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Thread: The Hobby Lobby Case

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Default The Hobby Lobby Case

    The Obama Administration claims that business owners give up their right to exercise their religion when they go into business. But religious liberty shouldn’t be confined to the four walls of your home or place of worship. As First Lady Michelle Obama said in another context: “Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday.… [I]t’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well.” She also helpfully noted that “Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of a church.” In fact, he was in carpentry, like the Hahn family.


    Arguing for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga today at the Court was well-known Supreme Court litigator Paul Clement, who led the first challenge to Obamacare in 2012. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli appeared on behalf of the government. During the oral argument, Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg seemed unmoved by Clement’s arguments. They seemed to suggest it would be no burden for an employer such as Hobby Lobby to pay a penalty to avoid the anti-conscience mandate. They intimated that a corporation could increase wages and not provide health care at all (even though Hobby Lobby has explained it provides health care to its employees as part of their desire to care for them the way God wants). If that were the case, Hobby Lobby, for example, would only face a $2,000 per employee fine, or a bit more than $25 million.


    Verrilli underwent some tough questioning by Justices Scalia and Alito, as well as Chief Justice Roberts. Scalia pointed out that there was not a single decision upholding the government’s position that for-profit corporations cannot bring a free exercise claim under the First Amendment. (Verrilli had noted that no for-profit corporation had been granted relief.). The Chief Justice pointed to the contradiction of the government’s position that a corporation can bring a claim over racial discrimination yet could not bring a religious freedom claim.


    Perhaps most interesting was a significant change in momentum once the Solicitor General was asked hypotheticals by Justice Alito. Alito noted that Denmark has recently banned kosher slaughterhouses. Would a for-profit corporation in the United States have standing to assert RFRA defenses in such a case here? At first trying to distinguish the case by saying the legislation would have been impermissibly targeted in that case, Verrilli ultimately admitted that such corporations would not have standing under RFRA. Justice Breyer seemed to not be completely satisfied with that result, asking specifically about five Muslim owners of a for-profit corporation. “I need a response to that question,” he said.


    Paul Clement closed by emphasizing Verrilli’s response on for-profit kosher slaughterhouses, noting that he could not see how that could be the law. He also made the point that Congress itself had passed RFRA, while the anti-conscience mandate was simply an agency action by the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress should really get the last word here, he implied.


    A decision in this case will likely be handed down at the end of the Court’s term in June
    Atheists tend to be against Hobby Lobby, but I think that they fail to realize that protection of religious conscience also protects atheists' right to not believe. There are places in the world where that would not be tolerated.

    PP was demonstrating because everyone has a right to contraception ... THAT is not the issue ... the issue is whether those who may not believe contraception is consistent with their religious beliefs should be compelled to pay for it for others. Indeed, the Hobby Lobby owners are NOT against contraception. They are against the abotiofacient drugs that are included in the govt definition of "contraceptives"; and they are against abortion.

    We find that abortion is covered in almost all the health care plans offered via O-care law. Without getting into the issue of whether abortion is right or wrong, it still has an impact on the health insurance premiums that everyone pays. So, those who oppose abortion on religious grounds and have a plan that covers abortion, such an enrollee in that plan is supporting something contrary to their religious beliefs for those who will use that coverage. If such a person lives in a state where no non-abortion plan is available ... could this not result in more suits like the Hobby Lobby suit? Of course, what hasn't come up yet is that with those high deductibles, those who choose abortion may be paying for it out-of-pocket anyhow.
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    Senior Member Henlee's Avatar
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    I have been having a hard time with this particular argument. I genuinely believe hobby lobby has a legitimate religious objection argument against what is being asked of them. On the other hand I also appreciate that their workers are entitled to their own beliefs and ought to be able to make their own decisions based on their own religious beliefs. In the end I do not believe the cost of morning after pills is enough to call it a denial of service. However I do feel it is a slippery slope. A mother who may need to abort a pregnancy because of health reasons should not be at the will of her employer as to if she lives or dies. I generally side with the employee, but I am not unsympathic to Hobby Lobby. I am glad I do not have to make decision in this case.
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    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    It seems to me that a company provides health insurance as part of their compensation package. When an employee receives cash payment in return for their services, the company has no control over how the employee spends that money, and they will have no control unless they are able to invent some kind of script to pay in that is generally accepted at every business in the country, but cannot be used to purchase items that the company disapproves of.

    In my mind, that is what Hobby Lobby wants to accomplish with the benefit of health insurance that they provide to their employees in lieu of cash wages. They want to impose their beliefs onto their employees.
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    Senior Member swampcollielover's Avatar
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    Buzzy,
    Be serious, insurance companies provided by companies, never provide cash! Not providing birth control pills and morning after pills as part of health insurance does not prohibit women from getting birth control or the morning after pill. The birth control pills are readily available at no cost at many 'free clinics' if one cannot afford to pay.

    This is strictly about Government forcing an institution to provide a product/service that is against their religious beliefs of the owners.

    Would be like forcing Obama and his family to eat 'pig'! If you know what I mean...

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    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    wonder if The Pope said anything about it?
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    Senior Member Buzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    wonder if The Pope said anything about it?
    Does our constitution give the Pope any authority in the matter?
    "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

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    Senior Member Franco's Avatar
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    Issues such as this one will always be around when you have government interfering with what the Free Market should be handling.

    Businesses should be allowed to provide the insurance that they deem appropriate. If a potential employee doesn't like the insurance plan a company provides, they are free to work for another employer.
    Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. Calvin Coolidge



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    Senior Member M&K's Retrievers's Avatar
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    The employer is providing and paying for the pan. As such, the employer should determine what benefits he wants to offer from the coverages available. The employee can take it or go somewhere else.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henlee View Post
    I have been having a hard time with this particular argument. I genuinely believe hobby lobby has a legitimate religious objection argument against what is being asked of them. On the other hand I also appreciate that their workers are entitled to their own beliefs and ought to be able to make their own decisions based on their own religious beliefs. In the end I do not believe the cost of morning after pills is enough to call it a denial of service. However I do feel it is a slippery slope. A mother who may need to abort a pregnancy because of health reasons should not be at the will of her employer as to if she lives or dies. I generally side with the employee, but I am not unsympathic to Hobby Lobby. I am glad I do not have to make decision in this case.
    Henlee, except for the RC church, I'm not sure that other Christian denominations object to abortions to save the life of the mother. If a mere human has to make a choice of which life to save, I cannot imagine a more difficult decision. Nor can I imagine we mere humans being infallible in such decisions.

    The slope gets slippery when one starts injecting the "psychological health" of the mother. I'm glad to have someone else (along with myself) admit that there are not easy answers for every, single situation.

    I don't think Hobby Lobby is preventing their employees from following their own beliefs. The employee is able to avail themselves of the abortifacient drugs (remember how high some of the deductibles are even on the govt exchanges), Hobby Lobby just doesn't want to participate by paying for it. The ideal situation would be that employees who want elective abortion coverage, those employees could pay for a separate "rider" at their own expense. Hobby Lobby doesn't discriminate against their employees for their beliefs, they simply do not want to embrace those beliefs that may conflict with their own beliefs.

    We can take this a step further. We see European countries now making it legal to actually euthanize children under age 12 if they have certain disabilities or diseases. Any of us who has known the pain of euthanizing one of our dogs, can we imagine euthanizing one of our children? There could be many people who would object to such practice. Would we willing to participate in that by including it in our health care insurance plans? In the case of "living wills" and euthanasia of an adult, the adult is making (we hope) an informed decision. When a child under 12 is asked to make such a decision, do they truly understand the gravity of such a decision? If the child is not capable of making the decision, the parents will make it in their stead. Since we already see this happening in Europe, can it be long before we face this same situation here?

    In the end, we also are faced with not just how we "feel" ... feelings do not always coincide with rational thought ... but a Constitution that provides protection for each human life. Perhaps the Founders were wiser than we give them credit for. In their era, they may not have had the technology to choose mother over child, but they gave us a means to attempt to evaluate such a choice with great care.

    This country was founded by those seeking religious freedom. Whatever these justices set as precedent can have far-reaching results which we don't even anticipate right now. We can only pray, or hope, that they have the wisdom to make a good decision.

    I may be nuts, but Sotomayor may be a "wild card" that no one suspects will break with ideology, but a self-described "wise Latina" could possibly do so.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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    Senior Member swampcollielover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    Does our constitution give the Pope any authority in the matter?
    Buzzy...the Constitutional issues haven't stopped Obama from doing what the heck he wants...

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