Thursday, May 01, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

In an excellent analysis of the arguments, law and precedent involved in Hobby Lobby free-exercise case by Stanford prof Michael McConnell, this obiter dictum jumped out:

[T]here is something Alice in Wonderland-ish about the government’s position. According to the government, there may be some employees who need contraception, who can’t use one of the 14 kinds of free contraception provided under Hobby Lobby’s plan, and who might be deterred from buying Plan B, ella, or IUDs with their own money. Yet the government also argues that, in order to avoid the burden on its religious exercise, Hobby Lobby should drop its insurance coverage, pay a fine, and force its employees to obtain coverage on a government exchange. In that case, all 13,000 employees would lose excellent health insurance and be forced to buy their own insurance on an exchange. That imposes is a far greater burden on Hobby Lobby’s employees. The government strains at a gnat while swallowing a camel.

As we observed during oral arguments, no amount of Alice in Wonderland-ism is beyond the motivated credulity of SCOTUS’ female justices.  But in general, the Supreme Court has shown itself remarkably insouciant about vastly greater destruction wrought by its decisions as long as the burden is borne by the wrong kind of white people.  Civil Rights law, and in particular the school desegregation cases, completely destroyed countless working-class communities as residents and parents were forced to flee violence-prone blacks, at costs greatly exceeding those imposed by the loss of employer-provided health insurance, as bad as that is.  And all to leave communities and schools almost as segregated as they were before.  Yet what legal scholar or politician working today calls for their reconsideration?

No comments: