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Thread: SCOTUS decisions

  1. #121
    Lol I think this is an absurd line:

    "Before the advent of ACA, they were not legally compelled to provide insurance, but they nevertheless did so—in part, no doubt, for conventional business
    reasons, but also in part because their religious beliefs govern their relations with their employees."

    Just shows you that the line between "acting on religious grounds" and "taking action for business reasons" are just going to be blurred and basically explained away to favor religion. Do we really think for a second that the reason the company was giving out health benefits was because of their religious beliefs? No, they almost certainly gave benefits because it kept them competitive in the marketplace.

  2. #122
    The King of Kong Billy Mitchell's Avatar
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    We're also overlooking that Congress could have prevented all of this by just passing the bill with reference to individuals only.

  3. #123
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    Maybe it is because when it comes down to it, we truly are a nation founded upon religion principles. Perhaps we are not as atheistic as this board would like everyone to believe. Have we ever had a non religious president? Jefferson is probably the best chance for that, and even he had a lot of religious/deist influences on his life. I can't remember the last time a presidential candidate didn't make his faith a part of the narrative. Religion, specifically Judeo-Christian religion - matters. Always has in this country, and apparently it still does for the time being.

  4. #124
    I think this is ridiculous too:

    "The most straightforward way of doing this (showing that this was the least restrictive way possible) would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections. This would certainly be less restrictive of the plaintiffs’ religious liberty, and HHS has not shown, see 2000bb–1(b)(2), that this is not a viable alternative."

    This seems like it could be used to explain away anything. "Government could have assumed the cost of insuring everybody in the private sector - unless they argued that it's not a viable alternative therefore this wasn't the least restrictive means available."

    It's a demanding test for sure, but I don't think that this is an adequate explanation for why the government doesn't meet the burden here.

  5. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by Wrangor View Post
    Maybe it is because when it comes down to it, we truly are a nation founded upon religion principles. Perhaps we are not as atheistic as this board would like everyone to believe. Have we ever had a non religious president? Jefferson is probably the best chance for that, and even he had a lot of religious/deist influences on his life. I can't remember the last time a presidential candidate didn't make his faith a part of the narrative. Religion, specifically Judeo-Christian religion - matters. Always has in this country, and apparently it still does for the time being.
    I don't think anybody is going to dispute that America is a very religious nation, especially when compared with other developed nations. I think the major point of contention is how far religious protection should go under the freedom of religion portion of the Constitution.

  6. #126
    I don't necessarily disagree with this at all, primary holding for the last prong:

    "In the end, however, we need not rely on the option of a new, government-funded program in order to conclude that the HHS regulations fail the least-restrictive-means test. HHS itself has demonstrated that it has at its disposal an approach that is less restrictive than requiring employers to fund contraceptive methods that violate their religious beliefs. As we explained above, HHS has already established an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious objections. See supra, at 9–10, and nn. 8–9. Under that accommodation, the organization can self certify that it opposes providing coverage for particular contraceptive services. See 45 CFR 147.131(b)(4), (c)(1);26 CFR 54.9815–2713A(a)(4), (b). If the organization makes such a certification, the organization’s insurance issuer or third-party administrator must “[e]xpressly exclude contraceptive coverage from the group health insurance coverage provided in connection with the group health plan” and “[p]rovide separate payments for any contraceptive services required to be covered” without imposing “any cost-sharing requirements . . . on the eligible organization, the group health plan, or plan participants or beneficiaries.” 45 CFR 147.131(c)(2); 26 CFR 54.9815–2713A(c)(2).38"

  7. #127
    Rusty Larue

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    My biggest issue with the Hobby Lobby case going in was skepticism that the law mandating coverage of contraception constituted a substantial burden on the religious freedoms of Hobby Lobby.

    As I've stated above I don't really see an issue with corporate personhood or a corporation's ability to hold religious beliefs.

    After reading the syllabus I remain unconvinced of the substantial burden element. It seems tenuous to suggest that a for-profit company's slight loss of profit constitutes a substantial burden. Companies who claim a mission other than solely making profit should expect that sometimes that mission will conflict with making profit. The fact that the Government is creating the conflict with profit certainly matters but I'm not sure its enough to make a difference in this case.

    There is clearly a point at which imposing a financial burden on a for-profit company would be extreme enough to constitute oppression of religious beliefs but I don't know if Hobby Lobby reaches that point. The financial burden of opting out of insurance and paying a penalty would be slight, if any.

    The majority's response to this seems to be that Hobby Lobby has legitimate religious reasons for providing health insurance. But health insurance is really just a form of compensation from HL's standpoint, so if it feels that strongly about providing health insurance it can increase employees compensation such that they can purchase their own insurance.

    I disagree with the majority's decision I just don't think it's as atrocious as many are making it out to be.

  8. #128
    Quote Originally Posted by RJKarl View Post
    They framed it as constitutional right. Thus "compelling interest" should be of little consequence. Either the constitution protects this right or it doesn't. After all those who voted for this BS are supposed to be "strict contructionalists".

    Will be unavailable for the next hour or more.
    *Drops mic*

  9. #129
    Rusty Larue

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrangor View Post
    Maybe it is because when it comes down to it, we truly are a nation founded upon religion principles. Perhaps we are not as atheistic as this board would like everyone to believe. Have we ever had a non religious president? Jefferson is probably the best chance for that, and even he had a lot of religious/deist influences on his life. I can't remember the last time a presidential candidate didn't make his faith a part of the narrative. Religion, specifically Judeo-Christian religion - matters. Always has in this country, and apparently it still does for the time being.
    Maybe, when it comes down to it, that has absolutely no bearing on this decision or this discussion.

  10. #130
    All-in-all a pretty good read by Alito. I don't agree with all of it, but it really just seems to hinge on language interpretation. It's certainly not a radical decision, but it's rooted in facts. About to start on the dissent.

    I said it yesterday but I honestly believe this case could have come out either way.

  11. #131
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    Right, and I guess my point is that Judeo Christian values have always and continue to have special priveleges under the Constitution. We were a nation founded to escape religious persecution, but we were also a nation of religion at our onset. Our religious freedoms were created to allow us to practice Judeo Christian religion for the most part. This is why there have been, and now continue to be, special privileges given. We are not a secular nation (yet...I think we are headed that way...but apparently we aren't there yet).

    ETA - I am kind of ambivalent to the ruling FYI. I wasn't sure what would happen with the case, but don't have a lot invested in it either way. I certainly see the opposing argument to the ruling, and it makes a lot of sense.
    Last edited by Wrangor; 06-30-2014 at 11:42 AM.

  12. #132
    Rusty Larue

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    numbers: beyond the corporate personhood issue would I be correct in saying we agree that it's a stretch to say ACA creates a substantial burden in this case, but that if it does the granting of numerous exceptions makes it unlikely that the government has met its burden of compelling interest and least restrictive means?

    Edit: I haven't read the opinion (just the syllabus) but plan on checking it out tonight. I appreciate your comments on it.

  13. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by RChildress107 View Post
    My biggest issue with the Hobby Lobby case going in was skepticism that the law mandating coverage of contraception constituted a substantial burden on the religious freedoms of Hobby Lobby.

    As I've stated above I don't really see an issue with corporate personhood or a corporation's ability to hold religious beliefs.

    After reading the syllabus I remain unconvinced of the substantial burden element. It seems tenuous to suggest that a for-profit company's slight loss of profit constitutes a substantial burden. Companies who claim a mission other than solely making profit should expect that sometimes that mission will conflict with making profit. The fact that the Government is creating the conflict with profit certainly matters but I'm not sure its enough to make a difference in this case.

    There is clearly a point at which imposing a financial burden on a for-profit company would be extreme enough to constitute oppression of religious beliefs but I don't know if Hobby Lobby reaches that point. The financial burden of opting out of insurance and paying a penalty would be slight, if any.

    The majority's response to this seems to be that Hobby Lobby has legitimate religious reasons for providing health insurance. But health insurance is really just a form of compensation from HL's standpoint, so if it feels that strongly about providing health insurance it can increase employees compensation such that they can purchase their own insurance.

    I disagree with the majority's decision I just don't think it's as atrocious as many are making it out to be.
    The decision actually addresses your bolded point by stipulating that since the government didn't brief it they're not really going to consider it, but then goes on to say that even if it were briefed it would likely be a substantial burden to their operation as a business to attract employees if you weren't offering health care.

    I agree that the bar is set pretty low on showing that this is a "substantial burden" on Hobby Lobby's religious freedoms. It's pretty damn attenuated.

  14. #134
    Quote Originally Posted by Wrangor View Post
    Right, and I guess my point is that Judeo Christian values have always and continue to have special priveleges under the Constitution. We were a nation founded to escape religious persecution, but we were also a nation of religion at our onset. Our religious freedoms were created to allow us to practice Judeo Christian religion for the most part. This is why there have been, and now continue to be, special privileges given. We are not a secular nation (yet...I think we are headed that way...but apparently we aren't there yet).
    I agree with the bolded and I also think it's blatantly unconstitutional.

  15. #135
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    Not if the constitution was formed with the intent to give special privileges to judeo christian values/faith. In my opinion it clearly was.

  16. #136
    Quote Originally Posted by RChildress107 View Post
    numbers: beyond the corporate personhood issue would I be correct in saying we agree that it's a stretch to say ACA creates a substantial burden in this case, but that if it does the granting of numerous exceptions makes it unlikely that the government has met its burden of compelling interest and least restrictive means?

    Edit: I haven't read the opinion (just the syllabus) but plan on checking it out tonight. I appreciate your comments on it.
    No problem, and I obviously don't mean these thoughts to be dispositive one way or the other, just my thoughts as I read the opinion.

    I completely agree that it's a stretch in this case to say ACA creates a substantial burden in this case. The Court utterly disagrees with us. Alito's explanation on this point begins:

    "Because RFRA applies in these cases, we must next ask whether the HHS contraceptive mandate “substantially burden[s]” the exercise of religion. 42 U. S. C. 2000bb– 1(a). We have little trouble concluding that it does."

  17. #137
    Quote Originally Posted by Wrangor View Post
    Not if the constitution was formed with the intent to give special privileges to judeo christian values/faith. In my opinion it clearly was.
    Why doesn't it say that then?

  18. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by Wrangor View Post
    Not if the constitution was formed with the intent to give special privileges to judeo christian values/faith. In my opinion it clearly was.
    No offense, but I doubt this is true since Madison (primary author) was not known to be a religious man at all and is generally considered to be a deist. Obviously this doesn't make the entire intent of the Constitution to be void of Judeo-Christian values in the interpretation of "freedom of religion," but I think it makes it more unlikely. Similarly Washington was a deist and I believe Jefferson was as well.

  19. #139
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Mitchell View Post
    I think I agree with you in principle. The Court is starting to box itself into a corner. If it applies to non-profits then it should apply to closely held. And if it applies to closely held then I don't know what logic they can use to prevent it from applying to large corporations - which is a crazy result.
    Agree with this. Alito's best point, and the one Ginsburg never really answered was how the HHS can define "person" in include people and non-profits, but not closely-held for-profits. Looked to me like Alito was trying to patch over the slippery slope problem you point out by saying that the views of a publicly-traded corporation are so dispersed that it's impossible for it to adhere to any one religious practice.

    Ginsburg's strongest point, I thought, was that it doesn't substantially burden their practice. Alito talked a lot about the burden that would be placed on HL if they didn't provide the required coverage, but not how it would burden them if they did comply with the statute.

    Bottom line, IMO, is that the RFRA needs to be changed to explicitly exclude for-profit corporations. Should be an easy fix, but nothing's ever easy with Congress.

  20. #140
    Rusty Larue

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wakeforest22890 View Post
    The decision actually addresses your bolded point by stipulating that since the government didn't brief it they're not really going to consider it, but then goes on to say that even if it were briefed it would likely be a substantial burden to their operation as a business to attract employees if you weren't offering health care.

    I agree that the bar is set pretty low on showing that this is a "substantial burden" on Hobby Lobby's religious freedoms. It's pretty damn attenuated.
    I figured as much. I do think if the Court wanted to find a distinction between for-profit and non-profit corporations in cases like this that would be the place to look. It's much easier, IMO, for a non-profit that incurs any financial burden for exercise of religion to claim that the burden is substantial. The financial loss would prevent the non-profit from fulfilling its religious (or partly religious) purpose since all the funds it has go towards that mission (in theory).

    When a for-profit corporation suffers a financial burden for exercise of religion it can be said that it's non-religious purpose (making profit) is being stymied more-so than it's religious purpose. For the burden on religious exercise to truly be "substantial" the financial burden would have to pretty much wipe out the non-religious purpose in order be said to infringe substantially upon the religious purpose.
    Last edited by RChildress107; 06-30-2014 at 11:53 AM.

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