The Supreme Court ruled Monday that closely held companies cannot be required to pay to cover some types of contraceptives for their employees, ending its term with a narrow legal and political setback for a controversial part of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.
In a 5-4 decision, the high court’s conservatives essentially ruled that some for-profit corporations have religious rights.
As if corporations were people, with rights, which they’re not.
The issue before the justices was whether Obamacare could mandate contraception coverage specifically for certain businesses that object for religious reasons.
“This case isn’t that practically important, except for the employees and businesses involved. There just aren’t a huge number of those,” said Thomas Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog.com and a Washington appellate attorney.
“But everyone can agree the social questions presented — about when people can follow their religious convictions, and when people are entitled to contraception care — are truly important,” he said.
Yes, the questions about “when people can follow their religious convictions” in such a way as to deny rights to their employees and/or customers are truly important.
he specific question presented was whether these companies can refuse, on the sincere claim it would violate their owners’ long-established moral beliefs.
The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
“How does a corporation exercise religion?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor at March’s oral arguments, summarizing perhaps the key constitutional question at hand.
“This is a religious question and it’s a moral question,” added Justice Samuel Alito, suggesting the businesses have such a right. “You want us to provide a definitive secular answer.”
A secular answer, at least, for sure. (Pretending corporations are people and have rights is a quasi-religious sort of belief, if you ask me, given the obviousness of the difference between corporations and people.)
Supporters of the law fear a high court setback on the contraception mandate will lead to other healthcare challenges on religion grounds, such as do-not-resuscitate orders and vaccine coverage. More broadly, many worry giving corporations religious freedom rights could affect laws on employment, safety, and civil rights.
The possibilities are endless, and utterly revolting.