GOP-Brand Supreme Court Says Religious Zealotry More Important Then Women’s Health

The court of the King and Queen of Hearts has nothing on the looniness of the Supreme Court. The SCOTUS has been crazy for a long time now. But that's just because the whole government, the nation, the American people, have all gone mad.
In yet another sign of why it is fundamentally dangerous to elect Republicans to any national office—OK, any office—the Republican-dominated Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s billionaire religious nut CEO, David Green (who claims he runs his business by "Biblical principles") in his crusade to deny women working for the company reproductive health services that are required under Obamacare.

In the case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the company's legal team argued Green's First Amendment religious freedom was being unconstitutionally infringed by the federal government requiring him to pay for (i.e. through health insurance coverage) certain kinds of reproductive services to women employees.

While the services are commonly paid for by health insurance programs offered by other companies, and are required by the Department of Health and Human Services to be included in any heath insurance program for women employees of a "non-exempt" business, the Supreme Court ruled that the faith-based feelings of a CEO trump the health concerns of women employees.

The SCOTUS argued that, under the consideration of Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 law that restricts what laws the federal government can pass that would unduly restrict the religious freedom of citizens, the "religious fiction" of treating Hobby Lobby as a "person", with religious rights, was an intended interpretation under the RFRA law, and was the way in which SCOTUS decided the argument in Hobby Lobby's favor.

Justice Alito delivered the majority opinion, and said (in his best Mitt Romney impression):
"The purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, 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."
Going seriously Twilight Zone or Queen of Hearts maybe (with some Vizzini from Princess Bride—"inconceivable!"), in his acute sophistry, Alito, who recall is ruling in favor of the religious rights of ONE rich man against the health care rights of thousands of working-class women, said:
"HHS’s concession that a nonprofit corporation can be a 'person' under RFRA effectively dispatches any argument that the term does not reach for-profit corporations; no conceivable definition of 'person' includes natural persons and non.profit corporations, but not for-profit corporations."
"No conceivable definition" of an idea the SCOTUS plainly admits is a "fiction".

Then Alito gets into even weirder territory, talking about the religious freedom of for-profit corporations:
"Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law. States, including those in which the plaintiff corporations were incorporated, authorize corporations to pursue any lawful purpose or business, including the pursuit of profit in conformity with the owners’ religious principles."
Well, that's fine, except aren't the owner's "religious principles" supposed to be Christian?

Christ explaining the path of salvation to a rich young man:
"If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."
Afterward, the rich young man moved to Oklahoma, where they only read the parts of the Bible that leave out that crazy commie crap Jesus talked about, and they stick to the Jewish portions that promote wealth as a sign of the blessing of God. These are different ideas.

Anyway, you might wonder how it is the SCOTUS majority could rule in this way, if it leaves open the door for anybody wishing to deny certain medical coverage to their employees on account of alleged religious faith conflicts. But the Court had an answer to that—SCOTUS is just enabling religious employers to exclude women's reproductive heath care options. It's all about denying women reproductive services, in other words:
"This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice."
Well, that's fine, but just imagine the difficulties the nutty faith-based can inflict on women—and men—as they force the feds to figure out which heath care deniers are illegally discriminating, and which ones are just extra sincerely following their religious faith.

Basically, leaving such a giant loophole in the health care law, is a way of chipping away at the mandated coverage, that was supposed to be one of Obamacare's main beneficial features.

In fairness, we should note that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law used by Hobby Lobby to argue that its First Amendment freedom was being wrongly infringed, was a 1993 law passed by a Democratic Congress and was signed by President Bill Clinton.

However, in delivering her dissenting opinion, Justice Ginsberg pointed out that the RFRA had a limited purpose, restoring a balance in determining religious freedom cases, that would require the government to establish a compelling interest in burdening religious freedom. Unlike what most people feel is true, there is no absolute freedom of religion, and many infringements of that liberty can be exercised by government, if those burdens are general (not just aimed at one group), and if there is a compelling interest of government to coerce compliance with the law. Ginsburg explains that the majority in the Hobby Lobby case have essentially used the RFRA to establish an entirely new range of freedoms, which will downplay any government interest in favor of any looney (or devious) religious rights claim some rich person asserts as a reason to disobey the law.

And Ginsburg correctly sums up the reasoning of the majority in this opinion:
"Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a “less restrictive alternative.” And such an alternative, the Court suggests, there always will be whenever, in lieu of tolling an enterprise claiming a religion-based exemption, the government, i.e., the general public, can pick up the tab."
Precisely, whether it is David Green, or Cliven Bundy, expecting other people to pick up the tab for their reaping the benefits of social participation, it is rich, white, old men demanding to burden the taxpayer, because the crazy wealthy just don't feel like meeting social obligations that ought to be even more evident and compelling to the most privileged citizens. But, as we know, the one-percenters despise the notion they have any social obligation to anyone other than Caymans bankers.

Finally, prior to the decision being delivered this morning, on the MSNBC show, Morning Joe, one of the regulars, alleged liberal rich guy, Donny Deutsch, offered this advice to working women:
"Nobody's forcing anybody to work at Hobby Lobby. You know there's another side to that argument. There's free enterprise, and there's freedom of choice on all sides, and if a company, if an individual privately-held company has a belief system, a value system, that they believe is part of who they are as a culture, that's their right, and I think it's a person's right to say well I do not choose that culture, and I will go to another culture. So, it's a very gray area, no matter where you stand on either side of these issues I think."
Let's just say that Donny Deutsch, and the other rich idiots that blather like fools about the world on television, haven't had to hold a working-class job in a long, long time (if they ever did). And people don't just quit their job to choose another "culture". They put up with the abuses of their bosses, unless a government intervention stops the abuse.

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