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Bill of Right
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [. . .] (First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.)
In Employment Division v. Smith, Justice Scalia wrote for the U.S. Supreme Court that:
We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes). [Emphasis supplied.]
Congress did not like this interpretation of the free exercise clause, and passed the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act by large majorities and President Clinton signed the law. What did RFRA do?  Expressly RFRA was intended to:
The purposes of this chapter are— (1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).
Justice Scalia could have retorted that he followed Sherbert and Yoder in Smith. So, no "restoration" was required. Justice Alito, writing in Hobby Lobby v. Burford, is dishonest (I use this word purposefully) in his opinion when he writes, as you can see below the flip:

Nothing in the text of RFRA as originally enacted suggested that the statutory phrase “exercise of religion under the First Amendment” was meant to be tied to this Court’s pre-Smith interpretation of that Amendment.
Other than the express language I quoted above from RFRA, of course. And, of course, there are Justice Alito's own words in the same opinion:
Congress, in enacting RFRA, took the position that “the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test forstriking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.” [Emphasis supplied.]
But leave the dishonesty aside, what of this interpretation of RFRA? IF in fact RFRA means what the Hobby Lobby court says it means, what of the First Amendment's prohibition that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Isn't RFRA a law intended to favor religious exercise over non-religious exercise? As interpreted by the Hobby Lobby court, it is, and thus is unconstitutional. I explored this issue in this post. I quoted Justice Stevens concurrence in the case of Boerne v. Flores:
In my opinion, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) is a "law respecting an establishment of religion" that violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. If the historic landmark on the hill in Boerne happened to be a museum or an art gallery owned by an atheist, it would not be eligible for an exemption from the city ordinances that forbid an enlargement of the structure. Because the landmark is owned by the Catholic Church, it is claimed that RFRA gives its owner a federal statutory entitlement to an exemption from a generally applicable, neutral civil law. Whether the Church would actually prevail under the statute or not, the statute has provided the Church with a legal weapon that no atheist or agnostic can obtain. This governmental preference for religion, as opposed to irreligion, is forbidden by the First Amendment. Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 52—55 (1985). [Emphasis added]
Justice Stevens' analysis is based solely on the text of RFRA. But the Hobby Lobby decision makes clear that the court's interpretation of RFRA not only will favor "religion, as opposed to irreligion," but certain religious beliefs over others.

In Hobby Lobby, Justice Alito insists the decision is narrow, that this does not mean that religious beliefs that are "burdened" because the insurance coverage mandated by the Affordable Care Act, which includes immunizations or blood transfusions, will be relieved of this obligation under RFRA. Alito does not explain why this is so. What is different about the religious belief against immunizations and blood transfusions versus Hobby Lobby's objection to birth control? Or, racial, gender or sexual orientation discrimination or that matter? Here is Alito's hand-waving:

Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.

The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32–33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.

What is Alito saying here? Simply this: Some religious beliefs are more equal than others. Immunization? That's different. Your religious objections on that will hold no water in the court.  You object to interracial relationships? (See Bob Jones University v. United States.) Sorry, that religious belief is not respectable, so no "religious liberty" for you. So you want men and women to be segregated on a public transit bus for religious purposes? Sorry,  that religious objection gets no respect here.

Whether this impulse of the court to favor certain religious objections over others is driven by political calculation or just the belief that some religious beliefs are better than others, it runs afoul of the establishment clause.

Justice Kennedy attempts to answer the obvious problem here:

In these cases, it is the Court’s understanding that an accommodation may be made to the employers without imposition of a whole new program or burden on the Government. As the Court makes clear, this is not a case where it can be established that it is difficult to accommodate the government’s interest, and in fact the mechanism for doing so is already in place. Ante, at 43–44.

"[T]he American community is today, as it long has been, a rich mosaic of religious faiths." Town of Greece v. Galloway, 572 U. S. _, _ (2014) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 15). Among the reasons the United States is so open, so tolerant, and so free is that no person may be restricted or demeaned by government in exercising his or her religion. Yet neither may that same exercise unduly restrict other persons, such as employees, in protecting their own interests, interests the law deems compelling. In these cases the means to reconcile those two priorities are at hand in the existing accommodation the Government has designed, identified, and used for circumstances closely parallel to those presented here. RFRA requires the Government to use this less restrictive means. As the Court explains, this existing model, designed precisely for this problem, might well suffice to distinguish the instant cases from many others in which it is more difficult and expensive to accommodate a governmental program to countless religious claims based on an alleged statutory right of free exercise. Ante, at 45–46. [Emphasis supplied.]

But this only highlights the problem, in my view. The government has already favored certain religious views by providing accommodations to religious organizations that run secular institutions. Because of this favoritism, persons holding the same religious objections find their religious objections can be accommodated a well. This is establishing a hierarchy of religious belief by the government. And that is precisely what the establishment clause prohibits.

In a series of posts, I criticized the call for accommodation to religiously run secular institutions.

I argued that apart from the first-order establishment clause violation this entailed, it was also a slippery slope that would lead to private individuals making the same claims. Yes, I told you so. But this i not just an I told you so. It is also a warning about how the Roberts Court operates. first they issue a "narrow" ruling. See NAMUDNO. Then they issue the broad ruling. See Shelby County.

Does this mean all religious objections to secular laws will now be viewed favorably by the court? Of course not.

After all, to the court, some religious beliefs are more equal than others.

But any belief that can be used to restrict women's rights are at the top of the heap for the Roberts Court when it comes to religion. That war by the Roberts Court will not end.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They can Supreme all they want but they better (17+ / 0-)

    step up and take care of the Hobby Lobby kids.

    That's gonna be one hell of a law suit.

    Child forgotten in car? -- Use open source E-Z Baby Saver -- Andrew Pelham, 11yo inventor E-Z Baby Saver

    by 88kathy on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:09:48 PM PDT

  •  if the Hobby Lobby case hadn't occurred (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, allie4fairness

    and the court hadn't made such a ruling, would you contend that RFRA is unconstitutional? Or in other words, did you argue that position before this ruling?

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:13:15 PM PDT

    •  From a legal POV what difference does (3+ / 0-)

      Your question make?

      •  in wondering whether the law (5+ / 0-)

        is viewed as unconstitutional independent of the recent ruling, or only because of that ruling. If the court at some point in the future were to change its interpretation, would RFRA become constitutional?

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:23:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Legal analysis is politics and art (0+ / 0-)

          With a little bit of empiricism and reason thrown in

          Not a science

          Meaning when the other guy  is in charge tells you whether a law is good or not bc it is harder when you are in
          Charge to see the problems with the laws

          Rules only mean something in the society in which they are embedded

          There is no such thing as an objective answer here

          •  I'm asking for an opinion (4+ / 0-)

            not a statement of fact.

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:42:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't understand why it matters (0+ / 0-)

              And still don't

              So that's why I'm confused

              At least not if the goal is for the law to be what you want rather than the other guy wants it to be

              That's the only thing that should matter

              Apparently the diarist had been consistent but in terms of what the law should be , it wouldn't matter if he wasn't

              •  I'm trying to better understand (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY, hester, allie4fairness, cowdab

                the viewpoint that he expressed, and the reasoning involved. And I'm just curious. I also ask because I'm concerned about the rights of people with minority religious views, such as those in the Smith case, and others that were a motivation for the RFRA in the first place.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 01:15:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The key to me is realizing that (0+ / 0-)

                  Arguments are less important than outcomes

                  •  well, now I'm confused. (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't see how that's relevant to my question.

                    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 01:36:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We come at thus differently (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Josiah Bartlett

                      Your focus is on it stems debating which us understandable

                      The diary is doing that too

                      So we are kind of taking passed each other

                      What I was reacting to is that while the diary already focused too much on reasoning with the court

                      you seemed to take it a step further

                      It just strikes me as missing the point

                      The court is now controlled by zealots packed there over 30 years

                      I'm interested in how the courts can be packed with social liberals and economic leftist so I don't have to debate details

                      I was just reacting to the finer details you wanted as being not very useful only bc I find the approach of reason here not useful

                      What is it going to change ?

                      Strategies to pack the court because its a political body you want to control on the other hand ?

                      That may be valuable

                    •  Sorry for typos n/t (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Josiah Bartlett
                      •  Lawyers get this. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Josiah Bartlett

                        The Judge does what he does:  he's the JUDGE!!

                        You don't like the ruling, tough titty.  Appeal!  SC - only appeal is Congress which leads to the ballot box.

                        Useless debating points which have been decided.  On to the next step.

                        There was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness, because it sprang not from weakness, but from a higher clarity.

                        by Sally Foster on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 05:42:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And really all you need here is the senate (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Josiah Bartlett

                          And a democratic president willing to replace a conservative with a leftist

                          Not triangulate to seem  "fair" when the other side is busy packing the courts with Their own

                          Obama did ok with his picks but the democrats can reshape the court in the next 12 years

                          Two of the conservatives will be pushing 90 by 2016

                          The goal should be requiring a pledge from democratic presidential nominees to replace a conservative with a hard left choice and be prepared to punish them if they don't

                          This pointless debate outside of taking over the courts gets us no where

                          •  And if they all refuse? How can they be punished (0+ / 0-)

                            if they all refuse to "use a litmus test"?  I don't expect someone like Hillary or any politician would hamstring themselves by pre-picking their justices before they're in office.  It works for Republicans because they're conditioned by decades of rhetoric of "activist judges" and never being told it's the conservative judges who are throwing out decades or even centuries of case law (or in HL and RFRA, the 1st Amendment).

                          •  And asking as things like primaries and using your (0+ / 0-)

                            Power as a base and making demands remains some kind alien Behavior to you you will continue to be what you are

                            People whining on a web site and unable to do anything beyond that

                            It's why I don't take anything you say collectively seriously

                            The solutions are all pretty obvious to anyone serious about advocating rather than just  whining about out comes

                            Trust me I know that the solutions aren't going to
                            Happen

                            You will all be here whining and pontificating on how if they
                            Will just listen to reason once again the next time things go bad

                            Unless you are Conservatives, in which you will throw your hands up signing what can we do for different reasons

                            It works for the GOP bc they actually follow through as the democratic base once did

                            Its not like decades can't be undone by putting in the same work

                            I don't think many in the Base right now are capable of much beyond whining and pointless verbiage

                          •  By the way I want everyone to see how you spin (0+ / 0-)

                            Why exactly can the GOP make demands on its leadership and pick judges that vote in lock step but democrats can't make similar demands ?

                            Bc you say so

                            Never mind the electoral college advantage and demographic shire which make the right ward swing unnecessary

                        •  how do we decide the next step? (0+ / 0-)

                          And what is the goal we're moving toward? What if there's something affected in the process of achieving that goal that conflicts with other goals? I don't think those are useless questions.

                          Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 06:06:25 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Seems he is saying that the fact that your bowels (0+ / 0-)

                      moved is more important than what came out?

                      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

                      by cowdab on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 04:59:21 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  without the Hobby Lobby case (3+ / 0-)

      Would the RFRA be worth the ink/time to argue that it was unconstitutional?  When it was passed and hence topical news would seem to predate this site.

    •  I'm pretty sure he would (9+ / 0-)

      and made a good case even before the ruling

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:20:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  special issue re corporate faith (19+ / 0-)

      To your question, I can't speak for Armando, though I find his argument that RFRA is unconstitutional compelling in any case. However, I would add there is particular problem in this very regard with Hobby Lobby's extension of religious freedom to corporations.

      Kennedy's concurrence (or whatever Armando quoted) in Hobby Lobby alludes to the beliefs of the workers. But he (and Alito's main opinion, as far as I can tell) does not wrestle with the real religious freedom implications of Hobby Lobby for the worker.

      The remedy pointed to by the court for Hobby Lobby is for the government to pick up the tab for the disputed contraceptive methods, that being a less restrictive means (in the Court's view) of achieving the ends of the ACA contraception benefit. But what if it doesn't pick up the tab? What if there is no accommodation of the worker? What is the basis then for favoring the employer's beliefs over the worker's beliefs? The immediate impact of Hobby Lobby is in fact to disadvantage workers solely because of their religious beliefs: because they believe  differently from the employer, a federal benefit enjoyed by everyone else is denied them. So, whether or not you think RFRA is generally unconstitutional per the First Amendment, it seems clearly unconstitutional when the protections of RFRA are explicitly extended to employers, as Hobby Lobby has done.

      "Scrutinize the bill, it is you who must pay it...You must take over the leadership." - Brecht

      by pedestrian xing on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:43:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i would have (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness, mdriftmeyer, Skippah

      separation of church and state always has to be seen
      as the church is subservient to the state.

      truly separate gives the church immunity and sovereignity.
      Making Vatican City it's own territory, with sovereign
      immunity.

      Spread that out and the church is able to issue diplomatic passports to every priest.

    •  Yes, as soon as HL case came up, women were (0+ / 0-)

      howling.

    •  Did you read the story Armando wrote? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, GreyHawk, Sylv, Josiah Bartlett

      Because he put THIS in it:

      In a series of posts, I criticized the call for accommodation to religiously run secular institutions.

      I argued that apart from the first-order establishment clause violation this entailed, it was also a slippery slope that would lead to private individuals making the same claims. Yes, I told you so. But this i not just an I told you so. It is also a warning about how the Roberts Court operates. first they issue a "narrow" ruling. See NAMUDNO. Then they issue the broad ruling. See Shelby County.

      Which answers the question you ask.


      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

      by Angie in WA State on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 01:56:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Query, has the constitutionality of the RFRA (0+ / 0-)

      been challenged?

      •  well, it apparently has been by (0+ / 0-)

        Armando, including in the title to this diary. In court, the applicability of it to states had been ruled unconstitutional, but I don't know of a legal challenge to the law itself.

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 08:50:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The parties in "Hobby Lobby" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego, MichaelNY

          did not challenge the constitutionality. But this amicus did:

          link

          •  I am disappointed (0+ / 0-)

            That the unconstitutional argument wasn't even made.  That seems like a decision driven by the politics, and not by the law.  

            The RFRA is, imo, a plainly unconstitutional binding of future Congresses by the Congress of 1993.  A law passed by Congress in 1993 can't have the power to nullify future laws passed by future Congresses - that's a power reserved for the Constitution (and courts, and treaties, etc.).

            If the ACA conflicts with the RFRA, we should presume Congress knew what it was doing when it passed the ACA, and to the extent there's a conflict, the more recent law should stand.  

            •  the congress could repeal RFRA (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              and no longer be bound by it, couldn't it? Any law that congress passes which might contradict it could include a clause nullifying the RFRA, or amending the RFRA (which has already been done).

              Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 01:01:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If the Congress repealed RFRA (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AaronInSanDiego

                The Court might decide to persecute members of the American Indian Church again for their sacramental use of peyote. I don't think any of us wants that to happen, do we?

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 01:15:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Sure, they could do so explicitly (0+ / 0-)

                But to the extent they pass laws that conflict, it should be read as an implicit (partial) repeal of the RFRA.  E.g., the RFRA says Congress must use the least restrictive means possible.  Later, Congress decides on a means to use for delivering healthcare.  The RFRA (the previous law) should not nullify the later healthcare law - the later law should be read to implicitly except itself from the RFRA, even if it doesn't use magic words.  The alternative is mantaining the fiction that Congress  spent a lot of time debating and passing a law that it knew the whole time would not be effective because it lacked the magic words clause.

      •  Yes, I believe (0+ / 0-)

        thus the reason it's applied Federally and not to the States, although a good number of states have their own RFRAs.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

        by terrypinder on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:37:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Laws unconstitutional on face or in practice: (0+ / 0-)

      it's a distinction that falls away once the law has been in force.

      Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

      by Inland on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:17:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My friend Bob came up with this idea (16+ / 0-)

     photo Bob1_zps2aa4d1eb.png

    If you want to sign the White House petition he has going the link is here.

  •  why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, MPociask

    doesn't the ACA as a later passed law just overridde the RFRA?  Is it simply because the governing regulations aren't micro-managed spelled out in the ACA?  Is that reasonable?  Did anyone make this argument in respect to Hobby Lobby?

  •  so? Scalia and others have said they see nothing (4+ / 0-)

    in conflict between the 1st amendment and the government preferring religion over nonreligion. They don't care what JP Stevens said.

    We no longer ask if a man has integrity, but if he has talent. - Rousseau, Discourse on the arts and sciences

    by James Allen on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:21:51 PM PDT

  •  Hobby Lobby should be careful (11+ / 0-)

    what they wish for -- they may get it.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:30:34 PM PDT

  •  The court also applied RFRA wrong (17+ / 0-)

    It assumed that having to pay insurance premiums was a burden.  But it is clear, from the accommodation offered to secular arms of religious organizations, that there is no additional cost of providing the full panoply of FDA-approved contraceptives to women.  Thus, there was no financial burden.

    In addition, the court, and Hobby Lobby, misconstrue the nature of insurance.  Hobby Lobby's premiums are not segregated (unless they are self-insured, and nothing in the opinions seems to indicate so) from other employers.  Hobby Lobby's premiums simply disappear into the assets of their insurance company, which commingles those premiums with other employer's premiums, individual premiums, government subsidies, and investment earnings.  Hobby Lobby either pays no particular claims (the correct view, in my opinion) or it pays a part, by virtue of being in the pool, of every claim made by any of its insurance company's insureds.  Thus, if its religious beliefs are to be considered in any way "sincere," would dictate that it not participate at all in health insurance of any sort.

    In particular, I note that insurance companies are now directly subsidized by the federal government under ACA.  Hobby Lobby is thus seeking to be a free rider, not a principled objector.

    "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

    by Old Left Good Left on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:33:43 PM PDT

    •  Apparently they are self insured. (7+ / 0-)

      I also read that prior to ACA, their insurance did cover the contraceptive methods they are now objecting to. So they seem to be unilaterally changing the conditions under which they hired, and under which their employees agreed to work. Isn't this some kind of labor law violation?

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 01:41:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They are self insured. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      They are self insured.

    •  I'd argue the same even with self insurance, (0+ / 0-)

      since the provision actually means LESS cost; one pregnancy can wipe out years of savings for pills.

      Nor is it a burden to beliefs: here, an employee is either going to pay for contraception with HL provided insurance or HL provided wages.  Making the employee use the HL provided wages doesn't distance HL from the use of contraceptives one bit, which is why I assume the next step is HL making its employees contract to not use certain birth control methods.

      Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

      by Inland on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:20:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The court side steps this question (0+ / 0-)

      By saying they could never deign to look into the hearts of religious beliefs and say if the belief if reasonable (even though reasonableness is basically a standard courts use and apply every single day of the week).  Instead, the court says as long as someone sincerely believes that's how insurance works, then that's good enough for the court (leaving the courts to examine into the sincerity of plaintiff's beliefs - how courts are supposed to be better equipped to look at that, as opposed to fact-based reasonable inquiries, I have no idea).

  •  Rights for sale!!! (15+ / 0-)
    What is Alito saying here? Simply this: Some religious beliefs are more equal than others.
    The Hobby Lobby decision tells us that people with corporations get personal rights, plus they get corporation rights. It tells us that corporation rights trump personal rights.

    This decision is going to mushroom into something more unexpected than people already are not expecting.  

  •  Of course it does. And it doesn't matter. (5+ / 0-)

    The Supreme Court gets to decide what is constitutional and what isn't.

    The Roberts court will never overturn the Religious Supremacy Act, and will instead use it to entrench a certain brand of Christianity as a de facto state religion.  Then, decades from now after countless Americans have suffered the consequences, we'll finally get a liberal Supreme Court and they will chicken out and decide to respect precedent rather than the plain text of the Constitution.  So this travesty will stand.

    "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

    by libdevil on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:35:51 PM PDT

  •  Not only... (13+ / 0-)

    does it make some religions more equal than others but it does so via money...and in fact some other person's compensation/money!

    Compensation and the like are used in the exercise of an EMPLOYEE'S beliefs. The fact that an employer is made to pay for another person's choice to use or not use birth control does not violate his/her beliefs.

    Remember, it is being mandated IN RETURN for services already rendered to enable and to advantage that employer financially, who can then exercise his/her beliefs as desired in private.

    Compensation should be a reflection of work done, relative to a job's said tasks and purpose-- not an employer's beliefs.

    My employer's religious prints should not be all over what is a reflection of my work -- my side of the reciprocal negotiation between my employer and me, according to my work done in a non-religious realm for the express purpose of making money.

  •  I suspect... (12+ / 0-)

      ...that Alito and his henchmen very well knew that if they ruled for Hobby Lobby, they'd be opening up a huge can of worms about corporations refusing to "pay for" blood transfusions, antidepressants, etc. -- after all, the Establishment Clause forbade them from favoring one religion over another.

       They couldn't find a good way around this, so I guess they figured they'd slam down their anti-First Amendment opinion anyway, carve out their "narrow" exception, and hope nobody would notice outside the four constitutionally-oriented justices and liberal blogs.

      They were right.

       Thanks to Armando for pointing this out so elegantly.

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:45:04 PM PDT

  •  It's been a long time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AJayne, allie4fairness, MPociask

    since Con Law, but what authority is there for Congress telling the Supreme Court how to interpret the Constitution?  Doesn't RFRA do that?  I thought you needed a Constitutional amendment for that?

    Is it better to lose than be lost?

    by Publius2008 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:48:12 PM PDT

    •  There is no authority (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      However, Congress is free to bind itself to provide exemptions in federal laws. RFRA does not apply to state laws (as the Supreme Court ruled in City of Boerne v. Flores). Hobby Lobby is a case of applying statutory law, not constitutional law.

  •  Seems to me that Justice Alito has made the case (15+ / 0-)

    for government-run, taxpayer funded single payer insurance. After all, any procedure whatsoever could conceivably be religiously objectionable to someone. And the "less-restrictive" remedy of the government simply paying for it instead is always available. The reductio ad absurdum: the government should pay all insurance.

    "Turns out I'm really good at killing people." - President Obama

    by jrooth on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:48:53 PM PDT

    •  You're right! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, jrooth, terrypinder, MPociask

      And the seriously stupid part of their ruling that "the government can pay for it" just furthers the argument for single-payer, as you say.  It's the only thing that makes sense, and uncouples employers from being in the health care business.

      The right-wing nutjobs, though, as you well can guess, will now be bitching, moaning, and groaning that the government is involved in birth control!  It's enough to make you want to tear your hair out with the absurdity of it all.

      Apparently, the SC and right-wingers are hell-bent on living in the 16th century.  "We don't need no stinkin' birth control!"

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. - John Kenneth Galbraith

      by fedupwiththebs on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 03:53:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The difference is obvious. (12+ / 0-)

    Any time any case touches upon abortion politics it will generally be found for the religious objector.

    That's why the Hyde Amendment is still with us, even though, legally and technically, an abortion is no different a medical procedure than removing an ingrown toenail.

    Because if it even TOUCHES abortion politics the case can, and will, go a completely different direction than you would think.

    I was utterly baffled that this case went Hobby Lobby's way.  I couldn't understand it, on legal grounds, until I realized that the specific birth control medicines being objected to were (rightly, wrongly, prove it, good luck) considered potential abortifacients.

    Well, that answers that.  The case wasn't about condoms.  It was about abortion.  And that means the Court is going to find for the religious objector.

    Anyway, to the point of the diary, that's the difference.  This case was part of the utter mess that is abortion law and politics in the U.S.  As such, yes, it trampled upon the liberties of the non-religious, just like the Hyde Amedment does and countless other legal and regulatory wrinkles that only apply to abortion.

    "It puts the lotion on its skin, or it gets the GOP again." - The Democratic Party (quip courtesy of Nada Lemming and lotlizard)

    by Rick Aucoin on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:49:54 PM PDT

    •  I agree, but an FYI... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rick Aucoin, allie4fairness

      ...I have ingrown toenails and my insurance company doesn't cover having them removed. Even though they're painful, they consider them cosmetic surgery.

      To the point of the diary, I agree this case was a violation of the Constitution, but so what? This court has been most vulgar in it's opinions and has, IMHO, rendered Constitutional Law mostly meaningless. We are now a nation of judicial decrees, not laws.

      The only possible remedies I can see are are impeachment of the Justices who have demonstrated they lied under oath when testifying before on congress and have demonstrated a willful neglect of their constitutional duties. That isn't going to happen.

      The other route would be President Obama threatening to expand the court in the similar manner to FDR, but in this case, to return the court to a body reverent of the Constitution. I don't see that happening wither.

      So at this point, while Constitutional law may be on our side, so what? The GOP currently only exists to subvert our government and our democracy, so who is going to stop them from taking more and more? The answer, at this point, is nobody.

      Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

      by Alumbrados on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 01:37:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You were baffled. I wasn't surprised. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness
  •  This is the discussion that should be being (15+ / 0-)

    done on the Sunday shows. Instead I just listened to MTP and of course the discussion was about who this helps in the midterms.

    On top of that they are still calling it a "narrow decision" that only affects certain contraceptives as if the Supreme Court's clarification on Tuesday saying it affects all contraception never happened.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 12:54:49 PM PDT

  •  RFRA also says: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, AaronInSanDiego, MPociask
    Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of the First Amendment prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion (referred to in this section as the “Establishment Clause”). Granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Establishment Clause, shall not constitute a violation of this chapter. As used in this section, the term “granting”, used with respect to government funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
    The intent of Congress is clear - it wanted to go to pre-1990 precedents, and not violate the Establishment clause either.
  •  I hope all (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam Sara, Sylv, allie4fairness, Skippah

    other courts will pass the ball directly to SC in all the cases that are going to derive from this. they can choke on their parsing

  •  The blatant sectarianism... (12+ / 0-)

    ... of the SCOTUS majority is obvious, and stems from a simple fact that no one in what passes for the media or on the all-too-polite left seems willing to point out: All of these male justices making up the majority are Catholic, and all of them are arch-conservative Catholics at that.

    I try not co care about such things, having been a believer in little else but well-packed reserve chutes and cold beer since my youth, but I do not like having a recently conceived (as such things go) religious doctrine shoved down the peoples' throats with all the majesty--and lack of evidence--as a papal bull. And, unlike a papal bull (at least for now), we, as citizens, have to respect it, the Establishment Clause be damned. This majority smugly makes Canon Law as they ignore their oaths to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States.

    It could also be pointed out that even if these contraceptives caused abortion, abortion before the third trimester has been legal since Roe v. Wade.

    Sexuality among consenting adults is none of the government's business. If you do not like abortion, if you believe it is murder, do not get one.  If you think contraception is abortion, do not use it.

    I do take some consolation from the fact that, as even the Cardinals of the Court must know, a majority of their fellow Catholics have long since decided that proscriptions against birth control are easily enough ignored with prescriptions.

    •  I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition either. (0+ / 0-)

      Someone needs to do the Fab Five all in Red.  Photoshop will do.  Because like you, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition either.

      To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

      by mbayrob on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 06:22:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm (4+ / 0-)

    Steven's concurrence in US v. Lee:

    In my opinion, the principal reason for adopting a strong presumption against such claims is not a matter of administrative convenience. It is the overriding interest in keeping the government -- whether it be the legislature or the courts -- out of the business of evaluating the relative merits of differing religious claims. The risk that governmental approval of some and disapproval of others will be perceived as favoring one religion over another is an important risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.
    Question.  How does a strong presumption against claims of exemption alleviate the risk of "favoring one religion over another?"  Unless I'm reading this wrong--and I'm not--this is little more than the difference between favoring a very narrow set of religious claims (Smith) over the vast majority versus favoring a majority of religious claims over a few (Sherbert, RFRA).  The latter seems considerably less offensive from an Establishment Cause perspective.
    •  Come to think of it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      Strong presumptions against claims of religious exemption are far more offensive as they require judges to call which religious beliefs do or do not merit exemption from generally applicable rule rather than determining whether said rule impermissibly infringes on any and all religious freedom.

  •  I supported RFRA at the time (5+ / 0-)

    It was designed to remedy an absurd miscarriage of justice: A Supreme Court decision that privileged the government's desire to stamp out peyote over the American Indian Church's sacramental use of peyote. I'd like to see any evidence that Congress thought RFRA would be used to enable a business to get out of paying for contraceptives. The job of the Supreme Court is to construe statutes in the way that makes them constitutional, striking down any provisions or sections thereof that it finds impossible to so construe. I think this is on them, and very secondarily if at all on Congress.

    Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

    by MichaelNY on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 02:20:14 PM PDT

    •  Not this Supreme Court (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY
      The job of the Supreme Court is to construe statutes in the way that makes them constitutional, striking down any provisions or sections thereof that it finds impossible to so construe.
      This Court seems to want to strike down any and all legislation that doesn't toe their conservative line.

      May you be spared from people who tell you, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

      by ccyd on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:51:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So sick of religion, I could spit. (8+ / 0-)

    So is Bill going to apologize for signing the RFRA?

    At this point, I don't care anymore what religious "rights" or "freedoms" get stepped on. The Christian right (and Catholic right) have been running the show for years now and the liberal Christians have done nothing much to reign them in.  Time for true action.  My goal now is to try and set the stage for and encourage non-belief in every way I can. Jefferson's instincts on not letting ministers run for office were correct. He KNEW that the heart of religion is domination, but he let Madison talk him out of it.  At this point, I think Madison would join him.. as would most of the people who formulated and signed the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    And you know who else would agree with me? Roger Williams of RI (of all people) who also knew in his gut that ANY relationship between religion and government would corrupt both.

    •  Liberal Christians can't--I repeat, can't--DO (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      anything to reign in these bozos. They have no power to do a damn thing about it.

      If you mean INSIDE the church, they can't do anything about it. If you mean OUTSIDE of the church, they can't do anything about it.

      The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

      by cany on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 07:29:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They can put their bibles on the mythology (0+ / 0-)

        shelf and walk away.  As long as liberal Christians honor the book that justifies violence and division, they are part of the problem and enablers of the right wing. The bible is the basis of the whole problem and certainly not worth the misery it has caused the world.

         Salvation is also one of the most divisive religious ideas around.  I used to be a liberal Christian and didn't even recognize that fact until I read the whole bible and took some time to really contemplate the overall themes.

        •  You and I both know that's not going to happen (0+ / 0-)

          so perhaps we need to focus on what CAN be done?

          The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

          by cany on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:08:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It happens every day. We just need more of it. (0+ / 0-)

            Look at the rise in numbers of atheists, agnostics and other non-believers, especially in the age group 18-35. The Student Secular Alliance can hardly keep up with the numbers of Secular Student clubs forming in colleges and universities, and also in high schools.  There is hope.

  •  So many "Hobby Lobby" diaries (0+ / 0-)

    This ruling has gotten under the skin of a lot of people here at DKos that do the diary thingy.  How many diaries have we seen on this anyway?  

    Look, instead of all the boo-hooing....let's get together and find a way to get this undone.  Yeah, yeah...I know it was a SCOTUS ruling and that's sacrosanct stuff and everything...but DAMN, y'all.  Gotta be a way to change some of this around.  Bitching and moaning and coming up with a bunch of cute slogans and presenting sob stories about how this is gonna just devastate women...let's pull it together and DO something about it.  Sheeeeeesh !

  •  Always with the rational (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, allie4fairness, Nisi Prius

    Everybody loves pointing out the hypocrisy on the right, but it just isn't that simple or probably that important.

    We know the same court that ruled for Hobby would rule against them if they were Muslims or atheists.  The five justices are a disgrace.

    This court does whatever they want based on their political agenda -- nothing to do with rational thought, science, or even legal precedents.

    Lots more junk law on its way.

    Maybe someday people will start voting against this nonsense.

    The test is simple -- when bright red districts start voting against Republicans the wind of change is upon us.

    President Obama needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 03:08:42 PM PDT

    •  Start by electing a Democrat in 2016 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      And follow it up by electing a Democrat in 2020.  There are two Justices in the reactionary wing who are getting old -- Kennedy and Scalia.  Their retirements are not all that far off.  We need to have liberals, or at least moderates, appointed to take their places.  At the same time, Ginsburg and Breyer are also getting close to retirement and if either or both of their successors are appointed by a Republican, then we will have the most conservative court in history continue in perpetuity, but this time with a 6-3 or 7-2 majority.

      May you be spared from people who tell you, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

      by ccyd on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:57:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Government's health insurance compensation mandate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fedupwiththebs, cowdab

    is meant to respect citizens as equals - to include and enable people in the exercise of their rights, by their contributions to our pluralistic society and an economy/currency made by all...

    But if employers/corporations do not see people as equals, then wouldn't it be a good and logical idea to get them out of the business of providing health insurance packages to people altogether?

    Wanna-be despots exploiting the very system they NEED to build themselves up, only so they might destroy it for others, have opened a door for us....

    Let us get to a single payer system sooner than later. No more cherry-picking  - no more exemptions...No more discrimination built into government law from the start.

    Obama is largely to blame for being so quick to entrench discrimination against women into the ACA in the first place. He tried to extend an olive branch and throw women a practical bone, after making "abortion" a dirty word in the new health care law, and so he pushed this no-cost preventative/birth control mandate. But, I think many were skeptical of its staying power, as it defied the ideals of the zealots to whom he was so eager to enable and to legitimize. Remember that whole last-minute drama with Stupak and Pitts? He basically compromised women from the start and then accommodated anti-woman exemption appeals.

    It is now very clear, the religious right will continue to capitalize on this initial willingness to compromise on fundamental principles, namely the self-evident equality of free people.

    Anyway, here we are again, but this time, let's try to work it to OUR advantage. Maybe women's health can be used to get us closer to single payer....

    As this anti-religious-liberty-for-all force has shown its lack of gratitude --  its desire to stop at nothing to play dictator, I think Obama owes it to women and everyone, who appreciates what freedom requires, should, at the very least, push to enact changes that say you're either in or out - take it or leave it. No more insults to our common intelligence and decency and tolerance.

    All businesses, of any kind, should either take the ACA mandate as is, or they must pay to help the government assume the burdens they will not because of their "religious" beliefs.

    If their religious beliefs are so important, then paying a fine to be exempt them from the whole law should not be a problem, right?

    I mean, after all, that way they can preserve their religious beliefs by keeping their money "pure" and "disconnected" from all the others going to hell, who helped them make it.

    Can anyone really think, say, or read that line with a straight face?!

  •  as a follow up to my earlier question, (0+ / 0-)

    100% of the House of Representatives, 97% of the Senate, and groups including the ACLU supported the passage of the RFRA. When the court ruled that it didn't apply to the states, the ACLU and others supported state versions of RFRA. Now in looking of the Hobby Lobby case, many are saying RFRA is unconstitutional, and many advocate for repealing it. I'm just wondering, are we missing something by taking this position? Are we in any sense throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 03:19:50 PM PDT

  •  A rich mosaic indeed. We gotchyer Baptists (a w... (0+ / 0-)

    A rich mosaic indeed.

    We gotchyer Baptists (a whole passel, in fact, all kinds), yer Methodists, yer Presbyterians, yer Lutherans, yer Whiskeypalians etc, etc, etc.

    Oh yeah -- yer Catholics and yer Jews, too. Jus' so you know we ain't prejjerdist.

    Yessr, we got evverkinda religion.

  •  Alito is full of Koch! (0+ / 0-)

    This arrogant creep kept shaking his head when the Pres. Spoke at the State of the Union 2 years ago.  He was wrong then,he's wrong now and will always be wrong.  Some aren't meant to be Judges,he,Scalia and Thomas and Roberts are easily bought and sold to the highest bidders.  So much for an honest Judicial system.  

  •  "A Christian Scientist with appendicitis" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    What could possibly go wrong with this decision, anyway?

    To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

    by mbayrob on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 06:19:57 PM PDT

  •  So when Alito hand waves that: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY
    "Our decision today provides no such shield"
    , ..he cannot be telling it like it is because in order to establish a 'special accommodation' for a religious belief by constructing any kind of metric/hierarchy, it is creating a shield that no secular institution requires nor is afforded.

     Also too; any shield, it seems to me, would be arbitrary without first establishing that hierarchy, which is where/why it can't work without coming up against the establishment clause..

    ..so I'm just guessing here but it's because any hierarchal system or gauge/measurement/judgment that gives more to some and less to others or iow's a preference is by definition respecting one thing over another

    so ".. no law respecting an establishment.." has been violated

    Thx Armando

  •  this seems so obvious to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    and I am amazed that no one outside of dK is making this argument

    when Alito says oh by the way this does not apply to blood transfusions he is elevating one religion over another.

    Full stop.

    No can do!

    except, five Roman Catholic men did it, and pretended it was constitutional, when damn it they ALL actually know better

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:15:38 PM PDT

  •  This is NOT a christian Nation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder

    It is a CALVINIST Nation.

    And that doesn't even require a belief in anything beyond the misogynist (and related) tenets that stem from orthodox (small 'd') Paulism all the way down to megachurches and corporate campuses.

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:31:06 PM PDT

  •  I think part of your analysis is off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Alito said:

    The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.
    Your comment was:
    What is Alito saying here? Simply this: Some religious beliefs are more equal than others. Immunization? That's different. Your religious objections on that will hold no water in the court.  You object to interracial relationships? (See Bob Jones University v. United States.) Sorry, that religious belief is not respectable, so no "religious liberty" for you. So you want men and women to be segregated on a public transit bus for religious purposes? Sorry,  that religious objection gets no respect here.
    That's not what Alito is saying.  Alito is saying that government actions on those other topics are narrowly tailored to accomplish the government's compelling interest.  Alito conceded that the government has a compelling interest in making sure that women have contraceptive health care coverage.  He just said that the ACA and corresponding regulations are not narrowly tailored, i.e. the least restrictive means to accomplish the goal.

    It is still a crappy decision, but getting Alito's argument backwards doesn't help you take it apart.

    May you be spared from people who tell you, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

    by ccyd on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:22:31 AM PDT

    •  How does he know they are "narrowly tailored?" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FogCityJohn

      How do you know he knows?

      This is hand waving at its worst.

      •  Alito's argument points to the exemption (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        for religious organizations and extrapolates from that.

        There are plenty of reasons to be cranked about in the decision, but this isn't one of them.  Or at least from my legal analysis it isn't.

        We can all look at the the decision and see that atheists and other religions that are not conservative Christian would likely not have garnered the same results, so from a practical standpoint, you may be correct.  But that is not part of Alito's argument.

        May you be spared from people who tell you, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

        by ccyd on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:07:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nonresponsive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          How dies Alito know that the prohibition against racial discrimination, or the provision of immunizations, or blood transfusions, is "narrowly tailored?

          I did not see your legal analysis explaining why you thought you could identify why  Alito wrote what he wrote?

          From a legal analysis standpoint, you have provided nothing but assertion.

          Like Alito.

          •  You are erecting a strawman (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            There is a substantial body of caselaw on racial discrimination, so that is well established.

            You know as well as I do that the Supreme Court cannot make advisory opinions under Article III.  We simply have to wait until the right "Case or controversy" comes along.  What you are doing is suggesting that Alito has already decided whether the ACA is narrowly tailored with respect to immunizations and blood transfusions and has therefore made a determination that some religions are more equal than others.  He didn't do that.  Refuting an argument that was never made is the classic strawman tactic.

            Now, before you get after me for being some sort of apologist for the Hobby Lobby decision, I want to go on record that I think it is an atrocious decision.  I would just rather see it attacked on the arguments it does make (e.g. corporate personhood) than the ones it doesn't.

            May you be spared from people who tell you, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

            by ccyd on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 08:55:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is not a substantial body of law (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn

              on birth control? You must be joking.

              See Griswold. See Eisenstadt.

              I  DO know that the court can not give advisory opinions, which is precisely why your assertions are ridiculous in my view.

              As for what Alito wrote, let's quote him:

              In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may iinvolve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.
              My emphasis.

              This makes no sense in terms of the logic of his OWN opinion. HE accepted that the government had a "compelling interest."  So his line about "supported by different interests"  is nonsensical. UNLESS what he means is that religious objections to these programs will be given less deference than the Hobby Lobby objection.

              Second, the "less restrictive means" identified in the opinion is the government paying for it. Are you really arguing that the government can not pay for vaccines or transfusions? OF course it can.

              Honestly, I hate sophistry, and your attempt to look "reasonable" make you look, in my eyes, just foolish.

              Let me go on the record as saying if you accept the  religious component of the decision, then you are part of the problem.

              I think you need to stop identifying yourself as progressive on that legal point, because you aren't.

              •  That's very harsh (0+ / 0-)

                Why not make the argument without the personal remarks?

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 12:51:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  This is just stupid (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                If I criticize the GreatArmando then I am not a "progressive."

                Never did I say that I agreed with Alito, so you can cram that strawman, too.

                I hate it when people try to pretend that they are the smartest person in the room.

                Can you show me where I made ANY argument about birth control?  I thought not.  So why try to refute an argument I didn't make?

                I think you need to stop identifying yourself as "Armando" and start calling yourself "Strawman" because you have erected and torn down no fewer than three in this short exchange between us.

                May you be spared from people who tell you, "God never gives you more than you can handle."

                by ccyd on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 06:23:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Of course not (0+ / 0-)

                  I said your view on the religious component of the Hobby Lobby decision is not progressive.

                  As for your argument on birth control, you said the case law on racial discrimination was well established as opposed to . . . birth control.

                  Frankly, I do need to apologize to you, because I don't think you understand the issues.

                  Sophistry requires that. Therefore, I was wrong to accuse of it.

  •  excellent piece, Armando (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    I don't know how anybody can NOT see (like someone I had an argument with on daily kos last week)  that this privleges some religious beliefs over others, and this really bumps up against and violates the Establishment Clause.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 06:44:30 AM PDT

  •  Alito simply equates "compelling" with "majority" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    to marginalize all the beliefs that could make the parade of horribles come true.  Basically, the aged catholic males on the court are used to the idea of contraception being a religious and political issue, can't see it as equivalent to all those other religious beliefs.

    Retrospectives on 25th anniversary of Tiananmen at Chinafile.com

    by Inland on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:14:34 AM PDT

  •  Please Proceed, Supremes. (0+ / 0-)

    As horrible as this decision is, and horrifyingly illogical as the opinion is, the Supremes have just dug a 6 foot hole in their own body politic.  

    The number of potential "I want on board too!" challenges to the government's right to... govern... based on no preference toward religion guarantees that the Supremes have placed their Right Wing in a giant Bear Trap, have pressed the lever down, and now we are only waiting for that trap to gnaw into them.

    These things take a few moments to unfold, and I have no doubt that very soon, the Right Wing will understand the trap they have set for themselves, perhaps today or tomorrow, perhaps next week, perhaps at the next challenge to religious objection to government policy. But it is unfolding, and it will be their undoing.

    Well played, Supremes.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 07:34:42 AM PDT

  •  & what happened to the principle of equity? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Always a mainstay of our law and philosophy, it appears to be gone as SCOTUS provides a framework for a ladder of corporate privileges.  And this is not just a violation of equity in the law and philosophy of the American people, it is a violation of custom and practice.  Has it not always been the case, in sports and business, that if you want to play the game, you play by the same rules as everyone else or you get out of the game altogether?

    GOP Wars against: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Immigrants, Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, Unions, Workers, Unemployed, Voters, Elderly, Kids, Poor, Sick, Disabled, Dying, Lovers, Kindness, Rationalism, Science, Sanity, Reality.

    by SGWM on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 08:38:58 AM PDT

  •  some religious beliefs are more equal than others (0+ / 0-)

    because Corporations are Bigger People, right?

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 04:57:49 AM PDT

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