On Monday, in his opinion for the majority on the Hobby Lobby case, Justice Samuel Alito called the ruling “narrow” claiming that it was not a precedent and applied only to that specific case. In her dissenting opinion Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed with his assessment of the decision calling it “a decision of startling breadth,” not narrowly focused as Alito claimed.
Ginsburg said that the Court had “ventured into a minefield,” opening the door for businesses to opt out of almost any law on the grounds that it was “incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” As it turns out Ginsburg was right and Alito did not mean a word he said.
On Tuesday the Court vacated decisions by lower courts in the cases of Autocam Corp. v. Burwell and Eden Foods v. Burwell ordering the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear them keeping the Hobby Lobby ruling in mind.
These two cases do not bear any resemblance to the Hobby Lobby case, both are Catholic owned businesses which objected to a requirement for any form of birth control and sought an exemption from all 20 forms the ACA mandates coverage for, not just the four that Hobby Lobby objected to.
The Court had already ignored all of the medical evidence presented, accepting the erroneous claims of the Green family that those four were abortifacients rather than birth control measures, now they are telling lower courts that they made the wrong decision in a case where a business owner does not want his female employees to use birth control because his religion forbids it.
Even more egregious is the fact that the same Court which vacated the decisions in these two cases also refused to review three other cases, Department of Health & Human Services v. Gilardi, Burwell v. Newland and Burwell v. Korte, all government appeals involving Catholic business owners who object to providing insurance which will pay for any form of birth control.
The actions the Court on Tuesday belie the contention that this was intended to be a very narrow ruling, it was simply a foot in the door and now that salesman is not going anywhere until you buy that vacuum cleaner that you neither need nor want.
h/t: Mother Jones