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10 Blistering Highlights from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Hobby Lobby Dissent

"The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."
 
 
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a scathing 35-page dissent in the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court decision Monday granting corporations First Amendment religious rights to deny women birth control coverage. The court had ventured far out in to unprecedented territory by granting private companies the right to be exempt from laws their owners don't agree with. Crazy! In their zeal to deny women access to reproductive healthcare, expand the rights of corporations and hurt Obamacare, "The court," she wrote, "has ventured into a minefield." 

Sadly, her clear-eyed reasoning did not sway the Court's five arch conservatives, but it is worth reading her dissent here (starts on page 60.)

For those in a bigger hurry, here are highlights:

1. "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision."

2. "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be 'perceived as favoring one religion over another,' the very 'risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

3. "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community."

4. "The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage"

5. "Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby's or Conestoga's plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman's autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults."

6. "It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month's full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage."

7. “Even if one were to conclude that Hobby Lobby and Conestoga meet the substantial burden requirement, the Government has shown that the contraceptive coverage for which the ACA provides furthers compelling interests in public health and women’s well being. Those interests are concrete, specific, and demonstrated by a wealth of empirical evidence.”

8. “The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.”

9. “Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work?”

10. “The Court does not even begin to explain how one might go about ascertaining the religious scruples of a corporation where shares are sold to the public. No need to speculate on that, the Court says, for ‘it seems unlikely’ that large corporation ‘will often assert RFRA claims.’”

h/t: Mother Jones

 

 

 
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