Al Franken’s SCOTUS Strawman: “Your Boss Can Be Your Doctor”


The above graphic was pushed out to social media by Senator Al Franken (D – Minnesota) on Monday. Franken included his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case upholding the religious freedom of business owners.

I'm disappointed the Supreme Court chose to side with corporations over women in the Hobby Lobby case. I've said it before, and will say it again: your boss is not your doctor. –Al

As a constituent, I offered this heartfelt rebuke:

Senator, given your position of power, I expect you to understand the essential facts surrounding any issue on which you opine. Precisely no one has argued that "your boss is your doctor." That's cute rhetoric, but describes nothing at issue in this case.

At issue is whether individuals own their life and retain choice over how to live it. Nothing prevents a woman from spending the money she earns on whatever she wants to buy. Forcing her employer to buy something for her is wrong.

Your job is to protect us from the initiation of force, Senator, not wield force against us.

The senator’s position underscores how tenuous this victory remains. A 5-4 decision means we stand one appointment away from a court which would condone the use of force to dictate terms of trade and make business owners act in violation of their conscience.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast on this topic. 17:12 minutes long; 16.57 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Indeed, all that has been “won” in this case is a very narrow exemption to just that de facto policy. In a myriad of ways, from wage dictates through labor regulations to anti-discrimination laws, businesses remain out of their owners' control.

Until business owners, regain full control over every aspect of their business, this battle is far from won. More broadly, until individuals in any context regain full control over every aspect of their lives, the war for our rights rages on.