Hobby Lobby

One paragraph from the Hobby Lobby ruling destroys the entire liberal “anti-women” narrative

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The instant the Supreme Court ruled on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the War on Women™ was back on. Liberals from sea to shining sea had talking points, Facebook memes, and … narratives ready to go and deployed them in a cascade of messaging discipline. It was truly a sight to behold. You may have seen this particularly nonsensical but effective image shared hundreds of times within 24 hours:

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I mean really. But apart from saying “nuh uh!”, conservatives had little effective response to this narrative. But then Julian Sanchez from the Cato Institute’s blog discovered a little-noticed passage in the Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito:

The effect of the HHS-created accommodation on the women employed by Hobby Lobby and the other companies involved in these cases would be precisely zero. Under that accommodation, these women would still be entitled to all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing.

This refers to an exception created by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces insurers to pick up the tab for coverage objected to by religious non-profit organizations and churches. Women employed by these organizations receive the same coverage, medications, and cost-free contraceptives as everyone else as mandated by HHS, even though the organizations themselves refuse to pay for that coverage.

Hobby Lobby reaffirms religious liberty, one of the bedrock principles of the Constitution

For all the things the Hobby Lobby decision does — and you can read Jason Pye’s piece on the relevant parts of Alito’s decision here — there are few things it does that will have reverberating ramifications for the future of everything from defining contraceptives as preventative or abortifacient, to whether or not our Constitution is a flawed document full of “negative liberties” as our President once declared.

But for now, the most important thing to remember is that this image being thrown around social media is a lie:

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It’s a lie on so many levels and it’s tremendously disturbing that the kids are sharing it as truth. First, the opinion is narrow. It applies only to “closely-held” corporations who can prove they have a religious objection. Is your boss the owner of a closely held corporation?

Second, no one is denying you access to anything. You are free at any time to buy any of the four types of products the decision says Hobby Lobby does not have to supply. (Hobby Lobby, by the way, offers 16 other types in their health coverage. Those crazy fascist religious righties.)

SCOTUS weighs the limits of the First Amendment

The Supreme Court heard the case of Hobby Lobby, et.al. on the HHS mandate that requires most businesses that employ over 50 individuals to provide coverage for 21 forms of birth control. The businesses that are parties to the suit, while they are private for-profit companies, have incorporated or otherwise stated in their mission statements, that their businesses are owned and operated by individuals that include their religious practices in their work.

Due to their religious beliefs, that are freely stated to potential employees before they consent to work for these companies, they object to providing some or all of the contraceptives in the HHS mandate on moral grounds. The government presented the case that since they are not religious organizations per se, they do not have the freedom to run their businesses with religious overtones, at least not when it interferes with governmental mandates.

That is a thumbnail sketch of the case, and in spite of the fact that SCOTUS will not hand down a ruling until June, there are plenty of pundits offering opinions on exactly how that will end up. It’s interesting to attempt to guess what a given Justice will say on this issue, based on the questions presented during the case yesterday, however, it probably isn’t going to serve anyone to do that. Let’s not forget the ruling that the ObamaCare penalties were actually taxes by Chief Justice John Roberts, that got us to this point in the first place.

While it seems that quite a few of the commentators out there seem to think that this will fall in favor of Hobby Lobby, and the other corporations involved, perhaps at this point it would be better to think about “what comes next?” if that isn’t the case.

It just keeps getting worse for Democrats: Obamacare disapproval hits an all-time high

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new poll this morning showing that unfavorable views of Obamacare have jumped to an all-time high since they began tracking opinions of the law in April 2010.

Kaiser’s July tracking poll shows that 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, a significant jump from June’s 45 percent. Thirty-seven percent view the law favorably, down from 39 percent last month.

The crosstabs reveal that the unfavorable views of Obamacare increased across party lines, though Democrats and independent-leaning Democrats still remain the law’s biggest supporters. Republicans and independent-leaning Republicans remain the law’s biggest opponents.

Fifty-nine percent of self-identified independents, however, have an unfavorable view of Obamacare, while 31 percent have a favorable view.

Sixty percent want Congress to “work to improve” Obamacare, while 35 want to repeal and replace it. “Even among Republicans and those with an unfavorable view of the law,” Kaiser explains, “about a third would prefer to see the law improved rather than repealed and replaced (32 percent and 36 percent, respectively).”

Hobby Lobby wasn’t really about birth control, it was about an abuse of government power

On January 8, 2012, former Clinton spokesperson in his putative role as objective moderator of a Republican presidential primary debate fired the first warning shot in what soon became known as the “War on Women.” He asked the candidates if birth control was included in the right to privacy and if states had the right to ban it.

In what was surely a total coincidence (totally, you guys!), just days later the Obama administration would declare the federal contraception mandate for all insurance-providing companies to provide copay-free birth control in their coverage.

The War was on, contraceptives instantly became a legal right (read: entitlement), anyone who opposed forcing companies to pay for them hated women, the term “slut” became both an intolerable slur and a badge of honor, the administration and the courts both carved out religious exemptions that shrill harpies decried as emerging theocracy, and men were suddenly illegitimate politically since only women were justified in voting on health issues.

All of this is, of course, ridiculous. But the issue is now so viscerally charged that it is untouchable in the public discourse. So let’s uncharge it with a hypothetical allegory.

WHAT IF…

As part of a new Healthy America plan, Congress passed a comprehensive nutrition, exercise, and health bill, including a federal mandate for all employers with over 50 employees that requires they have a cafeteria that provides balanced meals to all employees working at least 30 hours per week.

Today in Liberty: Darrell Issa may hold White House official in contempt, Senate Republicans block anti-Hobby Lobby bill

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

— Issa may take action against defiant White House official: David Simas, director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, may find himself in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify yesterday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on violations on the Hatch Act. “I can’t rule it in or out, yet,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), according to Politico. “I can’t answer what we will do in this case, but I can tell you that there is a similar case that occurred under President [George W.] Bush and the similarities are significant.” Democrats on the committee, of course, defended the White House, which has ostensibly claimed executive privilege in order to prevent Simas from testifying. Because, you know, the suspicious political activities of the White House are basically state secrets. Or something.

Harry Reid has apparently forgotten that Clarence Thomas is an African-American

During a press conference yesterday in Washington, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) criticized the “five white men” who voted to extend religious freedom protections to owners of held businesses in the Hobby Lobby case.

“The one thing we are going to do during this work period — sooner rather than later — is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” said Reid. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous and we are going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote. And if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to be treated unfavorably come November for the elections.”

Reid and Democrats are trying to play up the Hobby Lobby decision as a wedge issue in the election to get their base out to the polls this fall. Whatever. That’s one of the few cards they have to play while everything else is burning down around them.

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid doesn’t care about religious liberty, Ted Cruz wants a voter fraud investigation in Mississippi

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” — Benjamin Franklin

— Harry Reid plans to address Hobby Lobby: Though Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says the Senate will tackle legislation to address the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case in the coming weeks. He didn’t offer specifics, but The Hill notes this morning that Democrats on Capitol Hill are planning to introduce legislation before that August recess to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and reverse the decision. “At least three pieces of legislation being prepared by Democrats would help maintain access to free birth control for women affected by the court’s ruling,” The Hill explains, “though staffers provided few details on Monday.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is reportedly “leading the push in the upper chamber.” Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) plans to introduce legislation to require employers to disclose whether prescription birth control is covered by in their plans. That legislation is odd given that Hobby Lobby, for example, objected to two forms of over-the-counter birth control. Two House Democrats are also working on legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The measures being crafted by congressional Democrats have no chance of passage, but this is a wedge issue, so they’re going to play it up to motivate their base. Because politics and elections.

Decades of failed big government regulations and crony capitalism led to the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision

Hobby Lobby

Monday’s response on social media to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (read SCOTUSblog’s coverage here) was absolutely hysterical and largely misdirected.

There’s really no need to re-live the experience in this post, but it is important that — once the hysteria and hyperbole has died down — we examine the facts of the case and the decades of government intervention that ultimately led to this decision.

The fact of the matter is Hobby Lobby provides 16 of the 20 forms of preventative contraceptives mandated by Obamacare. Furthermore, Hobby Lobby employees who wish to have access to the other four forms of birth control could conceivably get it through Obamacare

Calmly explaining the ruling through Monday’s cacophony of misinformation, TIME’s Kate Pickert writes:

Today in Liberty: Americans say Obama is the worst president in 70 years, Senate Dems push for vote on crony Ex-Im Bank

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

— Obama is the worst president since World War II: But George W. Bush isn’t far behind, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University. “President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today,” Quinnipiac notes. “Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.” Richard Nixon was a distant third, with 13 percent. Ronald Reagan was the top-choice for best president over the same timeframe, followed by Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. It’s worth noting that Obama finished fourth on that list, while Bush 43 was tied for last place. Also worth noting is that Americans believe that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election.


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