In Hobby Lobby, the facts didn’t matter?


Thankfully, I’m no longer subject to the whims of co-worker bullies as described in a post a couple of weeks ago. That means no more paychecks, at least until another likely job opens up later this month. If anyone can drop a few coins in my Paypal account at DarkSydOTheMoon at A.O.L. dot-com, that would hugely appreciated. Sorry to bother everyone, but it’s just a fact that we all need money to survive.

And speaking of facts, when did it become OK to start with the premise that facts don’t matter in a legal case? Because in the Hobby-Lobby ruling, the fact-impaired gave way to fact-dismissal by the highest court in the land before the case was even argued, and it was just accepted, with little or no debate. A brief recap via The Nation:

But the thing I really don’t understand is why it didn’t matter that preventing implantation is not “abortion,” according to the accepted medical definition of the term. And even if it was, Plan B, Ella and the IUDs don’t work that way, with the possible exception of one form of IUD when inserted as emergency contraception. As an amicus brief from a long list of prestigious medical organizations and researchers laid out at length, studies show that emergency contraception and the IUD prevent fertilization, not implantation. They are not “abortifacients,” even under the anti-choicers’ peculiar definition of abortion. (Green is actually more moderate than some anti-choicers, who include hormonal contraception, aka “baby pesticide,” as abortion.) Why doesn’t it matter that there is no scientific evidence for Green’s position? When did Jesus become an Ob/Gyn?

No one understands it. The facts is pregnancy for placental mammals, i.e., humans, occurs when one or more viable fertilized embryos successfully implants in the uterine lining. One reason being, that’s when it first becomes detectable. It’s certainly not practical and arguably not even possible to safely, reliably detect a microscopic fertilized egg floating around in a liter or two of fluid containing all sorts of chemicals and cells, dead or alive, in the uterus or fallopian tubes of a living person.

That’s a fact, and while people are free to hold any number of untrue beliefs, one of the primary reasons we have courts in the first place is to determine the facts. That’s why we emphasize telling the truth. the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The number of ways a judge dismissing facts and accepting false beliefs instead could send the entire judicial system into chaos boggles the mind.


  1. colnago80 says

    In addition to which more then 1/2 of all fertilized eggs fail to implant. If a fertilized egg is a human being, then god is the worlds most prolific abortionist.

  2. doublereed says

    Honestly, it’s far more difficult to find places where the ruling makes any sense than to find places that it doesn’t make any sense. Everything about it is nonsense. This court is ridiculous.

  3. Chris J says

    The way I understand, the problem wasn’t that the court just accepted that Hobby Lobby believed that contraception was abortion. That’s the content of the belief, and it really shouldn’t matter. The problem was that the court assumed that because Hobby Lobby believed they were overly burdened by providing healthcare that offered contraception, that means they were (plus some bs about how the fine for not following the law was a more tangible burden).

    It basically assumed without argument that the law was burdensome, then argued that the court couldn’t argue that point at all because it involved religious belief. That’s the biggest issue. It rendered the “overly burdened” clause of RFRA practically useless.

  4. Crimson Clupeidae says

    It’s also been shown (can’t find the links now, but someone on Pharyngula posted it) that prior to the ACA, HL had no problem paying for health insurance that covered BC. So it’s even worse than it appears on the surface. This major, sweeping (regardless of the claims in the ruling) change to the law is nothing more than a political temper tantrum.

  5. Johnny Vector says

    Doublereed: I disagree. It’s very easy to find places that it makes sense. Pages 60-94 are clear and obvious. You know,the part that starts with “JUSTICE GINSBURG, with whom JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR joins, and with whom JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join as to all but Part III–C–1, dissenting.”

  6. busterggi says

    Anyone else out there remember 1960, when Republicans said they were afraid that JFK would take orders from the Vatican?

  7. stever says

    It wasn’t just Republicans in 1960. I’m still amazed that JFK managed to convince the Democratic kingmakers and then the electorate that he would not be the Pope’s man in Washington.

  8. jerthebarbarian says

    One of the things that isn’t clear in the reporting is that Hobby Lobby’s lawyers stipulated that the owners of the company had a “sincere belief” that certain kinds of birth control were sinful, and that “sincere belief” included in it the idea that they caused “abortions”.

    The government conceded that the owners of the company held those beliefs, but made the case that it didn’t matter because even with those beliefs the regulation was not an undue burden. This is the right way to go about it because the Roman Catholic Church leadership promulgates a belief that all birth control is a sin and helping anyone to buy birth control is a sin.

    This entire case was actually a proxy case for a Roman Catholic birth control case, as becomes incredibly clear if you read Alito’s opinion. It’s clear that he didn’t give a damn what the Greens (Hobby Lobby’s owners) believed – he was writing an exception into the law based on the RCC birth control teachings. It’s pretty blatantly explicit too, what with how he specifically says “it’s about birth control” and also specifically says that it doesn’t cover things like blood transfusions or vaccinations regardless of what the owners beliefs on those things might be.

  9. marcus says

    I really hope this case comes back to bite the Rethuglican religious conservatives in the testicles at the polls in November. I’m really ready to see these smug assholes and their ilk taken down another peg or three.

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