Obergefell v. Hodges: The US Supreme Court considers same sex marriage

On Tuesday, April 28, the United States Supreme Court will hear argument relating to cases originating in four states – Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee – appealed from the Sixth Circuit’s decision to uphold state bans on same-sex marriage. In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit held that states have the right to define marriage. This was the first circuit court decision to uphold a state ban. Last year, the Tenth Circuit upheld Utah district court case Kitchen v. Herbert, which struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. Oral argument…

The Changing Family

Ever since the dawn of recorded time, the nuclear family has been the building block of society. The traditional definition of family, a definition that well predates modern politics and reflects back to the farthest histories of recorded time, involves a man, a woman and their children. Generations that reach out over millennia come from a single reproductive union. The traditional idea of family has been under attack for some time with alternative definitions vying for equal legal status as a defined legal unit. A victory for proponents of same-sex…

Money in Politics: The Wealthy Have Better Lawyers [Hub Debate]

Is it the voter’s responsibility to shift through the lies? Or is there a role for government in regulating speech and money in politics?   A recent editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune titled “Does Money Influence Politics? Oh Grow Up!” makes the argument that no amendment or regulation will keep those with money and power from exploiting any political process to amass more money and power.  The author, George Pyle, is 100% right.  He’s also right that it is we, the (sometimes) voting public, who have the responsibility of seeing…

Not so fast: Federal judge says Constitution doesn’t require redefining marriage

By William C. Duncan Perhaps the most powerful argument for same-sex marriage has been that it is “inevitable.” It’s powerful because it contains an implicit threat: If you think there is something unique and uniquely valuable about marriage between a husband and wife — you are on the wrong side of history and your views will soon be treated as unacceptable with the possibility of your livelihood being at risk. This argument has gotten some fuel lately from a couple dozen federal and state court decisions ruling that the U.S.…

Hobby Lobby scores one for Liberty in the Supreme Court [Hub Debate]

“It is God who gave us life and liberty. Can the liberties of nations be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” –Thomas Jefferson.   Last week, a landmark decision came down from the Supreme Court in the case involving Hobby Lobby. To make a long story short, Hobby Lobby sued the federal…

Hobby Lobby Ruling was Limited Common Sense [Hub Debate]

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,…

Hobby Lobby and its Aftermath: What Will RFRA Do Next? [Hub Debate]

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, people are wondering a few things: What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)? ŸWhy do we have RFRA? What does RFRA cover? What are the limits of free exercise of religion under RFRA? These are all great questions because most people have never heard of RFRA, and why should they have? It is an obscure federal law concerning religious freedom. And how many rational people read any of the tens-of-thousands of federal laws…

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: What it Is, and What it Ain’t [Hub Debate]

  With the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, finding  that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare, our debate topic is set: did the Supreme Court get it right? Or wrong?    I have thought long and hard how to approach today’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (i.e., the Religious Freedom Restoration Act challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate (Mandate)). I have written on various aspects of this subject before, but I wanted to really get at what this case is about.…

Hobby Lobby Wins One for Single Payer [The Hub Debate]

The SCOTUS has ruled, and in favor of Hobby Lobby against the contraception mandate in the affordable care act. Some will call it a win for ‘religious liberty.’  Some will call it another step towards the court turning corporations into people.  Democrats will campaign on it as another example of conservative disdain for women’s health issues.   Republicans will call it another kick in the teeth for the Affordable Care Act, while trying carefully not to own it too much in case the Democrats’ message plays well.  In the immediate,…

The Supreme Court Thinks It Can Decide Which Religious Beliefs are Important [Hub Debate]

With the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, finding  that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare, our debate topic is set: did the Supreme Court get it right? Or wrong?  The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is problematic, but given the court’s current composition, and its track record on corporate issues, it was not unexpected. As in most cases, the justices aren’t idiots (even the ones I usually disagree with), so the majority decision isn’t a gross miscarriage…