The fallout from Hobby Lobby

The Hobby Lobby case, where the US Supreme court ruled that under some vaguely defined circumstances, owners of companies had right to impose their religious views as company policies as if the companies were individuals under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), was widely predicted to open up a Pandora’s box with others seeking similar exemptions from following the law because of their ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’.

And lo, what the prophets foretold has come to pass.
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Legal setback for same-sex marriage

Even since the US Supreme Court’s United States v. Windor decision in 2013 that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, every single challenge to state bans on same-sex marriage has been overturned in the federal courts. Until today, when the movement received its first setback.
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Amish convictions overturned

I have previously written about the US Attorney in our region Steven Dettelbach being an overzealous prosecutor. One example of this is his use of civil asset forfeiture laws to deprive people of their possessions without having to first convict them of any wrongdoing. Another is his use of terrorism charges against hapless individuals who were lured into plotting to blow up a local bridge. The third was his use of federal hate crime laws against 16 members of an Amish group that cut off the beards of other Amish people in an internal dispute because one sect’s leader thought that the other Amish were not sufficiently observant and pious. By stretching federal hate crime and conspiracy laws to an extreme level, Dettelbach obtained convictions and harsh sentences against the defendants in each case.
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Supreme Court agreement

We tend to think of the US Supreme Court as being sharply split along ideological lines. But as this article points out, that is because the media focuses on a few high profile cases which have an elevated profile precisely because they are split that way. In actuality, there is a remarkable degree of agreement among the justices in their rulings, with even the lowest level being 66% between Ginsburg and Thomas
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