Thomas Wictor

Calm down and and watch Gary

Calm down and and watch Gary

Today the Supreme Court decided on Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services [HHS] et al v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. et al. The histrionics over the decision is really beyond moronic, but it’s sadly what I’ve come to expect from our increasingly juvenile, teeth-gnashing, pop-eyed-with-rage culture. All I want to say is calm down and watch Gary.

First of all, screw everybody for making this stuff so hard to understand. Screw everybody for having such pathological political axes to grind that they distort, lie, and go insane every three seconds. And screw everybody for making me waste so much time trying to figure out exactly what happened.


The answer is that nothing much happened. From the decision:

We do not decide today whether [the HHS accommodation for religious nonprofit organizations] complies with RFRA [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] for purposes of all religious claims. At a minimum, however, it does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious belief that providing insurance coverage for the contraceptives at issue here violates their religion, and it serves HHS’s stated interests equally well.

What that means is that the HHS accommodation for religious nonprofit organizations—which allows people who work for religious nonprofits to have their contraception covered by a third party at no extra cost—could be applied to closely held for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby.

The Internal Revenue Service defines a closely held company as a corporation that has more than 50% of the value of its outstanding stock directly or indirectly owned by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year.

About 90 percent of American corporations are closely held, which makes you think that this decision will impact 90 percent of American corporations.

Not so. Everybody’s spinning like Iranian centrifuges.


The only thing that was decided today is that there must be more litigation to decide what will happen. This is the interpretation of a famous appellate lawyer named Mark Arnold.

A meaningless decision. The less restrictive alternative that the majority settled on is a certification by Hobby Lobby that it opposes contraceptive coverage, after which the insurance company must provide that coverage for free. Meaning that the premium charged to Hobby Lobby will necessarily include the cost of the free contraception. All smoke and mirrors.

We’re back to the HHS accommodation for religious nonprofit organizations. Hobby Lobby can certify itself as opposing contraceptive coverage—as do the religious nonprofits—and then a third party will provide coverage for contraception at no extra cost to the employees.

Today’s ruling also held that corporations are people with rights. You’d better be damn glad that this ruling was made, because otherwise the government gets to determine what corporations say and do.

Sure, maybe you’d be happy if the current administration buttoned the lips of the eeeeeeeevil Koch brothers (who are pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-drug legalization, want cuts in military spending, want the Patriot Act repealed, and rank a world-shattering sixtieth in the list of political donors).


But what happens if somehow a massive social conservative gets elected president and decides he doesn’t want to hear from progressive corporations like Google and Facebook? Not only that, he decides that Google and Facebook don’t get to talk, donate, or run their business as they please.

What if he orders Google and Facebook to arm all their employees? Are you cool with that?

So calm down and watch Gary.

For those of you who don’t speak Aussie.

“Oh, he’s shitting on the roof!”

“This is, ah… This is what happens when we try to take Gary for a walk in the morning. ‘Fuck you guys. Fuck you cunts. Shoulda taken me for a walk, you pricks. I’ll shit on your shitty car!’ Nice.”

“He’s going mental!”

“Come on, Gary! Come on, Gary! Gotta get-get-get-get-get—”

Gary’s excuse is that he’s a goat. What’s yours?

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