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  #1  
Old 26 November 2013, 11:56 PM
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Judge Supreme Court will take up new health law dispute

The Supreme Court has agreed to referee another dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law, whether businesses can use religious objections to escape a requirement to cover birth control for employees.

http://www.9news.com/news/world/3663...h-law-dispute-
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  #2  
Old 27 November 2013, 12:13 AM
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Very neutral language, I see . That's not even trying for objectivity.

Granted, I'm not at all sure I would side with Hobby Lobby, but that's sloppy journalism.
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Old 27 November 2013, 12:20 AM
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What language did you find objectionable?
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Old 27 November 2013, 12:59 AM
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"whether businesses can use religious objections" (implies they don't actually have them, or they aren't valid or something) "to escape a requirement" (you could say this in a zillion less charged ways).

You could put it, "Whether the government can impose its power to overcome religious objections and force companies to buy birth control coverage," but that would also be too charged--see what I mean?

If they are not required to do it, better language would be in terms of waivers, rather like one might discuss Quaker exemptions from being drafted into combat, than "escape."
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Old 27 November 2013, 01:17 AM
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I suppose "escape" could be interpreted that way. Sort of. But I don't see any way of interpreting "use religious objections" to imply that such objections don't apply or are otherwise not valid. That's what the case is about so it's just stating the question in plain English.
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Old 27 November 2013, 01:24 AM
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Yeah. Using something as an argument does not mean you do not really have that thing, or that it is not meaningful.
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Old 27 November 2013, 01:42 AM
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Yeah, in this context, I don't agree that "use religious objections" has any negative connotation, but I do agree that "escape" carries a connotation of avoiding something unjustly. I think the word "avoid" should have been used, as it's more neutral.
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Old 27 November 2013, 06:13 AM
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Clearly, they should have said Hobby Lobby's argument was fishy. Then we'd know they weren't taking sides.
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Old 27 November 2013, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
If they are not required to do it, better language would be in terms of waivers, rather like one might discuss Quaker exemptions from being drafted into combat, than "escape."
The Supreme Court does not, AFAIK, grant "waivers."
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Old 27 November 2013, 02:47 PM
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In effect, if they side with Hobby Lobby, they will be. The requirement will be waived due to religious objections. It's not some kind of slip of paper, but the effect is the same.

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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
Clearly, they should have said Hobby Lobby's argument was fishy. Then we'd know they weren't taking sides.
If I wrote a news article with informal language that wasn't quoting people saying it, I'd be a sloppy journalist, too. Fortunately, message board posts get to have opinions.
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Old 27 November 2013, 02:51 PM
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IANAL, but I believe "waiver" has a specific legal meaning.
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Old 27 November 2013, 02:56 PM
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IANAL but SCOTUS's decision would be that granting of such waivers is Constitutional. They wouldn't handle the actual process of granting waivers, that would be relegated to lesser courts probably.
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Old 27 November 2013, 03:13 PM
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My larger point is that "waiver" may not be an accurate term for what might be granted, regardless of who is granting it. ETA: That may sound nitpicky, but I don't think news writers should use inaccurate terminology in the interest of sound more objective.
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Old 27 November 2013, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
IANAL but SCOTUS's decision would be that granting of such waivers is Constitutional. They wouldn't handle the actual process of granting waivers, that would be relegated to lesser courts probably.
In this case, no. The ruling, if granted in Hobby Lobby's favor, is that an exception must be allowed based on religious objection, not that waivers could be allowed.

BTW, as I understand the facts, HL is not asking for exemption from the entire contraceptive mandate, but only from such means which its owners consider to be abortifacients, such as the morning-after pills.
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Old 27 November 2013, 03:51 PM
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Some people believe that all oral contraceptives are abortifacients, but I don't know if Hobby Lobby's owners are among them.

ETA: Apparently not. More information on their position:

Quote:
Hobby Lobby told the justices that it had no problem with offering coverage for many forms of contraception, including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, several kinds of birth control pills and sterilization surgery. But drugs and devices that can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb are another matter, and make it complicit in a form of abortion, the company said.
Link
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  #16  
Old 27 November 2013, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
In this case, no. The ruling, if granted in Hobby Lobby's favor, is that an exception must be allowed based on religious objection, not that waivers could be allowed.
The RFRA that the suit is based on says:

Quote:
(a) IN GENERAL. -- Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).

(b) EXCEPTION. -- Government may burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person --

(1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Which seems to say that having a religious objection can be used to get out of a legislative obligation, but does not automatically do so. IOW, if this case is upheld, then the next suit would be one where the government has to prove that the contraceptive portion of the law furthers a compelling governmental interest and that there is not a less restrictive means of doing so.
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  #17  
Old 27 November 2013, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
IOW, if this case is upheld, then the next suit would be one where the government has to prove that the contraceptive portion of the law furthers a compelling governmental interest and that there is not a less restrictive means of doing so.
I don't think that is correct. I think that religious objection can be used is settled (in general), and the question before the Court in this case is does the government meet the requirements of the RFRA in this instance. They are not ruling of the Cosntitutionality the RFRA, they are ruling on the applicability of it to this dispute.

Unless the defense is that as a corporation, Hobby Lobby (and the other companies) is not eligible for protection under the RFCA. In that case, you are right, and they could rule only on that point and then if they find that a corporation is eligible, remand to the lower court the question of if the government meets it's requirements under the RFRA.
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Old 27 November 2013, 05:30 PM
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AIUI, religious non-profits have already been granted an exception from the requirement on First Amendment grounds, and this case is to determine whether the same religious exception can be granted to a for-profit corporation.
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Old 27 November 2013, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
I don't think that is correct. I think that religious objection can be used is settled (in general), and the question before the Court in this case is does the government meet the requirements of the RFRA in this instance.
The 10th Circuit's decision (pdf) says "the court unanimously holds that Hobby Lobby and Mardel have Article III standing to sue..." I assume this is referring to the judicial relief part of the RFRA that says: "A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government."

ETA: And I think that cases have to be settled on an individual basis with regards to the RFRA. Which I don't think has happened yet.

Quote:
They are not ruling of the Cosntitutionality the RFRA, they are ruling on the applicability of it to this dispute.
Agreed on both parts. But first the RFRA has to apply before Hobby Lobby et al can sue the Federal government to obtain relief.
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  #20  
Old 27 November 2013, 05:51 PM
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Got it. Thanks. So the question does in fact boil down to "Is a corporation a person" for the purposes of the RFRA.
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