Today, Michael Sean Winters provides us with another persective on Hobby Lobby. This one is by Mark Girolami of the Online Library of Law and Liberty (sounds more like a libertarian than MSW usually reads - but is not). You can read the NCR reference at http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/great-article-hobby-lobby and the article at http://www.libertylawsite.org/2014/07/01/the-deeper-meaning-in-the-hobby... Here are my comments:
This commentary raises some interesting questions that I had not thought about. His last section on the ability of the legal education establishment to influence or predict the outcome of modern religious liberty and power cases was interesting. It says as much about the Court as it does the legal establishment - of course, with rare exemptions, Supreme Courts are always a little more conservative - i.e. behind the times. If you don't factor that in, you will miss the prediction. Note that this was not a Catholic decision, as there were Catholics on both sides - including the one in the middle.
What is not mentioned, or is mentioned so quickly you miss it, is that the medical field was ignored deliberately. I suspect that the members of the majority do not accept the medical factoid that the inability of the blastocyst to attach because of Plan B or an IUD is not abortion (both technically or from the point of view of the begining of individual life. Life begins at gastrulation - although doctors usually do not make conclusions on spiritual concepts of life. Still, embryologists will tell you that whether or not you survive gastrulation is much more important than whether there is fertilization. While one must be fertilized, it is necessary but not sufficient. No gastrulation also mean no you. Aftter that point, your loss is a death or miscarriage. Before it means you were never really there.
The key to this case is the fact that the five who decided this case appear to be not quite decided on what the embryologists say - or actively reject it because the Church does (although they go at pains to not say the latter - because if they did they would have to recuse because they would be bowing to an outside authority theat they feel subject to - which goes beyond simply listening to experts. They also allow Hobby Lobby to act on that propostion. Of course, the action that Hobby Lobby can take is meaningless, because a third party will likely provide the absent coverage - which means that zero blastocysts will be saved by this victory. Seems pretty empty to me.
The moral rule, which has nothing to do with the case, bears looking at. There is a question put to Special Ethics students in Catholic Colleges in the standard tex, Fagothy's Right and Reason: Does a person have a right to not pay their taxes to a state that permits (and even funds) abortion? I am sure members of the right to life movement would say yes! The answer is not. Whatever funding is provided in taxes is so small in proportion to the whole - as is the proportion of taxes paid by the objector - that the matter is morally trivial from a direct participation point of view and taxes must be paid. This also applies to Obamacare and wars. Perhaps we have allowed too much in the way of conscience objections. Whether Hobby Lobby's owners deserve to make a purely religious power statement regarding their employees health choices falls on the same lines. While they technically (though not really) pay for everything (their customers do), their payment for any one woman's IUD (yes, lets get back to the fact that this is also a women's rights issue) is trivial to them. They were used by the Beckett fund, probably in the context of the larger Right to Life leadership, to make a larger point that turns out to be wrong and has not impact on their business.
Sounds pretty silly to me. The Court has made themselves silly for taking the case as well.