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I spent all day yesterday thinking about the SCOTUS decision allowing Hobby Lobby to dodge the mandate for contraception coverage under Obamacare, due to the supposed religious objections of the Green family. Rather than argue with people on message boards and FB posts today, I decided to hold my fire, chew it over, and lay out an outline of my thoughts on the case and the ruling, and why it’s so wrong. I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, or any other kind, so take it for what it is.

Read on . . .

1.       First off –and I can’t say this enough – companies do not “give you” health insurance. You buy health insurance through your company. The company contracts with providers, but the premium is paid through (A) your contribution, usually withheld from your paycheck, and (B) the employer contribution, which – despite the name – is legally regarded as the employee’s compensation (i.e., her money). Employer contribution is even going to be shown on your W-2 going forward, though it’s still tax-exempt. The Greens’ beliefs should not govern how an employee spends his or her own paycheck - even if it’s through a payroll deduction, even if it’s untaxed.

For that matter, there’s not necessarily an extra cost for this coverage in the first place – in many cases, the policies with coverage are the default, or are cheaper than ones without it, simply because contraception is cheaper for the insurer than the things women take it to prevent – like anemia, endometriosis, severe PMS symptoms and, of course, pregnancy.

2.       But leaving that aside, and saying (wrongly) that the mandate means Hobby Lobby is forced to “give” contraception coverage to its employees, and that this actually does present an extra cost (unlikely). We still do not exempt people from laws over their religious beliefs. Polygamists don’t get to legally marry 15 wives. The slimy nut-bags in Christian Identity don’t get to ignore anti-discrimination laws. The big precedent here was written by . . . Antonin Scalia himself, in a 1990 case called Employment Division v. Smith. The case revolved around two men who were fired from their job and ultimately denied unemployment insurance after it was learned they had used peyote as part of their religious practice. Scalia’s ruling noted:

“Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs.”
Of course, Scalia twisting himself into a pretzel to rule according to his ideology isn’t new – it’s his consistent MO on the bench – but I really expected at least five of the justices on the bench to embrace what is really a pretty bedrock, common-sense principle of law.

3.       Even if we did let people violate laws according to their religious ideals, what was at stake in this case wasn’t religious belief, but a moral one. See, a religious mandate is actually spelled out in your religion – case in point, kosher dietary restrictions in Judaism – and that’s not the case with the Green family’s objection to birth control. There is no Biblical injunction against hormonal birth control, or any other kind (no actual injunction against abortion either, for that matter, but that’s irrelevant here). What the Greens have is a moral belief derived from their religious beliefs, and granting exemptions on that basis is even more problematic (“my gods don’t require that I coke up on the weekends, but I’m pretty sure they’re in favour of it”). It would – to quote the 1990 version of Scalia again – “permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”

4.       Oh, and that belief is a lot of nonsense to start with. The Greens’ objection is based on the idea that certain contraceptives cause an abortion. They don’t. Pregnancy is a word with a precise, medical definition, as are “abortion”, “fertilization”, and “contraceptive”. The Greens are subscribing to a fringe ideology that basically makes up new definitions for familiar words so they can claim the law violates their beliefs, because without that kind of make-believe, they would have nothing to be upset over. Well, sorry for them, but words have meanings. I can’t keep a giraffe in my backyard by claiming it’s a greyhound.

5.       It’s also a little hard to believe the Greens are outraged over contraception coverage when they’ve built a company that makes its profits by buying tons of cheap consumer goods from the forced-abortion capital of the world, and which invests its 401(k) plan in companies that produce contraception (including the kinds they don’t like) and products related to actual, genuine, didn’t-make-up-my-own-definition abortion. What would Jesus do, indeed.

6.       And none of this should have mattered anyway, because Hobby Lobby is not the Greens, and vice versa. Corporations, whether they’re owned by a thousand people or two, are completely separate legal entities from their owners. That supposed wall between the two is a central point of corporate personhood. It’s why owners aren’t directly liable for a corporation’s debts, crimes, or other liabilities. To say that the owners’ beliefs should be allowed to filter into the corporation to such a degree that it can disregard laws puts a small – yet fundamental – crack in what was supposed to be a solid wall. Side note: when the Court was deciding the Citizens United case, there were tons of amicus briefs from other companies arguing in favor of a pro-corporate ruling, because they all saw the benefit of being able to funnel endless dark money into politics. On this case, not a one came forward, because they all saw the implications of putting even a hairline fracture in corporate personhood.

7.       And because five justices ignored those all those points, they’ve unleashed a ruling so ultimately dangerous they tried to do one of those “this ruling only counts for this narrow case” statements. This is bullshit on two points:

    A. There’s no legal theory supporting it. Once you rule that a collection of craft stores can become sentient and have religious beliefs, and that it should therefore get to ignore a contraception mandate on religious grounds, there’s no easy legal argument for denying that same sort of exemption to another closely-held company that doesn’t want to cover transfusions, or antidepressants – or, for that matter, that wants to ignore anti-discrimination or sexual harassment laws. What bit of legal reasoning provides a sharp dividing line between the Hobby Lobby case and those other scenarios? Well, since the Court resorted to the “because we say so” argument, you can bet there really isn’t one – we’re just waiting for the right plaintiff to come forward and create the shitstorm that Justice Ginsburg – apparently alone – foresaw yesterday.

    B. There is nothing narrow about this ruling to begin with. Calling a decision narrow because it “only affects women’s health coverage” is as condescending, idiotic and outright misogynistic a statement as I’ve heard the Court make in my lifetime. About 62% of the women who are currently on Mother Nature’s gift list are taking some kind of birth control right now – many of them for reasons that have nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy, and a whopping 99% of them will at some point in their lives. That’s 62 million women currently in their reproductive years, and of course 100% of women (half the fucking population) who were or will be – by what screwball definition is that “narrow”? That’s like calling sexual assault a “niche” crime, because, you know, it mostly just happens to chicks.

8.       And, on a side note, the GOP is full of misogynistic assclowns. No, seriously. In case you’ve missed the offensive, ridiculously ill-informed comments a lot of conservative men have been making on the subject of contraception ever since Rush called Sandra Fluke a slut for assuming that the insurance she was buying through her university should give her the option of the same contraception coverage as the faculty of that university had on their health plans, trust me – it’s been a tidal wave of Neanderthals crapping out their mouths. And today, hopped up on sweet, sweet victory over women and their scary girly-parts, they couldn’t help icing that cake. Here’s just a couple of gems:

“It was a tough choice today.  Celebrate Hobby Lobby by going to Chick-Fil-A or making my wife make me a sandwich. #CFAFTW

— @EWErickson”  (Erick Erickson, conservative blogger and editor-in-chief of the site RedState.com and a FUCKING CNN CONTRIBUTOR)  

"Against women?" No, more like "against freeloading bitches." #LiberalLogic

— @mikeliberation

“Ohmydeargawd, women might have to go to Target for birth control. #MiddleAges - @NolteNC (conservative blog Breitbart.com contributor John Nolte)

 “Somebody get eyeballs on Sandra Fluke. She may do something dumb. After all now she has to pay for her own birth control.” - @ericbolling (Fox News host)

That’s just the tweets. You don’t want to know what talk radio, the blogs, the editorial columns and the message boards in echo chambers like Free Republic are saying about this issue. You don’t. You really don’t.

So the final verdict? This decision sucked. And it’s going to have long-term repercussions so suck we can’t even imagine them all yet. And it’s just another example of how terrible an appointment Roberts was to the High Court.

I wake up today with only one consolation - that things like this build backlash, and backlash makes change.

Let's hope.

Originally posted to Dark Armadillos of the Soul on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 04:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing, Barriers and Bridges, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Alms (279+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egg, Angie in WA State, Sylv, Kascade Kat, ogre, Subterranean, Shockwave, celdd, mzinformed, elfling, Matilda, Heart of the Rockies, RubDMC, Babsnc, afox, justme, amsterdam, highacidity, FriendlyNeighbor, aitchdee, annan, Bring the Lions, kj in missouri, houyhnhnm, Catte Nappe, papercut, rlharry, lcrp, wordwraith, Diana in NoVa, zerelda, side pocket, Hillbilly Dem, Steven D, Josiah Bartlett, babaloo, Gowrie Gal, sb, rapala, Bluesee, radarlady, Lying eyes, PsychoSavannah, dewtx, eru, bleeding blue, Sun Tzu, Fury, ladybug53, Kayakbiker, blue jersey mom, not a lamb, peacestpete, bently, elliott, Orinoco, cybersaur, edwardssl, Themistoclea, rebelle, New Rule, Naniboujou, Rosaura, NCJan, katrinka, doing, camlbacker, Matt Z, ruscle, ktowntennesseedem, jennyp, onionjim, exiledfromTN, suejazz, FindingMyVoice, yawnimawke, Habitat Vic, Smoh, ColoTim, Bethesda 1971, lu3, sviscusi, dandy lion, wxorknot, august88, susakinovember, Only Needs a Beat, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Spit, LuvSet, soaglow, Wee Mama, notrouble, LynChi, BlackSheep1, StrayCat, Tonedevil, kfunk937, leonard145b, Ricochet67, AlwaysDemocrat, carolanne, moonbatlulu, nomandates, Vicky, Steveningen, Munchkn, Debs2, Phoebe Loosinhouse, PrometheusUnbound, smokem2271, ItsSimpleSimon, offgrid, djMikulec, Linda1961, myrmecia gulosa, genethefiend, novapsyche, zukesgirl64, Panama Pete, basquebob, Ditch Mitch KY, davis90, Dbug, psnyder, bbctooman, TX Freethinker, Mad Season, cai, fixxit, YellerDog, Alice Venturi, wenchacha, boomerchick, akmk, HCKAD, reflectionsv37, TexasLefty, Simplify, Sapere aude, La Gitane, OjaiValleyCali, AnnetteK, Clues, stalegranola, Randtntx, samanthab, Carol in San Antonio, Jollie Ollie Orange, laurel g 15942, mikidee, gypsyrose, Yasuragi, blackhand, technomage, CJB2012, jomi, FarWestGirl, NoMoreLies, hbk, DFWmom, Pariah Dog, JerryNA, splashy, Sailorben, metalnun

    Alms for the poor scribe.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by Jaxpagan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:53:50 AM PDT

  •  Compensation isn't necessarily money. (18+ / 0-)
    the employer contribution, which – despite the name – is legally regarded as the employee’s compensation (i.e., her money)
    It's compensation, but it's the provision of an in-kind benefit, not money. (and if it were money, it would be subject to tax rather than excluded from income)
    The big precedent here was written by . . . Antonin Scalia himself, in a 1990 case called Employment Division v. Smith.
    That decision wasn't applicable here. Smith was overturned by Congress with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was what the case was about.
    There is no Biblical injunction against hormonal birth control, or any other kind
    The courts aren't allowed to figure out which religious belief is theologically correct, hence the "sincerely held belief." The only question is whether the belief is sincerely held, rather than whether it is a correct religious belief.
    which invests its 401(k) plan in companies that produce contraception
    Unlike w/ insurance, the 401k funds really are the employees' assets, and the MidAtlantic Trust Company is trustee. Hobby Lobby is just the sponsor of the plan. Part of their fiduciary duty is making sure that the employees have access to investments. And as the DOL stated years ago, sponsors are not allowed to let their personal beliefs interfere with the employees' investments. ie, they can't only allow "moral" funds if those funds would perform worse.

    Second: it's a mutual fund with indirect holdings. By those lights, Elizabeth Warren owns bank stock and invests in foreclosure. If you want to go down that route, you should apply it consistently.

    •  Except for one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yoduuuh do or do not, ColoTim

      Points 2 through 8 are very strong, but I do question the first point, which is that employees are just buying insurance through their employer.  If the employer is self-insured, they are just paying the insurance company to administer the coverage, but the company actually is paying out the claims themselves.  Hobby Lobby is large enough that it could be self insured, although I don't know if it is.

      That said, the rest of the argument is quite compelling and makes the case effecitvely that this Supreme Court decision is wrong, even without the first point.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:30:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "There’s no easy legal argument " (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer, Sparhawk, odlid

    There hasn't been an easy legal argument for infringement since RFRA was enacted, and for good reason.  Are we really that offended by the notion of subjecting laws of general applicability to strict scrutiny?  The whole point of the test is that government can infringe on certain liberties provided it shows it is pursuing a compelling interest in a narrowly tailored, least intrusive fashion.  We know, in this case, that the least intrusive approach was not taken: TPA exemptions could be extended to every company.  And the cost is minimal to the state and employer--in fact, I'd imagine most employers wouldn't bother because it'd actually end up costing more in administrative headache--and absolutely non-existent to the employee (who gets the coverage with no out of pocket costs period).

    Let's be honest, the main reason for denying the exemption is because we want to stick it to smug, self-righteous people like the Greens.  Because we find the notion of the other side winning even this small thing offensive.  And because we're going to milk a caricature of the decision for all its in 2014.  Fair enough, we're human beings and we're playing to win.

    •  Because When Our Side Loses, People Get Hurt and (25+ / 0-)

      worse. When their side loses, dollars cry.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:23:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But if corporations are people... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hatrax

        ...then surely dollars can feel pain and sorrow.

        On that basis, this was clearly a humane and compassionate decision.

        If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

        by TexasTom on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:31:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't be ridiculous (32+ / 0-)
      the main reason for denying the exemption is because we want to stick it to smug, self-righteous people like the Greens.
      The main reason for denying the exemption is because there are many of us who think women should have safe and inexpensive access to birth control, something, by the way, some of us have fought for our entire lives.  I remember when we didn't have it.  I remember when we won it.  And now I get to remember when we lost it.
      •  Shaky ground (0+ / 0-)

        Is that feeling of security worth so little that you would want it based in an administrative action that violates enacted legislation?

        Or, would you prefer that it be raised to the status of actual legislation?

      •  Then one of us is misunderstanding ACA (0+ / 0-)

        As far as I can tell, extending the exemption does not change a thing.

      •  Women's access to birth control (12+ / 0-)

        And while we're talking about how this affects 99% of 50% of the population at one time or another in their lives, let's not forget that when a woman uses birth control, it also benefits her partner--who happens to be a man.

        As far as yesterday's decision?  No matter how many people, men and women, benefit from and rely on birth control, a corporate person will always be immune from waking up in a cold sweat the morning after because they didn't have or use it.

        History is a guide, not a destination.

        by NCJan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:07:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This^^^^^^^^^^^^nt (0+ / 0-)

        Proud to be a Democrat

        by Lying eyes on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:39:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I feel women should have their whole health (7+ / 0-)

        cared for - and they shouldn't be penalized because they have different plumbing than men do.  It's ridiculous to me that a woman has to have problems getting some health issues covered, where men don't.  I really don't care whether it has to do with sex, reproduction or whatever.  I want my wife's health, all of it, taken care of.  The fact that these pills (one of the things HL objects to) have multiple medical purposes means that HL is inserting their moral beliefs into a decision that should be solely between a woman and her healthcare provider.

        •  Bravo for you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim

          I get so upset that it is only women's health when legislators want to override the recommendations of doctors and scientists that get effected ... Congress and state legislatures are continually creating problems for women over reproductive issues but never for men ...

          and it is justified on the grounds that some people believe that a just fertilized egg is a person!  but there is no science that supports that... there is no consensus on when a fetus becomes entitled to all the rights of a person

          so men use that to oppress women ..

          Give your heart a real workout! Love your enemies!

          by moonbatlulu on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:31:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I took this approach with my wife. (25+ / 0-)

      I looked at the decision and thought all of the things that you have just said.  My wife was very upset with the court's ruling, so naturally I wanted to reassure her that it wasn't so bad.  After all, I am the lawyer in the house.  So I began explaining to her just as you have done.

      Suddenly, I found myself hopelessly eating my own head.  I found myself contradicting myself.  Suddenly, I was forced to say to myself "Self, you are talking utter bullshit. This ruling is without legal or logical foundation.  Period."

      I tried to see it your way.  I really tried!

      A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

      by legalarray on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:21:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know if you did that bad (0+ / 0-)

        The majority opinion is frustrating in its willful acceptance of religious rights for corporations, but you can blame RFRA for that.  If anything, parsimony favors dismissal of the attenuation argument, and can anyone really dispute that there are other, less intrusive alternatives to the mandate?  Hell, HHS rulemaking already has one.  

        At the end of the day, what's more important?  That birth control be widely available and free of out of pocket costs, or that Hobby Lobby directly cut a check?  Winning this case would've been a major symbolic victory, but the war was one years ago.

        •  Hobby Lobby NEVER cut that check to start with (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Back In Blue, StrayCat

          Hobby Lobby made a choice of providers and refused to allow its employees access to policies covering birth control.

          The corporation gets a choice. The woman doesn't.

          That's the simple bottom line of just how fucked up this decision is.

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 04:56:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They'll say her choice is to go work elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

            if she doesn't like it.  And my choice is to never step foot in their door again.

            "Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, side-show freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We're in the boredom-killing business!" -- Howard Beale, Network

            by Hazel Flagg on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:55:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And now HL's employees will get a choice (0+ / 0-)

            once HHS rewrites the rules.

            HL and the reactionaries may have won a symbolic victory, but at the end of the day ACA stands.  And this decision does nothing to change that.

        •  The legal principle is important to me. (0+ / 0-)

          When a majority opinion says that this case shall not be a precedent for other plaintiffs objecting to other laws, they are simply admitting that the decision is  result oriented and not based on any legal principles of general application.

          I certainly do blame the RFRA.  "Accommodating" religious objections to general laws violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. At least, that was my opinion before Hobby Lobby.

          A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

          by legalarray on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:02:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Except that's not what the majority said (0+ / 0-)

            They said that this case was decided by applying the strict scrutiny standard required by RFRA, and that a particular federal regulation (not law) may rise and fall based on that application.  Can that ultimately be a result-oriented back door?  Possibly.  But before it gets to that, you have years worth of journeyman work to do in the lower courts--all of which are going to gleefully pick apart the opinion and the dissent in an attempt to force some sort of bright line.

            Anyone can use RFRA regardless of religious affiliation can make use of it.  It's bad law, it's a pain in the ass, but it's not unconstitutional.  Hell, it's probably not even fatal.  Is it even physically possible for the courts not to devise some sort of objective test after Burwell?

    •  Actually, there are multiple good reasons... (25+ / 0-)

      ...to oppose this decision.

      Starting with the cold, simple fact that a corporation cannot practice a religion.

      For those who believe otherwise, I'm really looking forward to seeing the pictures of Hobby Lobby being baptized into its faith.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This (29+ / 0-)

        The problem with this case is that we're starting to mix up people with corporations in ways that benefit them but keep them separate in ways that would harm them.

        For example:

        "Closely held" corporation goes bankrupt and has massive debts. Go after owners personal assets for the debt? Nope, corp and owners are separate!

        "Closely held" corporation doesn't want to provide a benefit because owners have a religious belief? Ok, because corp and owners are same!

        This isn't anything new, of course - companies have long been shielded in this country from failure in a variety of ways. But this is a new door being opened with potential for many different ways of doing damage.

        "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it." - Sideshow Bob

        by ThinkerT on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:42:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I'm personally wondering what happens (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rduran, StrayCat

        If half of the Greens were to suddenly convert to another religion, like Hinduism or Islam.

        Which half of the owners gets to run their beliefs roughshod over the others?

      •  What about the people paying for insurance? (10+ / 0-)

        I'd imagine that there are a few companies that pay 100% of the health insurance bill, but for the most part, employees pay for it as well.  They MUST do this...it's the law.

        So with 2 entities paying for the insurance and having conflicting religious beliefs, who wins?  The Christian, of course..the corporation, of course.  Never mind that the actual health care is personal to only one of the entities.

        The supreme court has said, "The corporate person trumps the personal person in matters of money and religion."

        •  Doesn't matter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat

          The mandate requires the insurer to bear the cost.  That's why this whole row is silly in one respect. Hobby Lobby is objecting to paying for a group plan that includes these drugs, but a plan without it will cost just as much.  So HHS comes out with a rule (for the previously limited set of exempt entities) providing a separate channel for "icky bitty women parts" money that theoretically the employer doesn't have to pay to provide.  This gets weird for the self-insured, but effectively boils down to a reimbursement scheme between a TPA and the feds.

          •  Assuming they apply it to this (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not convinced it's a "given", but I hope they do.  It bothers me for the future though, and I'm hoping it doesn't lead to trouble.

            The two types of plans are different, they can't possibly be identical in cost.  I've seen arguments that the one without birth control is actually the costlier plan, as it may have to cover more pregnancies, but who knows?  In any case, they are different plans with different costs to the insurer.  At some point will insurance companies want government stipends for providing this "extra coverage"?  Will it have any impact on the 80% payout rule?

            I think those are some of the worms in the can.

            •  Why wouldn't they? (0+ / 0-)

              I'd like to think that the HHS we own lock, stock and barrel isn't going to screw people over to make a point.

              Sure the plans can be identical in cost.  Why would an insurer price a non-contraceptive plan lower when purchase of said plans actually reduces overall payout?  But that said, the TPA work around--less negligible administrative costs--leaves things such that the contraceptive and non-contraceptive plans + TPA benefit are essentially the same.

              •  lol (0+ / 0-)

                We don't own anything lock stock and barrel.  Sometimes we get control of some things, and even then if we piss off the Rs too much they just start defunding shit.

                As to cost, we don't know what their real costs are.  (And to be clear, I'm talking about their cost...not what they charge.)  When they run their numbers they may find it's more expensive for them to NOT provide birth control coverage.  Or as you pointed out above, it may be less expensive for them to have a non-contraceptive plan.  But the costs to them can't possibly be the same for 2 plans that aren't identical.

                •  By "said plans," I meant contraceptive ones (0+ / 0-)

                  Reducing incidence of pregnancy has an obvious (pregnancy care is one of the most expensive, routine factors in insurance outlays) and measurable, negative correlation with insurers' bottom lines.  

                  Yes, you can tally up cost of final goods and services for any particular plan, but insurers--just like any bulk consumer--don't account expenses like that.  That's why there's bounded variation in insurance offerings in the first place--even more so since ACA has narrowed the field.

                •  For all intents and purposes, Democrats own HHS (0+ / 0-)

                  That's how we got the current implementation of the mandate in the first place.

                  •  I find that a strange approach (0+ / 0-)

                    as if only what's happening now matters.  We've owned it, we've lost it, we've owned it again, we'll lose it again.

                    Maybe, having been interested in women's reproductive rights for over 40 years, I take an excessively long view of things, but hell, we could lose it in 2 years time.  It's not a stable body to rely on where women's rights are concerned.  Imagine if HHS controlled civil rights in this country...nobody would confidently say "we own it" if the voting rights of minorities were on the line.

                    •  That may be true (0+ / 0-)

                      But then that maybe true of just about anything.  The mandate. ACA. Roe v. Wade. The Civil Rights Division.  The Courts. Congress.  The Presidency.  Nobody said the world owed anyone a flawless, final victory, free of having to defend gains against reactionaries.

          •  Also, that has me wondering... (0+ / 0-)

            if that's the case, why does this have to go to the supreme court anyway?  If the mandate to provide birth control is on the insurer, and it's at their cost, wouldn't it be the insurer's religious principles that are in question then?  They're the provider of the insurance coverage for birth control.

          •  Except that Hobby Lobby is self insured (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clues

            meaning that technically it is paying the cost.

            Now, you can say HL could switch to third party, pay less, and wash its hands of the problem....but the SCt doesn't require the corporation to take any steps at all.  Rather, having made this problem for itself practically, HL has the right to demand the government find a way to fix it that doesn't burden HL at all.

            Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

            by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:43:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's where your TPA and the Feds come in (0+ / 0-)

              The TPA is reimbursed by the Feds for cost of contraceptive coverage, effectively cutting the employer out from  underwriting anything under the mandate.  And as far as the feds are concerned, this is a cost-saving measure.

              So yeah, HL gets the government to fix it without lifting a finger (or will if Little Sisters of the Poor prevails).  So what?  HHS can fix it with the wave of a pen.

              •  HL doesn't have to allow a work around. (0+ / 0-)

                That HL could be provided with a work around is neither here nor there.  Under the ruling, HL doesn't have to have a work around.  It doesn't have to cooperate to create one.  That's why the SCt suggested that the USG could  have a contraception program; that's the only way to have a work around that does NOT involve HL's cooperation.  

                Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

                by Inland on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:19:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why do you need HL's cooperation? (0+ / 0-)

                  Also, it's premature to say whether or not regulation can compel HL's cooperation (in providing notification to a TPA). That was not at issue here, though it is at issue in Little Sisters. Even then, that's not even remotely problematic.

      •  Then blame RFRA and the definitions in 1 USC 1 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        notrouble

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/...

        "the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals."

    •  The least intrusive choice was taken. The cost of (0+ / 0-)

      premiums for insurance was not different depending on whether contraception was included.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:05:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And what's up with the men cheering this? (24+ / 0-)

    Oh that's right. According to them all women are "sluts". SO SICK AND TIRED of rwnjs,fundies, and the mens rights guys.

  •  Smith was overruled by the RFRA. (6+ / 0-)

    ...which was a gigantic middle finger to Scalia, which he's taken relatively in stride.

  •  Wrong on almost every level (5+ / 0-)

    First, the decision was under RFRA not the First Amendment.  RFRA was passed by Congress to overrule Scalia's decision in Smith, to the limited extent Congress could do so.  As a result Smith is not the relevant precedent and Scalia votes the other way.  Under the First Amendment, because of Smith, Hobby Lobby gets tossed out of court.

    Second, religious belief has nothing to do with organized religion.  Because of the First Amendment, there can be no preferred religion and therefore whether a deeply held belief is part of an organized religion or not (i.e. is what you term "moral" instead of  what you term "religious") is not relevant.  All that is required is that the belief be deeply held and sincere.

    I could go on but...

    •  Counterpoint (20+ / 0-)

      I didn't cite Scalia's Smith ruling as binding to this case, just to show his mindset when we're talking about peyote vs birth control. If he wrote in either decision that his hands were tied by the then-current law, it wouldn't be worth mentioning, but Scalia being Scalia - finding a way, however Byzantine, to rule according to his preferences - I think is perfectly appropriate to call out in this case.

      RFRA does change the legal landscape, but that's far from mandating this ruling. Plenty of challenges to law - such as Adams v Commissioner or Miller v Commissioner. And at least those cases involved actual people - this ruling applied to a corporate person who - no matter how much people want to conflate them - is not the same thing as the Green family, and that leaves open an ugly door.

      And my point is that this ruling puts the government precisely in the position to have to determine what a "real" religious belief is.  If it were a mandated religious requirement (e.g., kosher, again), that would at least be less complicated, but when you open the door to any vague moral belief as a path to an RFRA claim, even if the vast majority of your co-religionists don't share it, then your choices are A) inspect each claim as to whether it's a "valid" belief, however we'd define that, or B) just say fuck it, and let anybody opt out of laws anytime they're savvy enough to claim a "sincerely held belief".

      As a minority religion, I'm particularly sensitive to religious freedom issues - but I'm also sensitive to getting the  government involved as some kind of religious referee, which is what this ruling will ultimately accomplish. That sort of thing, in the subject of tax exemption for churches, is how the state of Texas ended up yanking the tax exemption for the Unitarian Church because it was, in the Commissioner's view, not a "real" church.

      "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by Jaxpagan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:32:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different laws equals different results. (4+ / 0-)

        Let's use a hypothetical: Imagine I'm arrested and I appeal my condition by arguing that the Fifth Amendment requires that my police questioning be videotaped to be admissible.  The Supreme Court rejects my argument.  Then imagine that Congress hears my argument and passes a law mandating the videotaping of all police interrogations.  If another person comes along and appeals their conviction because their confession wasn't videotaped, it isn't hypocrisy or inconsistency for the Court to rule the other way.  

      •  Trying to get my head around it all (0+ / 0-)

        And not being a lawyer...I found the following article rather helpful, not least because it addresses much of the issue of "sincerely held belief" while having nothing to do with the Hobby Lobby or birth control issue.
        http://www.avvo.com/...

        “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:07:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I almost caught it... (12+ / 0-)

      (Note: I posted this comment to another diary on the Hobby Lobby decision; I think it fits here as well)

      Notice how every comment that's posted here starts out by raising a seemingly valid, apparently logical point or concern, but when we try to explore it more deeply, in an examination of its underpinnings and ramifications, our discussion becomes markedly and frustratingly circuitous. Therein lies the real peril in this awful decision, including its antecedents, and, soon enough, its progeny. Justice Alito got the result he wanted by judicially chasing his own tail. In trying to figure out what it all means to us, at least in any reason-based sense, we end up doing the same thing.

      Ooh, just missed it that time...

      There is no logic to this decision. There is no understanding it, except as what it actually is: a dumb idea. But one that follows on the heals of a long history of dumb ideas.

      Dammit, quit moving...

      Here's the quick, admittedly incomplete and half-baked list that I come up with:
      -Corporations have human rights, but don't have human obligations.
      -Owners of corporations are protected from the consequences of their corporations' worst conduct.
      -The government can interfere in a variety of ways with a whole host of individuals' rights; corporations, not so much.

      And ultimately:
      -Employer-based, insurance company-managed health care is the best way to deliver wellness to the humans.

      I think I'm gaining on it...

      •  Definitely not that last part. (0+ / 0-)

        Employer's need to be removed from the health care business.

        America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, uh...um...and if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

        by Back In Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:12:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  we've just learned that hobby lobby == the greens (6+ / 0-)

    I'm waiting for the first case to test this point that is not in hobby lobbies interests...

    "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

    by ban48 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

  •  Sometimes you can win by letting go... (15+ / 0-)

    Romney keeps repeating 'corporations are people', the Green's went to the supremes and argued hobby-lobby == us.  Sometimes the best defense is to surrender.  Stop fighting that corporations are separate entities and admit they really are their owners, and start holding their owners accountable for their actions.  Quit fighting what they are claiming and take them up on it....

    "Wrong, Do it again!" "If you don't learn to compete, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't learn to compete?" "You! Yes, you occupying the bikesheds, stand still laddy!"

    by ban48 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:00:55 AM PDT

  •  A very well written piece. Perhaps a better (7+ / 0-)

    example of a comparative would be conscientious objectors.  While they may be released from service, as a taxpayer they are not released from their obligation to pay taxes that will go to the Pentagon.

    "We know too much to go back and pretend" - Helen Reddy (humble cosmos shaker)

    by ditsylilg on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:07:30 AM PDT

  •  And when it's not just corporations? (4+ / 0-)

    Is this some sort of attempt to dismantle the ACA mandate?

    Can a private citizen who must buy private healthcare object to having to purchase a plan that includes birth control as well?  What if there are no plans available to them that do NOT include birth control?  Are they allowed to dodge the ACA mandate then?  Will the government declare that every healthcare plan in the country offer an option without birth control?

    And then what about the next religious objection?  And the next?

    •  You're close (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clues, nicteis, PsychoSavannah

      but I don't think you're quite there. There's a difference between something just being part of a plan and being an active participant in that part potentially being utilized. In the individual's case, they can just choose to not utilize that part. However, in the Hobby Lobby case, the point was that they couldn't prevent that part being utilized by their employees.

      However, I think the argument can be modified slightly to work. Say a father of a 22 year old daughter objects to plans being required to cover birth control because he wants his daughter covered under his plan but doesn't want her to have access to birth control for religious reasons. How is that different from this case?

      "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it." - Sideshow Bob

      by ThinkerT on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:50:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And those arguments have already surfaced (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clues

      "Why must I have a plan that includes birth control or pregnancy services when I'm not ever going to use them?". Nobody's challenged it legally, that I know of, but this case might well encourage some to try.

      “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:48:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That argument (0+ / 0-)

        is an obvious nonstarter. One could list a large number of diseases or conditions that someone could substitute for "birth control or pregnancy services" in your construction. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment comes to mind. You're ignoring a primary goal of insurance and that is to spread the cost of an event over a large pool of insured individuals.

        If, however, you crafted your argument to distinguish between the coverage of services related to sex, that is, again, a path with many conditions that are rightly covered in almost all health insurance plans. For example, women can't develop penis or testicular cancers so why should they pay for the coverage? The examples could go on and on, but the point is these conditions are all covered risks and the costs are spread among the entire pool.

        You don't want to pull that thread. I highly doubt that the courts are going to entertain any question like you suggest simply because the plaintiff has no need for coverage relating to a particular condition.

        Alcohol preserves everything ... except secrets.

        by august88 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:05:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A non-starter argument for you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akmk

          A whole  lot of people don't seem to grasp the way insurance works. 'Why should I, as an elderly male pay for mammograms?' 'Why should I, as a young female, pay for testicular cancer?'  

          A colleague of mine was griping about some of the coverage requirements -while he and his young wife were expecting their first child! I pointed out to him that as an older woman I had no need of the support our insurance would be giving him, but I was happy to pay into the pool for his young family. Did he resent paying into the pool to help me get my cataract surgery?  (I never heard back from him on that)

          “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:28:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Backlash makes change" (11+ / 0-)

    I'm holding onto that thought for dear life.

    You better brace yourselves for a whole lotta ugly comin' at you from a neverending parade of stupid. - Motormouth Maybelle, Hairspray 2007 -

    by FlamingoGrrl on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:43:47 AM PDT

  •  Part of this I don't understand, (11+ / 0-)

    why didn't the attorney's arguing before the SC attack Hobby Lobby for their lack of sincerity?  Their beliefs obviously aren't sincere, since they buy goods from "abortionists," invest in contraceptive makers, and until very recently purchased employee health insurance that covered contraception.

    It seems like it would have been a cakewalk to prove that HL's beliefs are not sincere.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:25:12 AM PDT

    •  Maybe they did (0+ / 0-)

      The counter-argument might have been "undue burden". Maybe it was argued that the need to screen every potential investment, purchase, etc, for that criteria would have presented an undue burden for the operation of the business.

      Not saying I buy or believe that, but it's the argument I could see.

      "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it." - Sideshow Bob

      by ThinkerT on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:05:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The defense agreed to it. (0+ / 0-)

        The defendants stipulated that Hobby Lobby met the sincerely held religious belief test. This happened before the SCOTUS got the case.  I'm sure the defense thought they had a good reason to, but I doubt they think that now.

        America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, uh...um...and if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

        by Back In Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:19:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's not the standard. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, akmk

      Actually being sincere doesn't seem to be part of the standard.

      Just say Jesus a lot, and act like you're better than everybody else, and you meet this court's requirements for sincerity.

      I know it makes no sense, but it's all part of the awesomeness of God's mysterious plan.

      Patriotism is the FIRST refuge of the scoundrel.

      by Tony Seybert on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:13:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmm, I thought it was (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hillbilly Dem, Subterranean

        I thought part of the decision was weight on the apparent sincerity of the beliefs. I could be mistaken, tho.

        "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it." - Sideshow Bob

        by ThinkerT on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:39:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You could be mistaken about some things (0+ / 0-)

          But in this instance you aren't.

          “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:44:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's what I thought, too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, akmk

          And possibly the greatest folly of this decision.  If belief sincerity is to be a seat of the pants judgment, then what it really means is that Christianist beliefs are sincere, but those others, not so much.

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:25:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There may be a silver lining (0+ / 0-)

    for the native Sioux Tribes of the Dakotas.  http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/...

    The ruling opens the door for the religious setting called the Black Hills, a sacred place for the tribes that is the heart of their religious beliefs.

  •  Here's what the majority opinion hinges upon: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, Catte Nappe, Inland, akmk
    ....no conceivable definition of 'person' includes natural persons and non-profit corporations, but not for-profit corporations.
    This in response to HHS's admission that non-profit corporations could be considered persons for the purposes of the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act.

    That was a poor framing, because it opened the door for quibbling opinion from a majority bent on erasing the distinction between for-profit corporations and people.

    The question isn't one of definition, but effect.   It is reasonable to include some non-profit corporations like churches under the term "persons", not because they are persons in the sense that the law's meaning, but because they exist as instruments for individual religious expression. It's at least reasonable to consider churches "persons" under this specific law because it's not necessarily possible to separate restrictions you impose on a church from restrictions imposed on the religious activity of its members.  For-profit corporations exist to facilitate commerce, and the law can and does compel from for-profit corporations things it does not from churches.

    In any case applying RFRA to forms of contraception an employer doesn't like is ridiculous. It's not the employer who spends the money on contraception, it's the employee who makes the decision.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:35:33 AM PDT

    •  Redefining the meaning of the word persons (0+ / 0-)

      is the cause of all of this.  It should never have been done.  There was no need.

      America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, uh...um...and if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

      by Back In Blue on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:23:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If one sets (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, akmk, blackhand

    health care premiums based upon health risks covered, it might be that not covering contraception ends up creating greater costs of pre/post-natal care, more pediatric care and perhaps covering an older work force since younger women might migrate to employers offering better insurance coverage. Consequently Hobby Lobby might have to pay more to not have contraception coverage than they might if it were covered.

    •  Indeed (0+ / 0-)

      And they almost certainly know that, which makes the simplistic "greedy plutocrats" accusation some have applied a serious misunderstanding of Hobby Lobby's motives.

      “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:36:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hoping their insurance company sees it this way. (0+ / 0-)

      What a pain.

      Patient sends a claim to insurance company.

      Separate rider for employees of Hobby Lobby?

      Now that's got to carry a lot of extra administrative costs.

    •  This was going to be my comment too (0+ / 0-)

      I have, albeit just a little, hope that the "free markets" will straighten this mess out via the economics.    It would be delicious poetic justice if it happens.

      "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

      by blackhand on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:19:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and the GOP says there's no war on women... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, akmk

    I think you spelled it out quite succinctly Dark, the decision is beneath the spirit of this nation.
    But sometimes dark clouds have silver linings. This was a GOP appointed five judges that have made this ruling. This ruling is also what the base of the GOP has wanted for years. Well, I think this gives our side a weapon. Two fights really, one against stupid ideology that other against religion, and those who would use religion to infect our government with their dogma.

  •  Let's look at this way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, akmk

    Since the employer matched part of your health care insurance is regarded as income (though untaxed), in effect what the Supreme Court has ruled is how you are allowed to spend your money.  So why stop there?  Can an employer now demand receipts for everything you buy and reduce your pay check if they object to what you are buying?

    Isn't this really just a form of Christian Sharia law where these so called Christians (actually I don't care what they call themselves) can dictate what you can do with your life?)

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:44:43 AM PDT

  •  Why is healthcare so tied to employment (4+ / 0-)

    in this bloody country anyway?!

    That's the question that keeps coming to my mind.  In our healthcare "system" it is considered such a given that even in diaries and comment threads like this I see no one question that basic equation.

    I know why it happened historically ... but why, in this modern age, is health care/insurance still so tied to employment?  

    Maybe until the ACA got going, the US system of healthcare could largely be defined as:  "You can have healthcare if you are deemed to be of sufficient value to the bottom line of a large corporation."  Maybe that is still largely true.

    Why do employers have any involvement at all in people's health care and health insurance?  They don't involve themselves in their employee's housing, or food requirements, or transportation needs, etc.

    I'm sure employers don't like doing it.  Where is the corporate push to rid themselves of that responsibility?  You would think corporations would LOVE to hand that off to the government to deal with.

    They are two completely separate matters.  Why do we tie them together?  It is completely irrational.  Does any other country do it?

    •  Except when they do (0+ / 0-)
      They don't involve themselves in their employee's housing, or food requirements, or transportation needs, etc.
      As in companies that provide a free lunch to all employees (or provide an on-site cafeteria); or buy transit passes for employees. Some even provide the housing, or finance the housing. The provision of housing has become something of  a "thing" with colleges/universities in particular, since many are located in places where the cost of living is well out of reach for faculty salaries.

      “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 Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:26:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So does this mean I could incorporate myself and (5+ / 0-)

    Or my family as corporations can be people?  And since I object to war on religious grounds stop paying my taxes since I cannot keep the government from spending it on military equipment?
    Perhaps that is the key, for all of us to incorporate and thus eliminate the advantages of companies. Maybe it's not a bad thing for corporations to be subject to the same laws I am currently held.  

  •  Thank you for this outstanding, (3+ / 0-)

    well-reasoned, calm and collected analysis.

    The only point I might add - this just goes to show that employers should not be in the business of providing healthcare.  The only reason that we do that in this country is because of certain historical accidents:

    http://www.npr.org/...

    If you want to understand how to fix today's health insurance system, you'd be smart to look first at how it was born. How did Americans end up with a system in which employers pay for our health insurance? After all, they don't pay for our groceries or our gas.

    It turns out there never was any central logic at work ... employer-based insurance ... started with Blue Cross selling coverage to Texas teachers and spread because of government price controls and tax breaks ...  By the mid-1960s, Thomasson says, Americans started to see that system — in which people with good jobs get health care through work and almost everyone else looks to government — as if it were the natural order of things.

    But to Thomasson and other economic historians, there's nothing natural or inevitable about it. Instead, they see it as the profound result of historical accidents.

    The entire story is fascinating.  I highly recommend it.

    If a small minority of people is now stealthily ruling what was previously a democratic country, and "the people" don't seem to realize it, should anyone bother to tell them?

    by Older and Wiser Now on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:03:13 PM PDT

  •  proper response (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk

    It's becoming apparent---at least to me---that the response to this decision and a host of issues ranging from income inequality to voter suppression, is organized civil disobedience.  Our institutions are corrupted by money and the wealthy will not release their death grip. It no longer makes sense to work within a broken system. As JFK said, those whom make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

  •  THIS! Please keep in mind THIS! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk
    Antonin Scalia himself, in a 1990 case called Employment Division v. Smith. The case revolved around two men who were fired from their job and ultimately denied unemployment insurance after it was learned they had used peyote as part of their religious practice. Scalia’s ruling noted:

        “Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs.”

    Of course, Scalia twisting himself into a pretzel to rule according to his ideology isn’t new – it’s his consistent MO on the bench – but I really expected at least five of the justices on the bench to embrace what is really a pretty bedrock, common-sense principle of law.

    The court's ruling in THIS CASE caused the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to be passed by congress in the first place!

    We MUST understand the background of the law to really understand its true nature.

    Chuck Schumer was the author of the legislation and even though he submitted an amicus brief to the court outlining its intent, SCOTUS turned a deaf ear.

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 12:54:41 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this dairy (0+ / 0-)

    I'm traveling today and don't have time to really read this and all the comments.

    Commenting to make it easier to find this in a few days

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

    by ARS on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:00:14 PM PDT

  •  that was worth reading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk

    thanks ...

    I keep thinking of Bush v. Gore in which the majority of the court said, This ruling only affects this race and our reasoning here will never be applied in other cases.

    If only SCOTUS cared about the right to vote (& have your vote counted) the way they care about whatever it is they really care about ... the right to force your religion on your employees?

  •  A potentially crushing defeat for Gay rights! (0+ / 0-)

    A potentially crushing defeat for Gay rights!
    Is it the apocalypse? Or just hysteria?

  •  Mandate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk, gypsyrose

    I was under the impression that the Supreme Court had ruled that "Obamacare" could only be enforced because it was a tax and not a mandate.
    Now the Supreme Court seems to be ruling that this tax does not have to be paid in full: obviously, pacifists would no longer have to pay the part of a tax which would be used to fund the military.

  •  Hmm..backlash? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk, blackhand

    I thought perhaps a decision like this - misguided as it is - can possibly help push universal coverage. Get coverage away from the states, away from the corporations, away from business altogether. You're a citizen. You get health care. (As a very positive side benefit, I am convinced the US would see a flowering of entrepreneurial enterprise.)

  •  Excellent analysis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk

    tipped and rec'd.

    Everything you said made sense. And was logical. And we need to do everything we can to elect another Democratic President in 2016 who can appoint a good Supreme Court Justice to replace one of the four bad ones.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:47:32 PM PDT

  •  It's infuriating that the GOP "justices" say (0+ / 0-)

    Congress needs to fix this when they know full well the nature of this particular Congress will not fix anything whatsoever.

    Our only hope for the future is maintaining a progressive presidency that will appoint better justices who will live a long, long time.

  •  You should be a lawyer. Good job. (0+ / 0-)

    "It's no measure of health being well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"

    by buckshot face on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 04:24:17 AM PDT

  •  Ginsberg & Bryer: RETIRE TODAY please (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:31:39 AM PDT

  •  & replace w/2 35-45 YO ladies; get SENATE approv (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:32:20 AM PDT

  •  Ginsberg & Bryer R great; time for 4 lady SCOTUS (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:33:30 AM PDT

  •  WRITING: Tour de Force, GREAT (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!

    by Churchill on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 11:33:55 AM PDT

  •  Excellent points (0+ / 0-)

    On point 1, however, many corporations do share the cost of health insurance, so you might say they provide a percentage of the health insurance, and you pay for the rest.

    I have also given this consideration, and I have made peace with it for the reason that it deals with an exception of an exception.  It deals only with closely held corporations, and only the ones that want to earn their place at the top of the annual Worst Companies to Work For List (which my company has managed to get itself on) for withholding the most basic benefits from their employees.

    In reality, Hobby Lobby employees ARE going to get these benefits.   The government is going to find a way to do this through the health insurance company, with the result that, ultimately, it is further paving the way to easing the employer out of the health insurance relationship, and easing the government into that relationship.   It boggles my mind why a conservative would WANT to encourage greater government involvement in health insurance, but that's what they "won" in this case, so Kudos to them.  It might just be one tiny step closer to universal health care -- getting folks used to doing this in some other way than through an employer who obviously wants to interfere in their healthcare choices.   Ultimately, corporations want to get out of the health insurance situation entirely, and this might be an early step down that road, and frankly, I think that's a good thing.   Why should we have to switch insurance when we switch jobs?   Why should we have employers looking over our shoulders having any kind of say whatsoever as to whether we use birth control.    

    This case proved once and for all why corporations shouldn't have any involvement in health insurance.   Nobody has mentioned the nosy little quizzes they try to make us take asking about our mental state and our smoking habits and our weight, or the phone calls offering "assistance" with health issues, or any of the other invasive practices they've been engaging in.   Very good reasons to ease them out of health insurance markets entirely.

  •  Late to comment, but thanks for saving me time ... (0+ / 0-)

    Late to comment, but thanks for saving me time by writing this. I was thinking of writing a diary called something like "Hobby Lobby and the Dangerous 'Because I Said So' Precedent," but you've covered everything I was going to say excellently, and more.

    Well, now that I'm thinking, there's maybe one more thing that's hinted at, but could be made more explicit in the spirit of changing the conversation: Why do we even accept that the ACA infringes on the Greens' (let alone his strange new peson named Hobby Lobby) religious freedom? As far as I'm concerned, religious freedom is about one's own self, not someone else.

  •  great article! (0+ / 0-)

    and I had many of the same thoughts, but you have expressed them better than I did.  Love your use of language.

    I am fairly new to Daily Kos and not sure about the etiquette; is it ok to post a link to my diary in a comment on someone else's diary on the same subject?  Here it is.  If this is not acceptable somebody please let me know.  thanks!  

    Down the Rabbit Hole

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