that SCOTUS bought into the play is truly a sad day in our history.

    What’s more sad is that those FUNdaMENTALists actually believe that this decision IS religious based.

  19. Yes…..I too had a conversation with a man who said at his church they were discussing how the Muslims were having more children than the Christians! Meanwhile, they have 4 and counting….my thought was, gosh the earth only has enough natural resources to sustain a certain amount of life before disease and famine will kick in!

  20. Best way for progressives to fight back is to not shop at Hobby Lobby. A new massive Hobby Lobby was built in my hometown late last year. I will not be shopping there. Nothing but an import dumping ground anyways.

  21. It may be too little and too late, but there is a possible way to throw this back in their faces.

    One of the legal benefits of incorporating is to protect the personal assets of the owners of the corporation against the claims of creditors and lawsuits.

    The door swings both ways. By allowing owners to inflict their religious views on the employees of their corporations, the owners of Hobby Lobby (and other religious corporations) have left themselves open to personal liability for any civil claims against their businesses. It’s even possible they could be held liable for any criminal acts committed by their corporations.

    Given the choice of protecting their religious freedoms and protecting their money (and personal freedom), I guarantee these religious nuts will choose profits over beliefs every time.

  22. OMG. How can you see this as denying anyone the right to use birth control? I don’t want to prevent your use of birth control but I resent your insistence that I pay for it. If you really can’t afford to pay for it I’d be happy to help you out – so long as it is voluntary

  23. Dumbass its called insurance where we all pay for your stupidity.. Should I have to pay for your Viagra because your little member don’t know when the feeling is right?

  24. If we all stick together & boycott Hobby Lobby, we can make it hurt!!!
    They have no right to choose whether or not their employees use contraception!! NO body does!!
    Then they buy from a country that kills babies!! The concept is insane!! They are invested in companies that make contraceptives. Hypocrytes~~~Do not allow their business to flourish!!! BOYCOTT Hobby LOBBY!! Who really needs cheap crap from China. Give your business to Joannes, & Michaels!!! Put Hobby Lobby out of Business!!!

  25. 1-800-888-0321 Hobby Lobby customer service. Start flooding them with calls for them to refuse viagra and other RX that men use.

  26. So to hell with the Constitution only you and your god has freedom. What about my freedom not to be dumb down by your idiocy?

  27. Thomas Jefferson made it very clear that church and state shall be separate. If he were alive today, he would be outraged. With that being said, no more HOBBY LOBBY ever again.

  28. Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
    -Thomas Jefferson

  29. You **do** realize that birth control is prescribed for a number of different reasons than merely contraception, don’t you?

    And fine, I don’t feel like paying healthcare for people who smoke. Or for people who get injured while drunk. Or people who get hurt golfing. Or, for that matter, anyone who gets hurt in a car, because I believe in alternate forms of transportation.

    NOW do you see how ridiculous your comment is?

  30. NOPE, It means the People You work for cannot be forced to provide You with something they find Morally Reprehensible.

  31. WRONG, They are still obligated to provide Medical Insurance to their Employees. They ARE however Exempted from PAYING FOR a number of SPECIFIC forms of Birth Control (morning after pill and such) that they have a Moral Objection to as they consider it Abortion.

  32. So roach if your company decided for their morals to stop paying for ,lets say a vasectomy because it interferes with their gods plan to procreate you would be alright with that? If you say no its different then you have outed yourself as someone who believes women are second class citizens

  33. Religious freedom for…you, me, your friends, neighbors, family?

    If you answer “yes” to that, you’re wrong.

    Here’s a hint, William: Not even the individuals who own Hobby Lobby gained any more religious freedom from this decision than they had yesterday.

  34. Nope, it means that corporations will now find ways to cut things out that they say is against their beleifs. Do you think this stops at birth control pills? If you do, your mind needs tuning. How about Diabetes medicine? Raises, safety, your environment etc etc etc. All in the name of beleifs.

  35. BTW, the term “Morally Reprehensible” is undefinable. Thats how they will take everything you worked for all your life away.

  36. Mr. Shirtsleeves…..OMG, why is it we never hear you people say anything about insurance covering your manly problems like erectile dysfunction, after all it’s all in your head…..I refuse to pay for your Viagra!

  37. Doesn’t the ridiculous granting of personhood to non-persons lead to the logically extension of rights such as speech and now religion to what are really just pieces of paper and a legal conceit? Do they get the vote after 18 years too? The Court, if it believes these silly things, must then also conclude that the original purpose of corporations–at least when they claim these rights–are in fact frauds upon the commonweal and are simply individuals trying to escape the laws that people who do not own corporations must follow. They can’t have it both ways. The more rational ruling would be to admit the obvious: corporations are not people and cannot claim protections granted human citizens. Clearly, the 5 who voted for this believe in nonsense and should be removed and hospitalized in an insane asylum.

  38. Yup.
    And the real hilarious thing is that this “mandate” for insurance companies to cover contraception was put on the the books 12 years ago by none other than George W. Bush.
    Hobby Lobby never said a word for 10 years.
    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why Hobby Lobby sent this to the SCOTUS.

  39. Yep, they did it because a Black man is in the White House x2!

    But don’t SCOTUS says..racism in American doesn’t exist.

  40. First you couldn’t define socialism, they didn’t teach it in homeschooling and if you deny one their equal protection under the law who is the tyrant? But they also didn’t teach you the Constitution either
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  41. LOL

    And as the gop is taking his benefits away from him like overtime and others, and makes him pay higher taxes so the rich dont have to, he will still be crying socialism as if he had a clue what is was

  42. William, Hobby Lobby gets many of their items from China, where government-mandated forced abortions are a reality. Are you upset with this hypocrisy? Or maybe you’re upset at this hypocrisy:

    Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

    Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have stock holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

  43. This is just a back door way to get around laws they don’t like. Up next the minimum wage, the right to unionize, the forty hour week, overtime and of course child labor. If you think they won’t do this then you don’t know history because they claimed religion as their reason for opposing all of these changes in workers rights. Plus welcome back to the era when rivers burned because environmental laws will be on the chopping block too. The corporations have been trying to get laws on the books to overturn a countries sovereignty for decades and now the supreme court gave it to them. If we don’t fight back they will turn this into a third world country ruled by wealthy elites. Anyone that thinks this is about abortion or birth control is deluded. If the owners of hobby lobby cared about abortion they wouldn’t do business with china the home of the forced abortion.

  44. Who’s freedom? Is this the same freedom which denies citizens to marry? Is it the freedom for you to drive drunk? Is it the freedom for you to commit crimes with impunity? Is it the same freedom for your party to invade other nations and kill their citizens? Some freedom ya got there friend. I’ll pass!

  45. Dominionism will end in the trash heap of history just like previous fascist attempts on human freedom. Count on it!

  46. So, if they are assigned personhood, does that mean that they should have to pay taxes as a person too, and not as a company? Would this close some of the tax loopholes that they enjoy now? Hum. just wondering if anyone knows how that will work.

    I also resent the fact that these people and others like them are trying to tell me how to live my life. We came to this country for freedom of religion. So if mine is not the same as your, you are going to tell me I have to abide by yours because you employ me? Where is my freedom to believe how I believe? you took that away by pushing your religious beliefs on me. I know one thing. Hobby Lobby is the only craft store around for 30 miles, and I will never darken their doors again.
    Women, this is just the start of what will be taken away from us if we let it happen. what next? our right to vote? We have fought for what we have and it’s taken a long time to get it. DON’T let that fight be for nothing. Stand up and stop it now.

  47. Fertility is not typically considered a disease or disorder. It should not be covered by insurance. Covering contraception fits poorly with the insurance concept. If you are a healthy man or woman it should be your responsibility to pay for your condoms and birth control pills etc just as it is your responsibility to pay for your toilet paper. That “burden” doesn’t need to be shared with others.

  48. Fertility is not typically considered a disease or disorder

    Seems kinda easy for a man who has access to Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, Viagra, etc. covered by their employer to say.

  49. You don’t understand the many uses of contraception. You hear “birth control” and think people use contraception just to prevent pregnancy; that is not true at all. Contraception can be and is used by millions of women for reasons having nothing to do with preventing pregnancy.

    Furthermore, you don’t object to the coverage of other preventative medications do you? Things like high blood pressure medicine, cholesterol drugs, insulin, etc., are all covered at no copay because they are preventative.

    But going beyond that, the issue isn’t just contraception. The issue here is that a CORPORATION was just given more religious freedom than you yourself enjoy. Even the owners of Hobby Lobby as individuals did not increase their religious freedom by this ruling. Their COMPANY did.

    The Supreme Court gave corporations another way to shaft workers.

    Go beyond “birth control” and see this decision for what it really is. Maybe then you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

  50. To clarify:

    Contraception is preventing conception.
    Fertility treatment is a term generally used to refer to medical solutions for people who are unable to conceive and for females is rarely covered by insurance. Erectile dysfunction is always covered, often at taxpayer expense.

    Contraception shouldn’t be covered by insurance? How about maternity? You know, the result of ‘fertility’. Should insurance cover the cost of pregnancy, childbirth, well baby visits? Vaccinations?

    Just for future reference the issue of contraception from an insurers point of view is that it is a lot cheaper than the results of not providing coverage.

    From a taxpayer point of view, increased unplanned birthrate raises the costs of social & physical infrastructure significantly over many years.

    Let me guess. Did you go to public school? Ride on a school bus driving on public roads, use the public library,the Y, park, swimming pool all paid for by your parents generation?

  51. Mr Roach is correct. Hobby Lobby is not denying all contraception to their employees. Their religious belief which has no foundation in biology is that four types of contraceptives including the Intrauterine Device are abortifacient.

    However, yesterday the Supreme Court issued orders regarding other similar but not identical lawsuits, mainly filed by Catholic families and entities, which object to ANY abortifacient, sterilization, or birth-control coverage at all.

    The gate has been opened and the hordes are pouring in to impose their beliefs on your life choices.

  52. You are correct. Contraception is paid for through insurance because it is cheaper than maternity coverage.

    When birth control pills are used to treat a disorder, they are just that a treatment for a disorder.

    Erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with contraception. This non sequitur aregument is fallacious. Erectile dysfunction IS a disorder.

  53. The glimmer of hope in this obscene Supreme Court ruling is that growing corporate and religious interference in nearly all areas of American life makes it obvious that only government-provided single payer health care is the only POSSIBLE pathway to medical justice in this country. When the time comes, every American with half a brain and a modicum of education should send thank you cards to the infamous five on the (s)upreme (c)ourt who tried to take the country back to 1779.

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