Worth Reading: Hobby Lobby edition

A few of the recent pieces I’ve found worth bookmarking about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision:

Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West at Slate: Quick Change Justice: While you were sleeping, Hobby Lobby just got so much worse
“To prove that the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate was not the “least restrictive alternative,” the court pointed to a workaround in the law for nonprofits: If there are religious objections to a medical treatment, third parties will provide coverage to the employees. Yet in an unsigned emergency order granted Thursday evening, the very same court said that this very same workaround it had just praised was also unconstitutional, that this workaround also burdened the religious freedom of religious employers. Overnight, the cure has become the disease. Having explicitly promised that Hobby Lobby would go no further than Hobby Lobby, the court went back on its word, then skipped town for the summer.”

Emily Badger at Wonkblog: The 49-page Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling mentioned women just 13 times
“The 49-page majority opinion mentions "women" or "woman" a mere 13 times (I've excluded footnotes and URLs here). It does not mention women's well-being once. Ginsburg's dissent, at 35 pages, mentions women (singular or plural) 43 times, their well-being four times.”

Ann Friedman at New York's The Cut: What a Woman’s Choice Means to the Supreme Court and Social Conservatives
“This idea — that women can always find another way to get the coverage or care they need — underpins just about every recent restriction on women's health. What’s another 24-hour mandatory abortion waiting period? To a woman who lives 25 miles from the nearest provider, it’s everything. What’s one more tweak to a law about the width of clinic doors? To a clinic that can’t afford to remodel, it’s everything. What’s a minor policy change that means you have to pay full price for that IUD? To a woman who makes $14 an hour, it’s everything.

Micah Schwartzman, Richard Schragger, and Nelson Tebbe at Slate: The New Law of Religion: Hobby Lobby rewrites religious-freedom law in ways that ignore everything that came before
“Monday’s decision in Hobby Lobby was unprecedented. Much of the commentary has focused on the Supreme Court’s decision to extend rights of religious free exercise to for-profit corporations. Hobby Lobby is for religion what Citizens United was for free speech—the corporatization of our basic liberties. But Hobby Lobby is also unprecedented in another, equally important way. For the first time, the court has interpreted a federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or RFRA), as affording more protection for religion than has ever been provided under the First Amendment. While some have read Hobby Lobby as a narrow statutory ruling, it is much more than that. The court has eviscerated decades of case law and, having done that, invites a new generation of challenges to federal laws, including those designed to protect civil rights.”

Irin Carmon for MSNBC: 5 myths about the Hobby Lobby case, debunked
“[Myth] #4: But the government can just pay.” This one comes right from the majority, which said the Obama administration had failed the test of finding the least restrictive means to accomplish its goal. Justice Samuel Alito, writing the majority opinion, suggested “the most straightforward way” of filling the gaps would be for “the government to assume the cost.” He doesn’t have to care that this is, under current political realities, laughable. Senate Democrats have said they’ll introduce a legislative fix to the gaps left by the Hobby Lobby decision, but no one seriously thinks such a bill would become law. There is an existing family-planning funding program for low-income women, Title X, and nearly all House Republicans have already voted to gut it. In the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney promised he would kill the program altogether.”

Alex Wayne for Bloomberg News: High court worsens pain of Obamacare birth-control compromise
“The U.S. Supreme Court's suggested work-around to provide and pay for employees' birth-control coverage at businesses whose owners have religious objections hasn't worked in practice, say the companies administering it.”


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