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And America May Be Singing "Hello Darkness My Old Friend".

Here we go again, back to the dark ages!

If SCOTUS rules in favor of religious control over the laws that we must live under... The long period we called separation of church and state will end and back we go to living under the dictates of a religious clergy. Bye, Bye Science, Bye, Bye Common Sense, Hello superstitions presented as facts, Hello cruel and unusual punishment. Let us hope that the educated men and women on the Supreme Court will use their objective minds and not whatever dogma piques their fancy, to guide them in a decision that could negatively affect us all, no matter what belief system we follow. thinkingblue

Religious case at Supreme Court could affect Obamacare and much more
The Supreme Court will hear Hobby Lobby's religious liberty challenge to Obamacare on Tuesday. Its decision could have far-reaching consequences.
By David G. Savage
March 24, 2014, 3:30 a.m.
WASHINGTON — A challenge to part of President Obama's healthcare law that hits the Supreme Court on Tuesday could lead to one of the most significant religious freedom rulings in the high court's history.

Four years ago, in their controversial Citizens United decision, the justices ruled that corporations had full free-speech rights in election campaigns. Now, they're being asked to decide whether for-profit companies are entitled to religious liberties.

At issue in Tuesday's oral argument before the court is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide workers a health plan that covers the full range of contraceptives, including morning-after pills and intrauterine devices, or IUDs.

The evangelical Christian family that controls Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a chain of more than 500 arts and crafts outlets with 13,000 workers, says the requirement violates its religious beliefs.

Some contraceptives can "end human life after conception," the Green family says. Forcing the owners to pay for such devices would make them "complicit in abortion," their lawyers say.

More Here: Religious Case At Supreme Court

I’m not anti-Christian, but religion shouldn’t have a place in political decisions.

Excerpt: “What I am suggesting is we create and support a system where political decisions are made based on arguments that stand on their own merits without a religious crutch.  Or, to put it another way, “the Bible tells me so” is off limits as an argument.  But that doesn’t mean what you’re arguing for will have to change.  All it means is people need to use objective, measurable evidence to defend their arguments, instead of just referring to their faith (or bible) and leaving it at that.”

Read more at this link: Wave of Republican Cases

FYI: As I have noted before in this blog

After an egg is released, it has about a day to find a sperm to fertilize it. Sperm survive several days before losing their ability to join with an egg. But the union of egg and sperm is merely the first step: if a fertilized egg does not burrow into the lining of the uterus, there is no pregnancy. In fact, in an estimated 50 percent to as many as 80 percent of conceptions the fertilized egg fails to implant.

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Comment Preferences

  •  most of them don't know this (5+ / 0-)
    After an egg is released, it has about a day to find a sperm to fertilize it. Sperm survive several days before losing their ability to join with an egg. But the union of egg and sperm is merely the first step: if a fertilized egg does not burrow into the lining of the uterus, there is no pregnancy. In fact, in an estimated 50 percent to as many as 80 percent of conceptions the fertilized egg fails to implant.
    I didn't until college, where a biology professor pointed this out in lecture in far more blunt terms. he was not in favor of premarital sex, so he used this as a reason why.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:40:13 AM PDT

  •  Bad idea (6+ / 0-)

    This whole issue of abortion and health care is terrible.

    As long as we have different religions in this country, including those who follow no religion, then we should have health care for everyone, or at the absolute minimum every citizen.  Without that, we become a Theist country, no better than a country that promotes religious radicalism.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:41:45 AM PDT

  •  Their facts are WRONG. So they lose. (0+ / 0-)

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:50:50 AM PDT

    •  Maybe not, with Scalia (who puts his religion over (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rogneid

      law), Thomas, and perhaps pro-corporation Alito on board.

      •  I just can't imagine how most corporations (0+ / 0-)

        would want anything to do with this.  Does GE really crave the "freedom" to impose Jeff Immelt's religion, (whatever it is) on their hundreds of thousands of workers worldwide?  (who may have very different religious beliefs than Immelt does, and who may operate in countries with very difference legal systems, cultural and religious mores, etc.)  It's insane.

  •  We could eliminate Hobby Lobby's argument (14+ / 0-)

    by having universal, government funded, health care that is in no way tied to an employer. Problem solved.

  •  I simply do not understand (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Cassandra Waites, JerryNA, Rogneid

    this case even has standing on the grounds it's being brought up on.

    I get why Hobby Lobby can have an issue addressed by the courts, pertaining to their administration of benefits for their employees. What I do not get is how a corporation can use religion to do this.

    If you're an employer, you cannot bring your religion into the process of administering any other sort of company business to your employee, unless you are a religious organization to begin with, which this retailer is not. Right? So why should your administering of "health benefits" be treated any differently?  

    Corporations can't have A Religion. Even if it could, the separation of church and state would still have to apply to it, just like it applies to People. Corporations, therefore, cannot use the general concept of "a religious belief" of one of its employees, to dictate how they administer anything to other employees.

    What am I missing? IANAL, I freely admit I could be missing something.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 08:58:30 AM PDT

    •  these are good questions (6+ / 0-)

      SCOTUSBlog makes an attempt at trying to answer them.

      I took this from the analysis part.

      If the legal territory the Court enters in these cases is not entirely new, it is also not well traveled.  The Court has sort of assumed since 1886 — without ever ruling flatly — that corporations are “persons” in a constitutional sense.  And, over time, it has filled in some of the gaps on what rights corporations are to have under the Constitution.  But it has never said, explicitly, that they are endowed with the right to freely exercise a religious faith.

      These two cases give it the chance to do just that, if it is so inclined, and that would be a profound constitutional shift, with deeply uncertain implications.  It would, at a minimum, pave the way for businesses to choose whom they serve according to the identities of the customers and how those square with the religious preferences of the company.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

      by terrypinder on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:04:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wondered (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kfunk937, JerryNA, Rogneid

        if that might come up.

        The Court has sort of assumed since 1886 — without ever ruling flatly — that corporations are “persons” in a constitutional sense.
         

        Because THIS:

        But it has never said, explicitly, that they are endowed with the right to freely exercise a religious faith.
        So maybe we're all about to see Corporations granted formal Personhood? I know the Roberts Court is a mess, but I wonder if even they would be that stupid.  

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:43:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  While there are some First Amendment issues (4+ / 0-)

      this case is being brought under, and will likely be decided by, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton. There is a good summary here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:26:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, Rogneid

        Hobby Lobby is a corporation, it does not have a religion.

        It's also not a sole proprietorship. If it were, the owner might--might--have standing. But it's not.

        If Hobby Lobby is a corporation, there cannot possibly be any legitimate legal standing for this. OTOH, if it's about to become a sole proprietorship, someone better let the stockholders know pretty soon.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          Citizens United says that a corporation is an association of individuals and that those individuals don't give up rights when acting in concert as a corporation.

          So, I'd argue that if a sole proprietorship has any sort of religious right here, then so do people acting as a corporation.  However, I would question whether a sole proprietor has some sort of right here.

          •  Whoever said they did? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lunachickie

            I may be totally ignorant, but I don't recall seeing any laws that said that because someone was a stockowner in a corporation, they didn't have any right to free speech.

            What Citizens Divisive did was rule that even though stockowners were shielded from liability beyond their investment, they could spend corporate money as though it was still in their personal possession.

            Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

            by Judge Moonbox on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:37:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              anon004
              What Citizens Divisive did was rule that even though stockowners were shielded from liability beyond their investment, they could spend corporate money as though it was still in their personal possession.
              Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the Hobby Lobby employees pay for their benefits at all (as opposed to the company paying full insurance and other benefits for their employees) then it's not "the corporations money" that is the only money at stake.

              If that's the case, CU doesn't apply here as a precedent at all, does it?

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:45:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hobby Lobby is a corporation owned by a small (0+ / 0-)

      number of family members with similar religious beliefs on this matter.

      The court could rule that such closely held corporations should receive the same treatment as a sole proprietorship on this matter.  

      My personal view is that government should provide free contraceptives for all, the insured, the uninsured, even visitors to the US.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:31:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anon004

        way to look at this, but how could they rule that without causing serious problems for a lot of "corporations" and "sole proprietorships" in existence prior to the ACA taking effect?

        OTOH,

        The court could rule that such closely held corporations should receive the same treatment as a sole proprietorship on this matter.
        To me, that's a solid argument for throwing it out altogether--Hobby Lobby is not a sole proprietorship, it's a Corporation, which cannot have A Religion.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:41:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Corporations, therefore, cannot use the general (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie

      general concept of "a religious belief" of one of its employees, to dictate how they administer anything to other employees"

      The Hobby Lobby case isn't really about the First Amendment.  It's about a federal law called RFRA.  RFRA says that when the federal government is going to do something that might burden someone's religious beliefs (that is, make them do something that violates their beliefs), it has to do so in the least restrictive way possible.  The purpose of the law was to protect Native Americans who wanted to use peyote in religious ceremonies.  

      The question in the Hobby Lobby case, among others, is whether a corporation can have religious beliefs within the meaning of RFRA.  And if it can, whose beliefs count, so to speak.  I appreciate where you're coming from, but you're presupposing that a corporation can't have a religious belief, but that's exactly what the Supreme Court is being asked to decide in this case.  

      I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you talk about the separation between church and state/corporation.  

      •  Two points: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anon004

        First, the more "general observation", albeit on reflection, one not worded quite how I wanted to say it, I don't think...

        IRT:

        the separation between church and state/corporation.

         Basically, the point I was trying to make there was that  "if a person has to observe a separation of church and state, and if a corporation becomes a person, they would then have to observe that separation as well, just like a person does".

        But the way-more-important stuff is here:

        ...presupposing that a corporation can't have a religious belief...(is) exactly what the Supreme Court is being asked to decide
        I thought that was the ultimate bottom line, but wasn't 100% sure. In order to decide that, though, wouldn't they have to determine whether or not a Corporation is a Person before they rule?  That--my first reaction to all of it--is still something I keep coming back to.

        Do you think this ties back to Citizens United's "definition" of "an association of Corporate-monied individuals with First Amendment Rights"? If CU has to do only with "money as speech", and, if Hobby Lobby employees have any monies deducted from their paychecks at all for their health insurance benefits, then it's not just "Corporation Money" at stake here, it's also "employee earnings".  

        With that in mind, I just don't see how CU could help this case, as many have suggested will happen here. This isn't really about "money", per se, it's about "what the money is being used for". But if the bottom line is Money is Speech, then why does Hobby Lobby's money speech matter more than the money speech of their employees? Unless I've misunderstood , the employees are also kicking in part of their earned money to pay for their own insurance premiums.

         

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:36:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  People don't have to observe a separation of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anon004, VClib

          church and state.  The government does, but private people don't.  

          But moving on: yes, the Court will have to decide whether HL is a "person" for RFRA purposes.  The COA made reference to Citizens United, so there will absolutely be discussion of CU in this case.  CU doesn't necessarily bind the court, because, in theory, HL could be a person for First Amendment purposes but not for RFRA purposes.  

  •  Scotusblog is the best source for all cases (5+ / 0-)

    at the Supreme Court. The site has every brief filed and all the other information regarding the case for both lawyers and lay readers, in particular their "In Plain English" columns. The site provides information and analysis, but is not an advocate for any particular point of view.

    The information on the Hobby Lobby case can be found here:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/...

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:18:32 AM PDT

    •  I'm not smart enough to understand (0+ / 0-)

      lawsuits, so I'll ask you.
      Does Scalia have a problem ruling for Hobby Lobby??

      Justice Scalia's Past Comes Back To Haunt Him On Birth Control

      Scalia's past jurisprudence stands contradictory to the argument for striking down the Obamacare rule in question, which requires for-profit employers' insurance plans to cover contraceptives (like Plan B, Ella and intrauterine devices) for female employees without co-pays.
      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/...

      Faux News ruined my state

      by sc kitty on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:21:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Personally I don't think Scalia will have any (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kfunk937, sc kitty

        problems agreeing with Hobby Lobby in this case (if he wants to), although people who would like to see the Court rule against Hobby Lobby think he has boxed himself into a corner. I think the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 gives Scalia a handy escape hatch, based on statute not the Constitution.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:46:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The case is going to be decided on RFRA, not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sc kitty

        the first amendment.  RFRA was passed in response to the Court's holding in Employment Division v. Smith, so I don't see the argument that he's boxed himself in.  

  •  As I understand it they are also trying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HugoDog, Cassandra Waites

    to prevent the insured from even discussing birth control options with their doctors.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 09:40:41 AM PDT

    •  Mike S - I do not believe that is correct (0+ / 0-)

      Did you read that in any of the briefs filed with the Court? Unless something is in the briefs filed by Hobby Lobby it's not part of the case. This is the type of case where people on the Internet make wild claims with no basis in fact.

      NO employer can ever restrict what you can discuss with your personal physician.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:02:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the holding in the case is that employers (0+ / 0-)

        don't have to comply with federal laws if those laws mandate coverage of a medical treatment/device that the employer objects to on religious grounds, I think Mike S is absolutely right.  What's to stop Hobby Lobby from saying that it can't cover well woman visits because ANY participation in procuring contraceptives violates its religious beliefs?  That's not the claim Hobby Lobby is making, but I don't see how the court could limit its holding only to oral contraceptives.  

        http://www.newyorker.com/...

      •  I read religious hospitals tried to stop doctors (0+ / 0-)

        from telling their patients about all birth control and abortion options. Catholic-run hospitals, I believe. I read it on a Daily Kos diary several weeks ago, so I cannot give you a link- sorry. Is this so different considering insurance companies can exclude certain drugs (like PlanB or RU486) or medical procedures (abortion)? The semantics may be different, but the effect will be essentially the same- denying knowledge for an informed choice versus denying paying for a legal medical procedure, both due to the corporation's religious "views".

      •  Link. (0+ / 0-)
        The media coverage surrounding the upcoming challenges has mainly focused on the first part of that argument, as reproductive rights advocates point out that women need access to affordable contraceptive methods regardless of their boss’ personal beliefs about birth control. However, the second part threatens to have incredibly far-reaching ramifications for women and doctors in this country, too. Essentially, if Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are successful, they’ll win the right to refuse to extend coverage for doctor’s visits that include discussion about certain forms of contraception, like IUDs or the morning after pill.

        Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

        by Mike S on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 12:13:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mike - it's difficult to position Think Progress (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep

          as an unbiased source of legal analysis. There is a lot of wild speculation regarding this case echoing through the Internet.

          There is no chance that the court will in any way restrict what women can discuss with their private physician. The issue could be who pays for it.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 07:06:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is the point. (0+ / 0-)

            They will not pay for a visit where the dr discusses birth control options. Not sure if you don't get my point or don't have a problem with it.

            Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

            by Mike S on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:46:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder how the Hobby Lobby people (0+ / 0-)

    interpret Numbers 5: 11-31 ? Particularly 16-22.

    "Labor was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things" -- Adam Smith

    by HugoDog on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:13:18 AM PDT

  •  It's not just women (5+ / 0-)

    Discussion of this case focuses almost exclusively on its impact on women. If this "corporate freedom of religion" concept stands, then employers who have religious qualms about mental health care, or transfusions, or potentially other medical coverage will also be able to customize what they are willng to cover.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 10:32:03 AM PDT

    •  Don't work for a Christian Scientist or you'll get (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, anon004

      a policy that covers only prayer and faith healing... (I wonder which corporations will suddenly find religion after a bad pro-Hobby Lobby SCOTUS ruling?)

    •  A Hindu employer could (0+ / 0-)

      decide not to cover diagnosis and treatment for conditions linked with the consumption of red meat, like colon cancer.

      Mormon employers could refuse to have their health plans cover diagnosis and treatment of cirrhosis of the liver, seeing as how it's strong linked to drinking alcohol to excess.

      Imagine the nightmare this would be to administrate.  A custom health insurance policy for every company.  Not to mention what it would do to risk pools.

  •  For the good of all humanity, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937, JerryNA

    religion must lose here.

    And everywhere people attempt to inject it into law.

  •  IF SCOTUS backs Hobby Lobby (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    then it will have given a business corporation the same status as tax exempt churches.  No slippery slope there!

    Plus, they would add support to the awful situation we have in this country of having half out hospital beds falling under the catholic church's tenets.

  •  As a business owner to a friend of mine who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anon004

    is a retired CFO (female as well), our thought on this is simple. If the SCOTUS elects to see corporations not only as people, but ALSO as able to hold religious views, then the decimation of business classifications needs to come to about for those companies. Therefore, they will now face personal liability as they have chosen to classify their business as not a business, but a for profit income point for their own personal lifestyles. If you as a company do not hold the view of being a person and holding religious values, you get to have your business designated as the current business protecting classes.

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 at 11:33:08 AM PDT

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