Posted: 07/03/14 00:21
by Dave Mindeman
The Supreme Court has clearly stepped in it with the Hobby Lobby ruling. And, in some respects, the "Fab Five" Justices know it because they made a half hearted attempt at leveling off the slippery slope.
Justice Alito's majority opinion tried to define arbitrary lines such as the ruling's application to only "closely held corporations"....
Has more than 50% of the value of its outstanding stock owned (directly or indirectly) by 5 or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year; and is not a personal service corporation.
Which is the vast majority of corporations, of course, but it still is a rule that the court felt obligated to define.
But the real dangerous element comes from this (again Alito)....
This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer's religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.
Let's focus on that last line. "Illegal discrimination as a religious practice." This, at least has the appearance, of the court warning about using religious freedoms as a method for discriminatory hiring practices. They are trying to say - do not do that.
And for "protected" classes, this is true. But guess what....
As Jonathan Capehart points out:
After all, sexual orientation is not a protected class or characteristic like race is under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nor was it unwise to fear that employers would try to deny LGBT workers coverage for, say, HIV medication or hormone replacement therapy for transgender men and women.
Discrimination is a problem in this country and all too often its root cause comes from religion.
Freedom of religion applies to individuals. Individuals can practice their religion and for the most part not harm others. But the Supreme Court classifies corporations as "persons", although Ruth Bader Ginsburg points out, in her brilliant dissent, they are legal constructs - not people.
Giving a corporation a religious freedom protection is a bridge that the Supreme Court should not have crossed. But they have and the discrimination that stems from religion now has a new door opening up.
A new front in the religious/political morass will be wafting its way through the court system.
The LGBT community may have a new war to fight....and we can thank the Supreme Court for adding its blessing to the conflict.