Ed Morrissey at Hot Air continues being on top of what is happening in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision:
The mantra after the announcement of the 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision on Monday, other than the Left’s shrieking over falling skies and theocracies, has been this: It was narrowly decided. That analysis springs from Justice Samuel Alito’s mention of Hobby Lobby’s status as a closely-held corporation, and the narrow number of contraceptive methods that the retailer chose to reject. That gave some hope that other cases involving broader rejection of contraception coverage might be more problematic in later cases.
A series of orders on lower-court rulings on Tuesday suggests to the Associated Press that Hobby Lobby might not be quite as narrow as some may think:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling. …
Tuesday’s orders apply to companies owned by Catholics who oppose all contraception. Cases involving Colorado-based Hercules Industries Inc., Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. and Indiana-based Grote Industries Inc. were awaiting action pending resolution of the Hobby Lobby case.
The court also sent back two more cases to an appellate court that had ruled in favor of the mandate, with orders to reconsider in light of Hobby Lobby:
The justices also ordered lower courts that ruled in favor of the Obama administration to reconsider those decisions in light of Monday’s 5-4 decision.
Two Michigan-based companies, Autocam Corp. and Eden Foods Inc., both lost their cases in the lower courts. The justices ordered the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decisions against the companies.
The ACLJ announced yesterday that the Court has granted a reversal for one of their cases, Gilardi v HHS, after a partial defeat in the DC Circuit:
In the wake of yesterday’s blockbuster Hobby Lobby decision striking down the HHS Mandate, today the Supreme Court granted our petition for review in the case of Gilardi, v. HHS, and denied the government’s petition in our case of Korte v. HHS. In Gilardi, the Court vacated the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (see report of decision here) and sent the case back to the lower court to apply the Hobby Lobby decision to the facts of the Gilardi case. In Korte, the Court’s action today leaves in place the resounding victory we achieved at the Seventh Circuit (see report of decision here.)
The district court refused to provide an injunction against enforcement of the mandate in Gilardi, which would have cost the business owner $14 million in penalties for refusing to prove abortifacient contraceptives to his employees (all of whom can buy them on their own, of course). Continue reading
You can always tell when the left loses a big one in this country because the more loosely wired of their cadre unleash the most amusing rants. In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, Franky Schaeffer knows who to blame for the 5-4 win for religion: Catholics!
Pope Francis must have vomited when he heard the Hobby Lobby news. Nothing could undo the good he has recently done the Church’s image more than yet another case of anti-woman lashing out by a cabal or far right Roman Catholic activists– this time in the Supreme Court.
Alarmed by the Supreme Court pandering to the extreme religious right in the Hobby Lobby case, the new pope might ask “Who is responsible for this?” The answer is: Many people. However two people are the real instigators: the late evangelical far right activist, Charles Colson, and Roman Catholic far right ideologue and anti-gay activist, Princeton Professor Robert George. Their tool has been Justice Antonin Scalia the other Roman Catholic members of the Court.
George is a close friend and co-conspirator with fellow ultra-conservative far right Roman Catholic ideologues including with Scalia who became the ringleader of the GOP’s Court-driven Hobby Lobby lunge into theocratic politics. George is the de facto father of the twinned war against gays and war against women. Scalia is his follower and close friend. And George has the support of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, the Mormon leadership and the most conservative of the evangelical leaders. Charles Colson was George’s close confident. Together they hatched the plan that in the end (and after Colson died) became the Hobby Lobby case.
Way back when, the late Charles “Chuck” Colson teamed up with George of to launch the dirty tricks campaign to brand President Obama as “anti-religious.” They decided to use the issue of contraception as the hinge to turn people against him. Continue reading
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air brings to us the news that the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby is already having an impact:
Late yesterday, the first fruits of the Hobby Lobby decision fell into the lap of EWTN, the Catholic satellite television station which has fought the HHS mandate into the appellate court. Today would have been the first day that EWTN would have to start paying ruinous fines for refusing to provide free contraception and sterilization in its health insurance coverage. Fortunately, the Eleventh Circuit granted a stay not long after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby:
In a resounding victory for religious freedom, today EWTN was granted last minute relief from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, one day before the world’s largest religious media network would be forced to violate its deeply help religious convictions or pay crippling fines to the IRS on July 1.
After the district judge recently issued a disappointing ruling against the global Catholic media network, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed an emergency appeal to the Eleventh Circuit. Pending that ruling, the Becket Fund urged the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit to step in to protect EWTN from being forced to provide contraceptives and potentially life-terminating drugs and devices that violate its Catholic teachings. Thanks to the Eleventh Circuit’s decision today to grant temporary emergency relief to the Catholic network, EWTN can now freely practice what it preaches while it pursues its claims in court.
“On the same day as the Hobby Lobby decision, the Eleventh Circuit protected religious ministries challenging the same government mandate,” said Lori Windham, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund. “It’s time for the government to stop fighting ministries like EWTN and the Little Sisters of the Poor, and start respecting religious freedom.”
“We are thankful that the Eleventh Circuit protected our right to religious freedom while we pursue our case in court,” said EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. “We want to continue to practice the same Catholic faith that we preach to the world every day.”
The order itself is worth reading. The official unanimous order from the three-judge panel officially states that “we express no views on the ultimate merits of EWTN’s appeal in this case,” but that’s not true for Judge Pryor. In a 28-page concurrence, Pryor goes on at length as to why EWTN is likely to prevail on the merits of the case. And in doing so, Pryor takes particular aim at the so-called “accommodation” cited in Hobby Lobby and the arrogance of government instructing Catholic institutions on theology.
The Network has asserted, without dispute, that it “is prohibited by its religion from signing, submitting, or facilitating the transfer of the government-required certification” necessary to opt out of the mandate. The Network further asserts that, by requiring it to deliver Form 700 to the third-party administrator of its health insurance plan, the United States has forced the Network “to forego religious precepts” and instead, contrary to Catholic teachings, materially cooperate in evil. Midrash Sephardi, Inc. v. Town of Surfside, 366 F.3d 1214, 1227 (11th Cir. 2004). If it fails to deliver that form, the Network faces $12,775,000 in penalties a year. 26 U.S.C. § 4980D(b)( 1). If that is not a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion, then it is hard to imagine what would be. …
It is neither our duty nor the duty of the United States to tell the Network that its undisputed belief is flawed. See Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., No. 13-354, slip op. at 36-37 (U.S. June 30, 2014). The Supreme Court has instructed that “it is not for us to say that the line [drawn by the religious believer] was an unreasonable one. Courts should not undertake to dissect religious beliefs. . . .” Thomas v. Rev. Bd. of the Ind. Emp ‘t Sec. Div., 450 U.S. 707, 714, 101 S. Ct. 1425, 1430 (1981). The United States flouts that instruction by treating an undisputed religious belief as a disputed question of law. But “it is not for us to say that [the Network's] religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial.” Hobby Lobby, No. 13- 354, slip op. at 37. We must instead “determine whether the line drawn [by the Network] reflects an honest conviction, and there is no dispute that it does.” Id. at 37-38 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Pryor also takes aim at other appellate circuit decisions in similar cases denying injunctive relief in the basis of the accommodation, calling their reasoning “rubbish”, emphasis mine: Continue reading
I want to be excited about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the blatantly illegal and unjust HHS contraception mandate. But as I said back in March, writing for Crisis:
[In the event of a Hobby Lobby win] my celebration will be muted and limited, however, because a legal victory will not address the underlying philosophical and cultural divide that brought this case before the court to begin with. Contrary to what some may believe, law is not the foundation upon which society rests; it is rather the adhesive we use to patch up broken pieces of society. The more laws, precedents, mandates, rulings and decisions we require to defend our basic interests and assert our rights, the greater indication we have of a society that is almost literally tearing itself apart.
I’m not alone in this. James C. Capretta writes in The National Review:
But even in victory, it is hard to avoid the sinking feeling that having to fight at all over this issue is something of a defeat.
That’s because the HHS mandate was always a politically contrived issue without real legitimacy…
What’s most discouraging is that millions of American voters really seemed to buy it. The absurdity of the “war on women” claim has not undermined its potency. Unfortunately, the Hobby Lobby decision, welcome and necessary as it is, ensures that the “war on women” flag will be waved incessantly in the run-up to the 2014 midterm election. The GOP will need to do a far better job this time around in framing the issue and making it clear that what the Obama administration wants is not access to contraceptives but victory in a pointless ideological crusade.
And Ross Kaminsky at The American Spectator writes:
Although the Court got it right, conservatives and libertarians alike — namely any American who understands the primacy of our Founding principles over the utilitarian approach of statists — have an uphill battle on our hands when it comes to the population overall…
Until “hearts and minds” are changed so that Court decisions such as Hobby Lobby are heralded not only as correct, but as obviously so, these small victories mean little in the longer war against a determined and patient foe.
I was fairly certain from the beginning that the Court would rule in favor of Hobby Lobby. But the reason Hobby Lobby prevailed was because the administration failed to consider the possibility of simply paying for these contraceptives itself, i.e. with our tax dollars. Though I understand that in the context of case law and precedents, there is a significant distinction between compelling direct payment/participation and simply collecting taxes, in practice it amounts to the same thing. One way or another, we will all have our pockets picked to serve the federal government’s ideological agenda.
I was prepared for the hysteria and mass psychosis of the left and the radical feminists as well. From the moment it was announced and conservatives pointed out the slam-dunk case against it, proponents of the mandate have engaged in one of the most dishonest and demented propaganda campaigns in modern history. That they would now threaten violence with impunity is not surprising either. We live in two different philosophical, moral, and semantic universes. Between them exists a chasm which rational argument cannot cross. To even engage the mindless arguments against the ruling would be beneath any of us. Ginsberg’s dissent may be worth deconstructing, but I will leave that to people with more time (besides, I think Alito and, I never thought I’d say this, Kennedy did a fine job addressing her directly in their opinions).
The enemies of the Constitution, the 1st amendment and Christianity in this country have been handed a victory even in defeat, a banner around which to rally and reinforce their collective delusions. Against this insanity, which will be used against the tottering remnants of our republic and our churches like a battering ram, sober and reasoned discourse will not stand. Our enemies are not interested in it. They do not want it, any more than the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks wanted it. They want our heads on pikes and our hearts on platters, they want to write our epitaphs in blood and erase our memory from the Earth. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the reactions for yourself.
Go here to read the often hysterical, and frequently unintentionally humorous, comments on the Hobby Lobby decision at the National Catholic Reporter.
One of my personal favorites:
No, Pete, this decision is not good and it is not a start. Thanks to Congress and the US Supreme Court it is a continuation of the slide from a pluralistic society into a theocratic one. And not just a theocracy, but a Christian theocracy. (Judaism and Islam is not included.) And not just a Christian theocracy, but a so-called Christian theocracy embraced by a small minority who hold certain “sincere beliefs.”
With this decision all tax payers of whatever belief or no belief will have to allocate part of the US budget to pay for medical benefits for women who are denied those benefits so their corporate employers can be free to exercise their “sincere beliefs.”
As we celebrate this Independence Day 2014 it might be beneficial to ask if this is what the founders had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment U.S. Constitution.
Note: once again, this is a guest post by Stephen Herreid, not Bonchamps.
“Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” – President Barack Obama
“…America was never well-founded, so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived.” – Patrick Deneen
Faced with the historic government overreach that is the HHS mandate, it ought to be easier than ever for Christians to know who their enemies are. One would hope that in this desperate time conservatives and Christians would unite against the enemies of the Church, and defend the religious liberty that has already been half-robbed from us. Unlike in many other countries, where Christians are already third class citizens and some are killed and violated by the thousands, America is the home of a long-standing Constitutional Republic, a Rule of Law tradition that explicitly protects and honors our religious liberty. The army of the Left is united in its effort to topple that grand tradition and the Church that it protects. Appallingly, the army of the Right is not so united in their defense.
The nation has been through a bad four years under President Obama and I expect the next four years, courtesy of his reelection by a majority of the voters last November, to be even worse. In these dark times it is good to point to glimmers of light. Such a glimmer of light is the fight being put up by Hobby Lobby and other employers against the contraceptive mandate. Here is a letter from David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, which explains why Hobby Lobby is making this stand:
We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.
But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government health care mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.
Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.
So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit. Continue reading