The Supreme Court yesterday delivered an important but substantially mitigated victory to advocates of individual rights by throwing out the ObamaCare requirement that business owners pay for health insurance when doing so violates their religious convictions. At issue in the case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, was whether the federal government could force businesses to provide health insurance that covers forms of birth control that may act as an abortifacient. The Court decided 5–4 in favor of Hobby Lobby.

Some of the good is that the Court not only explicitly defended “religious liberty,” it did so explicitly on behalf of for-profit business owners:

When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people [associated with a corporation]. For example, extending Fourth Amendment protection to corporations protects the privacy interests of employees and others associated with the company. Protecting corporations from government seizure of their property without just compensation protects all those who have a stake in the corporations’ financial well-being. And protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies.

The decision, along with important aspects of the reasoning behind it, deserves high praise. However, the reasoning behind the decision does not actually uphold the principle of individual rights and the propriety of freedom of conscience. The problems on these counts include the following: . . .

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