Sisterhood Blog

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was Right on Hobby Lobby

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

Getty Images

It fascinated me, when the Hobby Lobby decision came down, to see Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito debating the potential ramifications of the case via their dissent and decision, respectively. Alito declared his surety that allowing companies to exercise religious domination (essentially) over their employees would not lead to all kinds of discrimination, and that only certain kinds of women’s reproductive healthcare would be affected.

Ginsburg held an opposing view, warning the court that it had entered a “minefield” of slippery-slopes. If any sincerely-held religious beliefs can be grounds to apply for a health insurance exception, she noted, then soon enough we could be hearing from business owners who sincerely believe that God tells them to do more than discriminate against women’s health: discriminate against Jews, or gay people, for instance.

Already, analysts have watched Ginsburg’s predictions come true with alarming speed. Not the racism and anti-Semitism, yet, but much of the rest. Already, thanks to secondary rulings, all birth control coverage can now be excluded from coverage, and even signing a form signaling religious objections to contraception has been deemed a burden on institutions’ religious liberty. This Friday-evening decision last week prompted Sonia Sotomayor to write, in dissent, that the majority was acting in a way that “undermines confidence in this institution.”

As Zoe Carpenter at The Nation writes,”the conservative majority has effectively endorsed the idea that religious objections to insurance that covers any form of preventative healthcare for women have merit,” not just the IUDs and emergency contraceptives that Hobby Lobby (wrongly) claimed were “abortifacients.” And it goes further, as Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times notes: “ the Korte family, which owns an Illinois construction company, refuses to pay for or support not only ‘contraceptives, sterilization, abortion, (or) abortion-inducing drugs,’ but ‘related education and counseling.’ (Emphasis added.) In other words, if a woman asks her doctor for advice on reproductive options, the consultation may not be covered.”

Intruding on womens’ medical consultations with their doctors is not even where the ramifications end. LGBT groups have retreated from endorsing the Employment Non Discrimination Act en masse, concerned that there is now too wide a religious loophole thanks to Hobby Lobby. And even if workplace discrimination is not allowed, discriminating against consumers may be.”Though it’s unlikely courts will revisit racial discrimination, if Ginsburg is right and businesses can get exemptions from providing services to certain minority groups, Hobby Lobby could create a situation where LGBT individuals can be refused services.”

All these consequences are the result of treating corporate entities as people whose religious proclivities take precedence over the individuals in their employment. It’s a terrible decision for anyone in a minority or oppressed subgroup of society.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jewish, Hobby Lobby

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.