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Dwight Duncan, UMass Dartmouth Constitutional Law Professor, on the Hobby Lobby case

Jul 1, 2014|

Dwight Duncan, UMass Dartmouth Constitutional Law Professor, on the Hobby Lobby case by Barry and Kim

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We are joined now by Dwight Duncan he's UMass Dartmouth constitutional law professor professor thanks for joining us today and the financial exchange. Of people. He knew first beat before we jump into this hobby lobby can you give us just a little bit of background on the case hobby lobby case. Sure are. Basically. The Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations under. Affordable health care act. It was it was obamacare. That basically requires employers -- the mystery around but. Not exempt employers. To provide free contraceptive coverage to their employees that is the players' health insurance that they provide -- -- covered 22. Types of contraceptives. And what happened -- Public businesses that are closely held secretly run distances and we hobby lobby which is. Chain of arts and crafts stores in which is owned and run by the green family. Talent. -- which specialties which would working. But he its own -- mennonite. Objected to having to hate war on. Contraceptives that could cause abortions that that is four of -- techniques. The morning after noticeable we captor still haven't. To IUDs. Have what has wanted to or features. Preventing implantation. Of fertilized. Embryo. In the in the uterine wall and dust. Did you know according to the reason hauntingly on abortion community to basically have religious objections. -- that in conscience can cooperate. So they sued on that basis right. That's correct and what the Supreme Court decided yesterday was. On. In a -- in the case of closely held the only run businesses. We have these kinds of religious objections. The federal law religious freedom restoration act. Essentially protects them from having you know at two to pay for these types of contraceptives. -- and in the airport. You know date they have to religious freedom essentially two to opt out about portion of the obamacare. Coverage. Professor at this part was unclear to me how is a closely held business defined because I think of a company. Burger King right. That's that's private. BJ's Wholesale Club up here in New England that's a private company it's owned by via private equity firms Coke industries so currently able. Did the Supreme Court give us any definition as to closely held business. Well they didn't know what they said was. That basically their religious freedom restoration act. Applies to all persons and that person includes corporations. All corporations right so you know so burger chain would. Wouldn't you know that -- at all it -- motor company. Would qualify but. Date date the only -- that it would be closely held nearly run businesses that could claim. Of he exercised to exercise religion at least that's that's that's. As far as they had to rule in this particular case so so basically. Any corporation could sort of -- but basically. The court indicated some skepticism about whether. Larger -- publicly traded companies certainly. Could could successfully claim to exercise religion that part of I think he's closely held. Immigrant businesses is that the ownership and management are united in you know the same. Small rather small group of people. Yeah I guess it did difficulty for you know for the layman right that are that's under trying to understand mrs. Like I Coke industries two Brothers that run the deal right and make its couldn't they claim and they've got thousands of employees. Burger King again closely held couldn't the owners of that say well we have a religious aversion. It and it could it could stand in to other areas too it's not just related to birth control they could only. Blood transfusions he could be medications -- It just seems like it -- doors open here. Well the court to the majority opinion by Justice Alito indicated that this only applied to this particular challenge and another. Questions about for example vaccination -- Well blood transfusion. Those cases -- happy with what would -- different kind of concerns and issues so inaccurate it's limited. Armed. But there is some issue about how you understand closely held corporations you know. And I think. Basically that's something that -- worked out in the case lord as we proceed on the -- Are you -- not a corporate law specialist so. I don't have a good deal for that I do that I -- Calls both from out of state and from in state you know it's small businesses. Basically asked -- you know. How do decision applies development and -- With respect to these clothes we ultimately run businesses but it definitely does the plight of the yeah. Is it's a fascinating rule because I know it's certainly not an important ligament on. You know this freedom it worked -- principles in this country ordinary and go. I just think it. It did in the court. Basically reaffirmed that principle -- kind of government. Work off control people and businesses so yesterday actually was that the Supreme Court and you know some people on the pro government. Hired -- media -- hobby lobby are right. Where it -- load of and birth control is -- of your business and in my view was despite. You know doubt you'd nailed it right yeah I just don't -- -- to -- Florida it's like if you wanted to let it be on -- on. You know as opposed to forcing. Religiously opposed consciously post. People do you do to -- And then I'd say they've really. This is a blockbuster season for the Supreme Court is -- You know that right lastly there was the ball for zone. Case. Regarding media brokers and so on abortion and picture about achieved. Unanimous and I think that's. And one of the disappointment yesterday was it was so closely defrauded by the way that it might -- it what it comes to the First Amendment. Should get unanimity on the -- in the sense that it shouldn't be politicized right to religious freedom and freedom of speech or not. You know during the -- should be treated political. Go back to the buffer zone though with what's the significance of that ruling is is that enough opened up women that are walking in and out of abortion clinics to attack. I don't think so it you know because basically there are separate long did he was -- It was kind of problem should get a rise you know. So and one -- can think about the ball you know law and you know there was no process ability which we know process successful prosecutions are available right now and and and not all the other laws to protect access to abortion clinics -- against harassment or intimidation of people you know. -- Accorsi a character somebody -- deranged like a John Salvi you know that offers some -- was not -- stoppage or insult -- No that's true that he -- -- shooting people -- Right right. Are you a professor thank you very much for your time we appreciate it that's Dwight Duncan he's a professor of constitutional law UMass Dartmouth earnings -- -- and -- exchange.