Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of the United States’

Reason in Hobby Lobby

Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP


This is a Part 4 followup of the Hobby Lobby legal precedent.

  • Where has the reason gone?


  • Justice Ginsberg written dissent – Third Part


  • The physicians’ view of Supreme Court on an issue of public health


  •  Reason in Hobby Lobby



 Reason in Hobby Lobby



Reason #1 SCOTUS Will Regret Hobby Lobby byMan from Wasichustan

After oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case, I wrote a very misnamed but widely read diary in which I echoed Attorney and Ring of Fire radio host Mike Papantonio’s argument that the SCOTUS would never rule in favor of Hobby Lobby for a really Big Business reason: It pierces the corporate veil.  If Hobby Lobby’s owners can give their Corporation religion, their religion gives Hobby Lobby’s owners–and any other owner, shareholder, officer, whatever–liability for the actions of the corporation.  Mr. Papantonio, who happens to be one of America’s preeminent trial lawyers, sees it as an opportunity to sue owners for the company’s negligence. Some other people, it turns out, agree with his assessment and expand on what it means….

That separation is what legal and business scholars call the “corporate veil,” and it’s fundamental to the entire operation. Now, thanks to the Hobby Lobby case, it’s in question. By letting Hobby Lobby’s owners assert their personal religious rights over an entire corporation, the Supreme Court has poked a major hole in the veil. In other words, if a company is not truly separate from its owners, the owners could be made responsible for its debts and other burdens.  So says Alex Park, writing in Salon today.

“If religious shareholders can do it, why can’t creditors and government regulators pierce the corporate veil in the other direction?” Burt Neuborne, a law professor at New York University, asked in an email. That’s a question raised by 44 other law professors, who filed a friends-of-the-court brief that implored the Court to reject Hobby Lobby’s argument and hold the veil in place. Here’s what they argued: Allowing a corporation, through either shareholder vote or board resolution, to take on and assert the religious beliefs of its shareholders in order to avoid having to comply with a generally-applicable law with a secular purpose is fundamentally at odds with the entire concept of incorporation.

Creating such an unprecedented and idiosyncratic tear in the corporate veil would also carry with it unintended consequences, many of which are not easily foreseen. This is definitely going to complicate things for the religious extremists on the SCOTUS and empire wide as these lawsuits inevitably proliferate.  Putting on the popcorn….now.

George Takei’s blistering response to #HobbyLobby: Could a Muslim Corp impose Sharia Law?

byVyan   THU JUL 03, 2014 AT 09:12 AM PDT “The ruling elevates the rights of a FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION over those of its women employees and opens the door to all manner of claims that a company can refuse services based on its owner’s religion,” Takei wrote.

(O)ne wonders,” he said, “whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees.” “Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a business — and a big one at that,” he continued. “Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability.

Your boss should not have a say over your healthcare. Just as Justice Ginsberg and Mr Takei have suggested, the Hyper-Religious are already attempting to capitalize on the SCOTUS new granting of the rights of an individual to a corporate entity. In this decision the SCOTUS Majority opinion claimed that they were not granting the equal legitimacy of such follow on requests, but they’ve kicked open the door. Takei – bless his soul – also pointed out the basic hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby’s business practices in regards to religion.  Noting that… …Hobby Lobby has invested in multiple companies that manufacture abortion drugs and birth control. The company receives most of its merchandise from China, a country where overpopulation has led to mandatory abortions and sterilizations for women who try to have more than one child.

What the battle over birth control is really about     byteacherken

in a 2012 piece at Alternet by Sara Robinson. Conservative bishops and Congressmen are fighting a rear-guard action against one of the most revolutionary changes in human history. Robinson suggests 500 years from now looking back, the three great achievements of the 20th Century are likely to be the invention of the integrated circuit (without which the internet does not exist), the Moon landing (which she thinks will carry the same impact as Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe), and the mass availability of nearly 100% effective contraception.

 Free Birth Control is Emerging Standard for Women   RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press       07/07/2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half of privately insured women are getting free birth control under President Barack Obama’s health law, a major coverage shift that’s likely to advance. This week the Supreme Court allowed some employers with religious scruples to opt out, but most companies appear to be going in the opposite direction. Recent data from the IMS Institute document a sharp change during 2013. The share of privately insured women who got their birth control pills without a copayment jumped to 56 percent, from 14 percent in 2012. The law’s requirement that most health plans cover birth control as prevention, at no additional cost to women, took full effect in 2013. The average annual saving for women was $269. “It’s a big number,” said institute director Michael Kleinrock. The institute is the research arm of IMS Health, a Connecticut-based technology company that uses pharmacy records to track prescription drug sales. The core of Obama’s law — taxpayer-subsidized coverage for the uninsured — benefits a relatively small share of Americans. But free preventive care— from flu shots to colonoscopies —is a dividend of sorts for the majority with employer coverage.

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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Marisa Weiss, M.D.

Director of Breast Health Outreach & Breast Radiation Oncology, Lankenau Medical Center; President and Founder of Breastcancer.org

Unlocking the Code

Posted: 06/26/2013 5:31 pm


I was building my medical practice when the breast cancer gene mutations were discovered. My family, Ashkenazi Jews with a history of breast and ovarian cancer, was one of the first to take advantage of genetic testing years ago. We felt indebted to all of the scientists who contributed incrementally to the discovery of the mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as to the scientists at Myriad Genetics who were the first to nail the “secret code” — thereby securing the patent and developing the gene test that has allowed so many women to decide on a course of action to help protect their lives.

With the answers provided by these tests, members of my family with a BRCA2 mutation were able to take immediate steps to lower their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. My relatives without the gene mutation were able to avoid drastic measures. Genetic test results have also helped my patients make the smartest treatment choices and utilize the best follow-up surveillance options. And knowledge of my own personal genetic make-up guided my treatment decisions after my own breast cancer diagnosis.

Unlocking this genetic code brought new hope to a field of sluggish discovery for which many patients, myself included, feel tremendous gratitude. But we are also deeply grateful for the recent Supreme Court decision declaring that human genes cannot be patented. This ruling is a major victory for science and patients since these genes will now be available to researchers who can learn more about them and to companies that can develop additional diagnostic products. By removing this huge hurdle to progress, it will fuel new advances in breast cancer risk assessment, diagnosis, and personalized prevention and treatment — discoveries that are desperately needed.

Breast cancer genetic testing has been greatly underutilized, for a number of reasons, including cost. Access to BRCA tests will increase as competition reduces their costs and makes them more affordable to more women who, until now, were unable to pay for the critical information needed to make choices that could save their lives. But, as essential as it is to make these tests more accessible, cheaper tests should not mean indiscriminate testing. And, it would be a terrible thing if removal of the patent limits Myriad’s incentive and slows their fierce quest for new discoveries.

Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy based on the results of BRCA testing has already increased interest and spurred many women to consider if they too should be tested. Lower-cost tests could further that momentum.

The reality is that only a small portion of women and men should be tested. Less than 1 percent of the general population and 2.5 percent of Ashkenazi Jews have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation that considerably raises the odds of developing breast and ovarian cancers. The determining factor for whether or not testing is warranted is family history of cancer. If there are multiple cases of breast and ovarian cancers in a family, especially if diagnosed at a young age, it’s important to consider testing. A family history of male breast cancer also is an indication for testing. The results of these tests allow individuals to make choices that can dramatically reduce their risks and in many cases prevent these cancers from occurring.

But it’s important to keep in mind that only 5-10 percent of breast cancers are due to single gene mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2. The other 90 percent are primarily caused by lifestyle and environmental factors that we ultimately have more control over, but currently we have far less understanding of many of these risks.

To make prevention a possibility for the millions of women who are at risk for breast cancer, we need the same level of passion for discovery and research dollars directed at efforts to decipher the lifestyle and environmental causes of the disease.

While so much more research is needed on prevention, we currently do have clear evidence on a number of steps women can take to reduce their risks of breast cancer which include maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, restricting alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks per week, breastfeeding (especially important for African American women and BRCA1 mutation carriers), not smoking, not using postmenopausal combination hormonal therapy, and avoiding extended use of hormone-based birth control.

The Supreme Court decision will no doubt lead to new understandings and advances that will benefit many. However, it’s essential that we also look beyond inherited genes and start focusing on what we’re doing with and to our bodies to find the real answers to preventing breast cancer for most women.





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