Supreme Court Rules For Hobby Lobby In Major Blow To Obama Administration

Supreme Court300px-HobbyLobbyStowOhioThe Supreme Court finished its term with its usual dramatic flair with the release of the long-waited decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores (which is consolidated with Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius). The two cases represent a classic split in the circuits with the Tenth Circuit agreeing with Hobby Lobby as to the religious claims of the company while the Third Circuit ruled against such claims by Conestoga Wood Specialities Corp. The Court ruled that the Hobby Lobby does have religious rights, but limited the decision to closely-held corporations. Where Citizen’s United recognized that corporations have free speech rights like individuals, Hobby Lobby would do the same thing for religious rights. I will be running a column in the Los Angeles Times in the morning not just addressing this ruling but, once again, highlighting what I consider a far more important case that will be decided just a couple blocks away in the D.C. Circuit — Halbig v. Sebelius. I will be discussing the decisions today at CNN starting at 10 am and continuing to the discussion at 1 pm with Wolf Blitzer.

Hobby Lobby is a fascinating case involving the retail arts and craft chain founded by David Green and owned by his family, which also happen to be Evangelical Christians. The Greens actually do not object to all of the 20 forms of birth control under the ACA. However, they are religiously opposed to supplying four methods: morning-after pills Plan B and Ella as well as two kinds of inter-uterine devices (or IUDs). (The Conestoga company is smaller and owed by Hahn family, who are Mennonite Christians) At a running fine of $100 per employee, Hobby Lobby estimates that the federal mandate would cost it about $1.3 million a day, or roughly $475 million a year.

The religious beliefs of the family are formally integrated into their company: Green family members signed a formal commitment to run the stores according to Christian religious principles, including closing on Sunday, advertising their religious orientation. The company even plays religious music inside their stores.

The Greens challenged the provisions under the and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which imposes a high standard of strict scrutiny for the government to meet when a neutral law “substantially burden[s] a person’s exercise of religion”. (Note some amicus briefs suggest that the mandatory plan should also be barred for these purpose under the Establishment Clause). In 2013, United States District Court Judge Joe Heaton granted the company a temporary exemption from the contraceptive-providing mandate. (Conestoga directly raises free exercise arguments).

In an interesting wrinkle, an April article in Mother Jones alleged that Hobby Lobby’s employee retirement plan has more than $73M invested in mutual funds which include manufacturers of some fo the very contraception devices or drugs cited in the complaint.

The decision has sweeping application – well beyond these companies or the 49 for-profit corporations that have claimed such exemptions. The ruling addresses the very essence of a religious claim and the very essence of a corporate entity.

Closely-held corporations are not as limited as it might seem. I agree with Ginsberg that the implications are sweeping. The closely-held corporations represent a huge number of businesses. As I mentioned on CNN, the large corporations are the least likely to demand such exemptions. There are millions of family businesses that may not object not just to the ACA but renew objections to discrimination laws that force such businesses to serve same-sex weddings or engage in other activities that violate their religious beliefs. This is much like Heller and the recognition of individual gun rights. We are still working out the details on how far that goes years after the decision.

This is a major blow to the Administration which in the last ten days have been found to have violated the fourth amendment and privacy and then found to be in violation of the separation of powers and now found in violation of the first amendment and religious freedom.

503 thoughts on “Supreme Court Rules For Hobby Lobby In Major Blow To Obama Administration”


    The Satanic Temple has launched a campaign seeking religious exemption from laws that restrict access to abortions, citing the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.

    The group, which “facilitates the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty,” argues that states’ “informed consent” laws violate its religious freedom.

    In a press statement, the Satanic Temple’s spokesperson, Lucien Graves, said the recent ruling from the high court’s conservative justices, based on a specific approach to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, offers a unique opportunity.

    “While we feel we have a strong case for exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact,” Graves said. “Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state-mandated ‘informational’ material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them.”

    In effect, the Satanic Temple is saying it can follow the trail blazed by Hobby Lobby to object to anti-abortion provisions in several states.

  2. unsigned but think we guess who wrote and signed it. I guess Sotomayor is naïve enough to think that when they say something in a decision it says what it means and it means what it says. As naïve as anybody else who still t hinks SCOTUS is nothing more then an unelected political body


    In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

    The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

    The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

    “Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

    The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

    1. leejcaroll – it was all in the Hobby Lobby decision, did the female justices not see the big *ss writing on the wall?

  4. Catholic Charities, Rick Warren, ask Obama for right to use fed funds to discriminate against gays
    7/3/2014 3:49pm by John Aravosis

    Well, Catholic Charities and Warren have now launched a campaign to gut the impending executive order banning employment discrimination against gay and trans people working for federal contractors.

    The groups are asking President Obama to include in the executive order a religious exemption that has already caused deep concern in the gay community, even before Hobby Lobby.
    (continued w/ letter)

    1. Ya, sublingual. Autocorrect always works when you’re not looking.

  5. You can easily get B-12 from subliminal tablets. There is no need to eat all that animal protein daily, only to end up on a by-pass table, if you survive a heart attack at all. Bill Clinton will tell you what the meat, poultry, and dairy interests won’t tell you. There are only 8 essential amino acids that your body needs but can’t synthesize, all readily available from plant sources, as we see with chimpanzees who are 4 times stronger than humans. The western diet is responsible for the dramatic expansion of the healthcare industry, which is poised to consume 25 percent of the economy.

    Protein Overload

  6. “Additional funds have been funneled into legal settlements. Since 2001, the VA has paid about $845 million in malpractice costs, of which $36.4 million was used to settle claims involving delayed health care. . .

    At a congressional hearing Friday, Gina Farrisee, the VA assistant secretary for human resources and administration, confirmed that 78% of VA senior managers qualified for extra pay or other compensation in fiscal year 2013, despite ongoing delay and malpractice controversies.

    Former VA Regional Director Michael Moreland received a $63,000 bonus in 2013 for infection prevention policies, for example, but the VA’s Office of Inspector General concluded that his policies failed. Moreland presided over the Pittsburgh VA, where an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease killed six veterans in 2011 and 2012.”

  7. Hillary’s trying to get her groove back. She polls best when Bubba humiliates her and she is the victim. Maybe Bubba needs to hit the State Fair circuit and saddle up some rodeo groupies.

  8. Jim – anything fried is like manna to me. But anything more than a rare treat is so unhealthy, and greasy food disagrees with my anyway.

    I just want people in charge of what they put in their own bodies. I despise the nanny state mentality, like when they outlaw curtained sized drinks or putting salt shakers on restaurant tables. People just order 2 smaller ones, so they consume a net larger amount in the end. People are responsible for how they eat and exercise. No outside entity like the government or a spouse or a friend can force anyone to change.

    I like the carrot approach better than the stick. My friend gets a break on her employer health insurance premiums when she logs into the company gym or logs other healthy exercises.


    There is a lot of data out there on vegetarian, vegan, and omnivore diets. Consuming too much of anything, including water, can be poisonous. I do not like the Atkins diet because it is not balanced, and can overload the kidneys. Don’t know if you are referring to this extreme. But proteins from animals, fowl, or fish are complete proteins, something not available from plants. We evolved to be omnivores, and I’ve considered it to be an evolutionary advantage, as we’re adapted to survive without a narrow diet.

    I think there are multiple ways to achieve health through nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. You can certainly do it as a vegetarian, but you have to really know what you’re doing to avoid deficiencies like in B12.

    So whether you go the omnivore or vegetarian route, just trying your best to be healthy and active goes a long way to quality of life.

    Oh, and here’s a gem that points out the waste and mismanagement at the VA. One is to recall that we were made aware of this in the 2007 IG report. How are we to rectify this when we cannot fire any government union employee? If you have no accountability, you get this:
    “Coburn’s office says the VA has allocated about $20 billion since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to numerous non-health-related projects, such as office makeovers, unused software licenses, undocumented purchases on government debit cards and the funding of call centers that received an average of 2.4 calls per day, among others.”

  9. Anyone who cares about their own health and is interested in staying out of the hospital, will not want to be without the data on protein toxicity, which can be every bit as harmful as smoking, over indulgence in alcohol, and consuming high fructose corn syrup and GMO foods. The date is out there for anyone interested. I just don’t spoon feed it to people. I’m all for letting people do what they want, but I do try to share risks I’m aware of, after others had been kind enough to share with me.

  10. I hate pickles to the point if one comes near any fries when I eat out I have to throw those fries away. I also can’t stand mayo. So I have no clue what McDonald’s puts in that tarter sauce (crack maybe?) because I love the filet-o-fish. I am being perfectly honest when I say it is the only thing I ever eat that has a condiment on it.

  11. Usually it is when I am going to get on the train for my almost hour ride so I want something but me too, I turn from Burger King (that’s usually the one) and find something yummier and less caliries, chocolate can usually fill the bill ((*_*))

  12. Me too Leej. if I’m going to waste precious calories, it’s going to be on some decadent ice cream or chocolate.

    1. Annie and leejcaroll – every so often my body craves a McDonald’s burger. I just HAVE to have one. 🙂

  13. (I don’t eat fast food that often but I have found when I am in the mood as soon as I see the calorie count, for a whooper junior for instance which shouldn’t be horrid, it is something like 600 calories. Has turned me off any fast food for good)

    1. leejcaroll – I know when I eat fast food that I am going to have to give something else up that day. 🙂

  14. I do however think the less hormones and antibiotics in our meat and dairy, the better, the less genetic manipulation and pesticides in our produce, the better. How do we think we can get that to happen?

  15. Samantha is saying we have too much protein in our diets, I don’t think she is saying that protein from grass fed beef is better. I don’t agree with her premise on protein.

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