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The Supreme Court Defended Religious Liberty in the Hobby Lobby Case; It Didn't Ban Birth Control


RUSH: So we have a couple of Supreme Court rulings today, and depending on where you look, they are very, very narrow.  In fact, in some cases probably meaningless, except, as far as they might provide political impetus for the left to reengage in the supposed Republican War on Women. 

Now, let's look at the Hobby Lobby case first off.  And I have to issue a caveat here.  These rulings came out just this morning and I have spent as much time as I've had here getting into it and trying to figure them out but there's gonna be a lot more to learn as time goes on today. So I need to reserve the right here to get something slightly incorrect if indeed it is.  I doubt it, but I may not have been able to absorb everything that's relevant in these two rulings prior to the program having begun, but that's why there's tomorrow and, in fact, why there is later today. 

Now, at first blush -- and I read one of the preparatory pieces about the Hobby Lobby case, and it was in the Drive-By Media. And of course the point made about it was that even if the court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, it was going to be very, very narrow.  It was not going to be earth-shattering, it was not gonna be landmark, because it was only gonna affect a few corporations, those corporations which are called "closely held." 

Now, what is a "closely held" corporation?  It basically means when the owners run it.  The Hobby Lobby is owned and operated by a family, not a gigantic public company with all kinds of stockholders and massive numbers of boards of directors.  And so the court in that case said those companies have a right not to have their religious beliefs violated by federal legislation, in this case Obamacare, and the contraception mandate.  Obamacare requires that all employers provide contraception insurance coverage to their employees. And the Hobby Lobby, "We don't believe in that. We don't believe in abortion. We don't believe in contraception and we don't believe the federal government can tell us that they can make us violate our religious views," and the Supreme Court agreed with them today. 

Now, despite what many on the left are saying today, despite what you probably are gonna hear from a lot of people on the left, birth control is not what was banned by the Supreme Court.  That's not what was on the docket, so to speak.  In the Hobby Lobby case, narrow though it may be, the Supreme Court, by 5-4 majority decision, defended liberty. And it should be noted that even after this decision, birth control remains widely available. It is dirt cheap no matter where you want to go get it.  The fact is, if you wanted to be entirely -- well, not entirely -- if you wanted to be somewhat negative about this, you could say that the most appalling thing about today's decision is that we had to even endure it, that we had to even go through this. 

We had to sit on the edge of our seats to find out if people who own a for-profit company will also be allowed to exercise their religious views under our laws.  The fact that that was up for grabs is an indication of where we are nationwide and where we're heading. I think it's just amazing, given that we're supposed to have freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution, it should never have been an issue. The only reason it is is because we have a political party today conducting an all-out assault on the Constitution because they don't like it.  It's too limiting.  The Constitution limits government.  That's why Obama is saying, "I don't care." He's really whining lately.  We've got some sound bites. 

He's really whining. (imitating Obama) "Well, they can call me names, but if they won't act, I'm going to."  As though there is no Constitution.  But as you read the ruling from the Supreme Court -- in fact, let me just share with you one view that I have found by an appellate lawyer today.  "This is a meaningless decision."  This is an appellate lawyer.  And, by the way, one thing you should know.  Every time the conservatives win a Supreme Court decision, it's always narrow, always meaningless. It's really no big deal. It's just, you know, we gotta throw 'em a bone now and then to keep 'em happy, but there's really nothing to see here. 

I found this at Power Line.  An appellate lawyer by the name of Mark Arnold said: "A meaningless decision. The less restrictive alternative that the majority settled on is a certification by Hobby Lobby that it opposes contraceptive coverage."  Okay, fine.  What happens next?  "The insurance company must provide that coverage for free." It's still gonna be available to the employee free.  It's just that Hobby Lobby isn't gonna have to pay for it.  The insurance company will.  "Meaning that the premium charged to Hobby Lobby will necessarily include the cost of the free contraception. All smoke and mirrors."

So this guy's point is Hobby Lobby is still gonna be paying for it whether they think so or not.  And in that case it's meaningless because there still is the mandate.  Women at their employment must be provided free contraception.  If Hobby Lobby says we don't want to pay it 'cause it violates our religious beliefs, then it goes to the next person in line, the insurance company.  They're going to have to pay it, and what will they do?  They'll bill back Hobby Lobby for the cost.  So in fact this guy's saying this ruling is literally meaningless, it's literally smoke and mirrors because when it's all said and done, Hobby Lobby is still going to be paying for contraception services for their female employees.

He may be right, but it doesn't erase the Supreme Court decision, narrow though it might be. It doesn't erase the fact that Supreme Court ruled that the government failed to show that the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act is the least restrictive means of advancing its interests in providing access to health insurance via birth control.  They still ruled in favor of a "closely held" corporation to practice its religious views.  Folks, I don't know that that's ever come from a Supreme Court decision.  I think this maybe the first time that something like this has ever been officially sanctioned, that the Supreme Court has actually ruled in favor of religious freedom for a corporation. 

Now, the left, of course, is gonna tries to say it's meaningless and narrow.  And, of course, they've always got Obama.  In fact the left -- grab audio sound bite number four.  This is Gloria Borger.  (interruption)  Why?  Well, but you're gonna have it in a second, right, after the computer reboots?  (Interruption)  Right.  Okay.  How long does that take, two hours?  (interruption)  Right in the middle of the reboot.  Well, but, okay, is that still another five minutes, 10 minutes?  (interruption)  If you get a Mac you can reboot in 30 seconds.  Anyway as soon as I call for the sound bite the computer that holds them crashed and now we're rebooting it. 

But what it is is Gloria Borger simply saying -- she's on with Carol Costello on CNN and they're just wringing their hands and they're lamenting the loss, oh, this is horrible, but Gloria Borger said not to worry, not to worry, Obama will just decide to have the federal government pay for their contraceptives.  It'll be fine, Carol, don't sweat it.  Obama will fix it.  At the end of the day female employees at Hobby Lobby will get free contraception.  This is the appellate lawyer's opinion that I just shared with you.  Here is audio sound bite number four.  It's from CNN today, Gloria Borger and Carol Costello.

BORGER:  What they're probably gonna do is issue some kind of regulation.  What you're gonna see is the government sort of picking up where Hobby Lobby would leave off.  This is a blow to the administration.  This is something, as I was talking about earlier, that's clearly gonna become an issue in any presidential campaign, even in the midterm elections.  But in terms of actual impact for these particular women who work at these "closely held" companies, as you've been calling it, I do think that you'll end up seeing some kind of a regulation issued from the administration so they don't have a gap in their coverage.

RUSH:  Right. So that's the thinking everywhere on the left, is either Obama's gonna pay for it from his stash like they think exists in Detroit, or the insurance company will be forced to pay for it.  But they won't pay for it, they'll just bill it back to Hobby Lobby.  (interruption)  No, the principle stands, that's the point.  When all this is said and done, the Supreme Court still ruled that the federal government cannot make a "closely held" corporation violate its own personal religious beliefs.  I'm gonna have to double-check this, but I really do think that in that sense we've not had a ruling this direct in that regard before, whatever the issue was.  I think I saw that somewhere this morning in the mounds of show prep that I was going through. 

Look, it means here that Obama cannot unilaterally dictate how religion is to be practiced via laws or regulations or executive orders.  It means that the First Amendment is not a casual plaything for cavalier statists whether in the executive branch or whether in Congress.  There also was another ruling on the union's and whether or not parents and nannies taking care of their own loved ones at home can be forced to pay union dues, and that was rejected, too.  The headline says: "Sweeping Loss for Unions."  Oh, horrible,  the Supreme Court just dealt a devastating blow to public unions.  But this one really is kind of narrow.  But the principle still stands. 

What is really important, yet really small in this case, is that even after the Hobby Lobby decision, women can still go to Target or Walmart and buy a month's worth of conception for nine dollars.  What's kind of being overlooked here in all this -- and we did look at it in great detail on the previous occasion on this program -- is that somehow we've gotten to the point where women should not have to pay for their own birth control.  Somebody else is gonna pay for it, no matter how much they want, no matter how often they want it, no matter for what reason, somebody else is going to pay for it.  That's the root of all this.  The employer should pay it, the insurance company will pay it, but in no way in 2014 America are women going to being pay for it, even though you can go to Target or Walmart and get a month's supply for nine bucks. 

So the ruling does not apply to, say, an Exxon or a General Motors.  That's not a "closely held" corporation.  But the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to fund the contraception mandate.  Their liberty was defended here, no matter how narrow the left wants to say the ruling was, no matter what the practical application is, when it's all over the First Amendment was enforced, or maybe reinforced today.  


RUSH:  Now, just a couple of more things.  There were really only four "drugs," if you will, that Hobby Lobby objected to.  In fact, you could say that this case was about abortion, in a sense, because Hobby Lobby objected to providing coverage for abortifacients. In other words, "medications," if you will, that would abort a fetus, something that's already conceived, as opposed to a preventative.  They didn't care about any of that.  It wasn't contraception, actual contraception. Being aborted. That's what they objected to; it's what was upheld. 

Now, another thing, too.  "A closely held corporation." You know, all of the left-leaning lawyers out there say, "Ah, it's a narrow decision. It really doesn't mean anything." The bottom line is, this definition of a "closely held corporation" may be up for grabs.  Alito said that the ruling applies only to corporations like the Hobby Lobby "that are under the control of just a few people, in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners." 

Well, does that include small business?  Does that include a 50-employee shop or a hundred-employee shop where the owners run the thing and it's closely held?  A lot of people may be under the impression we're talking about big corporations which are closely held, which you might count on two hands.  But it could, in fact, apply to a whole slew of corporations.  A corporation can have four people in it, for example, depending how you structure it and file it. 

So "closely held" means that the owners operate it and that there's no essential difference between the business and its owners.  Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, only 40 companies will get protection.  Are you listening to this Snerdley?  "Only about 40 companies will get protection under the [Hobby Lobby] ruling.  For the 40 for-profit employers who want junctions against enforcement of the requirement, Monday's ruling suggests they can keep their benefits offerings as is. 

"Many said they were facing bad options if the decision went the other way."  So, you know, looked at in one way, it can be seen as preposterously narrow.  Is the New York Times a closely held corporation?  I mean, it's publicly traded, but there are two kinds of stock.  There's Class A and then there's Sulzberger family stock, and that's the only stock that matters.  (interruption)  Well, I don't know where it's gonna go next. It's too soon to say whether it may come back to court.

But the people that are claiming it's a narrow ruling are going to the mat here in order to make the point that it is.  Even with this, you know, look at all the waivers that Obama extended and granted before we even got to this point. Prior to elections, when Obamacare was being implemented, he would offer waivers so as not to have the law fully implemented prior to elections so as not to cause all the pain that is yet to come when it is fully implemented. 

So it's scattershot.  It's all over the place.  And in that sense, you might say the ruling -- practically applied -- is narrow.  I still think that the overall point upholding the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment is a major thing.  It's sad that it even had to get to this point to have it asserted, but nevertheless it did.  Now, the union case is next.  Another brief, obscene profit break coming up, and we'll get to the union ruling. That really could be somewhat narrow in terms of who it applies to.


RUSH: Now, before we go quickly to the next break, I got Jeffrey Toobin on CNN today who read the dissent by Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg, and is convinced based on her ruling that she's really worried this isn't narrow at all.  She thinks this is really broad and sweeping and wide-ranging.

TOOBIN:  Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissenting opinion is devoted to the proposition that it's not narrow, that the idea that a privately held company can exercise religious beliefs in deciding which benefits and which customers to deal with is potentially a very broad idea.  In fact, you know, she points out that there are religious owners of companies who believe in the separation of the races.  Should their religious beliefs be honored?  There are people of conviction and faith who believe that homosexuality is evil and immoral and don't want to engage in business with gay people.  They could take advantage of these rulings!

RUSH:  Yes.  So you see, when you get down to the bare bones, the left is terribly worried about this and the implications.  So the effort to cast it as narrow and meaningless is public relations and buzz.  But if you get one of the leading liberal lights on the court worried about it, and particularly because, "My God, a company can exercise its religious beliefs?  Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" 

You know, religious beliefs are some of the most attacked beliefs in our culture today.  


RUSH: Late-breaking news here on the Regime.  The latest kid serving as the White House press secretary, a guy named Josh Earnest, at the White House briefing today -- and I'm assuming this quote is accurate -- is putting out purposely misleading information.  "Today's decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies."  There's a part of me that says, Obama likes these rulings.  Remember, everything is political, everything ends up politicized.  It's how they see the world. 

"Rush, I'm tired of politics.  We've got to stop fighting.  Everything is not political." 

I agree with you except the left makes everything political.  And if you disagree with it you have to do so on -- the aggressor sets the rules in any fight. They clearly are.  So today's decision jeopardizes the health of women employed by these companies.  It does not.  It does not.  How did it end up that women are not supposed to buy their own contraceptives?  When did this take hold that this is somebody else's responsibility, particularly when you can do it for nine dollars a month.  And then Josh Earnest said, "We will work with congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital health services as everyone else."

And don't forget, these people view pregnancy as a disease.  The feminists and militant leftists have always, in their convoluted support of abortion, have always portrayed it as a disease.  And so they're taking medication to treat medical conditions such as pregnancy.  Even in the AP story, "Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under Obamacare."  Preventive services, as though it's a disease, a sickness?  And it's exactly one of the many ways in which they've gotten to this point.  



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