The case was Bur­well vs Hob­by Lob­by.  To put it sim­ply, the Supreme Court ruled that “close­ly held (sor­ry Gen­er­al Motors) for prof­it com­pa­nies can, on reli­gious grounds, opt out of a fed­er­al require­ment to pro­vide cer­tain con­tra­cep­tion cov­er­age.  Of course, they did not exact­ly define what “close­ly held” meant (but as Jus­tice Pot­ter Stew­art once said “I’ll know it when I see it”)

Pub­licly trad­ed com­pa­nies, of course, are not.


With a lit­tle more ambi­gu­i­ty, the Supreme Court gave tem­po­rary relief to Wheaton Col­lege, rul­ing “it does not for now have to com­ply with the Oba­ma administration’s require­ment that it fill out a form to reg­is­ter reli­gious objec­tions to pro­vid­ing some types of con­tra­cep­tive cov­er­age man­dat­ed by the Afford­able Care Act”  What is odd about this is that the male jus­tices tried to sneak it through, but the female jus­tices were furi­ous, claim­ing that, while they were a part of the Hob­by Lob­by deci­sion, this did not mean that they were open­ing the door for oth­er exemp­tions, espe­cial­ly those that had not been ful­ly heard.


Con­se­quences?  Well oth­er than chang­ing employ­ee hand­books, try­ing to explain moral and reli­gious con­vic­tions to employ­ees, the poten­tial ero­sion of ACA cred­i­bil­i­ty and the open­ing of fur­ther “reli­gious grounds” chal­lenges for oth­er fed­er­al laws, not much.  There are also at least four dozen sim­i­lar faith based law­suits now under con­sid­er­a­tion.  But in this case…

No soon­er was the Supreme Court rul­ing then Democ­rats said they have devel­oped leg­is­la­tion to over­ride it, to “ensure that women have access to cov­er­age for birth con­trol even if they work for busi­ness­es that have reli­gious objec­tions”  In oth­er words, they want the ACA to do what it said it would (mean­ing cov­er­ing con­tra­cep­tion) and they won’t lis­ten to the Supreme Court say otherwise.