1. Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, corporations are defined as persons, because corporations apart from the persons who run them cannot exist. The “persons” definition in the law is to protect the people who own and run the corporation. Those persons, operating in the workplace as a corporation, have religious liberty.
2. The government did not show that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrictive way it could achieve its public policy goal of extending contraceptive coverage to all women, as the law requires. There are ways that the government could have guaranteed the contraceptive care of citizens without substantially burdening the religious liberty of these corporations.
3. The government already exempts many employers from the contraceptive mandate, including religious non-profits; it has shown no reasonable cause for why for-profit businesses should be denied this treatment. Moreover, the government already recognizes non-profit corporate entities as entitled to RFRA protection from the contraceptive mandate. There is no meaningful distinction regarding religious freedom between non-profit corporations and for-profit corporations.
4. This decision is very narrow; the majority opinion clearly states that it is not to be read as a loophole for any corporation to do whatever it wants to do and justify it on religious liberty grounds. Under this decision, the RFRA applies only to “closely held” for-profit corporations. “Closely held” means owned by a small number of people, not publicly traded. The opinion notes that there is not a single example of a publicly traded company seeking RFRA protection from the contraceptive mandate. To be perfectly clear, this decision explicitly covers only the contraceptive mandate. It is a narrow interpretation of the RFRA as it applies to Obamacare.
5. The government apparently believes that there are no medical procedures that corporations can opt out of providing insurance coverage for — including late-term abortion and assisted suicide. To punish companies who refuse to pay for these procedures is a substantial burden on them — and, says the Court, precisely the sort of thing the RFRA was intended to prevent.
6. The Court did not consider the First Amendment claims made by Hobby Lobby et al., because it found enough in the RFRA claim to make a ruling.
7. This isn’t part of the decision, but it’s important to note that Hobby Lobby and the other corporation in this lawsuit do not object to contraception per se, only to contraceptive methods their owners believe to be abortifacient.
The last point is really key, I think. Liberals have been reacting to this decision as though SCOTUS outlawed contraception for women completely and has hurtled us back into the Dark Ages of humanity back when caves were considered appropriate dwellings. It is a human rights issue to them. But, note, if we want to actually live in the real world and tell the truth, Hobby Lobby was opposed to paying for a couple of different forms of birth control that they believed caused abortions. It was a matter of religious conscience for them. They were not against contraception altogether and are willing to pay for over 20 different kinds of contraception. Also, the kind that they opposed are still available to women. It is just that Hobby Lobby does not want to pay for it.
But, judging from the reaction on the Left today, one would think that all women's rights were completely revoked in one fell swoop.
One question: Since when did your employer not wanting to pay for your birth control mean that your rights were taken away? When were we granted the right to have our employer or the government pay for things that we could easily buy ourselves? I could understand the angst if the birth control had been outlawed. But it isn't. Hobby Lobby just has an objection to paying to one form of it.
Which brings up one more point: In the Mozilla situation with CEO Branden Eich a few months ago when Gay Rights advocates hounded Eich out of his job because he gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California in 2008 that opposed gay marriage, the refrain from the Left was that Eich had the "right" to free political speech and to his opinion, but he did not have the "right" to keep his job or to be against gay marriage without there being a massive outcry against him. Many of the same people who supported Eich being fired from Mozilla for his beliefs are now upset that Hobby Lobby is able to assert its religious beliefs in regard to contentious issues.
It seems that the only "truth" is what benefits my "side" and forget about any form of objective truth on any issue anymore. It is all about "winning" and advancing one's agenda by any means necessary.
Welcome to the New Morality. While today's decision is a victory for Conservatives and advocates of Religious Freedom (of which I am), my guess is that the Left will become even more enraged at what they perceive to be a setback and their intensity will grow as they gear up for the next fight.