Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

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Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
573 U.S. ___
Decided: June 30, 2014

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is a huge victory for the Christian right landmark decision made by the Supreme Court in 2014 to allow certain corporations to claim religious exemptions to laws, so long as they "strongly hold that belief." The case used the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to preempt part of the Affordable Care Act. It is important to note that this decision only extends to closely held corporations[1]. For those wondering, a closely held corporation is essentially defined by the IRS as a company in which at least 50% of shares are owned by no more than 5 people[2]. Unsurprisingly this ruling has led to a number of negative reactions primarily from radical left-wing hate groups groups that advocate a separation of church and state. Perhaps the best expression of dissatisfaction with the ruling actually came from Justice Ruth Ginsburg's official statement of dissent.

Implications[edit]

Of course there is the obvious conclusion that many women will be denied contraceptive coverage under their insurance because of this ruling, but there is also a threat that this decision could establish precedent that would enable companies to dodge their responsibilities exercise their SCOTUS-given religious rights in other areas. Rulings related to other forms of contraception were ordered reconsidered or appeals denied by the Supreme Court[3]. There's an open question as to whether people needing other forms of healthcare will be pushed under the bus to keep the religionists happy.

Quotes from Justice Ginsburg[edit]

All of these quotes can be found in the official court document starting on page 60.[4]

  • "Would the exemption… extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]… Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision."
  • "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."
  • "The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."

Mines in the minefield[edit]

  • Three days after the ruling, lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay filed a lawsuit against the prison for preventing its prisoners for partaking in communal prayer during Ramadan.[5]
  • Citing the ruling, a judge excused a FLDS member from testifying in court in a case about child labor who claimed it violated his religious freedom.[6]
  • In a hilarious and ironic turnabout, the Satanic Temple has reported that it is considering lawsuits against states which require "informed consent" forms in order to receive abortions, stating that since the forms employ factual errors and are unnecessary, they violate their religious principles of reason and science.[7]

References[edit]