DECIPHERING HOBBY LOBBY
Hobby Lobby wins with its objection
To funding certain kinds of contraception.
Alito says the ruling’s not extensive.
So why is Ginsburg quite so apprehensive?
After Citizen’s United comes Hobby Lobby. So now privately held corporations are not only people, they may be religious people. Justice Alito for the majority insists that the decision’s application is narrow – limited to privately owned companies. But Justice Ginsburg thinks that this Supreme Court majority will encroach further and further on women’s reproductive and other rights.
Most of the cartoonists are with Ginsburg. Rogers shows us “Things You Can Buy At Hobby Lobby”…such as a needlepoint “Corporations are People with Religious Rights”, and rubber stamps printing “Denied” on employee reproductive rights. NIck Anderson draws a China Sweatshop “Operated by Christian Values”, with the bathroom and exit doors nailed shut. Jim Morin also jumps on the production of most Hobby Lobby goods in China by reminding us that China is “where they have forced abortion, persecution of Christians, and mandatory birth control.” And John Dankow suggests that: “If life were fair – men also could get pregnant, then birth control would be available and free for everyone.”
Online The Daily Current quoted the Ozark Post-Gazette to the effect that: “Managers at a Hobby Lobby store in Arkansas stoned to death an employee for being gay…in accordance with the Biblical verse Leviticus 20:13 which commands believers to kill homosexual men;” and lawyers for Hobby Lobby announced that “The Supreme Court decision is clear. Hobby Lobby was fully within their rights” in executing their employee. Other online publications duly explained that this story was an invention of a publication which clearly states that it is a satirical newspaper whose “stories are purely fictional.”
Jon Stewart, discussing the issue before the Court announced its decision, interpreting the Hobby Lobby’s argument as saying “Corporations aren’t just people, they’re ill-informed people. Whose factually incorrect beliefs must be upheld because they sincerely believe them anyway. I guess it’s why at Hobby Lobby they feed their 16,000 employees with five loaves and two fish. What? The employees are still hungry? They believe you aren’t.”
Conservative commentators, of course, were delighted with the decision. And they insisted that the liberals’ cries of alarm were based on deliberate distortion. All but four of the twenty FDA-approved contraceptives – those that prevent implantation of the embryo -- continue to be available in Hobby Lobby’s health insurance program. On this point the Washington Post’s fact checkers found the liberal critics had overstated their case, awarding them two out of four “Pinnochios”. Moreover, the dire predictions that Hobby Lobby will be followed by a war on women and gays, let alone lead to religious bans on blood transfusions and immunizations, are all the products of liberal hysteria. As for Jon Stewart’s jabs about Hobby Lobby’s paucity of loaves and fishes, conservatives cited the company’s newly- announced decision to raise the wages of its full-time staff from $13 an hour to $14 – almost twice the federal minimum wage. On this issue one conservative site, Free Republic, quoted Congressional Democratr George Miller as lamenting “the negative impact this rogue decision by an arrogant employer will have on our push to enact a federal hike of the minimum wage.” And the magazine cited Hillary Clinton as bemoaning the company’s decision to use the money it was saving on women to bolster wages across the board in an “attempt to destroy worker solidarity.” However, here, too, there was a disclaimer. It was all part of the Free Republic section of “semi-news, semi-satire posts.”
None of this would convince liberals that Hobby Lobby is a model employer (what was the hourly wage paid by their Chinese suppliers?); or that this Supreme Court majority would not further limit women’s reproductive rights, or continue to endow corporations with religious and other human rights. And satirists stood ready with their pens, brushes, and keyboards to mock the next moves in these directions.