Wednesday, July 2, 2014
This has been cross posted from Phat Jim's Politics and Religion: Bullshitting with Friends
So I go away for a weekend in Connecticut and while traveling across the country, all hell seems to break loose - the Supreme Court comes down with its decision in Hobby Lobby. And suddenly, I'm getting emails from people saying, "Phat Jim, where's your opinion on the Hobby Lobby case?" Well, here goes. . .
According to Wikipedia, corporations have existed since Roman times (500 AD or so), and in the one thousand and five hundred years of corporate existence, it wasn't until yesterday that a court in any jurisdiction held that a corporation can have sincerely held religious beliefs. Indeed, Henry Ford was sued by his shareholders for giving corporate money for charity. So to clarify, a hundred years ago, a corporation giving to charity was controversial. So, to say that this decision was judicial activism is understating things a great deal.
But there is something even worse about allowing a corporation to have religious beliefs - its allowing corporations to VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW BECAUSE IT CONFLICTS WITH THOSE BELIEFS. Now, keep in mind that if an individual does this - say, a Native American takes peyote as part of a religious ceremony, and fails a drug test as a result - its still deemed a violation of federal law, and the feds can come after the people. By the way, that's not an outrageous example, but a case that the Supreme Court decided in an opinion written by Scalia. Did Scalia dissent on the basis that this opinion overturns the reasoning of his earlier opinion? Of course not, because fuck people.
Or rather, fuck women. You see, not only does this opinion COMPLETELY change over a 1000 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence, not only does it give corporations rights individuals do not have (to ignore federal laws it opposes), but the Supreme Court tries to limit the opinion to birth control pills, which are used by virtually every woman in America at some point in their lives. If Hobby Lobby had objected to paying for vaccines, or blood transfusions, or insulin (which is produced by pigs), Hobby Lobby would have lost. Why? Because unlike birth control, the Supreme Court agrees with the science of those medicines. Birth control, meanwhile, is kinda-sort of-not really believed by Hobby Lobby (more about that later), to cause abortions. This is not the case - birth control prevents conception. Regardless, Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and science because it thinks birth control pills are abortion pills. And because vaginas are icky, I guess.
By the way, Hobby Lobby's claim that it has a deeply held religious belief is complete and total BULLSHIT. Until 2010 (before Obamacare required employees to pay for health insurance), it not only provided health insurance, but purchased health insurance that covered birth control. That's right kids, Hobby Lobby voluntarily purchased health insurance that covered birth control pills. Which makes sense, given that Hobby Lobby regularly invests in birth control pill manufacturers.
And this isn't some random point. The next step in this case is almost certainly the trial stage (the Supreme Court determined whether the First Amendment is a defense, and now they try it), and so, its not unlikely that upon remand, Hobby Lobby gets its ass kicked. In other words, crisis this creates is completely avoidable.
So, how do I feel about this decision? Its the kind of awfulness I have come to expect from this Supreme Court. Get out and vote people. IN ALL ELECTIONS.