The Supreme Court ruled moments ago in a 5-4 decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, the craft store which challenged the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that requires “employers [to] cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans.”
The court’s ruling means private companies “can be exempted on religious grounds from health care reform’s requirement that employer-sponsored health insurance policies cover contraception.”
Now Sandra Fluke has to abandon her dream of selling arts and crafts at Hobby Lobby.
(Added thoughts – John Hayward): Many more observations about the scope and context of this decision will be offered as it is fully digested, and while I find it encouraging, I’d tap the brakes slightly on unrestrained enthusiasm. For one thing, it should be patently obvious to every citizen of a free republic that Hobby Lobby was right about this. The notion of Big Government sweeping aside religious faith to compel obedience to a collective agenda is utterly incompatible with the American model of government. Explaining this case to the authors of the Constitution would make for a long seance, because they’d keep laughing in disbelief and asking you to start over.
But instead, we get a 5-4 bullet-dodging decision, and it’s not one of those sweeping citizenship-redefining judgments liberal courts love to hand down. It’s very narrow in terms of who and what it covers. A different Court shouldn’t have too much trouble reversing this, and in the meantime it doesn’t fatally injure ObamaCare. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this decision folded into the talking points of single-payer socialists – they’ll cite it as proof that leaving any degree of private-sector control over health care corrupts the pure vision of government-administered Free Stuff For All. An immediate example:
Reid on #SCOTUS Hobby Lobby case: If the Supreme Court will not protect women???s access to health care, then Democrats will.
??? Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 30, 2014
The people who viewed the Hobby Lobby case as a proxy for the ultimate supremacy of modern government over reactionary, bigoted dissent will eat that line of reasoning up. It didn’t take long for certain quarters of the Left to target Hobby Lobby for violence after this ruling came down – hopefully just a lot of angry bloviating, although I’d recommend Hobby Lobby managers keep on their toes for a while, but indicative of how passionately this energy for smashing dissent and compelling submission has become among “liberals.”
Justice Ginsburg laid out the stakes in her dissent, quoted at National Journal:
But in a blistering dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sotomayor, lambasted the majority opinion???delivered by five male justices???as “a decision of startling breadth” that would allow corporations to “opt out of any law ??? they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The majority view “demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith???in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ” wrote Ginsburg, a stalwart member of the Court’s liberal wing.
She continued: “Persuaded that Congress enacted the (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) to serve a far less radical purpose, and mindful of the havoc the Court’s judgment can introduce, I dissent.”
“The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield,” Ginsburg concludes, “by its immoderate reading of RFRA.”
So this isn’t really a sweeping First Amendment beatdown, as it should have been; it’s a narrow decision upholding a law signed by Bill Clinton, a law the left-wing justices are chomping at the bit to quash, because the ideal of a self-described “benevolent” tyranny using a thicket of laws to micro-manage the lives of its unworthy citizens is so close they can taste it. They’re growing quite insistent that the only alternative to that benevolent tyranny is anarchy, chaos, and hatred. The Supreme Court may have registered a judgment against ObamaCare’s silly mandates today, but the Left is still burning to render a far more terrible judgment against the people of the United States, and there won’t be any appeals once they hand it down.
Update: Too amusing not to add… evidently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid forgot that he voted for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the law upheld by the Supreme Court today.