First time in my life!!!
First time in my life I read a full Supreme Court judgement. In its entirety! All 95 pages!! Twice!!
There were enough emotions being poured out in Facebook among my friends about the recent Supreme Court and the Hobby Lobby case (ACA, access to contraception by women etc) – mostly against the Supreme Court decision – and a lot of them by women – that I had to ask myself – “What kind of insensitive men are running our Court these days?”. Just to get a first hand impression, I downloaded the whole judgment and started reading up in the long coast to coast flight.
First, I read Justice Alito’s writeup of Opinion of the Court (making a case for the final decision of the Court). Impressive arguments. It made total sense to me. Followed up with Justice Kennedy’s Concurrence.
I was not sure there was a case against. So, then read up Justice Ginsburg’s writeup “Dissent”. Splendid arguments. Great alternate ways to look at the same situation. That made total sense to me too. Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan’s Dissents were one paragraph only – mostly concurring with Justice Ginsburg.
So, I was even more confused then. I asked myself “Which way would I vote”? Not knowing anything better, I went ahead and read up the whole 95 pages again.
And this is the conclusion I came to… I am really really glad that some really really smart people investigate these really really intricate and controversial questions in so many different ways and then lay down the rule of the land. I am certainly not up to it. That, above all, was the most comforting feeling I had.
And the decorum they have of laying down their bitter opposition while simultaneously showing great respect to folks with opposite points of view is something I can always learn from.
BTW, some of the facts I learnt while reading – that I never learnt from any of the FB posts:
1. The case was not about all contraceptives. In fact, ACA, does not even cover the more effective forms of contraceptives. Only the 20 specified ones by FDA. Of them, 16 was never in question – they all prevented fertilization of eggs. The debated and contested ones were 4 of them – that prevented a fertilized egg to continue growing by attaching itself to the uterus. (I think certain religious beliefs believe life starts when the egg gets fertilized).
2. The case was not about whether women can have access to those 4. It was about if certain kind of for-profit organizations could be forced to pay for them when their religious beliefs is that it is a sin to do so. In case of religious non-profits, the law today already requires that the insurance carrier will have to pay for those 4 drugs without asking the non-profit or the employee to pay. And no insurance carrier has ever objected because the costs of going thru with an unwanted pregnancy is apparently much higher than the cost of those 4 drugs.
Both sides agree to the above.
In any case, I am not sure I will ever use any of these information. But sure taught me that I should get to the facts before I evaluate…