Supreme Court wrap up and reactions from the Hill

The Basics

The HHS mandate comes from a provision in President Obama’s health care law, commonly called “Obamacare.”   This provision requires all employers who offer health insurance to include coverage for “preventive services”.   The term “preventive services” was then defined by pro-abortion Obama Administration to mean contraceptive drugs and devices, including so-called emergency contraception, some of which can cause abortions.  In addition sterilization was classified as a preventive service. 

The result is if an employer’s health insurance plan does not provide the coverage required by the Mandate they are subject to a fine of $100 per day per employee.  An employer with 100 employees would be fined $10,000 every day, or $3.6 million per year.  There are exceptions running throughout Obamacare’s many many provisions – however the ones governing this abortifacient providing mandate are few and/or worthless. 

The last “accommodation” made for some religious non-profit organizations like Catholic Charities forces the organization to sign a permission slip for the insurance company to cover sterilization, contraception and abortifacients – thus making the organization culpable in offering life ending services.

There is no exemption for for-profit companies.  The two current companies decided today before the Supreme Court involved two businesses, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood.  There are a number of legal issues involved in these cases, including whether corporations have religious liberty rights at all. 

 

The court rejected the government’s claim that neither the owners nor the corporations could bring a religious liberty claim.   From the opinion:

  • “Protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga … protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies.”
  • “The Hahns and the Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulation is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage.”
  • “HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion by the objecting parties in these cases.”
  • “Protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those FRFR companies”

 

Hill Reactions:

From President Barack Obama from Politico:

President Barack Obama believes that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case on contraceptives “jeopardizes” women’s health and will press Congress to respond, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.  “Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women employed by these companies,” Earnest told reporters.

 

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from Wall Street Journal:

“If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said in a statement. “We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room.” “It’s time that five men on the Supreme Court stop deciding what happens to women,” Mr. Reid said on Twitter.

 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.):

“Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health care, I will. In the coming days, I will work with my colleagues and the administration to protect this access, regardless of who signs your paycheck.”  (Spokesperson for House Democrats in the Pro-Choice Caucus said co-chairwomen Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) are discussing a potential bill with Senator Murray.)

(NOTE: In fact the American Civil Liberties Union and countless news sources include pictures of the common oral contraceptive pill (OCP) to suggest that Hobby Lobby opposes contraception, this is patently false. Hobby Lobby provides OCP and virtually every mode of prescription contraception available.  In fact research into the popularity of birth control methods indicates that Hobby Lobby not only provides contraception, but provides the method of choice to 95% of women.  Basically, the Democratic Leadership is seeking to crush businesses of any ability to have a conscience that differs from their own, even organizations like the charitable Little Sisters of the Poor.)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

“Today’s Supreme Court decision makes clear that the Obama administration cannot trample on the religious freedoms that Americans hold dear.  Obamacare is the single worst piece of legislation to pass in the last 50 years, and I was glad to see the Supreme Court agree that this particular Obamacare mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

 

House Speaker John Boehner (R- Ohio):

“Today’s decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives.”

 

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.):

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is an important victory to protect Americans’ fundamental right of religious freedom. Americans should not be forced to choose between giving up their business for their faith or giving up their faith for their business. I applaud the Court’s decision today, which simply affirms the fundamental religious freedom that Americans have enjoyed for more than 220 years.”

 

Even the Party Chairpersons got involved:

 

Statement from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:

“This decision protects the religious freedom that is guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment, and we’re grateful the Court ruled on the side of liberty. The central issue of this case was whether the federal government can coerce Americans to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, and thankfully the Court has upheld the proper limits on the government’s power.

 

“The fact that Americans had to bring this case in the first place reveals once again just how intrusive ObamaCare is. It’s a misguided one-size-fits-all policy that not only failed to fix our healthcare system but has trampled on our Constit
utional rights. Americans deserve a healthcare system that allows them to make the right choices for themselves, gives them more freedom, and comes nowhere close to encroaching on our First Amendment rights.”

 

An interview with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is shameless in its falsehoods:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, is charging the Supreme Court with turning “the dial back” on women’s rights after its ruling Monday.

“Birth control costs about $600 a year,” Schultz said in an interview with MSNBC on Monday. “That financially impacts women, it prevents them from being able to join the middle class. Lets keep in mind, birth control has affected women economically positively since its creation and this is going to turn the dial back.”

 

Schultz’s criticisms come after the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that says for-profit companies can claim a religious right to opt out of covering certain forms of birth control for employees and their families. Although the decision has been cast as narrow, as it only applies to closely-held companies and contraception, Schultz claims that the implications could be far-reaching.

“This is a stifling decision for American women,” Schultz said. “It’s a decision that blocks women from being able to make their own health care decisions … This is deeply troubling because you have organized religions that oppose health care, period.”

 

Schultz also expressed concerns for later implications of the law, pointing out that women use birth control to treat illnesses, such as endometriosis, and serious menstrual cramping and saying “the life function day to day for women is dramatically impacted by this decision.”

 

 

Wrap Up:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops put it best in Yogi Berra fashion of “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”

 

“The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise.  We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”

 

Resources:

 

The best resources for pre and post-court wrap up are:

 

Becket Fund (lawyers for the plaintiff Hobby Lobby)

           

            Becket Fund also has a list of all the Amicus briefs

 

Alliance Defending Freedom (lawyers for the plaintiff Conestoga Woods)

 

Heritage Foundation