We Heart: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Dissent and Everything That Accompanies It

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In the midst of the devastating Hobby Lobby decision, at least we have the words of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, AKA Notorious R.B.G. She wrote an extraordinary 35-page dissent to the ruling that expressed her disapproval based on legal precedent, current laws and a dash of personal opinion.

Parts of the dissent have even been made into a song by Jonathan Mann, which has already received more than 150,000 views on YouTube.

Justice Ginsberg clearly recognized the devastating impact that this decision will have and the dangerous precedent it sets. In a series of thought-provoking and rage-inducing questions, she asked:

Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

Some wags have spun out even further to ponder how privately held corporations may use the Hobby Lobby decision to support imagined religious practices.

  • According to The Moonmont Chronicle, the decision upheld JCPenney’s “right to sacrifice pure-hearted employees in order to assuage the Dread Lord Cthulhu, Bringer of Madness.”
  • The Atlanta Banana facetiously insisted that the Supreme Court ruled that Little Caesar’s Pizza was “within its rights to place Christian employees in an arena and then unleash starved, vicious lions and lionesses upon them.”
  • And The Daily Currant reported (wink wink) that Hobby Lobby itself had stoned a gay employee to death—for Biblical reasons, of course. A fictitious Hobby Lobby manager was quoted as saying,

    Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Christian companies can exempt themselves from any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs we can finally start enforcing biblical order.

Of course this is all gallows humor—the decision is deeply disturbing in its implications for women’s reproductive rights and for freedom from religious intolerance. Thankfully we still have the loud-and-strong voice of Justice Ginsburg, and we are ever so grateful for her ongoing commitment to women’s well-being and equality under the law.

Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Simmie Knox from Wikimedia Commons

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Simone Lieban Levine is a rising junior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an intern for Ms. Follow her on Twitter: @though_she_be.

Comments

  1. I like Ginsburg’s dissent, but as a lawyer, I have issue with the quoted passage about Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, and the like.

    Her hypothetical is well grounded, but that tangent is really an attack on the statute itself rather than on the ruling in Hobby Lobby specifically. It questions whether there should be this framework, a framework that was not designed by SCOTUS but approved by both houses of Congress and signed by Bill Clinton. The answer to her question is provided not by the majority but by the statute itself–> Each case must be decided individually and if you don’t like this framework, get Congress to edit the law.

    I personally do not like the RFRA for cases like this (and not b/c its a corp) but I believe that general laws that are neutral should not have to be piecemeal picked apart. The statute is bad so we should get Congress to remove it entirely

    • M. B. Pesci says:

      “…get Congress to remove it entirely.” Ga-faw, ga-faw, Congress DO ANYTHING–PLUEESE!

  2. Mar Iguana says:

    Dear Congress,

    You either fix this threat to my freedom from religion OR you support forced abortion for Chinese women and forced pregnancy for American women.

    Your choice. You remember choice, right?

  3. Given that this Congress has done basically nothing on any women’s issue, I wouldn’t rely on Congress to “fix” this disastrous SC decision either. I’m not sure at this point what could be done to improve the lives of women who will be seriously affected by it. Then again, I’m not a legislator, so what do I know. :)

    I’m sure of one thing, that I will not be voting for any politician who supports this terrible SC decision and others like it. I hope all other women who value choice and reproductive freedom won’t vote for any of them either.

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