US Corporations now have religious freedom

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US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:09 pm UTC

US Supreme Court rules that corporations can deny healthcare coverage to employees based on religious convictions of the corporation. The decision was a 5-4 split along party lines.

From NYT
Spoiler:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. It was, a dissent said, “a decision of startling breadth.”

The 5-to-4 ruling, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to many challenges from corporations over laws that they claim violate their religious liberty.

The decision, issued on the last day of the term, reflected what appears to be a key characteristic of the court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. — an inclination toward nominally incremental rulings with vast potential for great change.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, emphasized the ruling’s limited scope. For starters, he said, the court ruled only that a federal religious-freedom law applied to “closely held” for-profit corporations run on religious principles. Even those corporations, he said, were unlikely to prevail if they objected to complying with other laws on religious grounds.

But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent sounded an alarm. She attacked the majority opinion as a radical overhaul of corporate rights, one she said could apply to all corporations and to countless laws.

The contraceptive coverage requirement was challenged by two corporations whose owners say they try to run their businesses on Christian principles: Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which makes wood cabinets. The requirement has also been challenged in 50 other cases, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Hobby Lobby.

Justice Alito said the requirement that the two companies provide contraception coverage imposed a substantial burden on their religious liberty. Hobby Lobby, he said, could face annual fines of $475 million if it failed to comply.

Justice Alito said he accepted for the sake of argument that the government had a compelling interest in making sure women have access to contraception. But he said there were ways of doing that without violating the companies’ religious rights.

“The court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faiths.”

She added that the contraception coverage requirement was vital to women’s health and reproductive freedom. Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan joined almost all of her dissent, but they said there was no need to take a position on whether corporations may bring claims under the religious liberty law.

The two sides differed on the sweep of the ruling.

“Although the court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private.” She added that corporations could now object to “health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work.”

But Justice Alito said that “it seems unlikely” that publicly held “corporate giants” would make religious liberty claims. He added that he did not expect to see “a flood of religious objections regarding a wide variety of medical procedures and drugs, such as vaccinations and blood transfusions.” Racial discrimination, he said, could not “be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction.”

Justice Alito did not mention laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. Justice Ginsburg said all sorts of antidiscrimination laws may be at risk.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said that the court’s decision “jeopardizes the health of women employed by these companies” and added that “women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their bosses deciding for them.” Mr. Earnest urged Congress to find ways to make all contraceptives available to the companies affected.

Lori Windham, a lawyer for Hobby Lobby, said, “The Supreme Court recognized that Americans do not lose their religious freedom when they run a family business.”

No one has disputed the sincerity of their religious beliefs,” Justice Alito wrote. The dissenters agreed.

The companies said they had no objection to some forms of contraception, including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, several kinds of birth control pills and sterilization surgery. Justice Ginsburg wrote that other companies may object to all contraception, and that the ruling would seem to allow them to opt out of any contraception coverage.

A federal judge has estimated that a third of Americans are not subject to the requirement that their employers provide coverage for contraceptives. Small employers need not offer health coverage at all; religious employers like churches are exempt; religiously affiliated groups may claim an exemption; and some insurance plans that had not previously offered the coverage are grandfathered in.

In its briefs in the two cases, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, No. 13-354, and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, No. 13-356, the administration said that for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood must comply with the law or face fines.

The companies challenged the coverage requirement under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Some scholars said the companies would be better off financially if they dropped insurance coverage entirely, and so could not be said to face a substantial burden on their religious freedom. But Justice Alito said the companies also had religious reasons for providing general health insurance. He added that dropping it could place the companies at “a competitive disadvantage.”

The administration argued that requiring insurance plans to include comprehensive coverage for contraception promotes public health and ensures that “women have equal access to health care services.” The government’s briefs added that doctors, rather than employers, should decide which form of contraception is best.

A supporting brief from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy group, said that many women cannot afford the most effective means of birth control and that the coverage requirement will reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions. Justice Ginsburg cited the brief in her dissent.

The decision’s acknowledgment of corporations’ religious liberty rights was reminiscent of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a 2010 ruling that affirmed the free speech rights of corporations. Justice Alito explained why corporations should sometimes be regarded as persons. “A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends,” he wrote. “When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people.”

Justice Ginsburg said the commercial nature of for-profit corporations made a difference.

“The court forgets that religious organizations exist to serve a community of believers,” she wrote. “For-profit corporations do not fit that bill.”

The government could pay for the coverage, he said. Or it could employ the accommodation already in use for certain nonprofit religious organizations, one requiring insurance companies to provide the coverage. The majority did not go so far as to endorse the accommodation.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:07 pm UTC

It's worth mentioning that Hobby Lobby insurance evidently still covers Viagra and vasectomies.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:10 pm UTC

Can a Scientology-run corporation deny Mental Health coverage? A Jehova's Witness deny organ transplants? I'm Jewish; have you ever read the list of things I could deny? Sorry, your necklace of Jesus on the crucifix that you wear under your shirt? That's an idol, you're fired; just be glad I'm not lighting you on fire.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Isaac Hill » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:31 pm UTC

So a Hobby Lobby employee can be denied compensation she has earned under the law due to a religion she doesn't share, and this is supposed to be a pro religious freedom ruling?

Now that corporate persons have 1st Amendment rights of speech and religion, it's time to expand to the rest of the Amendments, including the 13th. Our corporate brothers and sisters can be bought and sold right out in the open and nobody says anything. Why, if you have enough money, you could buy a controlling interest in Verizon, change its name to Toby, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. I say we raid Harpers Ferry for supplies and take Wall Street down. Who's with me?
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:33 pm UTC

I would be, except I don't trust the people that are first to grab the pitchforks...

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:41 am UTC

It should be worth mentioning, I believe, that the Supreme Court restricted this ruling to companies where ownership was basically an individual/family, whereas a big corporation controlled by a number of different individuals couldn't qualify for the same.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:04 am UTC

Yes but given that so many businesses are S-Corps or LLC's and so forth, especially the ones most likely to be run by Theocrats/Dominionists, this could affect a whole lot of people.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:53 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:It should be worth mentioning, I believe, that the Supreme Court restricted this ruling to companies where ownership was basically an individual/family, whereas a big corporation controlled by a number of different individuals couldn't qualify for the same.


Apparently this means it affects 90% of American companies, but not quite all of them. And the reasoning for why it doesn't affect all of them is a bit dicey, anyway.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby sardia » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:44 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Yes but given that so many businesses are S-Corps or LLC's and so forth, especially the ones most likely to be run by Theocrats/Dominionists, this could affect a whole lot of people.

For the ACA, it will affect far less people since most 'closely held' entities are under the 50 person limit set by the ACA. Where the SCOTUS precedent goes beyond religious birth control... there lie dragons.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby EMTP » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:55 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:It should be worth mentioning, I believe, that the Supreme Court restricted this ruling to companies where ownership was basically an individual/family, whereas a big corporation controlled by a number of different individuals couldn't qualify for the same.


It's not limited to family-owned companies, but rather includes any "closely held" joint-stock corporation. As LG pointed out, that's about 90% of American companies, covering about 50% of American workers.

This is a horrible ruling for many reasons. Not only does it further the horrible "corporations are people" fallacy, not only does it carve out major exceptions to federal law based on arbitrary religious beliefs; it codifies science denial as part of the criteria for disregarding the law. Hobby Lobby refused to cover several means of contraception because they said they cause abortions. They don't. It's a scientific fact that they don't. But the Court held that since they have a sincere religious belief, it doesn't matter that they are factually wrong. So if I sincerely believe that allowing Christian employees to take breaks will bring about abortions, say goodbye to your federally mandated breaks, Christians. Because freedom!

Just a terrible ruling, and the primary cause for optimism about its limited scope is simply that these five male, Catholic judges would never be so cavalier with anything except women's rights to sexual health and freedom.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby jareds » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:25 am UTC

Isaac Hill wrote:Now that corporate persons have 1st Amendment rights of speech and religion...

This case had absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment. Rather, it had to do with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, a federal law that had the explicit purpose of expanding the protection of the free exercise of religion beyond what the First Amendment requires. Hobby Lobby can be reversed by amending the ACA to exempt itself from the RFRA (since Congress can't bind itself except by amendment, any law can exempt itself from the RFRA), by repealing the RFRA, by amending the RFRA only to apply to human beings, or half a dozen other things. There is no constitutional significance to it.

Also, the RFRA can't override state law, because of states' rights, so it doesn't exempt anyone from state laws banning sexual-orientation discrimination, for example. And hopefully this is enough publicity that no one would be dumb enough to enact a federal sexual-orientation civil rights law without including an exemption from the RFRA.

Isaac Hill wrote:So a Hobby Lobby employee can be denied compensation she has earned under the law due to a religion she doesn't share, and this is supposed to be a pro religious freedom ruling?

Um...yes? I don't really understand--receiving compensation for labor is totally secular, so messing that up is not an infringement of religious freedom. I don't like the RFRA because it privileges religion above non-religion, but it is certainly a pro-religious-freedom law.

FYI, I don't think anyone is going to be denied anything. The government already had an accommodation with actual religious organizations where they would obtain policies that didn't cover contraception, and then the insurer would give the employees free policies covering only contraception. This is because if you've already let someone take out a policy that covers childbirth, it actually saves you money to give them a free policy covering contraception. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring for-profit corporations to buy policies that cover contraception was not the "least restrictive means" (as required by RFRA) to provide contraception, because they could make the same paperwork song and dance available to everyone.

I think that informed people are upset about this because (1) it signals that five justices have relatively lax concerns about women's reproductive issues, even if there is little practical impact in this case, and (2) they expect that the RFRA will not be amended and that the broad interpretation will have a negative impact on federal law. But my guess is that it is mostly (1) and the Supreme Court will not be so inclined to accept RFRA claims on other issues.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Derek » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:49 am UTC

I'm ok with this, but I generally believe that the rights of individuals (speech, association, etc.) should extend to businesses that they own, and I was (and still am) opposed to the healthcare mandate in the first place, so this isn't particularly surprising.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Diadem » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:56 am UTC

Derek wrote:I'm ok with this, but I generally believe that the rights of individuals (speech, association, etc.) should extend to businesses that they own

Only if all the responsibilities are also extended. Your company goes bankrupt? Too bad, you're personally liable for the remaining debt. You own 20% of a company that dumped toxic waste? Enjoy 20% of 20 years in prison.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:02 pm UTC

Can we establish a baseline for this discussion? This is already spiraling out of control. I've only listed to the oral argument somewhat, but it probably is best if we listened to the arguments already discussed in this case.

The name of this case is either "Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby" or "Burwell v. Hobby Lobby".

Primary sources:
* Law: Religious Freedom Restoration Act (wrote US Code 42 2000bb)
* http://www.c-span.org/video/?318462-1/s ... l-argument

In the oral arugments, Paul Clement argues on behalf of Hobby Lobby (~2 minutes to ~42 minutes), and Donald Verrilli (~42 minutes to the end) argues on behalf of the US Government (specifically Health and Human Services). For the most part, Sotomayor and Ginsburg blast Paul Clement for 40 minutes, and then Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Justice Altio blast Donald Verrilli for 40 minutes.

Secondary sources:
* Wikipedia

jareds wrote:FYI, I don't think anyone is going to be denied anything. The government already had an accommodation with actual religious organizations where they would obtain policies that didn't cover contraception, and then the insurer would give the employees free policies covering only contraception. This is because if you've already let someone take out a policy that covers childbirth, it actually saves you money to give them a free policy covering contraception. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring for-profit corporations to buy policies that cover contraception was not the "least restrictive means" (as required by RFRA) to provide contraception, because they could make the same paperwork song and dance available to everyone.


Precisely. I think a key factor here is that there is a solution that makes everyone happy that exists under this 5-4 ruling. Its unlikely that the high court will apply RFRA arguments to everything in the future... in this specific case, there is a readily available "least restrictive means" available to the companies here. It was a key portion of the oral argument that contraception reduces health care costs (specifically: Hobby Lobby is going to still pay for your child care costs), so the insurance company is encouraged to offer you free contraceptive costs. So in the long run, everyone gets what they want anyway under this 5-4 ruling.

Check out ~40 minutes into the Oral Arguments.

Justice Altio asks "Are there any less restrictive alternatives", and Paul Clement (arguing on behalf of Hobby Lobby) discusses this fact. Justice Sotomayor was worried about costs imposed upon the individuals or government, and it is demonstrated that there are no costs at all (within the framework of Health and Human Services). Insurance companies will want to cover contraceptives for free as long as Hobby Lobby is already paying for the more expensive child-coverage costs. This alone is what distinguishes this particular religious exemption from Vaccinations, Pork, Blood Transfusions, and everything else (first thing discussed under the oral arguments). Vaccinations for example, have no less restrictive alternative and therefore wouldn't have a valid RFRA claim.

-------------

It should be noted that Health and Human Services (ie: Sebelius / Burwell) establishes Contraceptives as a requirement, not the Affordable Care Act. (The Affordable Care Act gives the Department of Health and Human Services its authority to establish "essential coverage" to insurance companies)
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Brace » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:38 pm UTC

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:47 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Can a Scientology-run corporation deny Mental Health coverage? A Jehova's Witness deny organ transplants? I'm Jewish; have you ever read the list of things I could deny? Sorry, your necklace of Jesus on the crucifix that you wear under your shirt? That's an idol, you're fired; just be glad I'm not lighting you on fire.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... %281982%29

When there is a substantial government interest and there exists no less restrictive means of furthering the interest... religious freedom does not apply. IE: The Amish are forced to cover Social Security.

There has been proven a less restrictive alternative to offer contraceptive coverage without forcing Hobby Lobby to do it themselves. Based on how the world works, its employees will continue to get contraceptive coverage for free, Hobby Lobby will pay for the rest of insurance and everyone is going to be happy.

Brace wrote:
Image

Isaac Hill wrote:Now that corporate persons have 1st Amendment rights of speech and religion, it's time to expand to the rest of the Amendments, including the 13th.

- Systems Analyst


Once again, this is a RFRA case, not a 1st amendment case.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:21 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Can a Scientology-run corporation deny Mental Health coverage? A Jehova's Witness deny organ transplants? I'm Jewish; have you ever read the list of things I could deny? Sorry, your necklace of Jesus on the crucifix that you wear under your shirt? That's an idol, you're fired; just be glad I'm not lighting you on fire.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... %281982%29

When there is a substantial government interest and there exists no less restrictive means of furthering the interest... religious freedom does not apply. IE: The Amish are forced to cover Social Security.

There has been proven a less restrictive alternative to offer contraceptive coverage without forcing Hobby Lobby to do it themselves. Based on how the world works, its employees will continue to get contraceptive coverage for free, Hobby Lobby will pay for the rest of insurance and everyone is going to be happy.


If insurance companies are going to cover contraceptives for free, then why is this an issue at all? Why make employees have to go through the effort to get a separate policy to specifically cover one thing, rather than just lump it in with the main policy? Hobby Lobby isn't paying for contraceptives either way, because the insurance company is offering it free of charge. OTOH, if the insurance companies are charging more for it, but having it split into a separate policy makes it free, then pretty soon every company is going to "find religion" in order to shave this off their costs, as they should.

Anyway, a less restrictive alternative for any claim of this nature could easily be "the government covers it", or "the employee covers it themselves", because that's basically what the Court decided here. Then again, this might be a great backdoor way to introduce a full public healthcare system.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:35 pm UTC

Birth control reduces costs. A $20 supply stops $10,000 in average medical costs. And a megaton of variance; a premie can well over several hundred grand. So yeah, insurance companies want you on the pill.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby leady » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:28 pm UTC

Strangely I would have thought it does no such thing, but just cost $100 a month (or whatever) and only defers the $10000 payments, but I assume this has been worked out somewhere!

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:08 pm UTC

It stops unwanted pregnancies and overall, reduces the fertility rate. A woman might not want any kids, or might only want 2 kids, but if they got pregnant they might decide to keep anyway. Less kids = less cost.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:39 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Yes but given that so many businesses are S-Corps or LLC's and so forth, especially the ones most likely to be run by Theocrats/Dominionists, this could affect a whole lot of people.

For the ACA, it will affect far less people since most 'closely held' entities are under the 50 person limit set by the ACA. Where the SCOTUS precedent goes beyond religious birth control... there lie dragons.


This. The vast, vast majority of companies can fairly trivially dodge the ACA either by staying under the 50 person limit or restricting hours to keep people part time. Plus, yknow, there keep being delays. The mandate has always been the troublesome part of the ACA because it forces decisions like this.

And I imagine that most companies do not care about such things. It's not as if it's vastly expensive or anything...it really is just a religious objection, not a dollars and cents issue masquerading as such.

As for facts, well...if religions had to be factually correct, they wouldn't be religions.

I also think it strange that people somehow believe that it's ok for non-profit's to offer insurance that doesn't cover this, but if a for-profit does, well, it's the end of the world. What's the practical difference?

Diadem wrote:
Derek wrote:I'm ok with this, but I generally believe that the rights of individuals (speech, association, etc.) should extend to businesses that they own

Only if all the responsibilities are also extended. Your company goes bankrupt? Too bad, you're personally liable for the remaining debt. You own 20% of a company that dumped toxic waste? Enjoy 20% of 20 years in prison.


For businesses of this time, this is actually extremely common. Yes, the giant monoliths with no one person in charge can often avoid repercussions, but those are exactly the companies this ruling does not apply to. Go, start an LLC of your own, and try to take out a loan, lease property, or do anything else that incurs liability. Your name will be explicitly listed as liable in the event of business failure to pay, etc.

The idea that corporations get to automatically default on all liabilities by virtue of being corporations is a curious and inaccurate one.

Background: I own and operate an LLC the engages in the above activity. I am personally liable for a *lot* if it tanks.

KnightExemplar wrote:When there is a substantial government interest and there exists no less restrictive means of furthering the interest... religious freedom does not apply. IE: The Amish are forced to cover Social Security.


The Amish are exempt from paying into Social Security.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:When there is a substantial government interest and there exists no less restrictive means of furthering the interest... religious freedom does not apply. IE: The Amish are forced to cover Social Security.


The Amish are exempt from paying into Social Security.


Apologies. I misunderstood the case.

Amish employers are not exempt from withholding Social Security from their employees. Which makes US v Lee very similar to this (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) case. US v Lee was a 9-0 Supreme Court case, so there is no ambiguity in the ruling.

The US Government is allowed to restrict religious freedoms. Religious objections are not absolute. That is the point I'm trying to make.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:24 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:When there is a substantial government interest and there exists no less restrictive means of furthering the interest... religious freedom does not apply. IE: The Amish are forced to cover Social Security.


The Amish are exempt from paying into Social Security.


Apologies. I misunderstood the case.

Amish employers are not exempt from withholding Social Security from their employees. Which makes US v Lee very similar to this (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) case. US v Lee was a 9-0 Supreme Court case, so there is no ambiguity in the ruling.

The US Government is allowed to restrict religious freedoms. Religious objections are not absolute. That is the point I'm trying to make.


Nobody is saying that they're absolute. They're just clearly more important than, say, women's rights, as far as the SCOTUS is concerned.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:28 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Nobody is saying that they're absolute. They're just clearly more important than, say, women's rights, as far as the SCOTUS is concerned.


The supreme court didn't say that either. They're saying that there is an easy way to get contraceptive coverage without pissing off the religious groups.

LaserGuy wrote:Anyway, a less restrictive alternative for any claim of this nature could easily be "the government covers it", or "the employee covers it themselves", because that's basically what the Court decided here. Then again, this might be a great backdoor way to introduce a full public healthcare system.


Listen to ~40 minutes into the oral argument. Hobby Lobby themselves argued against this reasoning when Justice Sotamayor brought it up. In essence, the "compelling governmental interest" is the ability to force employers to pay for health care coverage (so that neither the government nor employee has to pay for important coverage).

In this case of contraceptives however, we can expect insurance companies to foot the bill.

-----------------

The SCOUS really really doesn't like setting precedents. If they can make a decision without setting a precedent, they tend to do it in that way. If you look at the details here, it is extremely hard to apply all of the arguments from Hobby Lobby to other cases. (Vaccinations, Blood Transfusions, or what have you)
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:06 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:In this case of contraceptives however, we can expect insurance companies to foot the bill.


The government paying the insurance company to foot the bill is equivalent to the government footing the bill. Why do you think that the insurance companies would just swallow the cost? And if they are willing to provide contraceptive coverage for free, then why is Hobby Lobby arguing about this in the first place? If it's a free benefit, then they aren't paying for it, and it shouldn't matter whether it's on the policy or not. Just makes more useless work for everybody.

Finally, what if the insurance companies find religion, and won't cover contraception at all?

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:16 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:In this case of contraceptives however, we can expect insurance companies to foot the bill.


The government paying the insurance company to foot the bill is equivalent to the government footing the bill. Why do you think that the insurance companies would just swallow the cost?


Because Hobby Lobby is paying for childcare insurance as part of their health package. Insurance companies would rather spend $20 on a contraceptives than pay $10,000+ on a birth expenses. The government isn't going to have to pay for anything.

And if they are willing to provide contraceptive coverage for free, then why is Hobby Lobby arguing about this in the first place?


Because Hobby Lobby is forced, by The Affordable Care Act, to purchase the "contraceptives package" for its employees. And we know insurance companies will give it to its employees for free, but Hobby Lobby doesn't want any part to do with it.

If it's a free benefit, then they aren't paying for it, and it shouldn't matter whether it's on the policy or not. Just makes more useless work for everybody.


I understand that you don't care about other people's feelings about this. However, this was a 5-4 controversial case in the Supreme Court. I assure you, people around the country care about this case. If you think it was a waste of time, then there are other threads and other discussions where you can discuss things. I won't tolerate any flaunting of your apathy however. (I'm not a mod, but I'll ping you hard if you continue to use "I don't care" as a basis of your argument)

This is important because the case found a way to uphold religious freedoms and still most likely provide contraceptive coverage for Hobby Lobby's employees. Win/Win for everyone as they go with this decision.

Finally, what if the insurance companies find religion, and won't cover contraception at all?


This was brought up in the oral arguments, I forgot where. Pot smokers often claim to be religiously affiliated with "the Church of MJ" to smoke a joint and it gets tossed out all the time. This case, Hobby Lobby wins because there is a less restrictive means where Insurance Companies are willing to pay for contraceptive coverage for free (and neither the US Government nor Employee foots the bill).

Again, with US vs Lee, an Amish employer didn't want to pay Social Security taxes on the basis of religious exemption. But the US has a compelling interest for everyone to participate, so the Amish Employer was forced to pay SS taxes for its employees.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby jareds » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:54 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:If insurance companies are going to cover contraceptives for free, then why is this an issue at all? Why make employees have to go through the effort to get a separate policy to specifically cover one thing, rather than just lump it in with the main policy? Hobby Lobby isn't paying for contraceptives either way, because the insurance company is offering it free of charge.

LaserGuy wrote:And if they are willing to provide contraceptive coverage for free, then why is Hobby Lobby arguing about this in the first place? If it's a free benefit, then they aren't paying for it, and it shouldn't matter whether it's on the policy or not. Just makes more useless work for everybody.

At first, I thought this was a rhetorical question making fun of Hobby Lobby for caring about the issue, but you keep repeating it. Are you seriously insinuating that KnightExemplar and I must be mistaken about the possibility of the separate-free-contraceptive-policy accommodation because no one would make a federal court case out of a religious issue unless winning would give them a financial benefit or otherwise have some tangible effect on their life? See same-sex marriage.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:07 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
If it's a free benefit, then they aren't paying for it, and it shouldn't matter whether it's on the policy or not. Just makes more useless work for everybody.


I understand that you don't care about other people's feelings about this. However, this was a 5-4 controversial case in the Supreme Court. I assure you, people around the country care about this case.


No, I don't understand why they're upset when the outcome is exactly the same:
-Hobby Lobby pays $X per employee for a healthcare package that includes contraception.
-Hobby Lobby pays $X per employee for a healthcare package that does not include contraception, and the very same insurer gives everyone on Hobby Lobby's payroll a separate package that only covers contraception at no cost.

Although in practice, of course, what is actually going to happen, at least at present is:
-Hobby Lobby pays $X per employee for a healthcare package that does not include contraception, and the very same insurer charges everyone on Hobby Lobby's payroll for a separate package that only covers contraception.

How is the difference (except in the last case) anything but semantic? Hobby Lobby is still paying for it either way, because the only reason the insurer is offering the free policy is because Hobby Lobby is already paying for the full policy. In either case, they are still, de facto, providing contraceptive coverage for their employees. That's why, as it happens, the very mechanism that offered to non-profits to get around the contraceptive mandate that was invoked by Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS as the "less restrictive alternative" is itself being challenged on religious grounds under the very same law for precisely this reason. Want to take a guess at which case the SCOTUS is likely to be use as a precedent to rule against that one?

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:24 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:That's why, as it happens, the very mechanism that offered to non-profits to get around the contraceptive mandate that was invoked by Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS as the "less restrictive alternative" is itself being challenged on religious grounds under the very same law for precisely this reason. Want to take a guess at which case the SCOTUS is likely to be use as a precedent to rule against that one?


Looks like we're getting somewhere then. Do you got a link to the specific case? I remember hearing something in the news about it, but I don't know exactly what to google for.

EDIT: I remember now. Its the Little Sisters for the Poor vs Sebelius case. But if you really want to know what the difference is... its that the Little Sisters for the Poor are a non-profit religious group. What is determined for them will likely be inapplicable for US Corporations in general.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:36 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:That's why, as it happens, the very mechanism that offered to non-profits to get around the contraceptive mandate that was invoked by Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS as the "less restrictive alternative" is itself being challenged on religious grounds under the very same law for precisely this reason. Want to take a guess at which case the SCOTUS is likely to be use as a precedent to rule against that one?


Looks like we're getting somewhere then. Do you got a link to the specific case? I remember hearing something in the news about it, but I don't know exactly what to google for.


The most well-known case is Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius, which is currently in Federal Appeals Court. I've seen articles mentioning that there are about 50 similar cases currently being looked at by the courts, but I can't find any specific references.

[edit]The HHS cases from these guys are probably good places to look to see where this ruling will likely take us in the next few years.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:41 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:That's why, as it happens, the very mechanism that offered to non-profits to get around the contraceptive mandate that was invoked by Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS as the "less restrictive alternative" is itself being challenged on religious grounds under the very same law for precisely this reason. Want to take a guess at which case the SCOTUS is likely to be use as a precedent to rule against that one?


Looks like we're getting somewhere then. Do you got a link to the specific case? I remember hearing something in the news about it, but I don't know exactly what to google for.


The most well-known case is Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius, which is currently in Federal Appeals Court. I've seen articles mentioning that there are about 50 similar cases currently being looked at by the courts, but I can't find any specific references.


http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/01/parti ... e-sisters/

The more I look at it, the more different this looks than this case.

Only religious organizations have any legal right, under the ACA, to be exempt from the mandate.


Apparently, the ACA has explicit language that exempts religious groups from coverage. The breadth of the ACA religious exemption is what is being tested by the Little Sisters.

http://www.uhc.com/united_for_reform_re ... verage.htm

Hobby Lobby was able to make an argument from RFRA... a very different argument than what is being made by the religious groups.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:54 pm UTC

The Wheaton college one discussed here may actually be the most relevant.
http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/07/u-s-d ... emption-6/

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:42 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:[edit]The HHS cases from these guys are probably good places to look to see where this ruling will likely take us in the next few years.


I appreciate the sourcing of information from the "opposing sources". I figured I should give you a thumbs up about it in some form.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Crissa » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:37 am UTC

    The argument is a non-starter:
  • How can it be a deeply-held belief when their coverage included it before the ACA required it?
  • They aren't buying or using contraception, they're paying their employee.
  • The employee's compensation is their own to use or not use.
  • Contraception wasn't an option to avoid in coverage; it's not a choice the company is or isn't making.

Basically, the majority opinion is made up whole cloth. There is no case here. Notice how they restricted it to 'abortion' even though actual factual 'abortifactants' are already disallowed - even if the employee is paying part of the coverage.

And yes, this ruling only affects a tiny number of US women - but it's a terrible, terrible precedent for many of the reasons previously stated. Whether or not you don't like the ACA, allowing people to pick and choose which safety standards they want in items their employees are purchasing is just not in any way good.

-Crissa

KnightExemplar wrote:Because Hobby Lobby is forced, by The Affordable Care Act, to purchase the "contraceptives package" for its employees. And we know insurance companies will give it to its employees for free, but Hobby Lobby doesn't want any part to do with it.

This is like saying you're required to buy the 'clean hands package' at the local diner. Compelling government interest said that wasn't a good idea. So it's not a 'package', it's part of the default.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:41 pm UTC

Crissa wrote:And yes, this ruling only affects a tiny number of US women - but it's a terrible, terrible precedent for many of the reasons previously stated. Whether or not you don't like the ACA, allowing people to pick and choose which safety standards they want in items their employees are purchasing is just not in any way good.


Then you haven't been reading any of my arguments in this thread.

This case sets absolutely no precedent... unless you can think of another safety standard under which Insurance companies will be willing to throw in for free independent of the employer's plan.

KnightExemplar wrote:Because Hobby Lobby is forced, by The Affordable Care Act, to purchase the "contraceptives package" for its employees. And we know insurance companies will give it to its employees for free, but Hobby Lobby doesn't want any part to do with it.

This is like saying you're required to buy the 'clean hands package' at the local diner. Compelling government interest said that wasn't a good idea. So it's not a 'package', it's part of the default.


No, its like saying people get the contraceptives coverage anyway, so why are you making a big deal out of it?.

At least LaserGuy is onto something, where my argument is being tested in a different court case. But please try to understand the argument the Supreme Court is making in this case.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:54 pm UTC

I suggest just forcing Hobby Lobby to give more generous maternity leave benefits. That'll shut them up about contraception.

Same thing with any other case of the stupids. Oh, you used arbitrary building codes to close down all of your abortion clinics? Well, we are cutting your Medicaid funding by 10%, because the rest of the country doesn't want to pay for your unwanted kids. Yes we can do that; you did that to New York to force them to raise their drinking age to 21. What's that, abortion is less of an issue than getting that sweet sweet money? Glad to see you are willing to play ball.

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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Brace » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:57 pm UTC

This post had objectionable content.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:08 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I suggest just forcing Hobby Lobby to give more generous maternity leave benefits. That'll shut them up about contraception.


Hobby Lobby has a minimum salary 90% higher than Walmart's. Believe it or not, they're not in this argument for the money.

The issue is that Hobby Lobby believes in giving their employees health care coverage. But to give any health coverage under The Affordable Care Act's new rules requires them to give contraceptive coverage that they believe is tantamount to abortion. Remember, the Catholic Health Association came out in big support of The Affordable Care Act, arguing against the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops. Regardless, Catholic support of The Affordable Care Act has always hinged upon contraceptives and abortion.

I do realize that a number of forum members are atheists and don't care about religion. But once again, I don't think apathy is the right answer to other people's concerns.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:39 pm UTC

The contraceptive argument is a bit spurious KE, given that Hobby Lobby insurance doesn't cover IUDs, but does cover vasectomies. Oh, and, Hobby Lobby invests in birth control providing companies.
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Re: US Corporations now have religious freedom

Postby sardia » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:44 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The contraceptive argument is a bit spurious KE, given that Hobby Lobby insurance doesn't cover IUDs, but does cover vasectomies. Oh, and, Hobby Lobby invests in birth control providing companies.

Isn't that due to religion, or more precisely, the many old guys in charge are sexist?


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