…and the anti-abortion lobby is cross that she interrupted an attorney (and compared
abortioncontraception to other medical procedures – in a case about medical insurance).
MR. CLEMENT (HOBBY LOBBY & CONESTOGA): Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: When a Federal Government agency compelled employers to provide something as religiously sensitive as contraception, it knew that free exercise in RFRA claims would soon follow. In particular, the agency itself provided exemptions and accommodations for the religious exercise of a subset …
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Is your claim limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives or does it include items like blood transfusion, vaccines? For some religions, products made of pork? Is any claim under your theory that has a religious basis, could an employer preclude the use of those items as well?
The American Spectator is outraged that Justice Sotomayor (and her colleagues Kagan and Ginsburg) might ask questions about the consequences of extrapolation from Hobby Lobby’s ‘religious objection’ argument because AS thought Clement should be given uninterrupted time to develop his arguments about icky old abortifacients (aka contraception) rather than examining the consequential and constitutional aspects of Hobby Lobby’s argument which rely upon the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as granting corporations ‘religious liberty’ rights to interfere with the private lives of their employees (although AS notes with approval Justice Kennedy asking “very difficult questions” of the opposing attorney Verilli, because interrupting the development of Verilli’s arguments is fair game, for sure).
Life News is more outraged by this comparison of one common medical practice with some others, of course, and takes yet another opportunity to misrepresent emergency contraception as “abortion-causing drugs”.
Salon’s coverage is approving of Sotomayer, Kagan and Ginsburg’s lines of questioning, and is generally less hyperventilating.
It appears that Clement wants to use the Supreme Court to present the specifics of some religious arguments against contraception and abortion, while at least some of the Justices are insisting that he focus on his arguments that religious objections in principle should justify exemptions from a general law.
N.B. like Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg, my focus is on the consequences of extending religious freedom exemptions to corporations. If you want to debate abortion, this is not the place.