Two Stinkers from the Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court - Washington D.C.

United States Supreme Court – Washington D.C.

Monday’s announced decisions from the Supreme Court show why its so important to elect another Democrat president in 2016.  Two decisions, one that favors corporate personhood over individual rights and one that limits the ability of unions to collect dues from part-time workers who benefit from Union negotiations came down on the side of conservatives.

In the first case, HobbyLobby earns the right to deny contraception to female employees as part of their health insurance on the grounds of religious freedom.  Here’s a summary from CrooksandLiars.com:

 

Arbitrary reasoning

In order to make this decision, the majority had to twist itself in knots. Here are some examples:

  • Corporations are persons, but maybe only if they’re closely held. Maybe. Corporations are established to protect the people who own them, therefore they are ‘persons’ too.
  • Corporations are religious too, my friends. In disagreeing with Ginsburg’s dissent, Alito writes that ‘for-profit corporations do seek to perpetuate the religious values shared’ just like churches do.
  • Lofty values belong to owners and employees alike Because for-profit corporations may be organized for any lawful purpose, they are not required to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and therefore may impose their owners’ religious beliefs onto their customers and employees. Alito uses the example of corporations which operate in foreign countries but impose stricter employee safety measures, or take pollution control measures beyond regulatory minimums, then says “If for-profit corporations may pursue such worthy objectives, there is no apparent reason why they may not further religious objectives as well.” Of course, neither example is one that involves dictating personal life decisions upon their employees.
  • Denying science: It is enough that the Greens and the Hahns believe some contraception methods are actually abortion methods, regardless of science. Alito argues that because the Hahns and Greens believe IUDs and three other forms of covered contraception are “connected to the destruction of the embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage. This belief implicates a difficult and important question of religion and moral philosophy, namely, 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.”
  • Contraception first, then vaccinations, transfusions, antidepressants and more! They are trying to kill the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid by the death of a thousand cuts. First it was contraception, but the majority left the door open for more challenges by carving out contraception and inviting other groups to challenge other treatments. Alito writes that “other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.” In other words, bring on the challenges, let’s see what we can do.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered a blistering dissent:

  • “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”
  • “Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”
  • “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”
  • “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”

 

One of my Facebook friends summed the ruling up this way:  To those that are applauding the Supreme Court decision today as a “win” for religion: it isn’t. You think this means “Christians” win. They don’t. This sets a dangerous precedent for bosses of other religions to enforce their beliefs on employees too. A Jehovah Witness boss could refuse coverage for blood transfusions for example and a Christian Scientist could refuse all insurance coverage since they think prayer alone will heal you. No, this decision did not make America a Christian nation — it made the people a slave to religious fanatics from every faith.

In the short term, we can hope to overturn this terrible decision in the future.  But if you consider yourself a progressive, a liberal or a Democrat, vote with your wallet and don’t patronize HobbyLobby.

 

The second ruling that impacts Unions is almost as bad, depending on your point of view.  The SCOTUS Blog has a nice summary of the case here.

From Politico:  “By a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled in Harris v. Quinn that home health care workers in Illinois cannot be compelled to pay dues to a union they don’t wish to join. Illinois is one of 26 states that require public-sector workers — such as firefighters, police officers and teachers — to pay dues to the unions that negotiate their contracts and represent them in grievances, even if the employees find the union’s advocacy work distasteful.”

Conservatives are cheering both decisions today, failing to see the bigger picture behind both decisions.  As my partner on this blog has much more experience than I on all matters union, I’ll defer to him for additional commentary on this ruling.

 

 

 

  12 comments for “Two Stinkers from the Supreme Court

  1. Sherree
    June 30, 2014 at 11:57 am

    If there’s a silver lining in today’s Hobby Lobby ruling, it’s that it may get us one baby step closer to single payer, eliminating religious and business interests in healthcare. Conservatives fail to see that while they may have won the battle, they’ve lost the war. Decisions, like last week’s Susan B. Anthony and bummer zone ruling and today’s contraception case, hasten their demise among women voters, critical to winning any election.

  2. Ltpar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Come on Dan, you liberals can’t win them all. After Roberts went sideways and gave you the Obamacare decision, he owes the conservatives a few token votes. In the end, the good , bad and the ugly all balance out? Long live the Constitution, even though the interpretation today is different from that of our founding fathers who wrote it. “Less government with limited power is better government.”

  3. Sherree
    June 30, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    The Supreme Court owes conservatives nothing, especially when it strips women of their health rights, which is exactly what they did today. Hobby Lobby can fund men’s reproductive healthcare–Viagra, Cialis, penis pumps–but not women’s. This is a dangerous precedent as physicians prescribe oral contraception as medical treatment for women, not just birth control. And what if Hobby Lobby gets sold to a public company? What happens to the rights of workers then? The Hobby Lobby decision means the religious rights of store owners trump those of its employees, a clear abridgement of First Amendment rights. The greatest Constitutional minds in the country arrived at their decision using specious, pretzel logic.

  4. RHackett
    July 1, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Pat still labors under the myth that the Founding Fathers believed in some mythical free market government.

    Pat, read some actual history. Not the tidbits fed you from who knows where.

  5. Matthew Cunningham
    July 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I didn’t realize there was a “right” to birth control, nor that it trumped our constitutionally enumerated natural right to religious liberty.

  6. Sherree
    July 4, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    We hold these truths to be self evident, that all corporations are created more equal than people, especially women. Happy Fourth of July, Matthew. Enjoy picking up the tab for birth control as a taxpayer because a private corporation won’t.

  7. RHackett
    July 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Matt,

    Can you point us to where a corporation has been baptized?

    There are a lot of things not enumerated in the Constitution we accept as the norm.

  8. MikeM128
    July 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    We see how well single payer worked for the VA hospitals……………

    I have come to the conclusion that Democrats are either evil or stupid. Maybe it is just both. Government is almost never the answer.

    Single payer is a failure everywhere in the world if you actually need healthcare. You might be in good shape if you have the sniffles, but don’t you dare really need something that costs any money.

    The Hobby Lobby decision was very narrow so lets see where it goes. RU486 is readily available and they have an issue with it that is easy to understand. If the courts continue down a slippery slope and let people stop other things that are not so cheap and easy such as transfusions then I will be there with you. We have to let this play out.

    I think it is stupid when nobody uses any common sense. I do mean that on both the left and the right sides of the equation.

  9. Sherree
    July 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Already 200-plus religious organizations have filed for birth control exemptions. Others have petitioned to be able to fire gay employees on religious grounds. So, this “narrow” decision has opened the floodgates for widespread discrimination on the basis of religion.

    Republicans will pay at the polls in 2014 and 2016 since no political party can win without the vote of women, especially single women who comprise 25 percent of the electorate.

    Lastly, I’m a healthcare communicator by profession and can tell you I’ve never heard Canadians complain about their socialized healthcare system nor the Brits their National Health Service. Every developed nation, save for South Africa, provides its citizens with universal access to healthcare. Our system drives up delivery costs, the reason we rank near the bottom of healthcare outcomes.

    • MikeM128
      July 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      You wont here the Canadians complaining about their health care. You will hear them complain about ours which they use when they really need healthcare.

      We need catastrophic health coverage plans not all in coverage health plans. No free market so costs go up. Look how cheap boob jobs and lasik have become because it is not free to all.

      We would be better off having doctors and hospitals be forced to post the cost of every procedure. Then people could shop them. The current system leaves that up to the insurance company. The insurance company makes up by charging more.

      Single payer is perfect for catastrophic coverage. They review the need and then let you die.

      Let the religious crazies act up. I don’t see the court allowing you to fire gays. As for women and their vote crying over $20 birth control pills not being free. Obama has negated that vote by inviting 1,000,000 Central Americans to come live here.

      If you absolutely need abortion pills to make your life whole I suggest you quit your job at Hobby Lobby that has a good medical plan and go work somewhere else that has a lousy healthcare plan that gives you free birth control.

  10. RHackett
    July 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I know Canadians. When they read how their healtcare is portrayed by US conservatives they wonder if it is really Canada being discussed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYOf6hXGx6M

  11. Sherree
    July 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Fascinating video. Thanks for sharing. Prescient, but audacious, that Sen. Burr would ask the number of people who died waiting for care under the Canadian system when more than 40 vets died waiting for care under the U.S. VA system.

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