Monday, June 30, 2014

Justice Ginsburg Writes Blistering Dissent To Supreme Court Contraception Ruling

In the latest example of conservative judicial activism, five men on the Supreme Court have ruled that "for-profit corporations controlled by religious families" have the right not to provide insurance coverage for birth control and emergency contraception under the Affordable Care Act. In effect, such "corporate persons" as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties can now decide whether female employees receive the new birth control benefits. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a blistering dissent, wrote, "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." Mother Jones has chosen seven more key quotes from Ginsburg's dissent:

• "The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraceptive coverage"

• "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."

• "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."

• "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."

• "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."

• "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."

• "The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."

Read Justice Ginsburg's 35-page dissent.

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