Third in the HLPR Case Comment series, “Least Restrictive Means”: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, by Noah Marks! Noah examines a strange leap in the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Hobby Lobby that has left the way open for further restrictions on access to contraceptives.
Dangerous Precedents in Hobby Lobby
by Noah Marks
Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, holding 5-4 that religious owners of closely-held corporations are exempt from the contraception coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act based on the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.
Writing for the majority, Justice Alito strains to emphasize the limited scope of the decision, claiming that it applies only to closely held companies, only to contraception, and only to this preexisting accommodation. Justice Ginsburg, in dissent, cuts through the rhetoric and reveals the decision’s true, “startling breadth,” given the uncertainty of the accommodation’s legality, the quantity and variety of closely held corporations, and the Court’s ominously limited explicit assurance that racial discrimination is not covered by its logic. [Read more…] about Dangerous Precedents in Hobby Lobby
Free Exercise Clause Protection for Junk Science
By Tom Watts
Today, the Supreme Court decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In this post, I examine an issue that the Court passed over: whether Hobby Lobby’s belief is actually religious. The Court presumed so, but their presumption was incorrect, and the issue is dispositive. This makes the Court’s decision wrong.
The First Amendment protects religious freedom, but it does not provide protection to non-religious beliefs. As the Supreme Court observed in Wisconsin v. Yoder (a case that RFRA explicitly approves), “[I]f the Amish [the religious plaintiffs in the case] asserted their claims because of their subjective evaluation and rejection of the contemporary secular values accepted by the majority, much as Thoreau rejected the social values of his time and isolated himself at Walden Pond, their claims would not rest on a religious basis.” [Read more…] about Free Exercise Clause Protection for Junk Science