Explaining Hobby Lobby & Harris Without Perpetuating Hysteria By Distorting Law & Fact

justice-gavelHobby Lobby

If you are looking for an overblown reaction to the Hobby Lobby case, you won’t find it in this article. The decision in Hobby Lobby, while disappointing, was not unexpected. In fact, this exact decision was predicted by former ACLU President Nadine Strossen in my special interview with her last week. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I caught off guard? No. Am I going to post an article where I’m “flipping out” like some people are doing? No. My style is to break down the law and give you the facts while staying cool, calm, and collected.

First, I absolutely agree with the dissent. However, while the decision is bad, it’s not catastrophic. I actually think the other decision, Harris v. Quinn, is worse (more on that later). Further, I get that people are raw about the Hobby Lobby decision – I’m raw too. But, I won’t stoop to the level of those that perpetuate mass hysteria by writing hyperbolic headlines and distorting the facts or the law just to make a buck.

* * *

The Court ruled that: 1) The government could find a way to provide coverage; 2) It would likely reject broad religious claims in future cases; and, 3) The ruling only applies to closely held corporations, not publicly traded ones. I loved Rachel Maddow’s simplistic explanation last night on MSNBC:

“At the Supreme Court, the 5 conservative Justices in the Court’s majority today, ruled that some companies are exempt from one of the regulations about health insurance in Obamacare. It’s kind of a weird ruling because the Justices in the majority, they went out of their way to say that your religious objections can only get you out of one part of this one law. They said specifically only contraception laws are subject to religious beliefs, other laws aren’t. So if you are lucky enough to be employed at a company where 5 or fewer people hold at least 50% of the stock in the company and those people have religious beliefs about what kind of contraception you should be using, well your boss is the one who gets to decide what kind of contraception you can have, regardless of what you think, or your doctor thinks is best for you. And that kind of religious belief exception to the law ONLY applies when it’s contraception.”

It’s far from ideal. But, imagine if the Court had ruled broadly that all laws are subject to religious beliefs? What’s scary about this decision isn’t the decision itself, it’s all of the questions the Court didn’t answer.

* * *

If you are going to pass a law that makes all businesses over 50 people provide insurance to their employees – like the ACA does – then you are going to have to deal with their religious objections to parts of that law. I’ve long been an advocate of getting rid of the employer based insurance system in favor of a single payer system. Many would certainly not be in favor of that, but it would solve the problem of religious objections. Furthermore, the Court’s decision yesterday seemed to indicate that the Obama Administration’s work around for non-for-profit religious companies could, in theory, also be applied to for-profit closely held ones. Maybe the Court is foreshadowing that it will decide against Eternal World Television Network – if and when it takes that case

Another solution would be to reform the ACA to say that anyone can choose to get insurance through their employers or to buy it on the exchange and that you have the option to take the employer plan or get your own. But, that also means that the individual mandate would need to be even stronger. Don’t forget, the reason the law was passed in the first place was because trillions of federal taxpayer dollars were being spent (redistributed) on the hospital bills of people who got sick, didn’t have insurance, and couldn’t pay – a problem that the mandates (both the employer and individual ones) are supposed to solve.

Harris v. Quinn.

I think the ruling in Harris was the worse than the Hobby Lobby one. Think about it, if public sector employees who don’t join the union can no longer be compelled to contribute to the costs of collective bargaining by that union – which is what the Court ruled in the case – a union which they reap the benefits of, then why even bother joining? You can now be a moocher and reap the benefits without paying a dime. Is it fair or should it be fair, for people to get the benefit of a union while refusing to join it (for political reasons or otherwise)? And if not, how do you solve the free rider problem?

If nobody joins the union, it folds, and so too will fold a large Democratic voting bloc. As such, I think the larger implication of the Harris decision is that it will diminish the voting power of a bloc of people who generally vote pro-labor and that it will contribute to a positive feedback loop whereby only pro-business candidates will get elected. Not good. And, Harris has implications in the context of women’s rights, too. If pro-business candidates get elected, who are they going to favor? The rights of corporations or the rights of women?

In closing, I urge you all to think critically about the issues I’ve raised here and to read the actual decisions (or summaries such as this or the ones on SCOTUSBlog) rather than the hyperbolic articles with catchy clickbait titles.

Hobby Lobby Decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf

Harris v. Quinn Decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/11-681_j426.pdf


DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information and materials provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied.

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!


Facebook comments

  • lowskiesgirl

    The part you’re missing and what you should be hysterical about is the ‘closely held corporation’. (Firm (1) whose most (but not all) issued shares are held by a family or a small group of investors, (2) the number of its shares held by the outsiders or public is large enough to provide a basis for it to be listed on a stock exchange. See also closed corporation.)

    These make up 90% of American corporations and include Cargill, Toys R Us, Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Chrysler, GMAC Financial Services, Koch Brothers and Walmart.

    That’s a huge chunk of the American workforce that can be impacted by religious beliefs.

    Also, Ginsberg disagrees with you. This has opened the door to all kinds of religious objections.

    • Ilyssa

      Do you have a reading comprehension problem? I agree with Ginsburg, which I said early on, so she couldn’t possibly disagree with me. I EXPLICITLY say in the article, “What’s scary about this decision isn’t the decision itself, it’s all of the questions the Court didn’t answer.”
      Which by the way is Ginsburgs exact point. Secondly, if a company has public share holders it is by definition not a closed corporation. Again, these matters can be explained with out hysterics. It is one thing to be upset about the decision, I know I am. It is entirely another thing to be hysterical and even a worse thing to use your hysterics to distort reality, especially if your goal is to make money off of doing so. Take a step back and breath. The Court hasn’t gotten to where you are yet.

      • lowskiesgirl

        No, but thank you for asking.

        And there is a difference between ‘closely-held’ and ‘closed’. Here is the IRS definition:

        Generally, a closely held corporation is a corporation that:

        Has more than 50% of the value of its outstanding stock owned (directly or indirectly) by 5 or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year; and

        Is not a personal service corporation.

        So yes, Walmart is closely held as the family now owns 50.9% of all stock. Do YOU have a reading comprehension problem?

      • Ilyssa

        Yea I just said that, see my actual comment below, not the one I accidentally posted before I finished my sentence. Again, I NEVER said the decision doesn’t open the door. I said the decision didn’t just rule broadly yesterday and that the scary part was the questions it didn’t answer. See my comment below. It doesn’t change the fact that getting hysterical does nothing. Did Walter Cronkite get hysterical when he had to announce JFK was assassinated? No. He did his job. He remained calm even in the face of a major tragedy. That is my point!

      • Ilyssa

        Also, let me remind you, Ginsburg was not hysterical when she read her dissent from the bench. She was cool and collected despite the fact her blood was boiling, which is the same attitude you will find here.

    • Ilyssa

      Do you have a reading comprehension problem? I agree with Ginsburg, which I said early on, so she couldn’t possibly disagree with me. I EXPLICITLY say in the article, “What’s scary about this decision isn’t the decision itself, it’s all of the questions the Court didn’t answer.”Which by the way is Ginsburg’s exact point. Secondly, if a company is traded on the stock market and is open to everyone to buy, it is by definition not a closed corporation. But again, these matters can be explained in a way that expresses disgust, dissatisfaction, and concern with out hysterics. It is one thing to be upset about the decision, I know I am. It is entirely another thing to be hysterical and even a worse thing to use your hysterics to distort reality in order to make money. Take a step back and breath. The Court hasn’t gotten to where you are yet. Is the door open? Yes. Are corporations going to try and come through it? Yes Do we know what the Court is going to say then? No, we don’t, but we do know that the Court is keen to the fact that the decision shouldn’t apply broadly otherwise they would have just ruled so. “This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.”

      • Meg

        Wouldn’t it be discriminatory and against the Constitution for the court to maintain that only Corporation run by Christians who don’t like birth control have religious freedom? Doesn’t that interfere a bit with the idea that the state cannot support one religion over the other? Yes, they stated that it’s a narrow decision and only impacts birth control and corporations that meet specific criteria (which only excludes 10% of companies), but I don’t believe that it’s realistic for them to deny other corporations their “religious freedom” after this ruling.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Excellent point!

      • jimb82

        I don’t think the Court ruled narrowly because it didn’t want to. I believe both the petitioners, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga, asked for closely-held corporations to be exempted because that was closer to the facts of those family-owned businesses, and that was the case as briefed and argued. There may have been broader amicus briefs, but generally the Roberts Court rules as narrowly as is required to decide the case before it.

        In short, I don’t believe one can read anything into the fact that the Court did not make a more sweeping ruling about all corporations. If that case comes before it, it will rule on that case as briefed and argued.

    • Stephen Barlow

      Think again. Granted, small businesses are NOT bound under PPACA, but NOW, with HL as a precedent, the ultra Christian owners of 90% of American Corporations can abuse “Commonsense v Robert’s COurt (Hobby Lobby) to inflict and enforce their whole religious philosodomy upon their wage earning employees.

      imagine a bovine home renovator, using illegals although he is STAUNCHLY against immigration reform, FIRING a White Supremecyst because while he totes 7 guns to work, his religious beliefs are NOT extreme enough.

    • Stephen Barlow

      Honey. 88% of American Corporations have less than 50 people.

      • lowskiesgirl

        Add the big players like Cargill, Mars, Inc, Walmart and Koch Brothers, to name but a few, and you’re talking upwards of 52% of the American workforce, sweetie.

        Don’t try to negate me with your patriarchal bullshit platitudes. Besides, I’m a Southern Belle, I’m better at it than you, darling.

      • Stephen Barlow


        Just because you spread for a Julip…

        “1) The SBA defines a small business as an enterprise having fewer than 500 employees

        2) There are almost 28 million small businesses in the US and over 22 million are self employed with no additional payroll or employees (these are called nonemployers)

        3) Over 50% of the working population (120 million individuals) works in a small business

        4) Small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995

        5) Approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month (but more employer businesses shut down than start up each month)

        6) 7 out of 10 new employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more

        7) 52% of all small businesses are home-based

        8) There were 22.5 million nonemployer firms in 2011 (up almost 2% from the year before)

        9) To classify as a “nonemployer” business you must have annual business receipts of $1,000 or more and be subject to federal income taxes

        10) Approximately 75% of all U.S. businesses are nonemployer businesses

        11) 19.4 million nonemployer businesses are sole proprietorships, 1.6 million are partnerships and 1.4 million are corporations

        12) The fastest growing sector for freelance businesses in 2011 includedauto repair shops, beauty salons and dry cleaners

        13) Total TOT -0.62% revenues from nonemployers hit $989.6 billion in 2011 (up 4.1% from 2010)

        14) Nonemployers had average revenues of $44,000

        15) Around 80% of nonemployer businesses for 2011 (or 18 million businesses) reported less than $50,000 in receipts

        16) Here is the revenue breakdown of nonemployer businesses in 2011:

        Revenue / yearPercentEstablishments$989.6 Billion100%22,491,080Less than $5K24.4%5,492,587$5K- 10K16.9%3,795,785$10K – $25K25.3%5,689,588$25K – $50K13.5%3,029,809$50K – 100K9.6%2,151,075$100K – $250K7.2%1,609,507$250K – 500K2.2%484,479$500K – $1M0.9%209,415$1M – 2.5M0.1%26,744$2.5M – $5M0.0%1,723$5M or more0.0%368”

        GO figur put how you could have LIED SO BADLY?

      • lowskiesgirl

        Because there is no size limit on closely held companies. But go ahead, sweetheart, ask the IRS. They determine what closely held means and who qualifies.

        Bless your precious heart, you’re not the brightest crayon in the box, now are you?

    • Stephen Barlow

      I DEMAND that SATAN be consulted by EVERY private corporate board member for each and every personal decision made by employees.

  • I can’t imagine that a CEO of a closely held corporation who is also a Jehovah’s Witness, is going to sit quietly while they have to pay insurance coverage for blood transfusions (which goes against their religious beliefs) while Hobby Lobby gets special treatment and doesn’t have to pay for insurance coverage for certain types of birth control because of their “religious beliefs”.

    What SCOTUS just did is basically give some people special rights, while telling others that their religious beliefs aren’t that important. This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.

    • Jerry Graybosch

      But Alito shook his head, so there’s no slippery slope… right? Yeah, sure.

      • Ilyssa

        Hence one of my most important points: “What’s scary about this decision isn’t the decision itself, it’s all of the questions the Court didn’t answer.”

    • June Goetz Lynne

      EXACTLY Kathy Kramer … the right just hasn’t figured out how much this will soon affect them … they prefer to keep their heads in the sand!

      • Stephen Barlow

        I can’t WAIT for a Muslim company to mandate clitoral circumcision for all female employees. Or Jews to sue for the right to lop the foreskins off their truckdrivers.

      • Do you actually think that is in anyway equivalent to a company saying they have a religious objection to paying for certain drugs? The only compulsion in the Hobby Lobby case was government compulsion. Nothing Hobby Lobby did interfered with any woman’s right to purchase whatever contraceptives she chooses.

      • Stephen Barlow

        The concept is the same and THAT is how PRECEDENT works in LAW. If A, influences B in the same way your tie offends My client, then My client is deserving of damages.I DISCRIMINATES AGAINST women who’s DOCTORS prescribed a treatment.

        This isn’t about them overreaching, it is about a PRIVATE owners, reaching through the Corporate veil and inflicting their personal views, religiously disguised or decorated, on the quality of medicine a woman’s DOCTOR is allowed to provide under the law.

        Will it EVER be any clearer to you?

        One person who id a conscientious objector does NOT have the right to NOT participate in the Military if drafted. They just don’t have to fight in combat. They get duty in support of troops.

        HERE, HL get to not only force a woman’s to reduce her choices against her will, but gets to tell doctors how to practice and insurance companies how to structure their policies.

      • Hobby Lobby hasn’t inflicted anything on anyone. They offered benefits to their employees consistent with their personal beliefs. Their employees are free to choose another job if they don’t like the benefits provided. They are free to supplement the benefits by purchasing whatever they want. How can you be so completely dense?

      • Stephen Barlow

        So, the new owner of your company is GAY, and he wants you to wear a thong to work as the new company uniform. You gonna quit, or ask “Red or Blue Sir?”

        Hoby Loby is FORCING the owner’s PRIVATE and PERSONAL individual Religious dogma upon 20,000 private and INDIVIDUAL who no longer have WQUAL First Amendment rights to a scrap of paper.

        A corporation isn’t a person, it’s a document.

        You shouldn’t be Eating where you sh*t Bull Pasture.

      • I would not work for such a company. I don’t consider myself a sheep like you. You seem to be afraid of personal responsibility and confuse having to make personal choices with being forced to do something. Hobby Lobby says we are offering to pay X for this job and will provide Y benefits. The employees can decide if that is enough for them to choose to work there. And if they want additional health insurance (contraception is not insurable – you should learn what insurance is before opening your uninformed yap) they can purchase whatever they want without interference from Hobby Lobby or anyone else. There is no force involved her whatsoever except for the government trying to force people to violate their conscience. Learn to think for yourself instead of parroting moronic talking points. IT won’t always be as painful for you as it apparently is now.

      • Stephen Barlow

        “(contraception is not insurable – you should learn what insurance is before opening your uninformed yap)”

        Even FOX doesn’t FLAT OUT LIE like that!

      • You don’t understand the concept of insurance do you. It is a risk-transfer, or sharing, mechanism that ensures full or partial financial compensation for the loss or damage caused by event(s) beyond the control of the insured party. Contraception is not an insurable risk. The use of it is a choice and therefore there is no risk to be shared.

        Seriously, get educated before you comment. Your ignorance of the basic subject matter is appalling.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Risk [email protected] 99.7% … it is a VERY calculable NEGATIVE risk. Has been for 4 decades. OK… lemme lay it out for you.

        A coin, flipped, has a 50/50 chance of being heads.
        Flip it 50 times and STATISTICALLY, is should tail 25 times. 24/26 times with 1 deviation of certainty. 23/27 times… and THAT is how you chart a BELL CURVE.

        99.7% EFFECTIVE
        00.3% not.

        Out of 10,000 tosses, 9970 would be HEADS and 30 Tails.

        You are a friging idiot,yaking crap you can’t even understand.

        LLoyd’s of London will insure BOOBS from sagging during a movie production for $1 MILLION squids… they insured MORTGAGES TO FAIL!!!

        you are MUCH more Pasture than Bull.

        BTW, The use of the BOOBS in the movie is a CHOICE TOO!!

      • You are a complete moron. Sure LLoyd’s will insure against boobs sagging “during a movie production” which is completely different than against sagging during a lifetime. You clearly don’t understand risk . You don’t even understand what you wrote. You clearly don’t understand that nothing you wrote addresses the issue. What you rail against in the Hobby Lobby decision is cost-sharing where the expense of the choice to use contraception is forcibly distributed across the non-using population. That is not insuring against risk. Just for your enlightenment, randomly capitalizing whole words does not more effective or logical. Putz.

      • Stephen Barlow

        TY for identifying your self PUTZ

        HL is about ”Federally Sanctioned Religious Dictatorship”

      • You are hallucinating. Hobby Lobby was about Federally Sanctioned DIctatorship which the Supreme Court rightfully put the brakes on. You have an ideology that requires you to force other people to conform to your point of view. It impedes your ability to reason. It blinds you. The only compulsion in this case was the government forcing people to purchase something they do not want to purchase. I doubt you are too stupid to see that. More likely your ignorance is willful.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Reading the decision…
        It kinda GIVES 5 guys more “Freedom” over 30,000 ovaries.

        David and siblings DON’T need to take hormones…
        But they get to prohibit others 1st Amendment rights.

        What’s so unamerican about that?

      • Can’t stay on topic can you douche? Whose 1st Amendment rights are being prohibited? What 5 guys have control over anyone? You just ramble on regurgitating your mindless twaddle unable to make a coherent point.

      • Really you are a comedian. 10,000 tosses, 9970 heads!? Laughing at you.

    • disqus_3T0GaFQeyV

      Can you tell me if health insurance coverage would have a different pricing and could separate the cost of the insurance if it was to not include blood transfusions?

      • Stephen Barlow

        GReat question. Depends on the state.

    • AngelaQ

      I agree. I predict that within a year we will see a case where a company is claiming that being required to provide maternity benefits to a pregnant, single woman violates the corporation’s “freedom of religion”.

      • Stephen Barlow

        YES!!! and I am ACHING to a have a Santoria believer force animal sacrifice on workers.

        What gets Me is that none of the HL owners compliant will EVER be about “on the clock’ behavior by employees. This decision says, “Whoever writes a paycheck, can dictate an employees home life.

        I think drug testing is the same kind of invasion of privacy. Until you have a reliable test that proves impairment in the moment. Smoking a joint on Friday should NOT affect you on Monday, but it is traceable chemically,. in the blood. WHY should I lose My job if I can do it competently?

        More importantly, who is any boss to tell me how to care for My vagina. (If I had one)

      • This stupidity right here ^ is WEAPONS GRADE man…

      • Stephen Barlow

        Thanks for speaking for the Third Reich Racists. Who failed 79 years ago.

      • I pity your ignorance. The shirt does a fantastic job of ferreting out the clueless. You are dumber than a t-shirt. Tell me – how does it feel?

      • Stephen Barlow

        So Super Sleuth? What DOES your perverted fashion statement, REALlY surrepticiously mean?

      • How about no? I will not do the intellectual lifting for you. YOU are proving yourself and uncultured illiterate ignoramus with each successive post. Why would I invest the time to educate you when you so clearly seem to believe you know everything? Aw shucks, I can’t resist assisting the mentally challenged. I actually pity you – here’s a starting point for your research – that insignia is called a ‘swastika’… The rest is up to you… go learn something freund!

      • Stephen Barlow

        So you are claiming ignorance as your excuse?

        And the Nigg*ah wearing it is making a public service announcement?

        Even Chris Rick wouldn’t shout the N word louder than you.

      • Every one of your responses has confirmed that you are illiterate, obnoxious, unintelligent, and ignorant. I know exactly who that is, what that symbol means and why he’s wearing it. You could find all that out by using the tips I gave you but in addition to being illiterate and stupid, you are also lazy. I can see why life is so hard for you and why you’re so bitter for it. I considered pity for you, but re-read your tripe and determined that you are unworthy of that. Best wishes on succeeding at anything with no brains or class.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Can’t EVEN handle a complete sentence. NO WONDER you are such a success!

    • surfjac

      transfusions and vaccination were exempt…yes, I believe they were… and Yes “for now” as some will likely point out.

      • Stephen Barlow

        But as a precedent!!! this ruling is very far over reaching.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Funny. On monday, this was a narrrow ruling. Tuesday is was far reaching.

        It applies to ALL birth control prescriptions.

        WHY didn’t the 6 Catholic injustices recuse themselves from this case?

    • Stephen Barlow

      EXACTLY!!! and that is Constitutionally WRONG.

  • Pipercat

    You know counselor, I wrote a little screed a couple of months back and in the block quote I said:

    “The courts are not only creating and setting government policy, but are now tinkering with the policies of the private sector”

    I still think this is the case. I also needed a change of underwear when I read this quote from Alito’s opinion:

    “A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends”

    I snarked, did he write this opinion in crayon?

    Corporations are firewalls, a good 21st century description; and as such, insulate the owners from certain liabilities and also provides tax incentives for them. It also insulates the revenue/receipts from the owners until a profit is attained. The revenues/receipts are in the custody of the Corporation and are really not the owner’s until the expenses/liabilities are paid. Tinker? Naaaaah…

    Just takes my breath away on how short-sighted this decision was.

    • Ilyssa

      Excellent points! I absolutely agree, I just refuse to get “hysterical” over it.

      • Pipercat

        Yep, I saw it coming, too. I did like the consolation prize from Sammy though..

  • godzoriz

    Legal response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision:

    If the benefits package offered by a “closely held corporation” does not include contraception, should the employee have the right to be compensated for the cash value of that insurance package in order to purchase insurance elsewhere?

    Jenny works for Hobby Lobby, who drops contraception coverage from their offered insurance. Their insurance package is worth, say, $500/month, in the open market. Jenny wants a policy that covers contraception, not the Hobby Lobby package.

    Should Hobby Lobby (as a closely held corporation taking advantage of the SCOTUS decision) be compelled to compensate Jenny for the full value of their insurance package, as a cash addition to her paycheck, in order to enable Jenny to purchase ACA-compliant insurance elsewhere?

    After all, aren’t they receiving the value of Jenny’s labour without compensating her if she doesn’t want their “exemption” insurance? This also seems a reasonable way for the government to ensure ACA coverage for objecting employees. Perhaps requiring any business that chooses to embrace the Hobby Lobby exemption to provide all their employees with the option for cash equivalence.

    • Stephen Barlow

      I would think, because of the special exemption from LAW, that hobby Lobby would have to pay the entire COST of a second prescription policy to EACH and EVERY employee they burdened.

  • bluelion

    Harris vs. Quinn could have the most far reaching effect. I’m sure think tanks are already lining up police officers, teachers, that don’t want to play dues (you know the ones that want everything but won’t support the effort to get it) and they will be back in court trying to expand the decision.

  • Sandy Greer

    Finally! An article where the sky doesn’t fall. I, too, wish we’d go to Single Payer; get it over and done with. I haven’t read either yet, but I’m especially interested to read Harris v. Quinn (printed out) Thanks for the link.

    I worked in a non-union shop. We voted, now and then, on joining. For many years – it was no. Obvious reason – Dues. As said in article – we ‘reaped benefits’: Union was required to represent us (if we got in trouble) And we received the same pay as union shops.

    Sometimes, there were strikes. I never crossed the line. Not being a member – I didn’t have picket duty – but also ineligible for picket pay. I honored the picket line – without pay – in my own way. Because I ‘reaped benefits’.

    Ours was a union town. My dad couldn’t get a job in that town if he wasn’t Teamsters. So contrarian me just didn’t like the idea of being forced to join a union. But I never crossed a line – not for my employer – not even one at the grocery store where I shop. I don’t cross picket lines – same as my father didn’t.

    Eventually we were ‘bargained’ away in a contract – my employer gave up the non-union shops to the union. Union didn’t fold – in all those years of non-union shops. But grew strong enough my employer gave up the non-union shops to it.

    And I finally joined the union.

  • Scott Bennett

    while I agree with this assessment in theory (that the Hobby Lobby decision was a narrowly tailored one which in its language prohibits its expansion), I think anyone with a smidge of world experience knows that the lunatic fringe will use this decision to effect wide-spread discrimination based on everything from skin color to sexual orientation, based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs”. Just because the decision says they can´t doesn´t mean they won´t; and anyone who follows the legal system knows how long a challenge to the misuse of this decision can take to make its way through the courts. How many individuals will have been irreparably harmed before this is corrected/reigned in? That is the damage this decision will inflict!

    • jimb82

      As one commentator noted last night, generally trial courts don’t have a problem distinguishing genuine religious conviction from false religious claims. Remember also that the government must have a compelling interest to interfere with a religious practice under RFRA, and it must use the least restrictive means to achieve that interest. Prevention of discrimination against members of protected classes generally is considered to be a compelling government interest that trumps religious practices, so long as the least restrictive means is used.

  • Metsjetsduke

    For all of time women had to pay for these contraceptives before Obamacare . Now the 4 kinds of contraceptives all mentioned here kill developed fetuses. No person, religious beliefs or not should be forced to kill something if they don’t want to. No one is saying these people can’t have the contraceptive. They are saying pay for that on your own, as it is your choice. The only time they should be covered by insurance is when deemed a detriment to the woman’s health. Just these 4 types. This is really not unreasonable. I do not ask someone to pay for my condoms nor do I act like I’m so oppressed because someone is making me pay for it on my own. Women getting upset over this and being so dramatic is really a show of how far down the tubes our country has gone. People need to grow up. I can personally say that when I see people all over facebook today screaming about rights , it makes me respect them less, not because I disagree with them but because they are being so sensationalist and unrealistic .

    • Ilyssa

      They actually don’t kill fetuses. Every scientist in the world agrees that those 4 types of birth control ARE NOT ABORTIONS, Maybe your opinion regarding religious beliefs would be taken a bit more seriously if you were not spouting rhetoric that is not based in science at all. Seriously. It’s dumb. And anyone who believes that these types of birth control kill fetuses or are abortions is pretty stupid.

      • Metsjetsduke

        LOL so these contraceptives don’t do that? I’m confused then as to what they do. I’m not spouting rhetoric , I was just saying what I believed. I find it odd that the supreme court would single out 4 contraceptives if there wasn’t some issue with them. I think most logical people would draw that conclusion. I gave no opinion regarding religious beliefs. I don’t have to be religious to be against certain kinds of abortion. Thanks for generalizing me though and calling me dumb because you don’t agree with me.

      • Metsjetsduke

        maybe the “developed fetus” is a strong term but that’s what almost everything I have read has lead me to believe. Not anywhere can I find an article stating that all 4 contraceptives do not kill fetuses signed off by every scientist in the world. Could you get me a link on that one ???

      • Ilyssa

        An IUD prevents implantation it doesn’t kill a fetus. You can’t kill something that doesn’t exist. It’s basic biology you don’t need an article to explain it. A 7th grade bio student understands these things.

      • Ilyssa

        And even if I wanted to post an article I couldn’t do it here. This website does not allow links in the comments. It auto deletes them.

      • Ilyssa

        www DOT popcouncil DOT org/uploads/pdfs/Sivin DOT pdf

      • Metsjetsduke

        I will check all this out. Still don’t think you are right. I get the basic biology you speak of but not sure it applies to all 4 .Also love who say you don’t call me dumb and then proceed to drop that 7th grade bio line in there. Me big stupid man. ( that’s what you think right ??) If im wrong and then im wrong, oh well but I think you may have exaggerated just a tad by saying every scientist would agree. If they don’t kill fetuses or aren’t that bad , why did they get singled out ? That is an honest question. I can’t even find the names of these contraceptives. Can you tell me them so I can research them ? another honest question. I was basing my killing fetuses judgment off what I had been told.

      • Ilyssa

        They got singled out because the company incorrectly believes they are abortions and the Court said it didn’t matter whether that was true or not as long as the company sincerely believes it to be true. Fact is, it’s not true. Contraception is not abortion. Yes, maybe I exaggerated a bit, but it doesn’t change science. These types of birth control prevent an embryo from implanting – thus it can never become a fetus. That’s how it works.

      • Metsjetsduke

        Thanks , going to look into everything more.

      • Your statement that the company incorrectly believes they are abortions is dependent upon your definition of abortion as something that can only occur post implantation. You are simply factually incorrect in stating that every scientist agrees that these four drugs do not cause abortion. There are those whose ideology insists that they redefine conception as occurring at implantation but I doubt they are even a majority of biologists. Your reasoning is sloppy.

      • Ilyssa

        The names are in the Court decision, I posted that link in the article. Lunch is over. Gotta get back to work.

      • It is something of a non sequitur to shift from discussing conception to discussing fetuses. Sure, the word “fetus” is used to denote an entity at a certain stage of development. The drugs in question terminate the development of the embryo by preventing implantation. Your denial that this constitutes abortion requires that pregnancy be defined as something that occurs at or after implantation as opposed to the generally accepted definition of pregnancy occurring at the moment of fertilization.

      • Ilyssa

        And for the record I didn’t call you dumb. I said anyone who believes and IUD is an abortion is pretty dumb.

  • surfjac

    I hope Harris does the opposite and people join to take advantage of the benefits.

  • David Rand

    Harris Case…though, truly makes sense though. One should not be compelled to join the union, and you are compelled, one should not be compelled to pay for services you do not want. I suppose unions can say, you do not need to join, but if you do not join and pay, then all terms negotiated by Union only apply to paying membership? Let the folks that choose non union to have a separate benefit/salary structure?

  • Stephen Barlow

    I wonder, would an IRS regulation (which does NOT have to be Congressionally approved) NOT qualify non ACA compliant health insurance for deductions as a business expense?

    I mean, if your personal religious beliefs are exempt from the law, your policy does not supply birth control , you don’t get to write off the cost of all 20,000 employee health plans.

  • FD Brian

    one step closer to Sharia law.

  • Ilyssa

    Most important line in the article: “What’s scary about this decision isn’t the decision itself, it’s all of the questions the Court didn’t answer.” i.e. The court challenges that are going to come after this one.

  • John H Weber

    The Organization is The Eternal WORD Television Network, not World.

  • Matthew Reece

    The “free rider problem” has no solution, therefore it is not truly a problem; just a possibly negative aspect of reality which must be accepted. And ultimately, are not all of us free riders on the philosophical and technological innovations of both our ancestors and our contemporaries?

    • jimb82

      True, and the solution in this case is for the union to convince people that it actually is in their interest to join.

  • Mike_Martinez

    I think you are grossly misrepresenting the facts of Harris V Quinn. In the case at home parents and relatives of developmentally disable and other ill people who are paid by the state to provide care IN THEIR HOMES were being forced to pay union dues even though they “work” for significantly LESS than union wages in Illinois. The caregivers, who frequently give up viable careers to care for sick children, parents, or spouses, often have no other income and a significant portion of those earnings were being diverted to greedy unions who were afraid of missing even a single dime.

    As a union member and long time Democrat, I too felt this was a significant overreach that Gov. Quinn pushed through the state legislature to appease his union supporters without regard for the burden it was putting on people who do 24/7 work for comparatively little money. If the state and the unions wanted their fair share, they would pay these caregivers full hourly union wages for ALL of their time and effort. At a 24/7 rate, that would be many hundreds of times what the state pays them currently.

    I would further point out, these people who agree to fixed income wages, who never get a vacation, or even a coffee break, may get some tiny benefit from the collective bargaining power of a large union, but they do not make equal pay. They do, in point of fact, save the state untold billions annually by not burdening the state making their disabled and chronically ill relatives wards of the state.

    • Ilyssa

      I didn’t discuss the facts. I discussed the broad implications of the ruling. Thanks for the posting the facts though.

      • Mike_Martinez

        So you condemned the ruling without knowing the facts? that’s shoddy reporting. Even if you’re calling this a blog, you should have the morals to read the facts before you dismiss them as dangerous. This is the thing that bugs me about my fellow liberals. You can’t knee jerk your reaction. This isn’t simply a union issue, its overreach and a money grab. You do a disservice to your readers when you give incomplete and therefore false information.


      • Ilyssa

        I didn’t say I didn’t read them. I read the entire decision like I do all Supreme Court decisions. They were cut from the article for space reasons.

      • Mike_Martinez

        So you read it and still misrepresented the facts of the case? That’s hack work, and you seem too intelligent for that. If you read the case at all, you would have known this was overreach and political payback for votes and that it placed undue distress on the plaintiffs.

      • Ilyssa

        I seriously think you can’t read very well. 1st you said I didn’t read the case when all I said was that I didn’t include the facts in this article because they were edited out for space. Then I told you I did read the entire case and you claim I misrepresented the facts, when I already explicitly said I didn’t really discuss them, rather I discussed the legal implications of the holding. If you think you are going to trip me up by talking in circles, HA! And no I don’t need to explain myself. I’m an op-ed writer for fun, as a hobby. It’s not my job. I am a full time civil rights attorney and I have obligations to my clients, but I have no obligation to explain myself to you or anyone else about my legal analysis of the potential implications of the ruling. And quite frankly, considering the Court’s broad holding, the narrow facts are nearly irrelevant. That’s all I’m going to say. Agree. Disagree. Unless you are paying me to explain the law for you I really don’t care.

      • Ilyssa

        Then again I don’t need to explain myself or the decisions of the editing team to you either. I don’t see you writing any articles.

      • Mike_Martinez

        That’s exactly the point, you DO need to explain yourself when you put out deliberately misleading information. You DO need to explain yourself when you freely admit you didn’t even read the case and that you simply reacted in a knee jerk fashion. Your editor is not your brain. You need to take responsibility for your own actions here. It does no one on either side of the argument any good if you don’t do at least the basic journalism before you comment on something. YOU have the responsibility to make sure what you are writing includes the facts as well as your opinions. Being angry about it doesn’t help either.

  • “If nobody joins the union, it folds, and so too will fold a large Democratic voting bloc.” Nothing about this statement is congruent with reality. Job status, union membership, party affiliation, nothing affects a “voting bloc” in the way you’re alluding to but the actions of the voters. Nothing can stop a bunch of people who wish there was a union from voting Democrat. Your statement is far from “calm, cool and collected”; on the contrary, at no point in your rambling, incoherent statement were you even close to anything resembling a rational thought. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Ilyssa

      Empirical evidence shows otherwise. Statistically speaking, public sector unions are the largest contributors of money and votes for Democratic candidates. When a public union folds less money gets contributed and less people go out and vote. The facts and the facts. And my thoughts were rational, well put together, and perfectly coherent so I really have no clue what you are talking about. And please take your points elsewhere, I really don’t need any points from the black guy in the Nazi regalia. Pretty disgusting if you ask me.

      • How is it that you got a liberal arts degree like “political science”, yet are so hopelessly ignorant that you don’t recognize that A) the guy in the picture is Indian/Bangladeshi and B) a swastika is originally a Hindu/Buddhist/Jain symbol for “auspiciousness”? Where ever you got your “degree” from, you should sue them or they should sue you. Actually, I’ll bet they should sue you. You should also watch the movie “Billy Madison”. And while I think your “voting bloc” argument is specious at best and idiotic at worst, it still has no bearing on the truth that individuals vote and not unions. Unless you’re suggesting that when a union dissolves its members get raptured. Then you’d still be wrong, but at least you’d be entertaining.

  • Why is it that this issue cannot be discussed without wild distortions of facts. If the owners of Hobby Lobby choose not to provide certain kinds of contraception in what way does that impose their beliefs on any of their female employees? The employees can purchase whatever they want. The problem here is the imposition of choice but it is the imposition of choice by the government. Simply removing employers from health care altogether would ensure freedom of choice for everyone. Eliminate the business tax deduction for health insurance. Give it to individuals. Let everyone buy what they want. That way there is no conflict and no imposition of values upon anyone else.

  • Vivian Sue House Hughes

    I don’t agree with either decision, but I agree the vote on the union dues is worse. Part of the plan to undermine worker’s power to negotiate.