Hobby Lobby Gets What It Wants And John Oliver Explains Why That's Going To Backfire Badly

The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby (a company whose 401(k) plan includes investments in the companies that produce the very drugs it sued in order to not cover) is free to discriminate against women and not cover some forms of birth control.

There are things that are still protected like the birth control pill, which — aside from being used for sex — is also used to treat endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, eases cramps, smooths skin, helps with anemia, helps protect women from pelvic inflammatory disease, and reduces the risks of some cancers.

Then there are the things the Supreme Court allowed private companies to choose not to cover, things like IUDs and the morning-after pill, which Hobby Lobby claims cause abortions (even though they really actually don't do that). It's so arbitrary though, I'm not sure how it will stick.

John Oliver has an opinion about that. Especially at 3:40.

If any of you think this is a step in the right direction, ask yourself if companies should be able to choose whether your blood transfusions should be covered or whether you should have to eat the cost of a horrific, debilitating accident (some religions don't believe in medical intervention). What about if your company's religion doesn't approve HIV medications because they have a misguided idea that only gay people get it (as if sexual orientation is in any way relevant to people having the right to receive medicine) and you as a straight person had one night of an indiscretion from a partner who didn't disclose? What if your business' religious beliefs include only eating vegetarian and you suffer a heart attack from eating too many burgers and they won't cover it?

The court has opened a precedent so wide that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated in her dissent: "In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. The Court's determination that RFRA extends to for-profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects. Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private."

This has far-reaching and awful repercussions that go far beyond the faith of an owner of one company. This is going to backfire in their faces horribly. Especially, if you help get out the word about how awful it truly is. You can also Like John Oliver on Facebook if you want to see more like this.

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Tomorrow is scheduled to be the last day of the Supreme Court's current term. After that, the only two cases they'll be considering are pool noodle versus pool noodle and mouth versus margarita. But before they go, they've got two decisions left to deliver including this one.

The biggest one we're waiting on at this point is Hobby Lobby. This is the challenge to the administration's HHS contraception mandate.

That's right. Hobby Lobby, America's one stop source for glitter and googly eyes, could soon also be America's leading source of landmark binding legal precedence. Hobby Lobby's owners say that Obamacare's contraception mandate conflicts with their Christian faith, which means the whole case boils down to one fundamental question.

Can a business, a for-profit corporation, claim it has freedom of religion?

Do for profit corporations have religious rights?

Do corporations have religious liberties or do just individuals?

Are corporations a person able to exercise religious rights?

No. No, they're not. Okay, are we done? Are we done here? Are we done? I feel like we're done. Apparently, we're not done because thanks to the Citizens United ruling in which corporations were deemed to have the same free speech right as people, it is now a possibility they may get religious rights, as well. And if they do, it's going to be pretty easy to guess which religions they'll choose. Einstein Bros, obviously Jewish, although they do sell bacon and are open on Saturday. So let's say more culturally Jewish than observant. Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry's, clearly Buddhist although not too Buddhist or they'll be selling you pints of cookies and nothingness. And Taco Bell I'm presuming is Hindu because you know there's no fucking beef in those things. But in the case of Hobby Lobby, the company's founders are the devoutly Christian Green family. And to be fair, their faith has led them to do some genuinely admirable things.

Now we believe that the principles that are taught scripturally are what we should operate our lives by, and so it naturally flows over to the business.

The company pays full-time entry level employees 90% above minimum wage and devotes a very large portion of its profits to a broad array of charities.

Well, that's fantastic. Although I wouldn't go on too high a horse about the moral high ground of your company given that a solid chunk of your customer base are Etsy sellers buying yarn to make handmade cock and ball cozies and teenagers purchasing top quality glue for huffing. Oh, really, Bobby? You're into model airplanes, are you? Build one for me right now! You can't, can you, boy? You're killing your mother! You're killing her, Bobby! But here's the thing. While Hobby Lobby owners are seemingly sincere in their beliefs, their sincerity isn't really the point just as it isn't the point with the other company which is also part of this decision.

Conestoga Wood, a company that makes parts for kitchen cabinets, is owned by a Pennsylvania based Hahn family. They are Mennonites.

That's right. In addition to Hobby Lobby, the government is also being sued by Mennonites or as I believe they're called, the diet Amish. The Mennonites, they're cabinet-making pacifists who argue that they don't want to pay for something that could take a human life. But under that logic, that is why I personally refuse to pay for Mennonite cabinets because Jason Bourne could conceivably beat someone to death with one of those things. What these companies are arguing is that the sincerity of their beliefs should allow them a line item veto over federal law. But government is not an a la carte system where you can pick and choose based on your beliefs. Taxation is more of an all you can eat salad bar. You don't get to show up and go, "Look, I know it costs $10.99, but I'm only paying $7.50 because I have a moral objection to beets," because, of course, you do. They're an abomination of a root vegetable. Their bland flavor and slimy texture is an affront unto the Lord. And if you can persuade enough people of that, then you can have a referendum to remove beets from the salad bar in the future. But until such time, you're paying for those fucking beets because everyone has their own version of beets.

I don't want my tax dollars paying for abortions.

I don't want my tax dollars going in support of this Israeli policy.

I don't want my tax dollars spent to support this mosque.

I don't want my tax money being used to buy illegal drugs.

A shrimp running on a treadmill, not the best use of my tax dollars right now.

I'm sure Pam in Kansas doesn't want her tax dollar spent on some of the things that they're spending, especially Mexican prostitutes.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Look, okay. Look, I can see your point on the prostitution, but those fat shrimp need help. You think they like being called jumbo? They're crying inside. If you really want to be treated like a person, corporations, then guess what, paying for things you don't like is what it feels like to be one. In fact, if corporations want to be people, they should have to take the rough with the smooth. For a start, companies should only get to have the average lifespan of a person, 79 years, 75 if they're based in Mississippi. Oh! Oh! And female companies, you only get to make 83 cents on the dollar. Sorry, Wendy. I guess it's just that Burger King must have worked harder.

And that's just the big stuff. There's also the little annoyances of being human. So, Mr. Peanut, I hope you enjoy attending your friend's shitty improv shows. And Starbucks, get ready to have your name spelled Starburst on your coffee cup. And for GM, who've admitted some responsibility for the deaths of a minimum of 13 people, I've got some bad news for you, people who do that generally don't get off with a fucking fine.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

By "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver," righteous purveyor of indignation and justified rage. By the way, the shrimp on a treadmill is actually about species survival and disease, not just attempting to get shrimp to work out more.

Jul 01, 2014

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