Supreme Court Expands On Hobby Lobby Decision Making It Even Worse

The United States Supreme Court Justices.

The United States Supreme Court Justices.

Twice in the past week the Supreme Court has expanded its decision in the Hobby Lobby case, making the ruling even worse for women than previously thought.

It’s been just one week since the Supreme Court handed down its controversial decision in the Hobby Lobby case, essentially giving corporate persons the right to dictate to lesser, human persons, what they can and cannot do, based entirely on the religious beliefs of the corporate person. That decision was undoubtedly one of the worst decisions ever made by the United States Supreme Court. If you thought it was over and done on the day the court handed down its ruling, and if you thought it couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong.

In the week since the court’s ruling, the conservative justices have expounded on it twice, making it even more oppressive for real persons, while extending even greater benefits to corporate ones.

First, the justices clarified that the decision does not only apply to the 4 methods of contraception addressed in the Hobby Lobby case, but also includes all 20 methods of birth control covered under the ACA (Obamacare). That clarification was handed down just one day after the court’s initial ruling.

Then, on Monday, July 7th, things got even worse.

A previous agreement under the ACA, which was meant to allow non-profit organizations such as churches and charities, which hold a religious and moral objection to birth control coverage, to sign a waiver stating their moral objection. In those cases the insurer was then to be able to provide the coverage directly. The agreement allowed the insured person to be covered apart from the employer, while also allowing the employer to be free from the horrendous sin of having to help an employee pay for birth control. Sounds like a win-win right?

Reading the original opinion of the court in regards to the Hobby Lobby case as it was written by Justice Alito, one would think that this provision was an acceptable solution for ‘achieving the goals of the government by the least restrictive means.’ On the second and third pages of the official opinion, Alito refers specifically to this agreement between the government and non-profit entities to justify the ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. The logic he presents is that there is no difference between non-profit and for profit entities, at least not when it comes to the right to exercise ‘freedom of religion’. In other words, the Supreme Court said that if the government can create this type of arrangement for non-profits, it should also do so for companies that exist solely for profit.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, Wheaton College filed an emergency petition, claiming that having to sign a waiver which allows private insurance to provide birth control coverage in their stead, is a violation of their sincerely held religious and moral beliefs.

So about that agreement between non-profits and the government, which was used as justification for the Hobby Lobby decision…

In spite of the fact that the original Hobby Lobby decision pointed to this very agreement as an example of how the government could achieve its goals without violating the religious freedoms of non-profit entities and corporate people, the Court ruled on Monday that asking private entities to sign such a waiver now violates their religious rights.

The fact that the court completely contradicts itself in these two rulings is both shocking and outrageous. In her dissent from Monday’s ruling, Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote the following: “Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today.”  She went on to say that the inconsistencies between the two rulings is the sort of behavior that “evinces disregard for even the newest of this court’s precedents and undermines confidence in this institution.”