Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged U.S. Supreme Court

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When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes that are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.

United States v. Lee (1982), a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court found requiring an Amish employer to withhold and pay Social Security taxes for his workers was constitutional even though “the Amish faith prohibited participation in governmental support programs.”

Justice Samuel Alito brushed the precedent of Lee aside by dismissing it as a case that did not concern the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but only the Free Exercise clause, so therefore the Court need not consider it. The implication is that pre-RFRA precedent doesn’t matter. And that’s a frightening departure from precedent.

Filed under hobby lobby rfra contraceptive mandate reproductive rights politics law u.s. supreme court united states v. lee scotus samuel alito birth control

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FOR THOSE OF YOU THINKING, “WELL, MAYBE HOBBY LOBBY HAS A POINT ABOUT RELIGIOUS ‘FREEDOM’ AND HEALTHCARE…” | xoJane

A piece I wrote in March about Hobby Lobby and the contraceptive mandate is featured on xoJane today. Check it out!

An excerpt:

"Your boss doesn’t get to dictate what you do with your paycheck, whether it’s buying groceries, donating it all to orphans, or splurging it on hookers and blow.

Your boss might take issue with you buying pork because he’s Jewish, donating it to orphans because she thinks they’re godless, or on the hookers and blow because that’s not very Christian of you. However, your bosses would be ridiculed for thinking they have the right to tail you to make sure you’re spending YOUR money in accordance with their faith, right? There’s not much difference here. Set aside that the insurance is not directly offered by Hobby Lobby, or that they could pay taxes/penalties instead of lawyers and legal fees by kicking everyone onto the exchange, thereby taking away their supposed moral conundrum. Spoiler alert: HEALTH BENEFITS ARE COMPENSATION FOR YOUR LABOR. Why would you think for one second that your boss gets to dictate what you do with your compensation?”

Filed under Hobby Lobby contraceptive mandate birth control SCOTUS u.s. supreme court religion politics law reproductive rights

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For those of you thinking, “Well, maybe Hobby Lobby has a point about religion ‘freedom’ and healthcare…”

First off, just stop. Your boss doesn’t get to dictate what you do with your paycheck, whether it’s buying groceries, donating it all to orphans, or splurging it on hookers and blow.

Your boss might take issue with you buying pork because he’s Jewish, donating it to orphans because she thinks they’re godless, or on the hookers and blow because that’s not very Christian of you. However, your bosses would be ridiculed for thinking they have the right to tail you to make sure you’re spending YOUR money in accordance with their faith, right? There’s not much difference here. Set aside that the insurance is not directly offered by Hobby Lobby, or that they could pay taxes/penalties instead of lawyers and legal fees by kicking everyone onto the exchange, thereby taking away their supposed moral conundrum. Spoiler alert: HEALTH BENEFITS ARE COMPENSATION FOR YOUR LABOR. Why would you think for one second that your boss gets to dictate what you do with your compensation?

Second, I want you to try a thought experiment. Let’s say the owner of a for-profit business is a devout Muslim. It is forbidden in the Muslim faith to consume pork. You’ve gone to the doctor for pneumonia, and your doc gives you antibiotics. Unfortunately, many medicines in gel capsules contain gelatin, which is usually derived from animal protein. Due to fears about mad cow, it’s more common for it to be derived from pigs. Your boss claims to have the right to bar you from taking that antibiotic because your health plan is paid for in part by the company, so therefore your boss gets to dictate the company’s (their) religious belief trumps your doc’s opinion because the for-profit company is an extension of their faith. Can you imagine the pearl-clutching if Muslim business owners told these good Christians (or anyone else, for that matter) that they could not have potentially lifesaving medicine because of the owner’s beliefs? Richard Dawkins might stroke out from rage. Fox News might never recover. Michele Bachmann would require a fainting couch for the resulting vapors.

How about if it’s medicine in a gelatin capsule for high blood pressure, depression, or even erectile dysfunction medication? How about if your devout Catholic boss would only cover erectile dysfunction for married men because premarital sex is a sin, and ONLY if said medication was used with no contraception and in pursuit of conception because sex is only for procreation and every sperm is sacred? Or dictating no treatment for HIV or AIDS because only “sinners” get it and their god says no dice?

Or what if your boss says no insulin because it was derived from animal protein long ago or no Heparin to treat a blood clot because it still contains animal tissue, and their vegatarianism is a deeply-held belief too, isn’t that kinda sorta like religion, please Justice Scalia?

I cannot wrap my head around Hobby Lobby’s view that medical treatment is their business because said treatment might maybe have something to do with their employees doing the sex on their time away from work — y’know, their private lives. Not all contraceptives and reproductive health visits are for preventing maybe babies — hormonal contraceptives have a myraid of uses beyond preventing conception. The only time the sex lives of Hobby Lobby employees is their business is if employees are boning on the clock — THEN Hobby Lobby has every right to say “No sex time ‘til break time, please.” They can’t say, “No sex time ‘til ring time, please. Because Jesus.”

Working for a for-profit employer in the U.S. does not mean you must also swallow their religious dictates hook, line, and sinker. To claim otherwise in the name of religious freedom is a complete fallacy and wholly offensive to the very idea of religious freedom itself.

Filed under hobby lobby contraception news politics religion u.s. supreme court scotus religious freedom health care aca affordable care act contraceptive mandate

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Todd Starnes: And yet, there seems to be this opinion on the other side that says, you know what, you and I don’t deserve the same rights. You know, it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage, or perhaps we are pro-life, and that means we’re somehow second-class citizens who don’t deserve to be in the public marketplace of ideas.

Sandy Rios: Absolutely. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You know there’s going to be punishment. There will be tremendous punishment. If gay marriage is embraced by the country, if the Supreme Court goes south this week in its hearings, we are in for – of course, we’re not going to hear about it until June – but we are in for persecution like we have never seen it.

Starnes: Well, it’s already started.

Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes and American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios displaying a jaw-dropping lack of awareness when discussing marriage equality.

I nearly choked on my goddamn coffee when I heard this fuckery come out of their mouths. Let’s just hit the basic point: EVERY bill passed for marriage equality has a religious exemption. Period.

And clergy have every right to refuse to marry anyone. Don’t believe me? Go to a Catholic priest, demand he marry you and your significant other on the spot, and mention that neither of you is Catholic, but he just HAS to do it. Hint: He won’t.

P.S. — If you want to uphold “traditional, Biblical” definitions of marriage and think it’s one man and one woman, you clearly didn’t read that book closely.

I just can’t with some people…

Filed under Todd Starnes Sandy Rios lgbtq politics Fox News American Family Radio wait Really? I can't marriage equality u.s. supreme court scotus

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The ill-conceived, misbegotten, politically-inspired H.R. 3396 [Defense of Marriage Act] should not be enacted into law. And if it is, the President should veto it.

It is not the role of the State to uphold the tenets of any religion nor to base its laws on a particular religious belief. The proper province of the State is legislation, not salvation. The State is not the church and does not accept its orders from God.

America is not a theocracy, and it is not the State’s business if a person marries a member of the same sex. In short, Caesar has no responsibility for souls.

Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, (D-Omaha) in a prepared statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on H.R. 3396, May 16, 1996. H.R. 3396 would later become the Defense of Marriage Act.

I’ve posted this once before, but it’s especially relevant this week as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

And Nebraska’s Sen. Ernie Chambers is the goddamn man.

Filed under SCOTUS U.S. Supreme Court DOMA Defense of Marriage Act politics lgbtq marriage equality

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I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution… The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose — they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act.

Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?

Justice Antonin Scalia, oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, Feb. 27, 2013.

Maybe Scalia should talk to the members of the GOP who voted against the Violence Against Women Act. That’s got a wonderful name. Who’s going to vote against that?

Oh, wait…

Filed under VAWA Violence Against Women Act politics SCOTUS U.S. Supreme Court Shelby County v. Holder Antonin Scalia just sayin'

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On the First Amendment, the free market, and boycotts

mrpooscratch replied to your post: Dear Conservatives who think they grasp this Jesus thing:

Um, it’s about free speech and people not trying to destroy your business because they disagree with you, NOT homosexuality. Sorry you missed the point.

Nope, sorry. You’re missing the point here. Just as the CEO has his freedom of speech, we have the freedom of speech to boycott his establishments and spread the word about his business practices. In fact, a boycott is a form of free speech. 

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right to boycott in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. et al. 458 U.S. 886 (1982). The court held that the States have broad power to regulate general economic activities, but cannot prohibit peaceful political activity and organizing. This includes boycotts, which are protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments in regards to freedom of speech and association. Also, within the right to freely associate is the right to demonstrate and align one’s self with the ideals of the association or business — or not.

Also, individuals are not responsible for business losses due a non-violent boycott — even if a business fails. The First Amendment freedoms in a boycott trump the business owner’s success. Claiborne bears striking similarities to issues at the heart of the boycott of Chick-Fil-A. As the Court said in this case, petitioners, “through exercise of their First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association, and petition, rather than through riot or revolution… sought to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens.”

Justice John Paul Stevens, who delivered the majority opinion, wrote:

"The boycott of white merchants at issue in this case took many forms. The boycott was launched at a meeting of a local branch of the NAACP attended by several hundred persons. Its acknowledged purpose was to secure compliance by both civic and business leaders with a lengthy list of demands for equality and racial justice. The boycott was supported by speeches and nonviolent picketing. Participants repeatedly encouraged others to join in its cause. Each of these elements of the boycott is a form of speech or conduct that is ordinarily entitled to protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments."

Also, in Organization for a Better Austin v. Keefe, 402 U.S. 415 (1971), Chief Justice Warren Burger stated: 

"The claim that the expressions were intended to exercise a coercive impact on respondent does not remove them from the reach of the First Amendment. Petitioners plainly intended to influence respondent’s conduct by their activities; this is not fundamentally different from the function of a newspaper. Petitioners were engaged openly and vigorously in making the public aware of respondent’s real estate practices. Those practices were offensive to them, as the views and practices of petitioners are no doubt offensive to others. But so long as the means are peaceful, the communication need not meet standards of acceptability." [citations omitted]

In other words, even if the goal of the boycott is coercive action against a business entity, the boycott is protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments as long as it remains non-violent.

Now, beyond the constitutionality of the boycott, isn’t this how the free market is supposed to work? For example, I don’t like the business practices or views of Shop X, and they refuse to change their practices — say, puppy punching for the lulz. I hate puppy punching because it’s hurtful and unnecessary for the business to function. So I organize a boycott. Shop X refuses to quit punching puppies, and eventually closes because others decided of their own volition to stop patronizing the shop. 

Diner Y’s owner holds racist beliefs which he voices on community radio. So I organize a boycott. Diner Y closes because people refuse to eat at a place that endorses bigotry.

Chick-Fil-A’s owner actively supports discrimination against GLBTQ people via his free speech (his words and money). So I organize a boycott. The free market has yet to decide on Chick-Fil-A’s fate. 

The U.S. Constitution is a beautiful thing.

Get it?

Cheers,

Meg

Filed under reply mrpooscratch Free Speech Chick-Fil-A politics protest SCOTUS U.S. Supreme Court Boycott Tastes like crow Constitution U.S. Constitution First Amendment Freedom of speech Fourteenth Amendment