Religious Freedom Trumps Individual Rights in Supreme Court Ruling

I wasn’t planning to write about the Hobby Lobby decision tonight, but the more I read about it, the more incensed I become.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Doug Mills/The New York Times

I came of age in the 1970’s when women were fighting the battles that shockingly got pushed backwards today in the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Hobby Lobby case. I’ve fought against more than my share of sexism in my life, and I have stood up many a time to say I believe in religious freedom in America. That said, I do not believe that religious freedom should in any way trump individual rights.

The Hobby Lobby ruling highlights a Supreme Court out of control, biased by male opinion, making decisions that affect the lives of women. There are so many things wrong with this ruling, I can not begin to say. Briefing looking beyond the infringement of women’s rights, there is this to consider:

The 5-to-4 ruling, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to many challenges from corporations over laws that they claim violate their religious liberty.

My head is spinning…

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg provided the most eloquent of smack downs against her male counter parts on the Supreme Court bench decrying their “majority opinion as a radical overhaul of corporate rights, one she said could apply to all corporations and to countless laws.” With assent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Ginsberg said “the court had for the first time extended religious-freedom protections to “the commercial, profit-making world.””

The court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faiths.”

She added that the contraception coverage requirement was vital to women’s health and reproductive freedom…

“Although the court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private.” She added that corporations could now object to “health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work.”

Ginsburg also stated she thought anti-discrimination could also be at risk due to the implication of this decision.

On Twitter tonight…

Finally, Jeffrey Toobin aptly pointed out on CNN that today’s two Supreme Court decisions point to the political ideological divide within the Supreme Court: Court rulings: It’s GOP v. Democrats:

But no one should be misled. When it comes to the most fundamental issues before the court, the most important factor is not the legal arguments but the identity of the judges — and the presidents who appointed them. Republicans vote one way, Democrats another. It’s true in Congress, and it’s true on the other side of First Street as well — in the marble temple of the United States Supreme Court.

And so I repeat… I do not believe that religious freedom should in any way trump individual rights.

There’s more on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg scathing dissent here. The fight for women’s rights continues…

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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