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Collins hails Hobby Lobby ruling

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.).

“The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a victory for our First Amendment rights and the free exercise of religious beliefs,” Congressman Collins said. “Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate is an intrusion on the religious freedoms of private employers, and was decided to be what many of us expected: unconstitutional. The Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., case is another example of this Administration’s hubris and extreme overreach into every corner of our lives.”

C. M. Barons
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So in Collins' universe it's okay for the religious opinions of an empowered group to determine health insurance options for those with different religious opinions. In other words if you are in a position of authority (an employer) your employees' religious opinions are subordinate to your own. Yeah... That sure sounds like the First Amendment to me! First we get the medical establishment telling us what medical procedures or medications we may avail. ...Then we get the government doing likewise. ...Then the insurance companies decide what procedures and medications they will cover. ...Now the anonymous name on your paycheck has a say. Who's next? ...The bishop? Mr. Collins seems to care more about some people's backs than others. By "free exercise" I must assume he's talking about cheap as opposed to unfettered.

Scott Ogle
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“The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a victory for our First Amendment rights and the free exercise of religious beliefs,”

and that the rights of the religious, to deny health care to their women, shall not be infringed.

Jeff Allen
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What healthcare was denied to women today?

Scott Ogle
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From the Washington Post today, Jeff:

"The Supreme Court struck a key part of President Obama’s health-care law Monday, ruling that some companies may refuse to offer insurance coverage of specific birth control methods if they conflict with the owner’s religious beliefs."

Jason Crater
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You all seem to be forgetting that corporations are people and have inalienable constitutional rights.

C. M. Barons
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I hope you're being facetious.

Jeff Allen
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Scott, here are the facts of the case, Hobby Lobby already offered 16 different contraception class options to it's employees prior to the mandate. They never denied women access to contraception or healthcare, they simply objected to the one category of contraceptives known as abortifacients. Above that, they have always offered healthcare to it's full time employees even before Obamcare. They have always paid well above the minimum wage, $14/hr for full timers. Hobby Lobby has been a model of employer for folks looking for a good living wage with good benefits, something the left blindly looks past in companies that tow their ideological line. When an argument is intellectually inaccurate, it suffers credibility. What was Hobby Lobby's real crime? Openly declaring it's religious foundation and values in it's corporate comportment.

Ken Herrmann
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So, a Christian Science employer has the right to deny employees the option of medical care for their children.

Scott Ogle
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"They never denied women access to contraception or healthcare, they simply objected to the one category of contraceptives known as abortifacients."

You contradict yourself here, Jeff. And by what sort of reasoning should the spectrum of an employee's healthcare be tethered to an employer's religious perspective?

"What was Hobby Lobby's real crime? Openly declaring it's religious foundation and values in it's corporate comportment."

Not a crime, apparently, just the exercise of power, by those in possession of whatever their brand of religious certainty, over those beholden for a paycheck.

Jason Crater
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Indeed.

Jeff Allen
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No contradiction at all, there is a disagreement as to the use of abortifacients as contraception. Given that all other classes of contraception were already offered, there is hardly a plausible argument of denial of access.
Second, why is a Hobby Lobby employee beholden to only a paycheck from Hobby Lobby. The company makes no attempt to hide or minimize the faith aspect in their company dealings and has not changed or waivered from them. If a potential employee has reason to believe their values and the companies values might conflict, then they should look elsewhere for employment. I hold to a certain set of values that I would use in determining whether or not an employers values would conflict with mine and rightly use that to determine if I want to work there. I wouldn't be likely to apply at a company that produces pornography nor would I reasonably expect them to change the way they did business to comply with my set of values.
Third, you never answered the question. What healthcare was denied women as a result of todays decision?

Scott Ogle
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"No contradiction at all, there is a disagreement as to the use of abortifacients as contraception."

Mostly among the religious. Since you have the facts of the case, could give me the list of abortifacients Hobby Lobby will deny its employees? Apparently they regard IUDs as an abortofacient, as it prohibits a fertilized egg from finding purchase on the uterine wall. That's a bit of a stretch, so what else does Hobby Lobby call abortifacient?

Tim Miller
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Thank you, Scott, for nailing the first error used as "fact" in this decision.... IUDs are NOT "aboritfacients", which are defined as '"that which will cause a miscarriage" from Latin abortus "miscarriage" and faciens "making"'. Now I'm no doctor, but I don't believe an abortion or miscarriage is happening when an IUD *prevents* pregnancy.

The SC seems to have gone off its rocker lately concerning rights. I am a big fan of rights. But the SC has recently decided that INDIVIDUAL rights now belong to CORPORATIONS. That, quite frankly, is bullcrap.

From a legal standpoint, courtesy of this right-wing court, corporations not only have legal rights concerning financial dealings and contracts (a good thing, as that is their purpose), they now have freedom of speech AND religious rights.

A famous Republican once referred to our government as being "of the people, by the people, for the people". He'd roll over in his grave if he knew the folks working in his name now treat it as "of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, and screw the people."

(sorry - initially used a different word for "screw" - I copied this from a forum where I tend to restrain myself less than here at TheBatavian)

Scott Ogle
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My pleasure, Tim. And from Justice Ginsburg's dissent:

"Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision. 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."

"The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."

Jerry Buckman
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Those objectionable and controversial items are still available and always will be. The only difference now is if YOU want them, YOU pay for them. YOU no longer have the right to force ME to pay for them.

Scott Ogle
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"The only difference now is if YOU want them, YOU pay for them. YOU no longer have the right to force ME to pay for them."

Do you understand how insurance works, Jerry? The ACA insures mainly through private insurers.

Jeff Allen
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You still haven't answered the original question, what healthcare for women was denied by today's ruling? You can distract all you want with definitions of contraceptives but when a company offers over 75% percent of all contraception types, they are in no stretch of logic denying access, period. The ruling allows Hobby Lobby to continue to provide comprehensive women's healthcare by covering literally 100's of different contraceptives (just like they did before Obamacare). The law mandates coverage, not buffet style selection of every type and brand available.
The left hammered the right with the mantra of "stay out of our bedrooms" but suddenly goes crazy when a decision falls to us not having to PAY for EVERYTHING that goes on in their bedrooms.

John Roach
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The government has no business telling a private company that it HAS to offer medical coverage in the first place.

And if a company wants to offer medical insurance as a benefit, they should not be ordered what they must have in the plan. That should be up to the company.

Scott Ogle
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"You still haven't answered the original question, what healthcare for women was denied by today's ruling?"

That's because it's a silly question, as is evidenced when you continue:

"but when a company offers over 75% percent of all contraception types, they are in no stretch of logic denying access, period."

They would, in fact, be denying access to a (hypothetical) 25% of patient options, based on religious, not medical, criteria.

Jeff Allen
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What, BESIDES convenience and variety, do IUD's and abortifacients offer that makes them medically necessary in addition to all the others?

Scott Ogle
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"What, BESIDES convenience and variety, do IUD's and abortifacients offer that makes them medically necessary in addition to all the others?"

What's wrong with convenience and variety? And who's to make the call -- the pastor, the CEO, or the physician and his or her patient? Example: IUDs are highly effective, with a lower rate of failure, and fewer side-effects and health risks, than the regular birth control pill. Their mechanism of action is in blocking implantation of the fertilized egg. They do not cause abortion or miscarriage -- they are not abortifacients. Also, ease of use -- it's always there -- nothing to remember. Even the 'morning after pill' is not an an abortifacient . It does not cause abortion, nor miscarriage. Emergency contraception (i.e. the morning after pill) can stop a pregnancy before it starts, by preventing, disrupting, or delaying the release of an egg from the ovaries. The the morning after pill does not prevent fertilization, inhibit implantation, or end an established pregnancy. It is not an abortion pill.

As a side note, abortion is legal in this country.

Jeff Allen
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Thank you for making my point. The law required contraception coverage and Hobby Lobby met that. Nothing is wrong with convenience and variety. The law requires necessity and we are required to pay for that. Convenience and variety you can pay for on your own

Scott Ogle
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"The law requires necessity and we are required to pay for that. Concenience and variety you can pay for on your own"

I'm not sure what this means, but I sure doubt you can substantiate it.

Frank Bartholomew
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I could care less what choices HL gives its employees, but I do have a problem
when religious preference played a role, and the SC sided with it.

Bea McManis
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Hobby Lobby will not exclude vasectomy (talk about convenience) or erection medications (there seems to be a variety). Their religious convictions do not stop them from investing retirement funds tn the same companies that make the devices and medicine they are denying their employees.
Thank you to the men, on this board who 'get it'.
Govenor Cuomo and Gillebrand had press releases as well but not published here.

Bea McManis
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Howard, well written. Running this site, according to your terms of service, is your right. You publicly state that all views are welcome and that civil discourse is encouraged. Regardless of your convictions, this site will never impact the health of your readers. You are not saying that readers who do not follow your point of view must pay to post.
SCOTUS has opened the flood gates. Those who most need insurance coverage, for whatever expensive treatment, can now be denied. All the company needs to claim is a religious conviction against the treatment. Need a blood transfusion? Go for it as long as you pay for it. How about a life saving transplant? All yours if you have the money.
Hobby Lobby, and other companies, better be ready to screen applicants for like religious convictions and hire only those of like mind. Is it even legal to ask about one's religion?

Scott Ogle
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"Where is the line that the government can tell a business owner what he or she must think and believe and how best to act on those beliefs so as to operate the business in a manner best benefitting the owner and the owner's family?

If I understand what you're asking, government cannot tell anyone how they must think or believe -- I can't see it has any desire to do so. And it has no such power. It can, in certain instances, tell businesses, public and private, how they must act -- as an example, the concept and standards of 'public accommodations' written into civil rights law. Would you support the right of a hotelier, a small family concern, to deny occupancy to Jews? (Rhetorical. I am sure you would not.) Sometimes, concerning large issues, government has to act. The social contract comes at the cost of some rights, in order to secure other rights, deemed more essential. The idea and the hope is to keep the difficult (and dangerous) balance right.

PS I fully endorse your editorial practice and rights concerning deletions of posts. We may often not agree, but the Batavian does belong to you, and only a government can censor.

Bob Harker
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Simple question: Why should ANY employer be *required* to offer ANY benefits?

I'm admittedly old fashioned and believe in the concept of **free** enterprise.

"Mr. Applicant, we offer no healthcare, vacation, sick time, or other time off".

Nobody is forced to work at any given employer. The benefits aren't to your liking? Look elsewhere. Granted, this is a simplistic answer to a complex problem but I really don't understand why it is not this way.

Webster's definition of "benefits: : something extra (such as vacation time or health insurance) that is given by an employer to workers in addition to their regular pay.

Please note the word extra.

Scott Ogle
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In closing (for me) I was struck tonight by this comment of a Facebook friend:

"Well, here's the thing. A woman who does not control her reproductive life does not control her life - not her financial life, her family life, her career or her health. Reproductive health (including the timing and prevention of pregnancy) is absolutely central to women's health. And what I see over and over again is an attitude of sanctimonious, withholding, sniggering, belittling, callous, contemptuous ignorance of this fact. The disdain of the rights of women to control their reproductive lives reflects contempt of women. It's that simple. You cannot pretend to offer 'health insurance' to women while daintily pretending that women's health exists without reproductive health."

Tim Miller
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I'm curious as to what misogynists gave Scott's note thumbs down...

Jerry Buckman
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Yes, Scott, I understand how insurance works. If a benefit is covered, SOMEONE ELSE pays most of the bill. If a benefit is not covered, YOU pay all of the bill. Either way, the bill gets paid.

This huge SCOTUS decision is--to me-- about freedom. The private business owner found certain government mandated benefits objectionable, pushed back, and WON. No one is outlawing or removing those controversial products and procedures. People wanting those things can pay for them instead of expecting others to pay for them.

This isn't hard.

Jeff Allen
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That's a very moving comment by your friend but, like your arguments, are still intellectually inaccurate. The ruling by SCOTUS and the prior practices of Hobby Lobby DO NOT deny women contraception or reproductive health. I don't understand why that obvious common sense is so easily lost. It makes for great emotional talking points but simply come up short on logic. NO ONE in a position of power in this debate has said that women should not have access to contraception (please prove me wrong and find a quote). Prior to Obamacare, everyone had access to contraception. Obamacare simply made it mandatory that we all pay for it whether we used it or not and provided to women who either needed medically or simply wanted it and wanted someone else to pay for it. The small class of contraceptives that Hobby Lobby no longer has to subsidize in no way jeopardizes a women's reproductive health. It simply means that if the 100's of ones covered do not meet some personal preference, you can pay for that personal preference yourself (unless you can find a credible medical journal that states that abortifacients and I.U.D.'s are the only safe, medically necessary alternative to all other contraception).
If logic is not enough to persuade, let me use the words of our President when those on the right disagreed with the way things were going..."We won" "It's the law"

Mark Potwora
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Agreed Jerry...why all the uproar over having to pay out of pocket for these certain things that hobby lobby refuses to include in the health care plan offered to its employees. ..Hobby Lobby pays well above the minimum wage..So i assume those who need it can afford to buy it...And how many who work for this company actually have issue with this ruling...The complaints all seem to come from people who DONT work for Hobby Lobby.....Why doesn't Obama care force plans to includes heart medicine or any life sustaining medicine for that matter........

C. M. Barons
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Now that the reflexive responses are out of the way, let's look at what is really going on. The Hobby Lobby case is phase two of a patiently contrived plan to utilize the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to advance Jay Sekulow/Pat Robertson's ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice) anti-abortion agenda. The simplest part: convincing the owners of Hobby Lobby to lend their business as participant in a Supreme Court challenge to the ACA- specifically aimed at contraceptives that have been naively (and unscientifically) described as 'arbortifacients.' While a few will applaud this as a victory for fundamentalism and conservatives, it's a loss for all who believe private should be private.

And this is but the beginning.

http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2014/06/what-is-rfra-and-why-do-we-care/
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-ob...
http://rfraperils.com/2014/04/21/the-global-reach-of-religious-liberty-r...

C. M. Barons
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Yep- it's about freedom; freedom to intrude.

Jeff Allen
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"it's a loss for all who believe private should be private.". It ceased to be private when it became mandatory that every taxpayer foot the bill for free contraception. I can make the case for thousands of prescription medications that are essential to my health and millions of others (cardiac, diabetes, cancer, stroke, dementia, etc., etc., etc.) just as the argument is being made that contraception is "essential" for women's reproductive health. Those drugs I mentioned ARE essential. Often times coverage includes generic only and if you desire brand name, you can have it but you pay for it. The ruling allows Hobby Lobby to continue providing the basic "essential" contraception women need while also allowing them to purchase specific ones if they feel it is important enough to pay the difference. That's why it is about freedom. Freedom for individuals to make choices, freedom for companies to offer the "essentials" while allowing employees to ante up for personal choices. That 's not reflexive, that's personal responsibility.

Dave Olsen
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Today, I had the pleasure of catching an NPR program regarding the history behind this case. It seems that the RFRA, which is what was used to bring this case has already been found unconstitutional but continues (just as have some others, apparently the Constitution isn’t as important as I thought). The law also re-instituted the “Sherbert Test” from the 60’s. RFRA came about as a response to Smith V Oregon – 1990, A man named Al Smith was a Drug & Alcohol Abuse Counselor with a private agency dealing mostly with native American Men. He also practiced & encouraged his patients to join a Native American religion which included ingesting peyote, an illegal substance. When his employer found this out, they fired him and he was denied unemployment benefits by Oregon because illegal substance use was against his employment terms. He maintained that since it was a religious thing, he should be protected by the first amendment. The US Supreme Court disagreed & found that using peyote was against a “neutral law of general applicability” (from Justice Scalia’s Majority Opinion) meaning that since peyote was illegal for everyone, Smith would have to seek special permission from the government to practice his religion. Everyone from the ACLU and civil liberty groups took exception to this, rightfully so, also as CM mentions so did many activist Christian groups. I would have loved to been at a rally with Native American peyote chompers and Southern Baptist tee-totallers discussing religion! Sounds like a party to me. So that ends with a piece of garbage legislation with very confusing conditions that are self-serving to the Government attached to it.

Now, granted I am no constitutional lawyer or even a student, but I don’t see how the Supreme Court can entertain hearing cases regarding a law it has already deemed unconstitutional and I can’t see how the case meets the Sherbert Test conditions which they attached to it. I’m calling the whole thing bogus and political. The Supreme Court is becoming a joke and that’s an unfortunate sign of the US’s decline.

I see this whole thing from the 1990 Brown v Oregon case to the Sherbert test to the RFRA to Obamacare to this Hobby Lobby case as one big long 24 year example of how a Complex Society Collapses. Yay - we are living it

My conclusions, as a Libertarian are this:
1. If the Federal and State Governments would end their insane “Drug War” prohibition, then anyone can eat all the peyote they want, whether for religious reasons or just to help with an argument on The Batavian (how interesting could that get?)

2. Drop the Affordable Care Act, make health insurance a truly open individual market without government intervention except to make it accessible across state lines, take the onus off of employers to provide it and watch how service improves and the costs drop.

Easy-Peasy and we will never again have to endure the Supreme Court of the United States have a discussion regarding arbortifacients versus contraception.

david spaulding
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bob, it is now the law .... just the way it is...... don't like what the supreme court says? you just may need to heed your own advice and go find another country to live in.

Scott Ogle
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". . .but I don’t see how the Supreme Court can entertain hearing cases regarding a law it has already deemed unconstitutional"

But, of course, they often they do. Dave, you may want to revisit Dred Scott -- which led to the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, abolishing slavery, granting former slaves citizenship, and conferring citizenship to anyone born in the United States. Or, more clearly -- and more precisely, in this instance -- Brown v. Board of Education (1954), as the Court's answer to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), upending the doctrine of 'separate but equal". That is, the Court's delivered death sentence for Jim Crow.

Dave Olsen
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Scott: In Dred Scott, they ruled an act of Congress to be unconstitutional. Brown V Board fo Education was an overturn of a former decision. Totally different situations. This one was brought up based on an act of Congress the Supreme Court had already determined to be unconstitutional and they upheld it! What a joke.

Dave Olsen
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Sorry double post

Dave Olsen
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triple post. Sorry, new laptop - old fat fingers

Scott Ogle
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". . .but I don’t see how the Supreme Court can entertain hearing cases regarding a law it has already deemed unconstitutional"

" Brown V Board of Education was an overturn of a former decision."

Gee whiz, Dave. What is it about your own statement that you don't understand?

Scott Ogle
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"triple post. Sorry, new laptop - old fat fingers"

I hear you, my friend.

Dave Olsen
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OK Professor Picky (someone used that on me a few years back and I've been waiting to use it. :>))
I should have wrote: "I can't see how the Supreme Court can hear a case whose premise is based on a law they have already determined to be unconstitutional" To be clear Hobby Lobby's case uses the RFRA as its reason for denying the specific health coverage. Why would the Supreme Court bother with it, since they have already ruled the RFRA unconstitutional? I say its a political farce and demeans the integrity of The US Supreme Court in doing so.

Scott Ogle
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"OK Professor Picky (someone used that on me a few years back and I've been waiting to use it. :>))"

LOL

"Why would the Supreme Court bother with it, since they have already ruled the RFRA unconstitutional?"

Because they're charged with issuing answers to challenges.

(i.e. the Supreme Court ruled that this was not an adequate legal burden because the government was not coercing or punishing them for their religious beliefs.)

From Wikipedia:

"The RFRA figured prominently in oral arguments in the case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, heard by the Supreme Court on March 25, 2014.[19]. In a 5-4 decision by Justice Alito, the RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga, and 'closely-held' private companies cannot be required to cover birth control and contraceptives."

Meh.

Dave Olsen
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As an aside, my son in law has a very close friend (best men in each others weddings) who is an attorney and works as a clerk for a judge in PA. He was sent to hear the arguments a couple of months back in front of the Supreme Court and he took John (my son in law) along as a guest. I haven't had much chance to ask him his impressions about seeing arguments in front of the SCOTUS. One heck of an experience I'd imagine.

Edit: I looked up Conestoga Wood Products (thought it was familiar) it is hdqrtr'ed in PA, so that's probably why he was sent to watch the proceedings

Scott Ogle
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"As an aside, my son in law has a very close friend (best men in each others weddings) who is an attorney and works as a clerk for a judge in PA. He was sent to hear the arguments a couple of months back in front of the Supreme Court and he took John (my son in law) along as a guest."

That's very cool, Dave. And it's a great honor.

Dave Olsen
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Yes it is. His friend is a very sharp young man, we can expect great things from him. I've known them both since their high school years

Dave Olsen
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xxx

Kyle Couchman
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Howard.... please turn off the echo chamber function for this thread....thanks

Scott Ogle
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We keep hearing the Hobby Lobby ruling was no big deal, because it allowed an employer to refuse coverage for 'only' four specific forms of birth control. But additional cases this week immediately destroyed that specious argument. No, the "religious rights" of some corporations enable them to withhold legally required insurance coverage for any form of birth control.

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling....Tuesday's orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Cases involving Colorado-based Hercules Industries Inc., Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. and Indiana-based Grote Industries Inc. were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case."

"In other words, just about anything Catholics consider a sin for Catholics is justification for opting out of federal regulations."

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/07/take-two-hobby-lobby-was-a...

Jeff Allen
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Don't fret Scott, Obama is just going to ignore the SCOTUS decision anyway, he has already telescoped that. We also heard "in closing"... 6 posts ago.

Scott Ogle
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"We also heard "in closing"... 6 posts ago."

Just working to insure sure you have the facts of the case, Jeff. At least some of them.

But thanks for counting!

John Roach
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So many are upset over the court saying this company did not have to do everything the government ordered it do. How about being upset over the government ordering them to do it in the first place?

Jeff Allen
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You are right John, I guess it's a little like the frog in the pot of water.

Brian Graziaplena
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I think everyone is missing the point of what's happening here.

The real kicker behind the SCOTUS decision is, it sets the stage for government run healthcare!

This Supreme Court ruling "could spark a debate on whether the government should step in and pay for contraceptive coverage for employees of such companies, which the Supreme Court said "was permissible"."

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