[guest post by JVW]
So if you are on Facebook and have liberal friends, you no doubt have seen the multitude of posts that would have us believe that the Supreme Court’s decision today in the Hobby Lobby case means an end to birth control usage throughout America. Perhaps you have seen a repost from Mother Jones’s blog purporting to be the eight best lines from the dissent written by the always laughably clueless Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These assertions are so completely risible, so utterly insipid, that one cannot help but Fisk them. For your consideration, then, here are her eight tidbits, followed by my responses:
1. “[The court majority] in a decision of startling breadth, [would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law that they find] incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
This is of course the standard left-wing narrative regarding this decision, yet commentators on the right seem to believe that Alito’s ruling was purposely drawn very narrowly. Ann Althouse, who I think could be generally categorized as a centrist, highlighted this passage in Justice Alito’s majority decision which seems designed to counter Justice Ginsburg’s claim:
We do not hold, as the principal dissent alleges, that for-profit corporations and other commercial enterprises can “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Post, at 1 (opinion of GINSBURG, J.). Nor do we hold, as the dissent implies, that such corporations have free rein to take steps that impose “disadvantages . . . on others” or that require “the general public [to] pick up the tab.” Post, at 1–2. And we certainly do not hold or suggest that “RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on . . . thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby.” Post, at 2.1
2. “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”
This is such blatant balderdash that it can be dispensed with rather quickly. Neither the ruling nor Hobby Lobby’s policy prevents women from obtaining contraception or abortifacients (indeed, Hobby Lobby’s health plan apparently covers standard birth control pills, just not Plan B and other methods that prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted in the uterus), it just means that Hobby Lobby is no longer forced by law to pay for them. Any Hobby Lobby employee can walk into Planned Parenthood and obtain these anti-implantation methods without Hobby Lobby having any say in the matter. Justice Ginsburg is thoughtlessly repeating left-wing feminist talking points here.
3. “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”
But of course, Hobby Lobby is a closely-held company run by a family of committed Christians, not some huge corporation with two dozen board members and a majority of stock held outside the family. Justice Ginsburg is aware of this, but nevertheless seems happy to use the force of government to compel them to behave in a manner consistent with how her side believes health care should be organized.
4. “Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”
Great. But why in the world does that mean that Hobby Lobby should be forced to pick up the tab?
5. “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”
According to the abortion cheerleaders at Planned Parenthood, an IUD and its implementation costs between $500 and $1000, but then the device lasts up to 12 years. So even if we amortize over 10 years, we’re looking at $50-100 per year, or $4-$9 per month. Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood use all the money it raises to set up a lease program for IUDs, where users can pay them back over the duration of the device’s implementation?
6. “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”
And these are the people who derided Justice Anton Scalia when he asked if the principles behind ObamaCare could compel government to mandate broccoli consumption?
7. “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”
I wonder what Justice Ginsburg thinks about the Obama Administration’s well-known policy for exempting some favored groups from the law’s provisions. Isn’t the whole point of Big Government – which Justice Ginsburg seems to personally favor – that some groups get designated winners and others are designated losers?
8. “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”
Gosh, this has never happened before in our Constitutional history, has it? Either Justice Ginsburg is truly ignorant of Supreme Court history, or this was just filler in her opinion in order to reach some arbitrary word count that her law professors used to enforce.
Jonathan Keim at NRO’s Bench Memos has more on the vacuity of Ginsburg’s dissent. Feel free to read it and add your favorite Ginsburgisms below.
Update: In a comment below, JD links to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s reaction, delivered from the rarified air of Aspen:
So to introduce this element into our society — look, we’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s a hard choice and it’s controversial and that’s why I’m pro-choice because I want people to make their own choices. And it is very troubling that a salesclerk at Hobby Lobby, who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception.
She probably knows that Hobby Lobby provides 16 of the 20 different forms of contraception mandated by the ACA, but she is going to propagate the lie that Hobby Lobby is forcing the young cashier to have unprotected sex and get knocked up because some mean Christians won’t let her have The Pill. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a vile and contemptible woman.