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Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations – NYTimes.com

Posted on June 30th, 2014 at 18:07 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane -- Write a comment


The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.

The 5-to-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the court’s five more conservative justices, said a federal religious-freedom law applied to for-profit corporations controlled by religious families. He added that the requirement that the companies provide contraception coverage imposed a substantial burden on the companies’ religious liberty.


a company can now have religious liberty. Can they also play Mario Kart?

And since previously they did not allow religious objections to things like blood transfusions, can we safely assume it mattered this was dealing with ladies fucking?

Weirdly narrow, pretty much blatantly misogynistic, and still kicks the door wide open. Not good.

I’d like to congratulate Hillary Clinton on winning the 2016 Presidential Election today.

  1. [Quote]:

    Now that the court has made what Justice Ginsburg called “a decision of startling breadth” that would allow corporations to “opt out of any law … they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs”, I’d like to talk about some of my other deeply held beliefs.

  2. I don’t think ladies fucking is the problem here, John.

  3. The reasoning makes *some* sense to me. Closely held companies are a legal wrapper that represents a small set of owners, and thus I think there’s a legitimate argument about where the line is between the owners as people with rights and the corporation as a separate entity. You could argue that when you incorporate to limit your liability exposure, you should also forfeit your personal rights. The counterargument I know of is to think about the ACLU, which is a corporation, and its 4th Amendment rights of privacy. Should the ACLU not be protected against random searches of their premises? Surely that would allow police to intimidate organizations they don’t like?

    I wish the SCOTUS had ruled that corporations may opt to not cover certain birth control, if they do so must pay employees an equivalent amount so employees can buy that supplemental insurance.

  4. When you start the incorporation process, your business adviser will tell you about some of the disadvantages. Among them requirements about corporate records, shareholder and directory meetings, being careful about possible conflicts of interest between shareholders and directors, residency requirements of directors, and most important, a corporation is closely regulated. There are things it is not allowed to do. Most famous examples include wedding cake stores refusing to supply gay weddings.

    So, if you incorporate, you don’t just get extra rights, you also lose some, and get some extra obligations. The 4th amendments example therefore doesn’t make much sense to me. A lot of the regulations a corporation have to follow could already be argued to limit constitutional rights held by individuals.

    I think it should be simple – if you’re a shareholder, your relationship is mostly financial, you can name directors, and you influence policy. You do not get to transfer rights you have to the company, such as this freedom of religion example.

    Here’s a counter example to your 4th. How about the 5th? The big picture rule is that the Fifth Amendment gives you a right not to perform a particular act if that act would be (1) compelled, (2) potentially incriminating, and (3) testimonial. In this case, (2) is the interesting case. If you are asked to provide evidence that is NOT potentially incriminating to YOU, you can NOT “plead the fifth” and keep silent. In such cases, if a judge is of the opinion that you should talk, and you don’t, you can be held in contempt and jailed.

    Now suppose an employee dies, and the difference between it simply being an accident and criminal negligence is some knowledge held by a shareholder, and the shareholder is in no way connected to whatever led up to the death of the employee. In that case, that shareholder would not be able to “plead the fifth” and keep silent.

    Would that change if said shareholder is one in a “closely held company”?

  5. If I’m reading your argument/question right, you’re suggesting that a person could claim that their testimony would incriminate not themselves personally but the closely-held company they are a co-owner of, and thus refuse to testify under the 5th?

    That seems the exact inverse of what happened in this case. Here, rights of the individual are transferred to the corporation because it is seen as a proxy for the person… not vice versa.

    My impression from quick reading of a few articles is that the SCOTUS majority deemed this ruling acceptable because it doesn’t bar the employee from obtaining birth control in other ways, i.e. in their eyes the harm done is relatively small. That’s a matter of judgment, of course. I don’t know offhand how it compares to the wedding cake example you cite.


    > if you incorporate, you don’t just get extra rights, you also lose some, and get some extra obligations. The 4th amendments example therefore doesn’t make much sense to me.

    In the U.S., corporate structure is a bit more varied than the simple BV/NV choice you have in Holland. You can, for example, form an LLC, which does not count as a full corporation. There are also S-Corporations which do not file corporate income taxes, but pass all profit through to the owners. These are corporate structures halfway between operating as an individual (or group) and being a full-blown corporation. Thus, the rights/responsibilities situation isn’t necessarily as clean-cut as you’d like it to be. E.g. closely held corporations aren’t subject to auditing or SEC disclosures.

    I would definitely prefer that these limits of rights & responsibilities be defined by an open political process rather than made up as-we-go by the courts. But, this being the U.S… *sigh*

  6. That seems the exact inverse of what happened in this case. Here, rights of the individual are transferred to the corporation because it is seen as a proxy for the person… not vice versa.

    Yes, exactly. So why one direction and not the other?

    I see two possible great outcomes, neither likely: Obamacare II iz introduced, following Indian example by making the top 40 medications free for everybody. That would include contraception. Or, less unlikely, all current insurance companies offer the exempted medication for free to everybody, costs reimbursed from tax income, with a special rider to the tax bill earmarking all tax levied on Hobby Lobby exclusively for this purpose.

  7. Yes, exactly. So why one direction and not the other?

    In one direction we have individuals who have Constitutionally granted rights which are being extended to their proxies. In the other direction, we have corporations, which in themselves do not have Constitutional rights other than such as are extended from the people who have an interest in them. It makes no sense to transfer rights in the other direction.

  8. 80-90% of all companies in America today qualify for that definition of “closely held.”

    It’s another bombardment of the Right’s war on Labor with a special misogynist payload.

  9. So, if I understand you correctly, the share holder in my example would still have to testify?

    Then, why does his claim about the fifth work differently from Hotel Hobby shareholders claiming the first?

  10. IANAL nor particularly familiar with the law surrounding this, so I certainly don’t claim that the below is legally well-founded. But here’s how I would sketch it:

    The Hobby Lobby owners are personally opposed to certain specific kinds of contraception, which they don’t want to pay for. They also don’t want to pay for it when a few of them get together and form a company, because in effect it would still be their money being spent when the corporation is a thin proxy. Thus, the money does not have to be spent.

    In your example, the owner is already protected by the 5th Amendment and does not have to testify. Making the corporation disclose information does not compel that individual to testify against themselves after all. Thus, the 5th Amendment rights would not transfer to the corporation. But I think there is more specific jurisprudence here on the functioning of the corporate veil and how it applies; I just don’t know it.

    I think my ACLU example is more likely to provide the kind of trouble that you’re trying to create. I would argue that people should be able to organize corporations like the ACLU to advocate for certain causes, and that in that pursuit they should have Free Speech and privacy rights and be free from unreasonable search, etc. Otherwise such a corporation would be useless against a governmental adversary, right? However, when it comes to interaction with elections, it’s less clear to me what rights such corporations should have.

  11. A great HuffPo article on other laws that might have to fall by the wayside if we get to pick and choose which laws we abide by on the basis of religion:


  12. opposed to certain specific kinds of contraception, which they don’t want to pay for

    But that’s just the thing, isn’t it. They are not paying for contraception at all. They paying money earmarked for health care insurance premiums, a small part of which might, and might not, go towards reproductive health products. Are they opposed to Viagra as well?

    If my religion opposed war in all its forms can I get a discount on my tax? How would that be different?

  13. A great HuffPo article

    Why did they leave out slavery?

  14. Democrats love to use the threat of a conservative, out of control, Supreme Court to scare people into voting for them, and the Supreme Court loves to prove them correct.

  15. I think they left out slavery because opposition to the minimum wage is so deeply engrained already to the psyche of those who support this ruling already. Take away the minimum you can pay them and the new “floor” becomes zero…

  16. If corporations have federally protected First Amendment rights, how long before they start asking for the Second?

  17. At what point during a job interview is it appropriate to ask the owner’s religion?

    Since a business owner’s religion subjects their employees to different rules now, it seems like that’s an important question to ask during the interview process. If a candidate does not know if a company is willing to cover something which they may need at what point can it be asked without jeopardizing an offer of employment?

    And if the business changed its religion? Would it be announced with a projected date of faith change. Would workers be grandfathered in to the old faith restrictions or be compelled to adopt the new faith restrictions if they are more cost effective?

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