Lobby your hobbies

The Supreme Court decision on Monday to allow Hobby Lobby a (as John Oliver put it, in his typically brilliant segment) line-item veto on corporate obligations is just all sorts of non-sensical.  It's just the latest in a series of decisions that is destroying all respect any thinking person would have for the Court itself.

Let's just start counting a few of the ways this is a disaster in the making (and yes, some of these come straight out of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's blistering dissent):

1) This is straight-up discrimination against women.  If a closely-held corporation wants to deny Viagra to its male employees, is that going to fly?  I'm betting no.

2) This is attributing religion to a fictional entity.  This literally makes no sense.  This is not a thinking being that can possibly have an opinion on whether God exists, and what it means if He/She/It does.  This is not something with a soul, that can be saved.

3) This allows a corporation to get between a woman and her doctor.  There are a lot of medical reasons to take birth control pills that have nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy.  In fact, there are even extreme cases (women with incredibly irregular periods) where a woman might take birth control pills to facilitate pregnancy.  A friend of mine in college was born this way (thanks for telling me about it, Arthur).

4) This allows imposition of religion by business owners on their employees.  Man, is this an impossibly slippery slope.

5) This was all based on a conception of conception that is not backed up by science.  The majority said that "It is not for the Court to say that the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs are mistaken or unreasonable".  That's generally true (and we'll revisit this), but the specific beliefs in this case are contrary to science.  Do we want to encourage people to believe that gravity is optional?  That's the same idea.  Giving equal weight to "sincere belief" and to observable fact is not a way to run a country.  At least, not if you don't want to end up like Afghanistan when the Taliban took over.

6) How can the religious beliefs of a corporation be determined to be sincere?  With this ruling, the courts must determine this.  Are they sincere beliefs, or are they just trying to save money on their bottom line?

7) The majority held that the easiest way to provide remedy for the "burden" of having to provide contraception is for the government to provide it.  Ginsburg's dissent listed several ways that this is a burden on the employees.  What I remember: a) not everyone knows about it, b) it's more complicated on everyone, c) unless it's free, poor people will be unable to afford it.  I think there were several others.

But even ignoring all that, that's an argument that allows any corporation to get out of any monetary obligation, because it's always possible for the government to pay it.  It might bankrupt the government, but that doesn't seem to a concern.

8) A day after the ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed that the ruling applies to all contraceptives, not just those on which this case was based.  So the Court doesn't think that the government has any business getting involved in someone's sex life, if they might be sodomizing a willing partner, but if a woman wants to keep from getting pregnant while having consensual sex, then that's not ok.  Wow, is that a mysogynistic viewpoint.

Note, too, that this is all ignoring that, prior to passage of the ACA, Hobby Lobby provided the contraceptives over which they went to court.

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