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Republicans Optimistic After Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Arguments

Democrats charge that contraceptive mandate exception could "take us back to a place in history when women had no voice and no choice.”

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

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March 25, 2014 - 6:38 pm
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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court heard Tuesday morning oral arguments for two challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that requires employers to include birth control in their employee health plans.

Activists on both sides of the issue clashed outside the courtroom in Washington. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union argued that business owners should not impede female workers from obtaining birth control free of charge in their health plans.

On the other side, conservative and Tea Party groups argued that businesses should be free to choose whether they want to comply with the law’s contraceptive mandate.

The case pits the government against two businesses that oppose types of birth control – such as “morning after” pills and some intrauterine devices – they consider to be forms of abortion, which is contrary to their religious beliefs. These firms face hefty fines for refusing to comply with the mandate.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration introduced new regulations that granted churches and houses of worship an exemption from providing contraceptives. Religiously affiliated organizations that fall somewhere in the middle can tell their insurance company or third-party administrator that they object on religious grounds. The insurer or administrator would then have to provide contraceptives to the employees at no cost.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined religious freedom activists who had spent the cold, snowy morning in Washington demonstrating in support of Hobby Lobby and the other plaintiffs in the case.

Cruz pointed out that the Obama administration had given exemptions to “big business” and members of Congress, but refused to do the same for people of faith.

“Those who walk the corridors of power in the Obama administration get an exemption,” he said. “And yet, the position of this administration is that people of faith do not deserve an exemption.”

He said that the case had nothing to do with the individual right to use birth control.

“No one is doubting that any person, if they choose to use contraceptives, can do so. This is not about that,” Cruz said. “This is about the federal government, whether they can force people of faith to violate their own faith by paying for something that is contrary to the dictates and teachings of their faith.”

Cruz predicted that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of religious freedom supporters.

“I predict that the United States Supreme Court is going to strike down the contraception mandate because they are going to say, ‘the federal government does not have the authority to force people to violate their faith particularly when they are granting exemptions to every other powerful interest,’” he said.

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Top Rated Comments   
They do call their movement pro "choice" don't they?

The only choice they care about is their "right" to choose abortions to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. They complete ignore their right to only date men who will use condoms or buy the woman's birth control for her. They also ignore their right not to have sex if they can't afford to buy birth control or if their lovers won't pay for it.

The left's position is that any adult can have sex with any other adult at any time and that paying for contraception or abortions is the responsibility of society as a whole.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe Hobby Lobby should just say that their religion is actually a distant offshoot of Islam and get an exemption from ObumblerNotMuchCare.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (44)
All Comments   (44)
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What gives a for-profit company the right to determine the care an employee receives? They are not doctors, they cannot know what these women need. If the owners of a corporation are against birth control then they, personally, shouldn't use it. Religious freedom means you can practice your religion in your own time without persecution, not that you can use your religion to oppress others. I also find it very hypocritical of Hobby Lobby to say they want to limit their employees birth control choices yet they choose to do massive business with China...a country well know for its extreme abortion practices.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
this is another chance for the SCOTUS to decide whether we are a Constitutional republic or a socialist republic.
They blew it on Obamacare but now the liberals are trying to overturn the founders by overturning their first and most important amendment.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know that the case is being well-argued. Kagan asked, "Well, what would stop an employer from having religious objections to other procedures?" The proper answer is, "NOTHING, and that's why the government CANNOT make this kind of law." I did not hear that this argument was offered.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Citizens United gave us corporations as citizens with constitutional rights. We, all citizens, either have all our rights or we are in a state of civil dissolution, whether we want to go there or not. Nothing in the constitution allows a division of rights dependent solely upon statutory law. Staus, yes. But the courts ruled the status of corporations is that of a citizen. The first amendment declares the rights to speech, assembly, redress, press and religion. All of them are together. They cannot be split apart and dividied up to favored groups. We are going to return to this f the senate passes special rights to credentialed journalists over bloggers, commenters, etc. So, this had better get into this case somehow. It's a disaster that it wasn't in the pleadings.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Could someone explain how a court can decide that corporations have first amendment rights to exercise speech but not to exercise religion? Have we come to a King Solomon's court that will split the baby in order to keep splitting the babies? Dividing a "citizen" for the purpose of divining whch certain rights it does have and doesn't have strikes me as novel. Is there established jurisprudence to do this?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was watching Hannity last night and Jack from The Five was saying that there would be no difference between this and a company refusing to pay for HIV drugs for a gay employee. Unfortunately none of the conservatives responded to that very well. Huh? Is the left's position really that women have an illness and pregnancy is a symptom? Seriously? They do call their movement pro "choice" don't they?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
They do call their movement pro "choice" don't they?

The only choice they care about is their "right" to choose abortions to terminate their unwanted pregnancies. They complete ignore their right to only date men who will use condoms or buy the woman's birth control for her. They also ignore their right not to have sex if they can't afford to buy birth control or if their lovers won't pay for it.

The left's position is that any adult can have sex with any other adult at any time and that paying for contraception or abortions is the responsibility of society as a whole.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cruz predicted that the administration would rule in favor of religious freedom supporters.

I lifted this sentence from the article. Now, read this, which is the very next sentence in the article:

“I predict that the United States Supreme Court is going to strike down the contraception mandate because they are going to say, ‘the federal government does not have the authority to force people to violate their faith particularly when they are granting exemptions to every other powerful interest,’” he said.

See the huge contradiction there? The first sentence, which is clearly a paraphrase of what Cruz actually said, indicates that the Administration going to grant an exemption to "people of faith" but Cruz's actual words were that the Supreme Court will grant the exemption.

That's VERY inaccurate paraphrasing! The administration is the Executive Branch of the government, often simplified as the White House. It is popularly elected. The Supreme Court is the Judicial Branch of the government, an entirely different organization and is not elected except by Congress.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't get your hopes up. If Roberts is owned by some nefarious interest, as was suspected when he came up with his specious support of Obamacare, then he's likely to go against Hobby Lobby.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Patrick
I bring this up now and then, not replying to every post that impugns Chief Justice Roberts.
A court is supposed to rule in favor of a law if there is a plausible way to do so. The wisdom of a law is a matter for the legislature to work out rather than for the courts. A court is also restricted to ruling on the merits of the case before the court; it may not reach past the issues that the litigants have brought up.
The nine justices all agreed that the Interstate Commerce Clause could not be used to mandate the purchase of health insurance. The tax -- the one that Obama and the Enablers called a penalty until they had to call it a tax -- falls on the decision not to purchase health insurance. As long as the tax is low enough to not be coercive (a vague standard), such a tax falls within Congress' authority. Roberts did everything but call the tax stupid and invite people to vote out the tax's supporters.
Now the issue before the court is whether a for-profit organization engaged in secular commerce can assert religious rights in the name of its owners or directors. Roberts is likely to support this idea.
The case I want to see looks like this: DemBamaCare establishes requirements for insurance policies or they can't be sold. In effect, this means that you can only buy policies that meet DemBamaCare standards or you can't buy policies and avoid the tax. THAT is coercive, but that issue hasn't come before the courts to date.
I don't buy the idea that CJ Roberts has been bribed, coerced, or even schmoozed. I could be wrong. But in any event --
DemBamaCare delenda est.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Precisely. And the Supreme Law of the land is the U.S. Constitution, which means the court should always rule in favor of that law if there is a plausible way to do so.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Roberts could have killed that awful law and didn't. Now, if someone has photos of Roberts in bed with the bloody corpse of a murdered prostitute, or in the shower with a young teen, or with a tubular, non food, item in his face, then expect him to go against Hobby Lobby.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or maybe Justice Roberts is both shrewd and principled. He could agree on a personal and political basis with us, but he must rule from the bench as a judge. He wrote quite a scathing opinion, really, in upholding the tax provision.
BTW, I have an error in my comment above. If I understand correctly -- and apparently no one really does -- an insurance company may sell any plan that someone wants to buy, but only the mandate-loaded plans qualify to get subsidies or avoid the tax provision. It's still meant to restrict what you can purchase more than what the underwriters may offer.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Or maybe someone left a dead, bloodied cat on his doorstep one day with a note saying: "Hope this doesn't happen to one of your dear, two-legged loved ones" in the wake of hearing the arguments in the ACA mandate case & before rendering his infamous decision.

I don't put anything past this lawless administration. Not. A. Thing.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with Roberts' tax rational for upholding Obamacare is that there is no such thing as a tax on inactivity. If such a concept exists then the government could tax you if you don't buy a GM car or don't eat broccoli every week. Every other tax that I know of requires an affirmative act, e.g. earning income, making a gift, buying a product which has an excise tax. I retired early , could the government step in and say the fisc needs my tax money and impose an income tax even though I no longer have any income. The mischief from a tax on inactivity is endless.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
People are missing an important link, and that is that even relatively small companies don't "buy" health insurance. The insurance company manages the plan, but the money comes from the company. This is called self-insurance. So Mr. and Mrs. Hobby Lobby may literally be paying for abortions.

(It could be that the situation has changed; would not mind some information on this.)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy mzk
You state the position correctly. Whether the insurer charges the employer for birth control or not, or for abortifacients (there's a gray zone between them), the employer is still facilitating the provision of the products. To the Hobby Lobby owners, to the Roman Catholic Church, and to many others, this is anathema.
I choose the word carefully. "Anathema" means a violation of religious principle, an egregious moral failing, an abomination. I may not see contraception as anathema -- I don't -- but that's not the point. Some organizations and some people do. Maintaining their liberty in this case does nothing harmful to those who disagree with them.
DemBamaCare delenda est.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>“Hopefully the Supreme Court joins with us in recognizing that [religious expression] is a right that can’t be trampled on by any president,”<<<

Not any president, just this president. The law and the Constitution mean nothing in comparison to the Lightworker's magnificence ... and the data on the Justices held [or to be fabricated on demand] by the NSA.

Subotai Bahadur
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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