Two pieces of good news from the Supreme Court came out today, thought they made it by a small majority—they were not the 9-0 decisions we have seen recently.
First of all, the Hobby Lobby case was decided in Hobby Lobby’s favor. The government cannot force Hobby Lobby to fund “contraceptives” and, really, abortifacients and abortions.
But this victory, as important as it was, and as grateful as we should be about it, contains many sobering concerns. The very fact that such a basic Constitutional question for a free nation was only decided 5-4, tells you that the nation is on the knife’s edge legally. The cultural left is going to keep pushing. Secondly, the main reason for this decision was that the government could pay for the same drugs.
Also, the decision was made not in reference to the First Amendment but to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Consider this quotation from the Reason blog:
“Under RFRA, a Government action that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise must serve a compelling government interest, and we assume that the HHS regulations satisfy this requirement. But in order for the HHS mandate to be sustained,” Alito continued, “it must also constitute the least restrictive means of serving that interest, and the mandate plainly fails that test. There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contraceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives.”
So, we have the Supreme Court refusing to question that free “contraceptives” are a “compelling government interest,” pretending drugs that cause abortions can be categorized as “contraceptives,” and basically saying we can be burdened against our religious convictions as tax-payers in way we cannot be burdened as owners of “a closely-held” company.
The other victory was a union case, but again it was a bare majority barely doing anything. I’ll use Reason’s description again:
In a narrow, partisan, 5-4 ruling, the court determined that Illinois cannot simply declare that home health care workers are public employees on the basis of them receiving government health funding and then force them to pay for union representation. Though this is a blow for unions, the impact is much less than it could have been. The majority did not rule that public employees, as a whole, could not be forced to pay dues to unions to represent them, even if they didn’t want to belong to the union. Rather, the court ruled that these previous precedents did not extend to home care workers, who are privately employed, regardless of any government subsidies.
So we barely eked out some limited freedom in a context of slavery, here.
All of this reinforces that we are basically owned by the Supreme Court. I’m happy for the positive content of the decisions, but I am as concerned about the precariousness of our situation as ever.