Supreme Court Gives Obamacare Opponents Biggest Legal Victory Yet

Tyler Durden's picture

Moments ago the US Supreme Court - the same Supreme Court which two years ago upheld Obamacare but as a tax, something the administration has since sternly denied - dealt Obamacare its biggest legal blow to date, and alternatively handing Obamacare opponents their largest court victory yet, when in a 5-4 vote SCOTUS ruled that business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires closely held private companies to provide health insurance that covers birth control. 

As Reuters notes, the justices ruled for the first time that for-profit companies can make claims under a 1993 federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). One of the two cases was brought by arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby Stores Ltd, which is owned and operated by David and Barbara Green and their children, who are evangelical Christians. The other case was brought by Norman and Elizabeth Hahn, Mennonites who own Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp in Pennsylvania.  The justices said that such companies can seek an exemption from the so-called birth control mandate. The decision, which applies only to companies owned by a small number of individuals, means employees of those companies will have to obtain certain forms of birth control from other sources.

As expected, the Supreme Court, which is nothing but a gaggle of political activists, voted along ideological lines. As Reuters reports, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion on behalf of the liberal wing of the court.

"In a decision of startling breadth, the court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law ... they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs," she wrote.

Americans, clearly having nothing better to worry about, promptly made their way to the SCOTUS building:

Hundreds of demonstrators on both side of one of the most contentious cases of the Supreme Court term converged on the court building, wearing costumes, chanting and carrying signs. Some demonstrators chanted, "Keep your boardroom out of my bedroom" and "Separate church and state, women must decide their fate." Signs carried by demonstrators offered contrasting views: "Obamacare - religious liberty First Amendment outlawed," "I am the pro-life generation," and "Birth control not my boss's business." One man dressed up as a copy of the Bible, brandishing a sign saying, "Use me not for your bigotry."

But while the impact on US healthcare from this ruling will be modest, the real consequence will be in Washington, where as Politico writes, "So much for the Obamacare comeback."

Just when the health care law seemed to be in a better place, with a big finish to the enrollment season and the early embarrassments fading into the background, the Supreme Court handed Obamacare’s opponents their biggest legal victory yet.


The contraception coverage mandate isn’t central to the law, the way the individual mandate is. By letting some closely held employers — like family-owned businesses — opt out of the coverage if they have religious objections, the justices haven’t blown a hole in the law that unravels its ability to cover millions of Americans. They didn’t even overturn the contraception coverage rule itself. They just carved out an exemption for some employers from one benefit, one that wasn’t even spelled out when the law was passed.


But politically, that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Obama administration overreached on one of the most sensitive cultural controversies in modern politics. And in doing so, the justices have given the Affordable Care Act one more setback that it didn’t need heading into the mid-term elections.


“This will remind people why they don’t like the ACA to begin with,” said Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway. “People do not believe that a president, no matter what party they’re from, should be overbearing or intrusive into their religious practices.”


Republican ad maker Brad Todd put it bluntly: “Anytime Obamacare is in the news, it’s a good thing for Republicans.”


The ruling also allows Republicans to say that Obama and his law have violated one of the most respected constitutional protections: freedom of religion.


“They’ve overreached, and they’ve overreached in an area that’s very sacred,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

That's great. However, it presupposes that Americans still care about such trivial items as freedom (of any kind). And, of course, the Constitution. Both are up for debate.

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Manthong's picture

Yay.. I am headed to Hobby Lobby to buy some more paper craft do-dads to spruce up the AK.

Hippocratic Oaf's picture

Another blow for little-o

This pile of shit is getting high.

RevRex's picture

What will that lying slut Sandra Fluke do now?


By her own admission she screws hundreds of guys a year.

lordylord's picture

Women:  You helped sell out your fellow man for $8 per month birth control pills (generic).  Hope you're happy. 

SilverIsKing's picture

Buttfuckers of America (BOA) had no comment on the ruling.

Pladizow's picture

"The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken

“Off goes the head of the king, and tyranny gives way to freedom. The change seems abysmal. Then, bit by bit, the face of freedom hardens, and by and by it is the old face of tyranny. Then another cycle, and another. But under the play of all these opposites there is something fundamental and permanent — the basic delusion that men may be governed and yet be free. “- H.L. Mencken

“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air—that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave. . . .In any dispute between a citizen and the government, it is my instinct to side with the citizen . . . I am against all efforts to make men virtuous by law.” - H.L. Mencken

Amish Hacker's picture

"Politics: the conduct of public affairs for private advantage."   Ambrose Bierce

SWRichmond's picture

so SCOTUS says a privately held company can object to a federal regulation on religious grounds?  


TimmyB's picture

Actually, it just held that the religious rights held by the owners of private corporations outweigh those of their employees. Is this really a good idea?

mkhs's picture

The employees are indentured?  If you don't like the employer, find a new one.

MeMadMax's picture

Well, ain't this a hoot.

I went over to huffingtonpost to take a peek at what the phycopaths are saying(it's always good to keep an eye on the crazies and your opponents, sometimes I do it for a good laugh)




Which means this is a good thing that the supreme court just did... for once...



TimmyB's picture

Why should a shareholder's religious beliefs trump the employees'?  Additionally,  aren't corporations supposed to be artificial persons seperate from the shareholders?   This ruling eviscerates corporate law and employees' religious rights.  

And find a new job, in the middle of our current dedepression,  isn't a serious answer.

mkhs's picture

The minute an employer hires someone, he loses his rights?

The employee is not bound to the employer.  It is a mutual agreement.  If the employee does not like the employer's rules, he is free to leave.

Never One Roach's picture

I'm guessing the Supremes are then going to take care for all those unwanted low iq trolls?

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

We wake up tomorrow and read in the headlines on ZH, "Obamacare repealed"......... wait that was just a nice dream mixed into this nightmare.

duo's picture

It is interesting that the Supremes no longer seem to be afraid of NSA blackmail, and may actually consider the consititution in their opinions.

john39's picture

this is a meaningless bone thrown to the masses...  if anything, this is yet another back door way to equate corporations with humans...   corporations are fictional...  just another cog in the usury machine that is our current world.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

SCOTUS asked if we can provide alternatives to religious non-profits why can't HHS do the same for for-profits.  This means Obama works around the ruling by using the same tracks built to accommodate baby-killers working for religious non-profits. 

plane jain's picture

Using birth control does not equal baby killer.

Many women need to use birth control pills to regulate their menstrual cycle.  If you don't know that then I presume that you don't socialize much with women, for whatever reason.

detached.amusement's picture

in my experience, those are exactly the ones you want to stay the fug away from

TBT or not TBT's picture

We want leftist women to not reproduce, but we ask them to do so on their own fucking dime. Bareback fucking is a privately made choice.  Getting pregnant from doing so indicates a healthy body, not a disease condition.   If someone needs the pill to make their cycle more comfortable, that is again a choice, and the cost of it is very low. Much lower than cheap cell phone plan or a.single tank of gas.   There is no need for "insurance" against an expense of such trifling size.   Insurance is for lower probability treatments of far higher cost.   

Eyeroller's picture

It is interesting that Justice Roberts no longer seems to be afraid of NSA blackmail, and may actually consider the consititution in his opinions.


Fixed it.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Hip hip hooray! More unwanted babies! I'm absolutely sure these religious folks will all adopt 15 to 20 each. It's totally what Jesus would do.

lordylord's picture

"Hip hip hooray! More unwanted babies! I'm absolutely sure these religious folks will all adopt 15 to 20 each."

Boy!  Libtards hate guns but love to hold a figurative one to your head.

tarsubil's picture

Just because you were unwanted doesn't mean you have to continue the cycle of your parents.

Headbanger's picture

And I'm gettin me some pretty shit for my SKS!

Hmmm.. I wonder what they got for making my own paper targets??

Meat Hammer's picture

Wait!  Are you saying one must be responsible for one's own choices???

The horror! 

Eyeroller's picture

What's next?  Insisting that the people of Detroit pay their water bill?

Oh, wait...

Amish Hacker's picture

When the people of Ukraine pay their gas bill.

XitSam's picture

I find the #RightToWater protests in Detroit an example of how socialists are willing to make other people be their slaves.

Detroit is right on a river/lake with water to be collected for free, but that's not good enough for them, they want purified water delivered to their house without paying for it, (because it is a right).  This purification and delivery would require equipment and people.  I don't think there are many people that have their life's goal to work for free in a municipal water department.  But the socialists are willing to force someone to do it for free, making them, in effect, slaves.

Jethro's picture

Ha!  I call him LC for Little Ceasar...

RevRex's picture

I call him NEgRO, as in NEgRO fiddles while Rome burns......

TBT or not TBT's picture

If we are doing musician metaphors, I'd say he is more like the pied piper.  He is playing the cloward and piven marching music, right off the cliff.  He intends to destroy the USA a fast as he can get away with it.  He's very active and willing, not just fiddling in some corner.  

firstdivision's picture

Is Hobby Lobby a 501(c)?  So next up they can try to go around and fire employees that are not Christian, and argue that discrimination thing.  This is a slippery slope. 

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

Dr. Venkman's picture

not really.


Edit: Firstdiv  (btw - I did not junk you.)

To clarify -- this ruling is so narrow that it is essentially useless, except maybe a small nominal victory for freedom from an overbearing gov't and maybe a black eye to the administration.

"The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. See post, at 32–33. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the work force without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal."

plane jain's picture

Thanks for the clarification.

holmes's picture

Does this mean I have to pay for my condoms. What is this crazy-ass Govt going to do next?

take away my obama phone

take away my food stamps

take away my section 8 grant

take away my medicaid

take away my kid's school lunches.

Time for a little riotin.

El Vaquero's picture

Fall whereever you want on the whole church and state issue.  This kind of shit wouldn't be such an issue if the government wasn't involved in every-fucking-thing.


LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, apparently everybody wants someone else to pay for things they want.

That aside, the danger I see here is yet another "law" that only applies to certain people. (despite people=corporation)

Fascism 101.

Hedge accordingly.

alien-IQ's picture

I'm fairly certain that no man will be adversely affected by his inability to procure birth control pills.

LawsofPhysics's picture

No shit sherlock, hence the difference between need and want.  No very good at reading comphrehension are you?

Meat Hammer's picture

LOP, it's just that our country needs a refresher course on the difference between "rights" and "privileges".

alien-IQ's picture

we're way past that. now only the privileged have rights. a fact which surely pleases you.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Meh, please, that which cannot be sustained, won't be.

Regardless of what any one species "thinks" or "believes".

Hedge accordingly.

Meat Hammer's picture

Cute.  I'm sure you thought of that line yourself.

And don't call me Shirley!

Never One Roach's picture

<< I'm fairly certain that no man will be adversely affected by his inability to procure birth control pills. >>


Just wait until you have to pay child support for all those one-night stands with those double-baggers.

moroots's picture

And yet the INVERSE relationship between individual liberty and size/scope of centralized authority somehow escapes unnoticed once again.