Breaking news from CNN: Supreme Court rules against Obama in contraception case Is this a big deal? What does it mean for Obamacare?
Brenda, what I found interesting about the article you linked to is that it indicates that the majority of the Supreme Court did not rule that the portion of the Affordable Care Act in question violated the First Amendment, but that it violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
What appears to me to have been well established, before this ruling at least, is the idea that the government, at least in some cases, can force a person to pay for something that that person believes is against her/his religious beliefs. For example it is my understanding that the government can force a person to pay for a war even if that person believes the war violates their religious beliefs.
As to your questions, it seems to me that the majority opinion says the government can take a action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion if the action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest, so if the court sticks with that opinion I feel the answer to whether it would be a “big deal” depends on how narrowly a compelling government interest is defined. Second I feel the ruling only affects a small portion of the Affordable Care Act so I feel it will not change that act very much and in that way not mean very much to Obamacare.
Yeah, it's a big deal but probably not in the way you think. What the Supreme Court ruling did was establish a terrible precedent.
I could argue that my religion allows me to discriminate against minorities. Hobby Lobby's ruling would be the basis. I could argue that my religion allows me to smoke peyote. Oh but wait, that argument wasn't allowed by Antonin Scalia back in the late 90's. Kinda illogically selective, that Scalia! He was sidestepped by Congress when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which basically stated that ''government "may burden a person's exercise of religion" only if it "furthers a compelling governmental interest". There's a very good dissection of the ruling at http://gawker.com/from-peyote-to-plan-b-your-guide-to-todays-supreme-co-1550403965
Evidently, a corporation has the same rights (harking back to the Citizens United travesty) as individuals. Even though Hobby Lobby's many employees probably don't share the same "religious" convictions as their employers that IUD's are abortifacents, women wanting the same coverage under Hobby Lobby's health insurance plan as that required by other employers under the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), won't get it. Yeah, they can still get Plan B and have an IUD inserted (for about $1,000) but they will have to foot the bill. The only silver lining is that it's becoming clear the current insurance scheme is riddled with meddlers and exemptions to the point of being onerous. We may eventually get single payer or a totally free market health providers system but holding one's breath doesn't seem advisable.
In any event, the Hobby Lobby ruling is not directly a disabling blow to ACA. Best remember the Hobby Lobby decision for what it is.
Women got "put in their place" (marched back into the mid-1900's!) by corporate entities which are secular in nature even if their owners claim "religious convictions". [Sounds like double talk to me since both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga are purveyors of non-religious consumer goods.]
A quadruple whammy took place. The ruling ought to scare the bejeebers out of women who believe in their own right to make contraceptive choices without interference from their employers, those who believe in the principles of democracy (one person, one vote), those who think that science is more credible than religious mumbo-jumbo, and those who believe in the separation of church and state. But the ruling probably won't have that effect because too many are told what to think by conservative ideologues who have no qualms whatsoever about undermining all those principles.
The ramifications are profound. There's precious little to choose between the Hobby Lobby decision and sharia law which is so oppressive to women in nations like Saudi Arabia.
I will boycott Hobby Lobby and Conestoga from now on. I will remember that the next president will likely appoint at least one justice to the Supreme Court. And I sure as you-know-what don't want another justice in the image of Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts or Kennedy.