Skip to main content

Super committee co-chair Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) speaks to reporters as she arrives for a meeting in the Capitol in Washington November 18, 2011. The special congressional committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over

Senate Democrats are moving forward with legislation to fix the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling which interpreted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) as guaranteeing closely-held private corporations the right to deny birth control coverage to women.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on legislation authored by Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado that would codify guaranteed birth control coverage in health care plans offered to women. That could mean a cloture vote to end the all-but-certain Republican filibuster as early as Wednesday.

While Republicans are in position to block the legislation—thanks both to the filibuster and their control of the House—it will put them on record with where they stand on the Hobby Lobby ruling and it will serve as a reminder that the decision can be fixed by Congress without a constitutional amendment.

Because the Supreme Court's decision relied on on interpretation of the RFRA and not the First Amendment itself, Congress, by enacting legislation such as the bill offered by Murray and Udall, could override the court's ruling and guarantee women the same level of comprehensive health care coverage available to men. That won't happen this year, but the only thing that needs to change to make it happen is Congress.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  we need to get rid of the filibuster so (21+ / 0-)

    the republicans are forced to vote directly on each piece of legislation.

  •  McConnell's introducing something that says (9+ / 0-)

    "An employer cannot block any employee from her legal access to her FDA-approved contraceptives"

    Meaning that she still has to buy it on her own.  And probably pay for the doctor's appointment.

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:37:45 PM PDT

  •  Good for them. (11+ / 0-)

    It won't pass but at least they are trying to do something.

    Next, they should try to pass Obama's refugee relief bill. It will also fail, but at least we should try.

    Sinbad on dodging sniper fire in Bosnia - "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"

    by askew on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:40:47 PM PDT

  •  And then Dems, take the vote of the 2014 (5+ / 0-)

    (R) Senate candidate of your choice ( cough - McTurtle - cough ) and feature it in statewide TV and online ads with large female audiences.

    I think Sen. Udall (D) of Colorado has already started this ...

    "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

    by New Rule on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:48:53 PM PDT

  •  Has anyone seen this bill? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kfunk937

    It strikes me that it would be extremely difficult to craft legislation that exempted contraception from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    So, I am really interested in seeing the wording of this bill.

    Depending how it is done, it will likely be attacked as yet another Democratic party attack on religion.. This may backfire.

  •  No, it won't pass (7+ / 0-)

    But it certainly makes a point that can't be unpointed about the Republicans' continuing war on women. Women who have registered as Republican might want to take a good look at the party, and ask themselves some hard questions about what they stand for.

    I'm pleased to see Democrats standing up for Democratic principles. This helps efforts to get out the vote.

  •  Congressional Republicans are about to join (7+ / 0-)

    the Roberts Court in forthrightly declaring women to be second-class citizens.  Republican women of conscience (and rudimentary political skill), speak now.  

    This is no hazy, lazy summertime vote.  Hillary Clinton will bank a "no" vote every campaign day for the next two years and three months.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:53:41 PM PDT

  •  Please proceed GOP (9+ / 0-)
    While Republicans are in position to block the legislation—thanks both to the filibuster and their control of the House—it will put them on record with where they stand on the Hobby Lobby ruling and it will serve as a reminder that the decision can be fixed by Congress without a constitutional amendment.
    If they do derail this in either chamber, they need to be flogged with it in November and ever after.  It needs to be hung around their necks like a bell so they can't escape it.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:54:01 PM PDT

  •  Of course, huzzah. Still, I am so frustrated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Lipstick Liberal

    by the fact that we are so often reduced to  undertaking symbolic gestures and legislative proposals doomed to failure.  It's a deep, systemic problem.

    I heard on the radio this morning that the CHamber of Commerce spends $22.5 million on lobbying EACH QUARTER.  The system's broken.

    Rooting for the home team . . . it seems so futile.

    (Having a bad day.)

    "The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”" -- Paul Dirac

    by Rikon Snow on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:54:04 PM PDT

    •  I'm having a bad day too. I should have just (5+ / 0-)

      tuned out politics today. Reading about racist protestors stopping another bus full of scared kids today just put me over the edge.

      Sinbad on dodging sniper fire in Bosnia - "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"

      by askew on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:00:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only 27% wouldn't agree with you. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, merelyfearless7

        and they are a failure of our public education system.

        We are a nation that respects religious beliefs, but also the right not to have those beliefs imposed upon you by others...and we should therefore keep it out of other people’s business — and bedrooms. George Takei 7/1/14

        by Lipstick Liberal on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:17:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I appreciate the effort but (9+ / 0-)

    don't understand why the bill doesn't deal with the whole question of corporate personhood in the RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    They only need amend the law to say that "person" means "Human beings acting in their individual capacities and does not include any corporation, partnership or other artificial entity or any human acting through any such entity."

    That is what was originally intended.

    The Murray bill only addresses the ACA issues and not all the other mischief coming down the road by people pursuing their bigotry through their businesses in the name of religious liberty.

    Further, affiant sayeth not. 53959

    by Gary Norton on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:57:19 PM PDT

    •  You may be right... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      I would have to read it again and research the legal argument.  Here is a link for others to read:
      http://www.supremecourt.gov/
      The pdf of the Hobby Lobby case is on the right.

      But also read the orders, linked on the home page
      but in the left topic box, near the bottom.
      And read the ones after the Hobby Decision.  

      Those old guys expanded the decision in the fine print.

      We are a nation that respects religious beliefs, but also the right not to have those beliefs imposed upon you by others...and we should therefore keep it out of other people’s business — and bedrooms. George Takei 7/1/14

      by Lipstick Liberal on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:24:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but the decision is based on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kfunk937, DocGonzo

        the Court's determination that the term "person" in the RFRA is not limited to  "individuals, "natural persons" or "human beings" if you will. The term is not defined in the law. The relied on a generic definition in the code where person includes both individuals ant entities. All we need to do is put a definition in. Then the RFRA basis for a suit disappears. They can still try a 1ST Amendment suit but this bill does not deal with that anyway.

        Further, affiant sayeth not. 53959

        by Gary Norton on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:52:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporate personhood is a convenience, nothing (0+ / 0-)

      more.

      implicit in the right to engage in activities protected by the First Amendment" is "a corresponding right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural ends.
      Roberts v. United States Jaycees (1984)

      From Hobby Lobby:

      Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the
      humans who own and control them.

      The enabling regulations already exempted religiously based not-for-profit corporations.  Personally, I have trouble seeing a meaningful difference between not-for-profit and for-profit corporations in this context.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:59:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, Hobby Lobby is a RFRA case, not (0+ / 0-)

        a Constitutional one. Congress has the power to define the limits of the laws it enacts.

        Further, affiant sayeth not. 53959

        by Gary Norton on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:40:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely. But see some other comments about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gary Norton

          the purpose of RFRA WRT to American Indian religious practices and ask how you're going to change it without making it unconstitutional.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:46:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The indian practices involve individuals, (0+ / 0-)

            not artificial entities. And if there is concern that they involve tribes, include tribes in the definition of person. When writing definitions in law they can be tailored as wished.

            Further, affiant sayeth not. 53959

            by Gary Norton on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 05:24:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Individuals do not lose their rights when they (0+ / 0-)

              associate with each other. That applies to tribes and it applies to corporations.

              The differentiation that makes sense to me is the difference between closely held private corporations and public corporations.  A public corporation is bought and sold as a commodity. There really is no association of individuals there.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 07:33:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Democrats Passed RFRA Near Unanimously (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      As I described in another comment in this thread, Democrats made the RFRA bill law near unanimously while they controlled all three elected chambers. I'm not so sure this result is "unintended consequences". Though unraveling the ACA right while it seems to be helping Democrats retain even a sliver of power does seem to be "collateral damage" they'd like to look like they're undoing.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:13:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They did and it was a bad law , but one (0+ / 0-)

        that was passed to respond to a Supreme Court decision.

        Regardless of how we got here it would be good to make clear that religious beliefs are held by individuals only for purposes of the RFRA. Whether there is a 1st amendment question for entities is a separate question that Congress cannot decide.

        Further, affiant sayeth not. 53959

        by Gary Norton on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:39:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Regarding How We Got Here (0+ / 0-)

          Tactically it's important to eliminate corporations as "persons" under RFRA, because that overbroad term in RFRA is a white hot poker up the republic's skirt right now.

          But strategically it's even more important to understand the RFRA itself was passed overwhelmingly by Democrats. Because we must understand that Democrats can't just be trusted to defend us from theocracy. This is even more important than the crucial issue of women's privacy protections by the Constitution trumping anyone's (or anything's) contrived "religious belief". It is existential.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 11:14:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The legislation is good eye candy for the Dems, (5+ / 0-)

    but we all know it doesn't have a snowball's chance. But you've got to set down your flag and own your position.

    Go for it!

    It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

    by auapplemac on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:07:17 PM PDT

  •  That's my Senator! Front and center! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dconrad, jamott

    Go, Senator Murray!  Make them own their stupidity.

    It's ludicrous that we have to fight this battle right now, with so many other critical issues looming - decaying infrastructure, human rights crises in Central America, and global climate change, for example - but since our friends on the right have made this this centerpiece issue, I'm grateful to Murray and the others for taking it to them.

  •  Please post link to actual bill Tx n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamott

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:16:23 PM PDT

  •  Glad to see we have a response so quickly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CWinebrinner

    ...but I'm not hopeful about the outcome. Nothing, not even Jesus himself, will ever convince the conservative masses of the irony in using religious freedom for discriminatory practices. The bright side is that when it meets its inevitable demise it may piss off the Democratic base enough to get out and vote with the kind if religious fervor that the right relies on to continue this charade.

    What do you despise? By this you are truly known.

    by jamott on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:31:45 PM PDT

  •  Democrats Must Fix the RFRA They Gave Us (0+ / 0-)

    Hobby Lobby got its theocracy from this Court under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, not under the First Amendment. This terrible law was installed by Democrats with full control of all 3 elected chambers.

    After brief debate following its introduction by Democratic senator Schumer the Democratic Senate passed it  97:3; the Democratic House passed it in a voice vote; Democratic president Clinton signed it.

    Yes, it took some Republican theocrats to finally push it over the line separating church from state. But they were well served by the Democratic Party who gave them the law Republicans prayed for. As usual.

    And now Democrats must fix it. While blaming Republicans for it, as usual.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 06:52:22 PM PDT

  •  i just have kneejerk reaction to Patty Murray (0+ / 0-)

    for giving up our unemployment benefits so easily.  I can't tell you what a world of pain I'm in.  I'm talking weeks and making plans for my pets and an apartment will probably be more expensive than the old house I'm about to lose.  

    Quelle connerie la guerre.

    by QuelleC on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 03:51:19 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site