True liberty

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor asks the question

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor asks the question

You often hear the rough definition of true liberty is every person’s right to do what you want up to the tip of someone else’s nose.

Does a corporate employer who believes in faith healing invade your rights when refusing to allow your health insurance to cover any medical procedure?

If the employer is a corporation, and closely held, and three of the five shareholders are faith healing believers, while the other two are dissenting physicians, does the corporate majority determine health care for an employee may only be faith healing?

Just imagine you were denied health insurance to cover your children because it defied his faith healing belief.

Some children have died because of the misguided religious faith healing belief of parents who refused medical procedures to save their children.

Suppose you had a bleeding duodenal ulcer and your insurance didn’t cover transfusions because your employer had a religious belief against blood transfusions?

Employees in almost every job in America stand around the coffee machine and mutter complaints about their employer.

Interfering with an employee’s health coverage must be right up there since employers lure employees with health care coverage as part of their compensation package.

But many employees think it’s just fine that Hobby Lobby told its employees that their health insurance would no longer cover certain kinds of contraception.

Some segment of society has no problem with a corporate employer compromising an individual’s health because it conforms with their personal religious belief, may even celebrate the forced imposition of their personal religious belief on others.

That’s what I call a metaphorical punch in the nose, an interference with another’s individual liberty. Particularly, when there is no law sanctioning the contraceptives at issue.  Nor any law prohibiting abortions in the first trimester.

According to Hobby Lobby’s civil complaint, filed in Oklahoma in September 2012, they employ 13,000 full-time employees in more than 500 stores in 40 states.

Hobby Lobby complained that the Affordable Care Act “force[d] religiously-motivated business owners like Plaintiffs to violate their faith under threat of millions of dollars in fines.”

Hobby Lobby admitted in its complaint, however, that “its prescription drug policy included two drugs – Plan B and Ella – that could cause an abortion.”

Hobby Lobby “discovered” that they had already been “violat[ing] their faith” for years and only the Affordable Care Act prompted their illumination to stop “sinning.”

Hobby Lobby had provided insurance coverage for its employees, and then changed its mind in what has to be considered a calculated effort to undermine health care coverage for women across the nation.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor posed the first question to Hobby Lobby’s counsel at oral argument before the Supreme Court on March 25, 2014: “Is your claim limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives or does it include items like transfusion, vaccines? .. Is any claim under your theory that has a religious basis, could an employer preclude the use of those items as well?”

In response, Hobby Lobby counsel said, “Every case would have to be analyzed on its own.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginzburg wrote in her dissent that “[t]he exemption sought by Hobby Lobby …would override significant interests of the corporations’ employees and covered dependents.  It would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage that the ACA would otherwise secure.”

The majority wrestled its 5-4 decision to conclude, no coverage, in contradiction of earlier supreme court precedents, exalting a corporate religious preference over medical science and a woman’s individual liberty.