US Supreme Court will decide if the Obamacare contraception mandate “the least restrictive means" of obtaining goal of making contraception available?

I think that the Obama administration will have a hard time winning the new case going to the Supreme court on contraception mandates.  Supporters of the law will focus on whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to for profit businesses.  But I would point out that the court has moved towards letting for profit businesses have free speech rights under the First Amendment (see the Citizens United case from 2010).  The Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn't specifically exempt for profit businesses from coverage.  It talks about "persons," but why should people lose the ability to honor their religious beliefs when they operate a company?  From The Hill newspaper:
“I think there’s a strong argument that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, in this particular case, would allow Hobby Lobby to deny certain contraception coverage without having to pay the fine that would otherwise be imposed them under the Affordable Care Act,” said Kurt Lash, a constitutional law professor at the University of Illinois.  
The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act prevents the government from “substantially burden[ing] a person's exercise of religion” unless it “furthers a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned chain of arts and craft stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a cabinet company owned by Mennonites, argue that the law should prevent them from having to offer their employees contraception as part of their health insurance coverage. The two companies are citing the 1993 law to back their cases.   
Kennedy wrote the 1993 decision that allowed a Florida Santeria group that performed animal sacrifices to do so despite a local ban on the practice.  
Under Roberts, the court unanimously ruled in 2006 that a Brazil-based religious sect could use an illegal hallucinogenic drug in their ceremonies, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  
“We already know that there is a majority on the court that not only is willing to uphold and apply [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] but who in the past has been very skeptical of the government denying claims when they’ve been giving other groups exemptions,” Lash said. It is dangerous to predict the justices' decisions, however, and both of these cases dealt with religious institutions, not for-profit businesses. . . .

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Blogger Martin G. Schalz said...

Why would there be a need to implement a law called the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" when the First Amendment guarantees the right to freely practice one's religious beliefs?

Congress cannot legislate rights as expressed in the Constitution, yet they do it anyways. Oh, I see it now! They can do it if it “furthers a compelling governmental interest”. That, in and of itself is against that silly document that gets in governments way. Looks as if though I just answered my own question...

As for business, Congress is strictly limited by the Commerce Clause, yet that too is ignored, or twisted in order to further the loss of power of the people, or simply for political purposes.

Our clowns in Washington say that a corporation is a person, yet when they deal with actual folks, they deny them?

There was a case not too long ago where a photo studio refused to shoot a gay wedding, and the government stepped in and said they had to. Does the RFRA apply to them, or not?

How about atheists? The government supports their views on religion, yet they have no such beliefs, and mostly Christians are the ones who pay the price for this.

Does this mean if I am turned down for a job as a cleric because I am an atheist, can I petition the government for redress of grievance?

What a crock!

11/27/2013 10:32 AM  

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