Author Topic: How the Supreme Court Justices reacted to today's Hobby Lobby arguments  (Read 387 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 06:20:16 AM by rangerrebew »
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
George Washington

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin

Offline massadvj

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He also made the point that Congress itself had passed RFRA, while the anti-conscience mandate was simply an agency action by the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress should really get the last word here...

Ultimately, I think this is going to be the basis upon which the abortion mandate is struck down. 
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline Oceander

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He also made the point that Congress itself had passed RFRA, while the anti-conscience mandate was simply an agency action by the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress should really get the last word here...

Ultimately, I think this is going to be the basis upon which the abortion mandate is struck down. 

You may very well be correct; the Court will usually look for the narrowest solid basis for a decision, preferring not to get into broad matters that necessarily implicate political philosophies unless necessary.  And that's not such a bad thing here because it's very unlikely that Congress would pass legislation to enable HHS to do what it's trying to do with this regulation.

Offline massadvj

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You may very well be correct; the Court will usually look for the narrowest solid basis for a decision, preferring not to get into broad matters that necessarily implicate political philosophies unless necessary.  And that's not such a bad thing here because it's very unlikely that Congress would pass legislation to enable HHS to do what it's trying to do with this regulation.

Such a ruling, if made, would also imply that the litigants had standing, yes?
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline Oceander

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Such a ruling, if made, would also imply that the litigants had standing, yes?

of course.  if the Court thought they didn't have standing they would simply dismiss the case.  I don't seriously expect them to dismiss for lack of standing.

Offline massadvj

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of course.  if the Court thought they didn't have standing they would simply dismiss the case.  I don't seriously expect them to dismiss for lack of standing.

That would basically affirm that corporations had standing to sue based on infringements of religious liberty?  If so, will the court limit it to S-Corporations, or simply fail to address it at all, in which case presumably any corporation can sue on religious grounds at any time?
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline Oceander

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That would basically affirm that corporations had standing to sue based on infringements of religious liberty?  If so, will the court limit it to S-Corporations, or simply fail to address it at all, in which case presumably any corporation can sue on religious grounds at any time?

I don't think the court would limit any ruling to just s-corporations:  s-corporations have come a long way since the time they were originally put into the Code; they can be just as large and impersonal as many c-corporations are, and can have a lot more shareholders than many privately-held c-corps have; it would be irrational to do that.  i also don't think it makes any sense to limit it to so-called "closely held" corporations, whether c or s, because that makes the issue almost intractable - what constitutes "closely held"?  is there a numeric cutoff?  do we look solely to the relevant state definitions, either statutory or judicial?  do the shareholders have to have some sort of particular relationship amongst themselves - e.g., be all members of the same extended family - or not, and if so, what are the bases for that determination?

I'm inclined to think that if the Court can hold that the regulation is invalid because it's a regulation and the RFRA trumps it, then they will do so, and will leave the full contours of a corporation's right to religious liberty for another day.  If so, the opinion would probably note the many other instances in which corporations have been treated as "persons" with rights and standing to protect those rights, and state that for the purpose of this case the Court will assume, without deciding, that corporations do have a right to religious liberty of some sort.

Offline massadvj

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I don't think the court would limit any ruling to just s-corporations:  s-corporations have come a long way since the time they were originally put into the Code; they can be just as large and impersonal as many c-corporations are, and can have a lot more shareholders than many privately-held c-corps have; it would be irrational to do that.  i also don't think it makes any sense to limit it to so-called "closely held" corporations, whether c or s, because that makes the issue almost intractable - what constitutes "closely held"?  is there a numeric cutoff?  do we look solely to the relevant state definitions, either statutory or judicial?  do the shareholders have to have some sort of particular relationship amongst themselves - e.g., be all members of the same extended family - or not, and if so, what are the bases for that determination?

I'm inclined to think that if the Court can hold that the regulation is invalid because it's a regulation and the RFRA trumps it, then they will do so, and will leave the full contours of a corporation's right to religious liberty for another day.  If so, the opinion would probably note the many other instances in which corporations have been treated as "persons" with rights and standing to protect those rights, and state that for the purpose of this case the Court will assume, without deciding, that corporations do have a right to religious liberty of some sort.

Thanks, Counselor!
"She only coughs when she lies."


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