Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius Through Real Animals and Fake Paws


On Oct. 19, 2014, due to cameras being forbidden in the Supreme Court, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” proposed covering Supreme Court cases through courtroom reenactments featuring animals. John Oliver argues our important cases would be more engaging to the general public as well as informative through this method. The “Last Week Tonight” people made their animal footage available for anyone to use to reenact Supreme Court testimony. I have chosen to share one such recreation, the Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius case. This case serves as a good forerunner to the eventual conflict between classical liberalism and civic republicanism. The owners of the two companies who sued the government objected to birth control coverage included in the government’s insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act. I hope you enjoy watching it!

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5 Responses to Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius Through Real Animals and Fake Paws

  1. abdelrafat says:

    The substantial burden in this case relies on infringing upon a religious belief that forms of contraceptives should not be paid for by the employer. The position that when an individual chooses to open a for-profit corporation and be involved in the commercial sphere would also disallow that corporation, which is managed by individuals, to no longer abide by its religious beliefs is absurd. Any entity whether individual or corporation should have equal opportunity to exercise its rights. When individuals open corporations their intentions are not to void their individual rights, they are formed for financial incentives and to limits their exposure to liability. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    • kiracanderson says:

      Access to birth control is important for many women. If this case were about, say, a religious corporation not allowing their employees to be vaccinated, would people accept it so readily? I think it is absurd to allow corporate leaders to force their religious beliefs on others. Also, WHY is contraception so “religiously sensitive”? It is not abortion they are providing, it is not abortifacient drugs. The drugs that Hobby Lobby et al are against are IUDs and morning-after pills, which they claim are “abortifacient” because they do not allow an egg to implant. A fertilized egg is not a life without implantation. Therefore, these medications are akin to condoms and other birth control: they do not kill, they prevent. The religious outcry over these devices and medications is ridiculous.

      • abdelrafat says:

        Kiracanderson, I enjoyed your reply to my post. I am not suggesting that Hobby Lobby has any valid merits for its claim, I am stating that the government’s position, that when a corporation is formed it relinquishes its rights as an individual, is nonsense. In regards to forms of contraceptives, assuming that Hobby Lobby’s members follow the bible, the bible does not specifically state whether you can or cannot use contraceptives. The bible presents children as a gift from God (Genesis 4:1; Genesis 33:5). These versus could be interpreted by the reader in different aspects. I also agree that corporate leaders should not force their religious beliefs on others, but these corporate leaders are not forcing their beliefs on employees or others, they are stating they will not pay for contraceptives. Can this be interpreted as forcing your beliefs on someone? Possibly. But Hobby Lobby is using this as a deterrent for employees to refrain from using contraceptives. In regards to vaccines; vaccines have no religious links, making them irrelevant in this aspect.

  2. smbockrath says:

    First of all, John Oliver’s idea to place the audio of Supreme Court hearings onto video footage of cute dogs is brilliant. This is a significant case which showcases the battle between religious rights and health care mandates (but really between religious rights and women), and if the public is more likely to listen with this kind of visual, then John Oliver succeeded in his overall mission of better informing the American people on significant issues.

    The case itself changes drastically depending on how you define a corporation, and whose rights one values more, a woman’s or a company’s. The case was brought up by Hobby Lobby in reaction to having to provide birth control to its employees under the Affordable Care Act mandate, and argues that due to the owners’ religious beliefs they should not have to provide birth control to their female employees. The two factors that are at play here are, again, how one defines a corporation, and if religious rights outweigh other written laws. If a corporation is defined by its owners being individuals with rights given to them by the Constitution, then it is easy to make the claim that those people who own the company have the right to enforce their religious beliefs upon their employees and not provide them with the contraceptives that the Affordable Care Act mandates. However on the other hand, if you define a corporation as simply a business entity which does not have the same political rights than an individual, than one cannot argue that a corporation like Hobby Lobby has any right to deny its employees what they are afforded under the law. And then comes the matter of whether religious freedoms are more important to enforce than a health care law that provides an important service to a large amount of women in this country. Can these rights coexist? Or is one bound to win out over the other? Undoubtedly in the future the Supreme Court will have to redefine the corporation (the current definition in my view comes from their Citizens United case), and maybe then we will see which is more important: the rights of a woman to access proper health care, or millionaires’ rights to enforce their religious beliefs on their employees.

  3. tides says:

    Awesome video! I absolutely love watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver so kudos for that! Now, on the topic of Hobby Lobby refusing to provide their female employees contraception is something I believe is down right absurd. I am aware that they are a religious company, however, I do not think it is just for a business to force their beliefs onto their loyal, hardworking employees. It’s unprofessional and quite frankly I find it ridiculous if my boss attempted to dictate my personal heath care decisions based off of his beliefs. I always provide this simplified example to further stress how preposterous Hobby Lobby business is ran. Forcing your beliefs onto someone is like, “Hey, I’m on a diet so you can not eat that slice of chocolate cake.” Yeah, its pretty comical. Anyhow, birth control not only prevents unwanted pregnancies but its also used as a great method to help women who suffer from heavy, painful menstruations such as dysmenorrhea. I am just tired of seeing women not receiving the same rights as men especially in this day and age. We ought to have set rules for everyone, thus, furthering my point that women can no longer be unreasonably denied health coverage.

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