March 26, 2014

“Sotomayor, Kagan: Hobby Lobby Should Drop Insurance, Pay Penalty and Let Employees Use Exchange”

Or, “fuck the First Amendment. And fuck natural, unalienable rights. We’re in charge here, not some airy fairy notion of rights that we are not allowed to provide or take away. That whole idea of providence is but a human construct. And we’re fixing to change that particular paradigm, which should once and for all open the flood gates to the ability of politicians and courts to dish out their own brand of social justice, without worrying about being blocked by the goddamned Constitution, which was written not by a wise Latina and a lawyer who once worked on ObamaCare, but rather by old white men who didn’t understand the importance of a giant benevolent government of better types looking out for the masses, even if the masses don’t understand what’s in their own best interests. Or the internet for that matter.”

– Which I consider to be a pretty good paraphrase of the tack the two took in oral arguments yesterday on the religious freedom question surrounding the ObamaCare mandate.

Well, without that last part, which is a Harry Reid thing. But it does show a kind of pattern: progressives care not a whit about their oath to uphold the Constitution. They care about assuming the role of society’s philosopher kings and queens, and in order to do so, they need subjects to lord over.

And they believe those subjects to be us:

During oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday which focused on whether the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the free exercise of religion, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan suggested employers who have moral objections to birth control should not provide health care coverage for their employees.

“But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all?”

Sotomayor said during the presentation by attorney Paul Clement, who represents Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties, two companies that sued the federal government over the requirement that businesses provide health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs.

“Those employers could choose not to give health insurance and pay not that high a penalty – not that high a tax,” Sotomayor said.

Clement said Hobby Lobby would pay more than $500 million per year in penalties, but Kagan disagreed.

“No, I don’t think that that’s the same thing, Mr. Clement,” Kagan said. “There’s one penalty that is if the employer continues to provide health insurance without this part of the coverage, but Hobby Lobby would choose not to provide health insurance at all.

“And in that case Hobby Lobby would pay $2,000 per employee, which is less that Hobby Lobby probably pays to provide insurance to its employees,” Kagan said. “So there is a choice here. It’s not even a penalty by – in the language of the statute. It’s a payment or a tax. There’s a choice.”

Kagan went on to say that other U.S. businesses are “voluntarily” dropping their health insurance coverage for employees.

“You know Hobby Lobby is paying something right now for the – for the coverage,” Kagan said. “It’s less than what Hobby Lobby is paying for the coverage. There are employers all over the United States that are doing this voluntarily.”

Chief Justice Roberts interjected that this was in opposition to what Hobby Lobby presented in its lawsuit.

“I thought – I thought that part of the religious commitment of the owners was to provide health care for its employees,” Roberts said and Clements agreed.

“Well, if they want to do that, they can just pay a greater salary and let the employees go in on the exchange,” Sotomayor said.

So what we have here is what Cass Sunstein might call a judicial “nudge”: What Sotomayor is saying, in essence, is that the problem of religious freedom goes away if we just nationalize health care entirely and move to a single payer system. Employers, under such a scenario, would drop private health plans for employees, factor the cost of those plans into pay increases, and force these employees, then, to find their own health care through the ObamaCare exchanges.

But what of the individuals who, like the owners of Hobby Lobby, don’t wish to pay for a policy that includes those things they find morally and religious offensive — or even simply unnecessary and impractical, like maternity leave for older bachelors, etc.?

Asks Dr Alveda King,

The irony now is that during the oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday on whether the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the free exercise of religion, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan suggested that employers who have moral objections to birth control should not provide health care coverage for their employees. They even recommended that employers opt to pay taxes to avoid the mandate and even give employees a $2K raise to buy their own insurance. Does this sound like a socialist agenda?

Let me take a moment here to repeat what I’ve been saying with respect to hermeneutics since the outset of this site: How you get there matters. And what we’re witnessing is a coup that begins with a fundamental ideological vision of the outcome it desires, and works backward through the law and regulatory agencies and legislatures to justify a predetermined decision.

It sure was nice of Chief Justice Roberts to chime in. Guess he’s starting to figure out that his desire to pad his “legacy” is not going to turn out quite the way he thought it would — and in fact, his ruling in the original ObamaCare decision, where he rewrote the legislation himself in order to justify it, may prove to be the very last tug on the thread that unravels Constitutional protections, individual autonomy, and the entire Bill of Rights.

Knowing that must be a real downer — particularly when you find out those you were so willing to assuage will never, ever return the favor.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:16pm
33 comments | Trackback

Comments (33)

  1. Reflecting back at the peculiar institution . . . funny thing how the Democrats come round in a circle, no?

  2. Some year back, I recall receiving some literature at an informational union picket at Walmart, telling people that Walmart was quite happy to not provide its workers with insurance, so that they could avail themselves of various public options. Evidently, that’s now OK with the governing elite, seeing as how they wish to establish a Dhimmi tax on those who wish to practice their 1st Amendment rights to engage in the free exercise of their religion.

  3. Taxing the exercise of Constitutional rights. Now there’s an idea the political untermenschenliche ueberclass can get behind!

  4. Jeff you need to retitle this post Sotomayor, Kagan: “what about the “fee exercise” of religion?”

  5. That’s good, Ernst.

  6. no charge

    It’s good to see you posting again. You’re an a streak!

  7. I suggest Jeff wait until the weather warms up a bit should he be inclined to streak…otherwise he will be back in the Dr.’s office with other ailments.

  8. “And in that case Hobby Lobby would pay $2,000 per employee, which is less that Hobby Lobby probably pays to provide insurance to its employees”

    Right there, in that word “probably”?

    Textbook definition of presumption.

    See also this David Thompson thread, which addresses the narcissistic impulses of the Marxoid.

  9. Taxing the exercise of Constitutional rights.

    Like a poll tax?

    RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACISM!

    WooHoo!

  10. Sotomayor and Kagan seem to have as much understanding of the thinking of devout Christians as the FBI had in 1993.

    For the two Justices, as for all the left, everything gets viewed through the lens of money.

  11. From ZeroHedge: What happens if a U.S. president stops speaking and no one applauds?

    The world stops spinning on its axis?

  12. Sotomayor and Kagan seem to have as much understanding of the thinking of devout Christians as the FBI had in 1993.

    Like Alinsky, they figure that all claims to morality are mere posturing to justify evil deeds, because that’s what they do. Sociopaths might be able to read people but they are incapable of being motivated by any religious tenets that don’t flatter the sociopath and justify his every move.

  13. You know that place on South Broadway near the typical-looking red brick Baptist church with the white steeple, and Der Weinerschnitzel and a chicken place? Dartmouth, about. There used to be a print shop there that hired deaf guys, a group of them worked there, the printing place paid salary, they learned skills, placement facilitated through Vocational Rehabilitation. The guys there taught me sign when I was a kid. I went back to see if they were still there, to show them what’s become of me, and learn what became of them, and the whole place changed to a Christian book store. All the noisy printing presses and clamoring industry gone.

    The only thing they sold is Christian books. And now they’re gone too.

    So what if I wasn’t a Christian?

    As it turns out I was a lousy Christian and that made me feel very uncomfortable. The whole thing was ruined. All the fun gone. Became more exclusive. Like totally exclusive. Narrow appeal.

    Turns out I did want to buy one of those end of the world rapture novels. Pure poo-poo gerts.

    So I went next door and bought a couple African Violets. Another niche interest type thing. Man, Englewood sure is getting niche-interesty.

    Checked. Google Erf shows it’s a Walk In Run In whatever, clothing store it looks like. And now I’m sad. And hungry for a chile-cheese dog with onions. Not dehydrated onion either, the real kind. Man, those are good bad good bad good bad good hotdogs. Oddly addictive. Crave like crazy then eat one and get a full blast of nitrates and things that are not real and that suits very well hits the spot while simultaneously putting you off hotdogs for decades.

  14. geoffb:

    Just read the linked article about the Branch Davidians. It’s obvious that the FBI was utterly wrong in its approach to them, from the determination that they were dangerous to pouncing on the compound to the negotiating tactics.

    However.

    Once Koresh saw what they were up against, he should have given himself up for the sole reason that it would remove everyone else from danger. That one act would have saved all those people, and Koresh, as their leader, had the obligation to put their welfare about his. He had to know that the FBI wasn’t going to understand what they were really up to, and that they would never be talked into backing down (though if I were advising the FBI I’d have told them to withdraw post-haste, you ignert bastards).

    Koresh walking out of the door with his hands on his head was the only pressure valve the FBI would accept once they’d decided they it was a hostage situation. Never expect the bureau of anything to be the bigger man and back down.

  15. If Obama is impeached can we declare Sotomayor’s and Kagan’s SCOTUS appointments null and void?

    Pleeeeease?

  16. I’m not entirely positive but if I understand the provision correctly, Congress can simply legislate their seats on the court out of existence. Sure, it probably wouldn’t go over all that well with the progressive set, but it sure would be a pleasing spectacle to witness from where we’re watching.

  17. ‘Tis true that the number of seats on ye Higheste Courte in ye Lande is determined by statute. But (being serious for just a moment) SCOTi are appointed for life or until impeached. The Court might very well find unconstitutional a new statute that effectively ends the terms of the two most recent appointees without their having first died or been convicted by the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors.

    It really is too bad we can’t rewind and erase the official acts of an impeached and removed president, though.

  18. It really is too bad we can’t rewind and erase the official acts of an impeached and removed president, though.

    - Actually, as a practical matter we can and have, although sights of same will not be easily divined. I’d start with “Ford reversals in post Nixon years.”

    - The real problem remains getting articles of impeachment even to a vote, much less issuing them, and then actually punishing any perp. Clinton proved for all time that Pols are simply beyond prosecution unless they litterily whip out a revolver and murder a Senator on the floor of congress.

  19. Yet query, McG: where does the court obtain its operating funds?

  20. >: where does the court obtain its operating funds?<

    orangeman and mitchy say nay to dat

  21. i hate the supreme court it’s so stupid and it rapes liberties like they were japanese schoolgirls on okinawa

    i made the best turnip greens tonight

  22. how’s the fried chicken?

  23. no fried chicken for me I have my own agenda

  24. Buuuuut….wait. I thought it wasn’t a tax? Wasn’t there some big broohahah about how you couldn’t call it a tax? Apparently these fine ladies didn’t get that memo.

  25. Clinton proved for all time that Pols are simply beyond prosecution unless they litterily whip out a revolver and murder a Senator on the floor of congress.

    Depends on the Senator. I suspect the Gang In Charge would just shrug and sigh (in relief) if it were Ted Cruz or Rand Paul.

  26. Steve B, it was their own chief, Dread Justice Roberts, who decided it was in fact a tax and therefore constitutional.

  27. Unbelievable. So it is somehow preferable for Hobby Lobby to screw 100% of their employees out of tax free health insurance in favor of the over priced, over deductibled private health insurance market than to force some minor portion of their female employees to pay (as little as $10 per month) for their own birth control pills ?!

    Did the transcript just omit the burst of laughter from the court after that was suggested?!!?!

  28. Yet query, McG: where does the court obtain its operating funds?

    I’ll reply an argument or two ahead with the words “constitutional crisis.”

  29. One man’s crisis is another man’s focus, it seems.

  30. Hobby Lobby is not requiring their employees to purchase contraceptives. It is only concerned with IUDs and chemical abortifacients. Which is why this whole thing is just another big lie.

    Boxer said the slippery slope is that they could refuse to cover AIDS drugs. And yet, where has that happened? And what is the similarity? The belief here is that IUDs and chemical abortives kill nascent human beings; providing coverage for AIDS drugs saves lives of human beings.

  31. Obama should take his pen, change another facet of his signature law so’s to allow individuals to buy policies off his exchange if they find their employer’s plan unacceptable. That way Fluke can have her anti-life medicines and stay a happy little slut.

  32. There isn’t going to be any straw left for my strawberries this summer what with congress busy as bees building so many straw men.

  33. Since mention of ‘fried chicken’ now offends black people as a dog whistle crypto-racist microaggression I propose that fried chicken be taken away from black people and become an artifact of southern white trash culture that black people sometimes culturally appropriate when they feel an urge to eat what the dirty commoners eat.

    I don’t know about Vietnamese fried chicken and Korean or Cantonese crispy fried chicken. Y’all are on your own.

    But from now on, to avoid hurt feelings, fried chicken is Cletus bait and Butchy chow brought to you by Larry the Cable Guy.

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