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31 comments for “on SCOTUS decisions

  1. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    It seems to only apply to a specific type of company.

  2. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    That is where the certain “type” come into play. This company is family owned, and has a very clear set of principles as to how it runs its business. They won the right to keep it that way. It’s not like Walmart or Starbucks could suddenly claim something similar, just because they didn’t agree with a particular law. It really does seem that the scope is very limited.

  3. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    But technically they could?

  4. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    The burden of proof would be on them, and it would be an uphill battle. A lot of the religious freedom laws are pretty strict about what can and can’t be claimed by a company. It is part of how they run their business, not just something they tacked on to make some sort of statement, and I think had it been proven otherwise, the ruling would have gone in the other direction.

  5. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Not really. It is a fairly narrow definition. The key is “closely held” companies. A publicly traded company like Walmart is not “closely held”. And the court limited it to contraception so it cannot, for example, be used to avoid paying for a blood transfusion. It’s less ground breaking than clarifying. And I agree with Dmitri that extending the idea that a company really is a person is irritating.

  6. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Contraception is not the same as needing a transfusion. The misinformation here is that they are denying health coverage to women, from what I read, they are disputing having to pay for very specific forms of contraception, because they believe it is akin to promoting abortion. This wasn’t a blanket decision on medical procedures and religious beliefs. It was a dispute over specific services, optional services, and who should have to pay for them.

  7. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Isn’t it the case that about half of all birth control is medical and not just for family planning purposes? I don’t know how you get to decide “optional”, Vic. Shouldn’t it be up to the doctor?

    I feared this decision as soon as I heard that the medical correctness of the company’s “beliefs” we’re not allowed to be considered.

  8. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Isn’t all birth control optional? I mean, no one has to have sex, right? And yeah Dmitri, size, in this case, doesn’t seem to matter.

  9. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    So if you’re trying to divorce your wife and on day 364 she rapes you while you’re sleeping, you’re fucked?

  10. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I guess if you have PCOS your employer can simply not cover it; hey, you could be lying just to get birth control, right? just like that forcible rape nonsense

  11. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    You also don’t have to work for a company that doesn’t cover the things you want, I mean I don’t see people taking places to court for not offering dental…

  12. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    i’m glad i live in a civilized state like oh wait never mind.

  13. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    You are going to have to elaborate, because you are lumping a bunch of things together and I am not sure what you are getting at. If you don’t mind.

  14. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    “You also don’t have to work for a company that doesn’t cover the things you want, I mean I don’t see people taking places to court for not offering dental…”

    Then you’re not looking hard enough… There’s like a whole big fight in this country about the rights to medical coverage by the working class. That’s specifically what brought about Obamacare in the first place.

  15. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Well, that is a fundamental difference in thought process. It’s not like we are mine workers and a company is trying to BS their way out of job related health issues. The idea that your company is somehow responsible for your health coverage, as opposed to it being a perk/incentive for working one place over another is kind of ridiculous to me. Same thing with wages, minimum or otherwise.

  16. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Vic, this is the type of thing I was referring to. “Birth control” pills are medication which regulates hormones, one use of which is to prevent (note: NOT terminate) pregnancy, but there are many other medical uses that have nothing to do with sex. http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/med-uses-ocp.html

  17. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Ok, but that’s a different issue. There are two questions:

    1) should healthcare be linked to employment? I’d actually agree with you. No it shouldn’t. But then there comes a question. How should it happen? Some say it should be provided through the government (as it is in several other countries). Some say that it should always be purchased by the individual (again, other countries do that as well). But, at least for now, in this country, precedent links healthcare (for the VAST majority of people) to their employment. So that is the world we have to deal with.

    2) Since it IS linked to employment, regulations have to take that into effect. Your specific point was “Why only birth control. How come people don’t press for other medical coverage. Like dental?” And my answer is, they do! Which is why the Affordable Care Act happened which led to this particular SCOTUS case in the first place.

  18. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I think more basic than corporate personhood or how health care is distributed that bugs me is the underlying concept that paying money is speech. The transfer of money contains no creative content or creativity, it’s just value. Paying for campaign contributions or health care shouldn’t have first amendment protections at all, IMHO.

  19. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Sam, is it a necessity? If not and it is an optional treatment, I don’t think employers should foot the bill.

    Chris – I don’t have an issue with health coverage being part of a benefits package. I don’t, however, believe that it is a “right”, UNLESS your job requires you to risk your health or safety to do the task. Walmart greeters don’t deserve full medical benefits for saying “hello” and handing out coupons any more than they should get paid $15 an hour for essentially doing the same thing as a sign and a pamphlet counter.

    I am used to a certain level of health insurance, if I went somewhere else, I would expect to base my decision as to whether or not I wanted the job on a combination of factors, including benefits. I would not however expect the company to change its health plan just because my previous place of employment was different.

  20. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    “Is it a necessity?”

    Hobby Lobby is fine with covering vasectomies. Is that a necessity?

  21. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Vic: your belief is fine. You’re entitled to it. I’m saying that you asked why only birth control mattered and not dental. I’m saying it’s not just birth control. Which is why this was a SCOTUS issue in the first place.

  22. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Dimtri – a privately owned business should be able to have any policy it wants, as no one is forced to work at, or to spend money with the company. There are regulations and laws in place for safety and discrimination, in terms of optional services, remember, no place is required to offer health coverage, they should be able to pick and choose what they want to offer.

    Dale, that should be their choice. And according to the supreme court, in some instances, it is.

  23. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I was more suggesting that most people I know wouldn’t get up in arms if I told them my employer didn’t cover vision(I have dental). There are lots of reproductive services that are not connected to any form of birth control, none of which seem to be affected by this decision. Right?

  24. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Then you know a very limited set of people. Most people I know would be pissed if their employer started opting out of vision care (or dental)

  25. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Chris – I am not talking about changing a plan after the fact. ACA included the provision for covering stuff like this, Hobby Lobby wasn’t paying for it before, right? They fought the change, not to remove something they had always had as part of their benefits. If I am wrong about what they covered prior to the mandate, fine. But if the addition was a result of the ACA, then I don’t see the issue.

    Dimitri – Labor laws prevent that practice, a separate issue from what benefits are offered by a particular company.

  26. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Now you’re talking about a separate issue though. I was answering your specific question. “Why don’t people get upset about dental?” And I answered “They do!”

    Now you’re talking about “why is it an issue that they fought for a religious exception?” and that’s a completely different thing and the reason everyone is upset about it. Because, the entire point of the law was SUPPOSED to be that “this is a right we want people to have regardless of what other people believe.”

    If I have a cotton growing company that employs black people as free labor and then some brash upstart president comes along and says “I decree that negroes are not slaves and must be paid a fair wage!” then should I be able to say “but you don’t understand, my religion says that negroes are beasts of burden, like oxen.”?

    If I have a company that sews garments and an upstart congress comes along and says “we decree women must be paid the same minimum wage as men!” should I be able to say “but my religion clearly states that the natural order of subservience is God > Man > Woman > Children > Animals” so I should be able to pay women less.”?

    If I have a company that provides healthcare to its employees’ spouses and activist judges and voters start decreeing that homosexual marriage is legal and equivalent to heterosexual marriage in my state, should I be able to say “But Leviticus clearly states that homosexual marriage is an abomination so I don’t want to give healthcare to that sodomites family!”?

    The whole point of the law being written the way it was, was to take that decision making power away from the employer. In effect, SCOTUS has said that taking that decision making power away was wrong. In each of the above cases that I mentioned courts have specifically stood against the religious argument. In this case they stood with it.

    THAT is the issue.

    That said, SCOTUS will always do as SCOTUS will do. What I am looking for now is a case in the next decade after marijuana is universally legal where a corporation uses this as precedent for denying coverage to it to cancer patient employees.

  27. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I didn’t actually ask that question, it was an observation, nothing more. Neither here nor there. What benefits are offered is part of the initial choice for employment with a particular company.

    Personally, I don’t think your examples are relevant. Denial of equal treatment for the same labor based on prejudice is not akin to not wanting to pay for someone else’s choices. All optional procedures and medicine should be at the discretion of the employer, leaving the choice, completely in the hands of the employee.

  28. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    heh, I don’t want to get into a discussion regarding the government and same-sex marriage. The basic answer to your question is that there are things that I do not believe to be in the purview of the federal government, and the more people look to the FED to make theses decisions, the more society is ultimately divided and the less freedom we have overall.

    That being said. The solution to your question is to remove the marriage from the contract that defines family and guardianship. If any two people could enter into that contract, there would be no legal challenge on the grounds of religious beliefs, as it would apply to all citizens equally and not those of a particular sexual orientation.

  29. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    In this country, “marriage” is used to define a lot of legal protections, loopholes, benefits, etc. There is no need for that. Marriage is a tradition. The contract with the government, the part that actually grants rights should apply to anyone. For example. A man and a woman, who aren’t married, have no more legal rights than a gay couple in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage.

    The contract is applied by the state, when people get married, hence the big hullabaloo about the whole thing.

    If it were truly about equality, people would want to remove the government/state from marriage all together(that is a bond of love, not legalities) and clearly define the social contract between two people. So a company would have to recognize your partner as a legal representative of you, just as in the case of a husband and wife, By separating it from “marriage”, you are legally removing the right to dispute the union on the grounds of religious beliefs.

  30. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Vic: One of the 4 or 5 articles I read about this actually clarifies that Hobby Lobby did, in fact, cover these services prior to the implementation of the ACA. (I wish I could remember exactly which article.) The same article shows that at the time they filed their suit, they were also contributing to 401(K) plans that invest in the very companies whose products they are now saying they don’t want to provide access to.

  31. avatar
    June 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Something else to consider with this ruling: “Out of the 20 Food and Drug Administration-approved birth control methods, the two companies involved in the case – Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood – object to four: two kinds of emergency contraceptive or “morning after” pills, and two types of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/whats-so-controversial-about-the-contraceptives-in-the-hobby-lobby-case/373709/

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