SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Religious Liberty on HHS Mandate

CNN’s on the story here.

One thing I will give Obama:  His SCOTUS appointees have joined the entire court in smashing him flat with unanimous rulings against him on 13 different occasions since 2012. Evidently they did not get the memo on what a brilliant Constitutional scholar he is.  Here’s hoping for No. 14.

Pray!

Update: Breaking: SCOTUS rules mandate does not oblige closely-held companies like Hobby Lobby. Looks like the mandate is pretty much unenforceable. Good news!

As long as Obama can’t frog march people of conscience into somebody’s bedroom and force us to buy other people their contraceptives and abortifacients, I’m happy.  Well done, SCOTUS!

Upperdate:  This looks like a really solid win for the Good Guys!  I propose drinks, party favors, cake and ice cream all around!  There will be future battles as this most anti-Catholic of Administrations continues to seek ways to crush conscience.  But for today, we celebrate!

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  • Joejoe

    This one isn’t like the others, sadly. 5-4 and extremely narrow. Shamefully so, in fact.

    I’m not celebrating in the least. This ruling should cause everyone to stay the course and continue to be vigilant.

    The Court had the opportunity to allow religious liberty to leave the hospital strong and healthy today. Instead it remains in the bed and, happily, was able to lift a finger … but that was all.

    • IRVCath

      It’s a sign of things to come. The Court in the Roberts era tends to rule very narrowly on nearly every ruling.

      • Nicholas Haggin

        The ruling also seems consistent with what was reported of oral
        arguments. At that time, one of the dissenting justices asked Hobby Lobby’s attorney
        whether, on the same grounds, a company should be allowed to refuse
        coverage for vaccines, or blood transfusions, or such things. The
        attorney replied something to the effect that if such cases were to arise, he
        expected them to be argued and decided in the same way as the current
        case. The majority opinion incorporates that idea.

        Kennedy
        continues to be consistent, not in which “wing” of the court he
        supports, but in his particular ideology of individual liberty.

      • petey

        actually, they have been unanimous at a rate not seen since the 19th century i believe:

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/06/22/supreme-court-unanimous-decisions-roberts/10900049/

        “Out of 57 argued cases that have been decided by the court since October, 36 have produced unanimous judgments”.

        i wish HHS had been a unanimous ruling too, but it’s still a ruling so can we be happy about it?

    • erin

      I agree it was shamefully narrow. I take it merely as a barometer reading that the anti- religious haven’t completely defeated the right to live out one’s religious convictions in the public square . . . Yet.

  • Thomas Sharpe

    5-4, is too close.
    Will we continue NOT to hear any Teaching on the sin of contraception, sterilization and abortion from the Pulpit? Will this now still only be spoken of in terms of “religious liberty”?

    • IRVCath

      Perhaps it is not prudentcto do so from the pulpit, as opposed to counseling and the confessional? Remember most Masses have young children in attendance, and some parents might not like talk about sex from the pulpit generally.

      • Joejoe

        A good number of people who need to hear it aren’t going to the confessional.

        • IRVCath

          And that is where we must start. People who call for more preaching on the subject often neglect the fact that we should be enlightening people to the necessity of confession, particularly regular confession. Otherwise it’s just putting plaster over a weak foundation.

          • Thomas Sharpe

            I agree. But it doesn’t hurt to have ones conscience awakened, in fact, that’s healthy, what’s said does not need to be blunt and not for children. It could simply be a call to read what the Church Teaches.

            • IRVCath

              On that, accord. However oftentimes the call by some laypeople for more forceful preaching seems more a call for priests to hector parishioners over real or imagined sins, which is in most cases… counterproductive.

              • Thomas Sharpe

                Use of contraception is a sin. It’s an anti life act, stains the marital act, makes sex mutual masturbation, breaks the 1st, 5th, 7th and 8th commandments, and leads to breaking the 6th and 9th commandments.

                Beyond that it leads to other sins as: divorce, abortion, and more.

                • IRVCath

                  I’m not disputing that, believe me. What I mean is that some people really are not committing those sins, or perhaps are in ignorance.

      • Marthe Lépine

        My point exactly. And to Joejoe: How many of those people who aren’t going to the confessional are still attending church regularly? I still think that talk about sex in front of young children, even if it is from the pulpit, is not a good idea. However, in our parish at least, there is a “Children’s liturgy” during the first part of the early mass on Sunday, so, maybe once in a while it could be arranged that the kids don’t rejoin their parents until after the homily.

        • Athelstane

          However, in our parish at least, there is a “Children’s liturgy” during the first part of the early mass on Sunday, so, maybe once in a while it could be arranged that the kids don’t rejoin their parents until after the homily.

          Systematically removing children from the Mass is not a condign solution, which is why I have always been deeply skeptical of “Children’s liturgies.” Families should attend Mass together.

          But be that as it may, the solution isn’t so much the pulpit as it is in catechesis, and that starts in the home. Parents are the best catechists, when they take the responsibility. But once the Church lost much of a whole generation in the 60’s, it ensured that many Catholic parents would be teaching their children quite the opposite.

      • Dave G.

        If the priest is able to counsel and visit each family multiple times, then that’s great. Otherwise, they made pulpits for a reason. Especially when forces against the Faith have no problem using the pulpits they have available. As for the young children, I’d rather them hear it from the pulpit than the rest of that sources they’ll hear it from as they get older.

        • Marthe Lépine

          This reminds me, when I was growing up in Quebec in the 40’s and 50’s, it was a custom for the parish priests to visit all of the families once during the year. I cannot remember if it is still being done, but it would be a good idea to do something like it again.

          • Dave G.

            I’d love it, but in fairness to ours, we have 2500 families registered, and one priest and an associate who is here from Nigeria while he works on his PhD. I don’t know if they could do that. But that’s why other ways of getting the message out are so important.

      • Athelstane

        Perhaps it is not prudent to do so from the pulpit, as opposed to counseling and the confessional?

        In many parishes, you’re not likely to hear it there, either.

  • jroberts548

    The opinion is here if anyone wants to read it: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf

    It was always a much narrower case than the legally illiterate press made it out to be. Although Hobby Lobby raised a first amendment issue, there was never any chance that they were going to prevail on it.

    ETA: Also, this contains a pretty strong indication, but is not decisive, that the nuns that are suing over having to certify to the HHS that they oppose contraception will lose.

    • DJ Wambeke

      ETA: Also, this contains a pretty strong indication, but is not decisive, that the nuns that are suing over having to certify to the HHS that they oppose contraception will lose.

      ?
      Please explain. I don’t understand legalese well, but it was my understanding that the Little Sisters of the Poor’s lawsuit was only necessary if the HHS Mandate stood. In other words, if Hobby Lobby won, their lawsuit would essentially be vindicated (if a business doesn’t have to participate in contraception why should a non-profit?) and would not need to go forward.

      • jroberts548

        The court held here that for-profit, closely-held corporations have standing under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). They also held that the regulation fails to satisfy the RFRA’s test, which is if a law or regulation substantially burdens a person’s religious exercise, that that law must advance a compelling government interest, and be the least restrictive means of doing so.

        In the opinion, they discuss the availability of less restrictive means, including the certification process that the Little Sisters are resisting. This opinion doesn’t decide that case, but it seems to maybe approve of that certification process.

        • DJ Wambeke

          So am I understanding you correctly – that one possible outcome of all this (depending upon how the Little Sisters’ case is ultimately decided) is that, though Hobby Lobby will not be required to supply emergency contraception, in order to “opt out” they still may have to undergo the same sort of “certification” process that the Little Sisters are objecting to?

          If so, I don’t know whether Hobby Lobby would object to it, but it leaves me unsettled anyway…

  • http://www.jonathanfsullivan.com/ Jonathan F. Sullivan

    Re: the narrow 5-4 ruling: Martin Nussbaum, a 1st Amendment lawyer who has advised the USCCB, said in a Fortnight for Freedom lecture on Saturday night that he actually hoped for a 5-4 ruling. A 6-3 ruling would probably have seen all the male justices on one side and the three female justices on the other, thus playing into the “War on Women” meme. A 5-4 ruling (w/ Justice Breyer siding with the female justices) prevents that particular soundbite.

    • Joejoe

      I was hoping for a 6-3 decision, with Justice Sotomayor coming to the light and not throwing her fellow Catholics under the bus. Ah well.

      • obpoet

        Is Justice Sotomayor an oxymoron?

    • Willard

      That ship has already sailed. President Obama won what percentage of the woman vote? That will only go up with Hillary.

      • Joejoe

        Indeed. The War on Women canard seems to have taken on a life of its own. I do hate the Big Lies so.

    • Dave G.

      That doesn’t matter. I just watched an entire segment on CNN: War on Women part II. It was all about the sexist and unfair penalty that women will pay, and it’s because the men voted against the women. The fact that one didn’t, like so many things today, doesn’t matter. My guess is that the outcry would have been ‘war on women’ if it had been unanimous, since that was probably the strategy no matter what.

    • Dave P.

      They’d be saying the same thing if a conservative female justice was on the Court, and voted with the majority.

  • Willard

    I’m happy with the outcome. Millions of people in Republican states are still without insurance because of their states refusal to expand medicaid. With the mandate issue out of the way, I expect the bishops to be more engaged on this life saving issue.

    • Dave G.

      I’m just happy because it was a brief setback in the forward momentum of ‘can’t we just redefine what real rights are all about?’ movement. Who knows, maybe it will give people a chance to rethink.

      • Willard

        I wish you were right but I don’t think that’s how it is going to go. The libertine left will just use this to gin up the base.

        • Dave G.

          Possibly. But perhaps folks can see it as a wake up call. Freedom became almost a snicker following Braveheart. I think it’s time to consider what it would be to lose it. I had a friend from the former USSR. We were in a seminar together where the discussion was how oppression can help the Faith. He quipped that people who aren’t worried about losing their freedoms are people who have never lived without their freedoms. So who knows? Maybe at least.

    • IRVCath

      And at least in SLC, they are.

  • Pete the Greek

    Commenters over at the NCR are losing their minds over this. Many are saying this is a bad as the Dred Scott decision.

    Sheesh, what a buncha whiners. Go buy your own pills and rubbers. I just looked them up and they are insanely cheap already and available everywhere. I’m not buying them for you.

    This was a funny take on it when it came out.

    • Willard

      What a sad day to be a Democrat. Our plutocracy has given us an “economy that kills” but apparently that’s not as important as free birth control.

      • IRVCath

        If you look at the Pew survey, the contributors with the most money and free time on the DNC side pretty much only care about the cultural issues.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Reading below that a 5-4 decision about this is too close, I would like to ask a question. Was that historical Roe vs Wade (do I have the correct spelling?) decision that made abortion legal in the US a unanimous decision? It is too long ago for me to remember such a legal case from a country other than mine… I am not sure that I even bothered to read about it then. But if it was not unanimous, and your country has been “stuck” with it for so long, maybe you need not worry too much that the present decision was taken by only 5 of the 9 Supreme Court judges. However, I don’t know, maybe somebody else could better inform me.

    • kirthigdon

      Roe v. Wade was 7-2.

      Kirt Higdon

  • captcrisis

    Sorry, Mark, your employer’s family is Christian Scientist and, now that they have this new “religious freedom”, he’s decreed that your health coverage will no longer cover emergency room visits.

    • Catholic and loving it

      This Aministration (unconstitutionally) mandated contraception & abortion-inducing drug coverage from business-owning faithful Catholics, Non-Catholic Christians, & people who abide by natural law principles. How is contraception/abortion similar to Emergency Room visits (which is the most basic reason for health insurance)? Whichever way you look at it, having condoms & the pill is by no way necessary for your body’s survival. In fact, many studies show the dangers (cancer, defects, etc.) of artificial birth control. And also it’s Anti-Life. In contrast, Emergency Room visits are life or death matters. The reason people of conscience object to being forced to pay for contraception (& abortion drugs) are rooted in natural law principles & yes in many cases also Christian principles. (I’m not ashamed to stand up for Christian principles; it’s still a free country.) You don’t need a condom in order for you to stay alive, & as the SCOTUS just decided, you can’t force us to pay for your crap.

      • captcrisis

        Well that’s your point of view. Christian Scientists might differ of course as to what you need to stay alive.

        “When all the laws are flat, where will you hide?”

        • Alma Peregrina

          Yeah, relativism… that really covered it.

          Here’s your answer. A catholic that doesn’t want to buy contraception is right. A christian scientist that doesn’t want to buy emergency room visits is wrong.

          Oh, but why, do you ask?

          Well, because of what “Catholic and loving it” said.

          So now you cannot wiggle yourself in your relativism and will have to adress what he said.

          • captcrisis

            Unfortunately you cannot impose your religion on others. Much as you might like to, you cannot burn non-Catholics at the stake. You cannot control what Christian Scientists will do. You have to obey the laws and Christian Scientist employers have the same rights as any other employers.
            “When all the laws are flat, where will you hide?”

            • Alma Peregrina

              Yup, when relativism fails, try the same cliché-blaming like “impose your religion on others” or “burning non-catholics at the stake”

              Yawn.

              But my objections to birth control are not purely religious, I can defend them from a non-theistic point of view. The fact that I’m a christian just compels me more to not cave in on societal pressure, for my sins will be judged by God.

              However, if I would be atheist, I could still recognize that contraception is wrong and that it doesn’t amount to health care.

              Why?

              Because of what “Catholic and loving it” said.

              Which you still don’t want to address in your coments. Curious, no?

    • Mary E.

      I’d look for another employer.

    • SteveP

      I’m pretty sure Mark will be okay—I suspect he reads employment agreements in full and does not intend to rely on the state for due diligence when, in fact, he can choose to whom he will trade his labor for a wage.

      • Willard

        While captcrisis’ response is over the top, the notion that people can easily move to another job when confronted with adverse working conditions should be rejected. Remember, one of the arguments used to justify slavery in the south was that blacks were so much better off than the white “wage slaves” of the North.

        • SteveP

          What? I’m impressed that you can jump from due diligence to slavery but admit I do not follow you at all.

          • Willard

            All I was trying to say is that not everybody has the ability to be able to “choose to whom he will trade his labor for a wage”. The need to eat often limits said ability.

            • SteveP

              Thank you for the response. I would just say that if what you posit is true, quibbling about who pays for the morning after-pill has been a far larger waste of time than I thought.

    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

      All the more reason to stop employer-based insurance and switch to a single payer system.

  • kirthigdon

    I too would have preferred a broad decision with a unanimous verdict, but this is what God saw fit to give us in our fortnight for freedom. Let’s be grateful and continue our prayers.
    Kirt Higdon


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