From a macro perspective, the Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t do much. The Supreme Court made the decision narrow enough that it only impacts:
- “Closely held” corporations (while not clearly defined, I would suggest this means private companies – publicly traded companies need not apply).
- The Affordable Care Act, specifically the contraceptive mandate that was made law therein.
The Supreme Court could have gone much further and applied that personhood applies to larger companies with more shareholders, or that religious objections could apply to other things like gay marriage, blood transfusions, or interest-bearing accounts. Instead, they kept their interpretation to the scope of the case and affirmed not only the rights of the worker, but also the rights of the employer. As a result we have a reasonable ruling that isn’t the kind of sweeping, slippery slope, end-of-the-world-creating precedent that any of the knee-jerk reactionistas would have you believe.
Too often as a society we assume that because we have rights under the Constitution, those rights trump and abrogate others’ rights. Instead of a right to employment, we have a right to do work for the remuneration we are offered. We can do that with the terms and conditions that are offered to us and have the freedom to choose whether or not to work for the employer. If we choose not to, we have the freedom to find another employer who offers a compensatory package that is more in line with what we require. It really is as simple as that.
We don’t have a right to reproductive freedom, to healthcare, to a job, to a new car, to student loans, or to any of the other things that we’ve been told we have an inalienable right to. Instead, we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution has given us more specifics in some areas, but when everything is distilled down to a single point, we have the right to create the best life we can and also to accept the consequences of the decisions we make. In this regard, the Court made the right call.