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SCOTUS Hears Hobby Lobby Case

Discussion in 'Bill of Rights' started by bfayer, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    Yesterday SCOTUS heard oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby Obama Care case.

    For those that don't follow this sort of thing, the question before the court is essentially: Can a corporation be forced by the government to violate their closely held religious beliefs? In this case Hobby Lobby and several other companies refused to pay for healthcare insurance that paid for the morning after pill (Which they consider an abortion inducing drug).

    After reading the blow by blow on SCOTUS blog, my head almost exploded. We all know the supreme court has gone off the constitutional reservation on more than one occasion (I'm being polite here), but this case clearly shows that there are at least four Justices that could care less about the Constitution.

    SCOTUS has already ruled in Citizen United that Corporations are protected by the first amendment in regards to freedom of speech. In light of that, how in the world can they even begin to support abridging corporations freedom of religion under the same amendment?

    Lets hope that the justices have a salient moment and remember that we actually have a Constitution and that it means something when they make their decision.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
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  2. swampbilly

    swampbilly Gone Galt

    I wouldn't hold my breath, remember, osamas henchman got to roberts.
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  3. Mike

    Mike Ol' Army Sergeant Monkey

    Yup. He only had to follow the law and the Constitution, but NOOOOO, he had to completely change the argument from it being an edict to being a tax. Guess he wanted to be the darling of the lamestream media
    swampbilly likes this.
  4. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

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  5. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    The bottom line is: This case comes down to the right to have other people pay for your stuff over the right of religious freedom.

    The Obama administration could have solved this issue without forcing it to SCOTUS. He could have ordered HHS to pay for the morning after pill directly through grants and contracts with non-profits set up by drug companies. He already has the legislative authority to do it under public law 91-572 (http://history.nih.gov/research/downloads/PL91-572.pdf). However that would have done two things: Funding would then be in the hands of congress where the Constitution put it (can't have that can we), and it would not set the legal precedence that free stuff is more important than free exercise of religion.

    This case is not about defending Obama Care.
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  6. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Monkey++

    Yes, It does seem the lobbyists who wrote the ACA purposely made it a moral dilemma for individuals and organizations who oppose abortion. Compromise your conscience or violate the law and suffer criminal penalty. In spite if the early noise it appears most religious organizations are shutting up and swallowing. Pretty much what Obama expected. Some protest but no major religious org will criticize Obama or universal healthcare no natter how putrid.

    I'm Catholic and the USCCB has once again embarrassed us faithful. And to think other Catholics around the world are dying as martyrs for their faith every month in Sudan, Nigeria, Syria, Malaysia, China, etc. shame on us.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Interesting concept. Do corporations have religious beliefs? Do they get baptised? Are they confirmed into their church? Do they get married by a cleric when they merge with another corporation? Do they go to church? Do they read sacred scriptures? Do they confess their sins to a cleric? Are they given extreme unction when they are in receivership? Can they be ex-communicated by their church? Are they given their last rites by a cleric when they die (declared bankrupt and wound up)? These are often religious matters that certainly apply to humans with religious convictions and beliefs, but a corporation is an artificial construct...it has no religion other than to make a profit for its shareholders...and the only god a corporation serves is Mammon! ;)

    The real questions are, whether the corporation's owner's free exercise of religion trumps the free exercise of religion (or non religion) of the corporation's employees and customers? And, whether secular corporations as legal entities (not human entities), are entitled to the same escape clause privileges generously granted to "bonafide" religious institutions?
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
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  8. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Hobby Lobby is owned by a devout Christian family and they promote family and traditional Christian values. They have every right to run their business in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs.
    IF more corporations were run by people of deeply held religious belief we wouldn't have so much corruption, fraud and unfair labor practices.
    Maybe in your meme world every business is run on humanistic me first selfish principles but in reality, at least here in America, there are many business owners who hold to a more compassionate, and fair business model.
    I pray for a favorable decision for Hobby Lobby in this case.
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  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I have shopped at Hobby Lobby. Good people, friendly. I think they would close their doors permanently rather comply with this idiotic requirement. "You don't like our policy? Don't apply to work here. " then what have you got? Higher unemployment, less choice to shop, and the only victory is a moral one.
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  10. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    I believe owners of privately held companies should be able to run their businesses as they see fit. Once they sell stock and become a public company then they have to play by a different set of rules. You don't like their religious beliefs? Don't work there or shop there. It is a free country. (supppsedly)

    Btw just so we are clear I am pro choice. My beliefs on this matter have less to do with my religious feelings and more to do with my thoughts on what the framers of the constitution were getting at.
  11. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith


    Yes corporations can have religious beliefs, just as they can have political beliefs and economic beliefs. Corporations are just groups of people that join together for their own common good, be it economic, political, or religious. The U.S. government cannot force someone to give up their personal beliefs just because they become a corporation (well established U. S. law).

    Look up the web page of any major cooperation and you will find their belief system. They publish vision statements, Mission statements, environmental statements, ad infinitum. It would be absurd to think that a corporation can have a closely held belief in environmental sustainability but not religion.

    I know you are in Australia and I really don't know how much you know about U.S. history especially the history of the U.S. bill or rights, especially the first amendment. For all I know you have a PHD in American history, but in case you don't:

    One of the reasons the 1st amendment was insisted upon, was because the English crown felt they could tell people and groups of people (including businesses , clubs, and churches) what they had to believe and how they had to behave. If a business, church, or club, in the American colony's did not do what the crown told them to do, they could be shut down and the leaders possibly arrested. For example if a singing club wrote and performed a song that was not flattering to the church of England, they could be arrested because of what the club did.

    Our founding fathers wanted to guarantee that out own government could not exercise the same control and oppression.

    The text of the 1st amendment is: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".

    If you read the part that says " prohibiting the free exercise thereof" it does not specify "the people" (which could improperly be interpreted to mean individual persons). It is a clearly articulated limit on government, not on people, clubs, churches, or businesses. Forcing a corporation to violate their close held religious beliefs is in clear violation of the first amendment.

    Now that we know preventing a corporation from prohibiting the free exercise of religion is a violation of the first amendment (it clearly is), the question becomes is that okay for the government to violate the 1st amendment in this case. It is well established that the government can violate the constitutionally enumerated rights of any and all, as long as they can articulate a "compelling public or government interest", and that there is no other reasonable option. Examples include military drafts, contempt of court, and yes the often used "yelling fire in a crowded theater". So in this case what the Supreme Court has to decide is if giving people free stuff is a "compelling public or government interest", and that they have no other reasonable way to serve that interest.

    Keep in mind that this is not about employees access to the morning after pill, it is about who pays for it. The press and women's groups would like people to think that if health insurance does not pay for something, then people are prevented from obtaining it. Which is not only false but beyond absurd. There is not a single adult person in the U.S. today that cannot get any and all contraceptive drugs for free on demand. There is absolutely no reason for this to be in front of the supreme Court. Public funds are already available for the morning after pill.

    If the government can force corporation to violate their religious beliefs over this issue, they can force them over anything thing else covered in the bill of rights. If I was an atheist, I would be very worried, because if the first amendment falls, it will be the atheists that will suffer the most in the long run.
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  12. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Agree, but it is. What I don't know is what tack the lawyers are taking in the arguments. It's a moderately difficult concept to ascribe human motivations to an inanimate object such as a corporation, but it's done all the time. (Corporation is rooted in Latin (I think) corpus, or body.) Under tax law, a corporation is treated as a person under many regulations. Under Admiralty law, ships can commit crimes. In both cases, the inanimate object takes on the characteristics of the owners/operators. That so, why cannot a corp be charitable? Religious? Have an opinion? Publish? (Some even own guns!! The horror!)
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  13. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Monkey++

    The HL attorney has replied that since a corporation can be legally labeled with a race (as established in other decisions) then it must also be able to have a belief system (specifically, religious beliefs).

    And has been eloquently pointed out, while the Bill of Rights enumerates certain individual rights, it is overall stating restrictions on the federal govt. in regards to individuals, organizations and states.
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  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    And so, if it can have a race, then it would be discriminatory to prevent any corp from holding any particular belief. I like that.
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  15. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    Not if the corporation is a conservative black corporation. In that case it would be fair game to treat them like second hand trash, but only if you are a liberal. At least it works that way with conservative black persons. I learned that from watching CNN and MSNBC :)
    Mike likes this.
  16. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I like this idea of a legal fiction being treated as a person...If it has a race, has religious convictions, human motivations, and acts criminally, like living biological people....then if a corporation commits a felony, it gets sent to prison, for the same term that biological people do....and if the crime would be such as to invoke the death penalty, then, provided that it is afforded procedural fairness and due process...it should be executed in those jurisdictions that impose the death penalty if found guilty. None of this namby pamby imposing some absurdly nominal fine stuff...send the corporation guilty of murder to Ol' Sparky.
  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I dare say that it would be so, should the government effectively become a theocracy along the lines of Christian Dominionist / Christian Reconstructionist ideology. In a society (The USA) that privileges religious institutions generally, and Christian institutions in particular, atheists have generally fared worse compared to those professing a religious faith. I doubt that atheists can expect to fare any better should the First Ammendment be effectively emasculated by the Christian Right. At what point in time during the history of the USA prior to the mid 20th century (When the First Ammendment was arguably more secure than it is claimed to be presently) was there a golden age of tolerance for, and unbiased treatment of atheists?

    How Are Atheists Discriminated Against? Expressions of of Anti-Atheist Bigotry and Discrimination in America
  18. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    Atheist regimes like the USSR, China, North Korea, and Cambodia have killed and oppressed more people in the last hundred years than the christian church has since the birth of Christ.

    The point being is oppression is a human trait not a religious trait.

    The first amendment is agnostic, it prevents government from oppressing people. If we preserve and defend it, it does not matter who is in charge.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
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  19. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    1. Communist, and fascist regimes in the 20th/21st century had the benefit of 20th century technology to take genocide to an industrial level of productivity. If all theists (not just Christians), dating back even only as far as 1CE had the same technology available to it as those in the 20th, or even late 19th century, who knows what marvels of human misery they might have created. The lethality of religious motivated genocide has generally been limited by the will of the faithful to oppress and coerce others that refuse to accept, or resist the adoption of the dominant religious ideology; and the technology available to them for enforcing compliance and eliminating competitors.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  20. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Businesses can do as they see fit??? What do you think this is America??? LOL, it is so insane the the gov't has stepped in and started to micro manage business.

    I used your argument the other day with someone who believes that an employer has to provide services that go against their personal beliefs. That person is boycotting Hobby Lobby, I think if that person had religion in their life they would see things differently but since he doesn't then no ones religion seems to be important.
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