The consternation over Chief Justice John Roberts decision and vote in the Obamacare case still has conservatives fuming. But the justice that the Right had high hopes would be another solid conservative vote on the Supreme Court has a chance to redeem himself in the Hobby Lobby case.
Some conservatives saw Roberts’ decision as upheld a horrendously bad law because he believes it’s the role of the legislature to pass law, not the courts to say if a law is politically good or bad. But most conservatives were upset by the decision and some have gone as far as calling Roberts a traitor to conservative judicial principles.
The initial news from yesterday’s hearing, from Americans United for Life General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne is that Roberts “gets” the Hobby Lobby mandate objections and sees them as central to the case — meaning he would potentially vote to overturn the HHS mandate or render it ineffective.
“It took 90 minutes of discussion before the heart of the case was addressed. Ultimately Chief Justice John Roberts accurately focused on the issue before the court: the religious objection by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to pay for life ending drugs and devices,” he said.
Lamontagne tells LifeNews:
“In response to a hypothetical question from Justice Anthony Kennedy who asked the Solicitor General Donald Virrilli whether a for-profit employer could be forced to pay for abortion coverage, Virrilli tried to distinguish the hypothetical, but Chief Justice stopped him in his tracks. The Chief correctly stated that Justice Kennedy’s hypothetical is exactly what the case before the Court is all about.
“He noted that people of faith could easily and honestly take the view that the devices and drugs in question were abortifacients. The Solicitor General tried to dodge the question by saying states and other government entities had defined emergency contraception and other devices differently, but Chief Justice Roberts pressed Virrilli appropriately and highlighted exactly what the issue the case involved was.
“During discussion, the government unsuccessfully argued its ‘parade of horribles’ with the help of some of the Justices. But in then end it was clear that the majority of Justices were not convinced that Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which occupied a lot of the discussion) applied only to individuals and religious corporations. RFRA applies to all ‘citizens,’ individual and corporate.
“Paul Clement’s final arguments were compelling. He emphasized that the government failed the least restrictive alternatives analysis and did indeed impose a substantial burden on corporate employers, particularly sub-chapter S corps.
“Justice Breyer along with Justices Kennedy, Alito, Scalia and Roberts posed challenging questions regarding the government’s position. In the end, it appeared Attorney Paul Clement and his clients, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods had a significantly better argument and position.”