And Now for a Close Reading of the Dissent in the Hobby Lobby Case


You might enjoy checking out This Looks like a job for Super Pac's Facebook page for mild bi-partisan mockery.

SCOTUS parceled out a narrow win for religious liberty yesterday -- very narrow. So narrow that it's hard to believe I inhabit the same universe with the ruling's critics.

Here are some useful links on the decision, but for the love of God or whatever it is you believe in, I don't take you seriously if you think this was a ruling about access to birth control.  The Hobby Lobby corporation COVERS birth control and vasectomies and a bunch of other stuff I as a pious Catholic hate.

Here's what the case WAS NOT about (see the link).

For those people like Justice Ginsberg who hear the phrase "birth control" and lose control of their rational faculties, let me give you a parallel case.

Imagine it is 2060 America. A combination of low fertility rates in-country and the influx of immigrants from war-torn Africa & the Middle East have given us a population that accepts female circumcision as standard practice. There are a few hold-outs against it, but they are widely seen as out of touch or wacky. It's just what one does for one's daughter to protect her from men.   You are an atheist lesbian feminist business owner. Do you have to cover clitorectomies in your company insurance plan?

SCOTUS just ruled in a split decision that you do not on the narrow ground that the government could have found a less intrusive way to provide free female circumcisions if that's what it wanted to do.  It kept silent on the question of whether the government has a legitimate interest in providing this service at all.  And -- troubling to my mind-- it seems to hint that a government "accommodation" whereby YOU don't provide the coverage, but the government sets up a kiosk in the middle of your workplace and provides it FOR you is just fine.

Princeton's Robbie George, obviously more qualified than I to weigh in, discounts this latter fear of mine -- but he doesn't bat it out of the park, so I am relieved but not elated.

Still the most troubling thing to me is that no one in the Obama administration understands enough political philosophy to realize it is foolish in the extreme to set people against each other and against their government for no good purpose as the HHS mandate does. They're further destroying the bonds that hold us together. Although maybe the damage was already done, given the fact that people have fallen for it without any recourse to facts or common sense.

I mean, I am just astonished that Hobby Lobby and everyone else has gone out of its way to frame the argument so that we WON'T be talking about birth control, yet every paper in the country calls this the birth control case and everyone speaks as if the question in the case were a matter of denying anyone access to any contraceptive he or she wants.