SCOTUS Rules on Hobby Lobby

[Content Note: Hostility to agency; Christian Supremacy; corporate personhood.]

The decision is coming down shortly, and I will update this post as it happens. In the meantime, here is some background reading:

Nina Martin: A Reading List on the Hobby Lobby Cases.

Imani Gandy: Will the Supreme Court Ignore the Evidence? Facts vs. Beliefs in the Hobby Lobby Case.

Tara Culp-Ressler: If Hobby Lobby Wins, It Will Be Even Worse for Birth Control Access Than You Think.

This is the case where the Supreme Court will decide whether a corporation is entitled to religious liberty by way of corporate personhood and thus can be exempted from providing employees with healthcare coverage that includes contraception, as was mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

More soon...

UPDATE: And we have the ruling. Welp.

screen cap of a SCOTUSblog tweet reading: 'Breaking: SCOTUS holds govt can’t require closely held corps w/ religious owners to provide contraception coverage'

The worst outcome.

UPDATE 2: The Hobby Lobby ruling is fully a continuation of SCOTUS' ruling in Citizens United. Corporations are people.

The latest in corporate personhood: Now corporations have religious freedom in addition to free speech.

Corporations are people, and women (and others who need access to contraception) are not. Freedom of religion, but not freedom from.

UPDATE 3: SCOTUSblog: "The Obama Administration is almost certain to provide contraception coverage to women covered by today's decision." That is, the decision includes the recommendation that the federal government pay for contraception.

Imani Gandy observes: "Considering conservatives were complaining about govt handing out free [birth control], fact that govt may now hand out free BC is funny."

UPDATE 4: There is just no other way to read this decision except that cis men are the human norm, and cis women, trans & intersex men are deviations. Our healthcare is "special" healthcare. This is a deeply othering ruling.

UPDATE 5: SCOTUS has also effectively ruled it's reasonable to expect women et. al. to inquire with potential employers about corp's religious beliefs.

And how long before corporate personhood means it's illegal for applicants to ask about a company's religious beliefs?

SCOTUS has put women and others needing contraception in an untenable position. Who's gonna get hired asking if contraception is covered?

Talk about an undue burden.

UPDATE 6: The Bait-and-Switch Behind Today's Hobby Lobby Decision:
For many years, the Supreme Court struck a careful balance between protecting religious liberty and maintaining the rule of law in a pluralistic society. Religious people enjoy a robust right to practice their own faith and to act according to the dictates of their own conscience, but they could not wield religious liberty claims as a sword to cut away the legal rights of others. This was especially true in the business context. As the Supreme Court held in United States v. Lee, "[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity."

With Monday's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, however, this careful balance has been upended. Employers who object to birth control on religious grounds may now refuse to comply with federal rules requiring them to include contraceptive care in their health plans. The rights of the employer now trump the rights of the employee.

...The upshot of Alito's opinion is that, for the first time in American history, people with religious objections to the law will be able to ignore many laws with impunity unless the government's decision to enforce the law overcomes a very high legal bar that few laws survive.
UPDATE 7: What the Hobby Lobby Decision Means for Your Health Care: "Fortunately, women who want affordable contraception aren't entirely out of luck. The vast majority of women with private insurance are already working at companies that comply with Obamacare's birth control mandate. And even the people working at closely held corporations owned by people who oppose birth control may have options. The Obama administration will likely ensure they have another avenue to get the coverage they need."

The biggest concern about this ruling is, of course, the precedent it will set. We won't know the true extent of its awfulness for years, and subsequent cases, to come.

In a little glimmer of possible good news: "There's been some speculation that Hobby Lobby employees may be able file a Civil Rights Act Title VII complaint, on the grounds that the company is treating female employees differently than male employees by refusing to cover gender-specific health services."

I'm angry that they are obliged to even consider that, but I'm glad they are. Though I would understand completely if they eventually determine it's not worth the risk to their employment, and potentially their personal safety, to pursue a case.

UPDATE 8: Here are some highlights from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Hobby Lobby dissent. The full dissent is available here, beginning on Page 60.

UPDATE 9: Irin Carmon: "The Hobby Lobby decision isn't narrow."
The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is being called narrow by some analysts, but that's true only in that Hobby Lobby got everything it wanted and nothing more. In her blistering dissent Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg correctly called it "a decision of startling breadth."

The question before the Court was twofold: Do corporations enjoy the same protections for religious liberty as individuals do? And if so, does providing contraceptive coverage in an employee health plan – as required under the Affordable Care Act – violate that liberty?

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for all of the Republican-appointed justices, answered "yes" to both questions.
UPDATE 10: Faulty Hobby Lobby ruling by Supreme Court opens door to unintended consequences: "By finding that companies are 'persons' under a 1993 religious-freedom law, the ruling is likely to invite a string of pernicious consequences in which employees' rights become secondary. The impact will go far beyond contraceptives and the three companies involved."

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus