In the recent Hobby Lobby Case, Justices Elana Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor said that corporations that don’t want to pay for abortions should simply not provide any health insurance: “But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all?” Dissenters from the official line must pay a tax. That sounds familiar.
In our February Liberty Law Forum Steven Grosby and Bill Dennis weigh in with their essays on the Institutions of American Liberty. Nick Capaldi's "To Make a Market" is our feature Books essay this week that reviews Lisa Herzog's Inventing the Market: Smith, Hegel, & Political Theory. Alberto Mingardi of Econ Lib: What consequences for the Swiss referendum? But is there a larger context at work here that the standard libertarian account misses? I think that's what Walter Russell Mead in Switzerland's primal scream is arguing. I suspect that to this return of borders, nation-state politics, thumbs in the eyes of transnational…
Media coverage of the contraceptive-mandate case has emphasized the red herring of whether for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby can assert constitutionally or statutorily protected religious beliefs (see, for example, here). David Catron has a piece at The American Spectator correcting that specious formulation, noting that the question before the Supreme Court is not whether corporations can claim protection under the Free Exercise clause but rather whether individuals relinquish theirs simply because they adopt the corporate form.
Within the past two weeks, federal courts in two circuits have blocked the mandates of Obamacare on private businesses to fund abortion and contraceptives in their medical plans. In both cases, the owners of the businesses combined in the suits were Catholics. And the claim was made in all cases that the mandates compelled the owners to become accomplices in endorsing and facilitating acts that were in deep conflict with the moral teachings they had absorbed as Catholics. But what was striking about the judgments in these cases was that the judges did not rest their judgments on the “beliefs” of the owners.