There are other good ones which we will be posting; here's one from yesterday's WSJ columnist, James Taranto. And Mr. Taranto is neither a Christian, nor is he pro-life. but he is honest.
Excerpts below the link.
For-profit corporations, at least if they are "closely held," can raise conscientious objections to government policies under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. So the Supreme Court held today, by a vote of 5-2, in the much-anticipated case now styled Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
The vote in Hobby Lobby's favor was actually 5-4, along familiar lines, but as we shall explain, two dissenting justices declined to address the question whether RFRA's protections can apply to for-profit companies. The majority, in a decision by Justice Samuel Alito held that Hobby Lobby and two other companies need not comply with the ObamaCare birth-control mandate, to which their owners object on religious grounds.
The plaintiffs in these cases did not claim their First Amendment rights had been violated; such a claim, as we noted in March, would almost certainly have been precluded by the 1990 case of Employment Division v. Smith. But Congress responded to that case by enacting RFRA, which mandates the courts apply "strict scrutiny" to government policies as enforced against litigants who object on religious grounds.
In order to meet strict scrutiny, the government must show both that the policy is justified by a "compelling" interest and that it is the "least restrictive means" of furthering that interest. At least five justices seemed to agree that the interest in assuring cost-free access to the abortifacient contraceptives in question is "compelling": the four dissenters and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in a concurring opinion wrote: "It is important to confirm that a premise of the Court's opinion is its assumption that the HHS regulation at issue here furthers a legitimate and compelling interest in the health of female employees."
That's true, but the premise was stipulated--"we assume," wrote Justice Alito--not decided. For the plaintiffs to prevail, it would be sufficient for the government to fail either test, and as Justice Alito argues, it clearly failed the least-restrictive-means test:
In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of religious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the employees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of companies whose owners have no religious objections to providing such coverage. The employees of these religious nonprofit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.
Although HHS has made this system available to religious nonprofits that have religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections. We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government's aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty.
Some religious nonprofits have argued that the HHS accommodation is too restrictive and violates their First Amendment rights; this case does not address that question--or, indeed, whether "an approach of this type complies with RFRA," in Alito's words. The majority cite another less-restrictive alternative: a government program providing contraceptives directly.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a hyperbolic dissent (citation omitted):
In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a "less restrictive alternative."
As Kennedy gently observes in response, "the Court's opinion does not have the breadth and sweep ascribed to it by the respectful and powerful dissent." Ginsburg suggests the decision would open up the possibility of religious exemptions from statutes prohibiting race discrimination, a claim Alito and the majority flatly reject: "The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal."
Ginsburg's claim that "the court decides" religious opt-outs should be available when a "less restrictive alternative" is available is misleading. Here the court did not, as it frequently does by necessity, apply a standard of its own invention in interpreting broadly written constitutional language. The "less restrictive alternative" language is in the RFRA statute; it was Congress, not the court, that made that decision.