“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.