Over at Forbes, Avik Roy is bucking conventional wisdom to argue that yesterday’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is not the victory for social conservatives that everyone says it is. Sure, corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs don’t have to pay for IUDs—which some Christians who own national craft store chains consider a form of abortion—but that potentially shifts the burden of payment onto the taxpayer. Health and Human Services could extend the same accommodation to Hobby Lobby that it offered to Catholic institutions under the Affordable Care Act, by having the federal government cover the costs of so-called abortofacient birth control devices. So instead of the very, very good people at Hobby Lobby paying for their cashiers’ IUDs out of corporate funds, Christians across the country could do it with their taxes.
First of all, Aunt Jemima has gotten a lot less racist over the years, but the basic concept remains extremely problematic. Second, and in no way related to pancakes: the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that family-owned corporations like Hobby Lobby are exempt from federal laws requiring them to provide comprehensive insurance coverage for certain types of contraception. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, the court determined that forcing companies to pay for birth control methods that prevent the implantation of fertilized eggs—which some Christians consider a form of abortion—constituted a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. So get ready to see more pregnant girls working at Hobby Lobby, as I presume the company’s founders intended.
The Supreme Court is now hearing arguments that corporations can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to cover employee contraception on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs. In addition to a Mennonite cabinet maker, the Hobby Lobby chain has brought suit against the government, arguing that the morning-after pill and IUDs constitute abortion in their understanding of Christianity. Federal law already prohibits anyone from making employers to pay for abortions. An appeals court already ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, citing Citizens United v. FEC in its determination that corporations enjoy freedom of religion in the same way they get freedom of speech.
Like Liberace’s dry cleaner, regular readers of Combat! blog may be at risk of Santorum fatigue. I feel your pain, but at the rate Santorum is producing stunning statements, he is either going to be out of the race soon or the most historically significant president of the modern era. This weekend, the Penn State alum and holder of two postrgraduate degrees called President Obama “a snob” for saying that all Americans should be able to attend college. He also said that John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech on the separation between religion and politics made him want to throw up. Even if you can’t bear to hear any more about Santorum, the Times article is worth reading for the part where Mitt Romney bonds with fans at the Daytona 500 by mentioning that several of his friends own NASCAR teams.
The surgery was a success and I am back in the Combat! blog offices, where each intern disguises his horror at my visage more poorly than the last. Seriously, I look like somebody drove a screw into my head. I feel like somebody drove my head into a screw, possibly because I have eaten nothing in the last 36 hours besides painkillers, half a cup of tapioca pudding and maybe two pints of my own blood. So the blog is going to be half-assed. Fortunately for us, Ben al-Fowlkes not only drove my semi-lucid ass home from the clinic yesterday, but also sent me this rad article about a speech Rick Santorum gave in 2008. In it, he warned his audience at Catholic University that “this is…a spiritual war” and that Satan was trying to subvert the United States of America. This man is now a front-runner for the Republican nomination for President.