The Craig Fahle Show

SCOTUS Update: A Union Loss & A Hobby Lobby Win

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

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Craig speaks with Wayne State University Law School Dean Jocelyn Benson about the Supreme Court rulings yesterday regarding contraceptive coverage and union dues.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Oklahoma-family-owned store, Hobby Lobby can refuse to cover contraception for employees on the grounds of the company's religious beliefs. The ruling came from the court, despite provisions in the Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

The 5-4 ruling allows closely held corporations to refuse coverage for birth contraceptives, and Benson tells Craig the decision could open the door for expanded religious protection for other corporations. It doesn’t just allow more corporations to access these rights but, but the potential for religious-based coverage could expand and change even more. “In the next case it could be larger corporations, this time it was small,” explains Benson.

It’s also important to consider the other possibilities for corporations to potentially discriminate based on race or sexual orientation. The decision certainly clashes with employees’ rights under the Equal Opportunity Act, since discrimination today often happens from beliefs rooted in religion, Benson says.

“The scary thing to me about this is that it opens the door to an extension in a lot of different areas, and it opens the door to other corporations to bring those challenges,” Benson tells Craig.

Benson also talks with Craig about the Supreme Court’s ruling against unions. The 5-4 ruling impacts home healthcare workers, who no longer have to pay dues to public employee unions. While the opinion does not change or supersede the court’s “agency shop” model for most public employee unions, Benson says this opinion may be excluded from that right.

--Annamarie Sysling