Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hobby Lobby: Forgone Conclusions

Hobby Lobby Upright Citizens 

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse et al
The Supreme Court has heard the arguments about whether a company which must offer health insurance to its employees must offer forms of contraception its owners consider forms of abortion.

Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts will vote to allow the owners to do as they please, to deny IUD and Plan B coverage to their employees. 

Justices Sotomayer, Ginsberg, Kagan and Breyer will vote to insist that company owners follow the law of the land, and will not allow the owners of this company to impose their religious beliefs on their thousands of employees.

Justice Kennedy, as usual, will get to decide the case.

One wonders why we bother to hold this circus of oral arguments before the nine justices when the votes of eight of them can be counted from simply reading a synopsis of the case.  Why not just present to Justice Kennedy and let the others mail in their votes, get out for some fresh air--go for a walk along the Mall.

Of course, this case would not ever have arisen if we did not have a health care system tethered to employment. Why should your employer be able to tell you what sort of contraception you should use? Where did employers get that mandate to be the parents of their employees?

Employer based health care insurance began around the time of World War II, when there was a worker shortage and companies needed something to entice workers beyond salaries--wage and price controls were in effect, so they could not simply raise wages.

The Republicans would not allow a "government option" when Obamacare was being formulated. 

So now we are stuck with two Southern Baptists who believe a fertilized egg is a human being and if there is an IUD in the uterus and that zygote cannot implant and gets flushed out with the next menstrual period, that's abortion.

It doesn't matter that IUD's may not actually work that way; it's possible they prevent the sperm from working their way up to the egg and finding the target egg, but that's of little consequence since it is not important what some scientists think--all that matters is what the Greens, who own Hobby Lobby think.

If the Greens believed Whites and Negroes should not drink from the same water fountains or use the same bathrooms, and if that is their deeply held religious belief, then Justices Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Roberts would say, "Amen."

Justice Scalia, always quick with the absurdest analogy, the scathing hypothetical, posed the problem:  "Suppose the government was approached by animal rights activists who felt the method of kosher slaughter is inhumane?  Would the government tell all the kosher slaughterhouses they could not kill their beef in the kosher way, as they have done for thousands of years? Would the kosher slaughterhouse have to set aside the religious standards by which it operates because the government has a rule about animal cruelty?"

Well, actually, if the slaughterhouse was slaughtering human infants, or virgins, as a ritual sacrifice, the government should probably exercise its power to prevent that religious practice, Justice Scalia. You want an absurd what if, see you and raise you one better.

It is curious the court is comprised of five Catholics and Four Jews. Of course, one of the Catholics is relatively liberal. There used to be a "Jewish" seat on the court. May have been time when Catholics were excluded or subject to a quota. But for a country which is overwhelming Protestant, we have an odd complexion to the court.

The fact is, Obamacare, as flawed as it is, is lifting off. The Republicans broke its wings, plucked many feathers, and tried to wring its neck, but somehow, there are now citizens who are insured and an insurance industry which was betraying its customers for years, with fine print, pre existing condition clauses, rules which eliminated all but those who didn't really need health insurance, and now those sleaze ball insurance companies  have been brought to heel. 

But the Republican Party will likely sweep into control of the Senate and the House based on marketing. They will exploit the gullible, as always, and the weak minded shall inherit the dearth. 


  1. Mad Dog,
    "and the weak minded shall inherit the dearth"-now that's a great line! So true as well-just imagine all those Republicans, should they take the Senate and the House, working feverishly to undo whatever progress has been made in healthcare and social issues, two areas not much of a big deal to the haves in the top 1%. Their philosophy would have one believe they'd like to take us back pre-FDR, but to many of their voters depend on social programs like SS to do that. Much safer to focus on programs aimed primarily at the poor and the sick-folks not really in a position to raise to much of a ruckus. At which point the President and the rest of the Democrats should join all the Supreme Court justices, except Kennedy, on a two year sabbatical. They could work on their golf game, learn table tennis, maybe come up with a plan to attract voters and leave the tasks at hand to the decision makers-the GOP and Justice Kennedy. It's got to be scary at times for Justice Kennedy, knowing, for all intents and purposes, you are the Supreme Court.

    I didn't realize the religious make-up of the Supreme Court-you're right it is curious considering the religious make up of the country. I guess this means religion is no longer a big priority when choosing a Supreme Court justice so long as they are one of the acceptable, mainstream religions-i.e. a Catholic or a Jew. Think a highly qualified Moslem would be able to make it through the vetting process and be confirmed a Supreme Court Justice? I wonder.....

  2. Maud,

    Oh, yes, I can just imagine Senator McConnell trying to explain his vote to confirm Justice Abul Osama Azizz Mohammed to the folks back home.

    Mad Dog