While the majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case argued that it was a limited decision affecting a narrow class of companies, it seems to be part of a general strategy of the US Supreme Court to slowly but steadily encroach on the rights or women and workers for the benefit of corporations.
Peter Moscowitz argues that the Hobby Lobby ruling could lead the way to further kinds of discrimination.
Some effects of the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores will be relatively immediate: Women who work at companies with owners who decide it’s against their religious beliefs to provide birth control will lose free or cheap access to contraceptives such as the Plan B pill, IUDs and, potentially, condoms, as well as the most popular pill form of birth control.
But other consequences of the Hobby Lobby decision could take years to pan out, and they would affect not only contraceptives but also various women’s rights as well as LGBT rights and the rights of the disabled.
Alito also insisted that the RFRA would likely be applied only to cases similar to Hobby Lobby, in which birth control is the main factor in religious objection. But some point out that his decision doesn’t explicitly prevent the RFRA from being used for other forms of opting out.
“He said that this case can’t be used for race discrimination, but there’s a whole lot that he didn’t say,” said Ian Millhiser, a constitutional policy analyst at the Center for American Progress. “What about gender? What about sexual orientation? As an objective matter, this is a very broad opinion.”
On the other hand, lawyers for some prisoners at Guantanamo have seized on the same ruling to sue the government, arguing that restrictions on them taking part in communal prayers are a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the basis for the Hobby Lobby ruling.