Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court gets religion

Latin for "Hear the other side."
Well, enough birthday cake and self-administered back pats. There's a world out there. The folks at the paper's Early & Often political site asked me to react to the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, and this is what I wrote:

Religion keeps pushing.

That’s what religion does. That’s how something becomes a religion and not a collection of strange ideas held by a few scattered and marginal groups. By pushing, hard, for centuries and never giving up.

Faith will use any legal means, and whatever non-legal means, it can to push you into the fold, or get you to behave as if you were.

In eras when it can stone you, it stones you.

In eras when you can be ostracized, or shamed, or put in the stocks, it does that.

In 2014, it declares that Hobby Lobby, a family-owned corporation based in Oklahoma City that sells arts and crafts supplies at a nationwide chain of stores, is not only a person, but a religious person, and its right to keep its employees from easy access to the contraception it scorns trumps those employees rights to easily get that contraception.

And on Monday the United States Supreme Court went along, ruling that the owners of Hobby Lobby, joined by a Pennsylvania furniture maker, are within their rights when opting out of Affordable Care Act including contraception in a spectrum of benefits, since birth control violates the company’s religious beliefs....

To continue reading, click here.

25 comments:

  1. Ugh....this "corporation is a person" trend is frightening.

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  2. Your link to continue reading doesn't work.

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  3. Maybe the Moors and the Sovereign Nationists should incorporate. That way they can pick which laws they obey......Maybe we all should.

    W.R.

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  4. Historian Rudolph Rummel estimates that 43 million Soviet citizens were intentionally killed pursuant to state sponsored violence by Stalin and that 38 million Chinese died the same way under Mao.

    These were avowedly Marxist societies purposely stripped of religion.

    I rather live in a pluralistic society where various religious denominations live in a healthy tension with the secular authorities. I believe Martin Luther King would agree.

    See ON LIBERTY by John Stuart Mill.

    BTW – Steinberg’s link did not work – thus I am only responding to what is published above.

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  5. That noise you hear are Madison and Jefferson spinning in their graves.

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  6. People organize themselves as legal entities in order to advocate effectively. Think of labor unions and advocacy groups such as the NAACP and the Sierra Club.

    I would not want to be a member of any of these groups if I would be liable for their debts.

    Thus hobbling organized groups by not affording them civil rights hobbles liberty.

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  7. Why would Madison be spinning in his grave? I read much written by Madison in THE FEDERALIST PAPERS. The gist of Madison's thought was to have a political system that accommodated various viewpoints.

    It would be another matter if women could not otherwise obtain contraceptives. Griswold was decided correctly.

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  8. Read Madison on separation of Church and State.

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  9. A separation of church and state is exactly what we have here. The state is accommodating the religious beliefs of the employer. This was not the banning of contraceptives dealt with in Griswold.

    If liberty matters -- then we have to tolerate and legally accommodate views with which we disagree. That is why I believe Lawrence v. Texas -- striking down anti-sodomy laws -- was correctly decided.

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  10. Mr. Evans:

    This is from the S. Ct.'s own summary:

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicabil¬ity” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling govern¬mental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb–1(a), (b). As amended by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), RFRA covers “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious be¬lief.” §2000cc–5(7)(A)....

    ... Held: As applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations im¬posing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA.

    (a) RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for-profit corporations like Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and Mar¬del. Pp. 16–31.

    (1) HHS argues that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations, and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies, but that would leave mer¬chants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protec¬tion of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as cor¬porations. RFRA’s text shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice. It employed the familiar legal fic¬tion of including corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons,”but the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including sharehold¬ers, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.

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  11. Mr. Steinberg:

    Your link now works. I just read your entire column. Did you read the case before you wrote the column? If not- why not?

    Did you realize at the time of writing your column that the case dealt with the application of
    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 - which was passed almost unanimously by both houses of congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton?

    This is not a pure First Amendment Case!

    BTW: I am the Anonymous above. I am known to your friend Eric Zorn as JerryB. Zorn knows my full name and address and we have dined together at a small gathering.

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    Replies
    1. JerryB,

      However, another important part of our jurisprudence is equal treatment under the laws. Should religious owners have "rights" that are denied to others? And, the court has opened the door to all sorts of craziness. I know of people who would deny unmarried women coverage if they became pregnant because they have "sinned". There are also people who for religious reasons are against interracial marriage, should they be able to deny coverage to mixed race married couples? We'll see but add another ideologue or two to the court and such nightmares could become constitutional.

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  12. Dave Graf:

    Good question. The long answer deserves a law review article. But here I will give the short answer.

    Your two examples involve discrimination against people. That is more serious. The Hobby Horse Case discriminates only against a particular medicine.

    I see no exceptions with respect to the inter-racial marriage case. I see only a narrow exception with respect to the pregnant single lady and her impregnator. The exception would be in a core role as a minister or an instructor. Thus I see little problem imposing a moral’s clause on teacher in a parochial high school. This includes both the woman and her impregnator.

    BTW: Should a woman be interviewed for a job as to whether or not – and if “not” – as to why she has never engaged in inter-racial dating? We typically see SWF seeking SWM in the dating want ads.

    BTW: If single I would date a beautiful woman of any race.

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  13. Here Ye, Hear Ye: I like every god damn day! the blog.
    Happy Canada Day, Le Dia du Can'ada.

    Great post, I like the alleratation.

    --Downstater
    is there really thunder in the city; I was hoping for nice weather!?!

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  14. Oh dear God. I knew it was JerryB. Zorn has put him in the must-approve-first box and now he's going to infest this board. Neil, I beg of you, ban him quickly.

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    1. He was here last year, then huffed off in a sulk. He'll behave like everybody else or he'll be gone, again.

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  15. My last post as "Anonymous" was at 7:40 PM. This guy or gal at 8:35 is not me.

    --JerryB

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  16. Unknown:

    I will be interested to see if Mr. Steinberg takes your advice. After all he has to live with himself. Banning me would be intellectually dishonest.

    Your palpable fear is interesting --the "Oh dear God" stuff. Do you really prefer an echo chamber? Is only Mr. Steinberg allowed to be "edgy"?

    --JerryB

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  17. A moral's clause on a teacher in a parochial school? Does that include male teachers or just women?

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  18. On a lighter note, that is one cute and colorful photo at the top of this page. I wonder how long that shoe stayed on the fire hydrant?

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  19. @SandyK,
    The shoe didn't move. your mind did.
    --Downstater
    who thinks summer has been Polar Vortexed in 2014.

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    1. Perhaps I worded my question wrong, but what I meant to say was: "I wonder how long that shoe will stay on the fire hydrant?" And yes, the shoe is gone, as I suspected it would be. Back to it's original home, perhaps?

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  20. Quinn's signature means that if legislators don't return to Springfield post-election and approve new revenue - such as extending the tax increase - the state will face a roughly $4.4 billion budget hole. That could force layoffs, facility closures and massive program cuts that Quinn said he wanted to avoid.
    (Appeared in June/July, The State Journal-Register, Illinois' oldest.)

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  21. It's not fear, Jerry. It's disgust.

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