The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding on a case involving Hobby Lobby, among other stores, in their objection of Obamacare's provision of the coverage of birth control, due to religious beliefs. If the court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, it means it's "open season" for corporations to violate or nullify federal laws, says Brad Bannon, democratic political consultant in Washington, D.C. with Bannon Communications Research. It opens a path, for instance, for Christian Scientists to refuse to provide healthcare at all to its employees due to their religious beliefs as it pertains to birth control and there would be long-term negative implications from the court ruling in favor of businesses in this regard, adds Bannon.
Justice Kennedy will probably be the Justice to cast the deciding vote on the case and just recently, he asked questions which will help both side of the case, so Bannon thinks he's genuinely undecided about this, perhaps because he's aware of the implications of a court ruling in favor of businesses.
This is a very complex case with enormous implications, says Bannon and furthermore, is a battle between religious rights and reproductive rights. A caveat to that, Bannon says, is that companies don't have constitutional rights and Hobby Lobby doesn't even have standing to bring this suit to the Supreme Court, which is an argument made before the court recently. The First Amendment doesn't guarantee a company's religious rights, says Bannon. It may guarantee the family's rights that owns the company but not the company itself.
This ruling, if in favor of Hobby lobby, would crate a definite trend, says Bannon, where companies would have to enjoy the same constitutional protections as individuals and he doesn't think they do. It also gives a loop hole for any company to claim a religious exemption in federal law that it doesn't like, Bannon adds.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.