— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) June 30, 2014
Good for Harry, old Mormon though he be. Via Jim Newell, at Salon:
… The irony of today’s ruling is that while it’s a terrible ruling, it doesn’t help the Republican Party as its candidates pivot from primaries to general elections. Ever since the GOP took over the House of Representatives and various statehouses in the 2010 elections, and proceeded to act on its “jobs agenda” by going all-out to limit access to women’s heathcare, the party has been pummeled in a key demographic: unmarried women. In 2012, Barack Obama won approximately two-thirds of votes by unmarried women, according to exit polls. In 2013′s Virginia gubernatorial election, Republicans nominated a staunch conservative culture warrior like Ken Cuccinelli, who did so poorly among unmarried women that he managed to lose to sleazeball fundraiser Terry McAuliffe.
YES, YES, unmarried women care about lots of things beyond birth control! But the battle over access to women’s healthcare, with Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” being its avatar, has proven to have remarkable political resonance in turning out the vote against “social conservatives.” That’s why Harry Reid is calling the ruling what it is — the Supreme Court placing a limit on “women’s access to health care” — while John Boehner pops off about “an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives.”…
Dave Weigel, at Slate, sees this happening already:
… On the margins—as seen in the inboxes of anyone who gets end-of-quarter fundraising emails from candidates—Hobby Lobby elevates an issue that scares Democratic voters. The birth control coverage mandate was widely popular before today’s decision. Democrats in Colorado and Alaska had been battering their likely opponents by portraying them as enemies of birth control and choice. In Colorado—an example I like because both Sen. Mark Udall and challenger Rep. Cory Gardner are quite adroit—Udall hammered Gardner’s support for a fetal personhood amendment, and Gardner countered late by coming out for making birth control more available. He reacted to the Hobby Lobby decision with similar acrobatics:
The court made the right decision today to protect religious liberty and the First Amendment. The Food and Drug Administration now needs to move quickly to make oral contraceptives available to adults without a prescription.
Gardner quickly blurted “religious liberty!” and scrambled to portray himself as pro-contraception access. The lesson: Democrats have more to gain if voters (unmarried women especially) start to believe that the 2014 election will chip away at reproductive rights. It’s the sort of thing Democrats always say, about every election, but here’s a fresh issue, a fresh reminder that they might not be happy with the party but do they really want more Alitos on the bench?…
Amanda Marcotte, also at Slate:
… [T]his decision limits the employer’s religious reach exclusively to judgments about the employee’s personal use of her own vagina, and no further. “This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates, that is for blood transfusions or vaccinations, necessarily fail if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs,” Alito writes.
This feels like an extremely reductive view of religion: As simply a way to codify reactionary beliefs about human sexuality. Or, as Atrios put it on Twitter, “religion is now only about unapproved fucking.” And it’s ultimately not good for the religious right to have one of its own—Alito—limit the scope of legitimate religious grousing to matters of sexuality, as if religion has nothing else going for it. Hobby Lobby may have won this battle. But it won at the price of portraying the Christian right as little more than a movement of sex-obsessed busybodies…
And this clip of the victorious Hobby Lobby owners congratulating themselves on their own godliness should inspire a thousand donations to Democratic (and secular humanist) fundraising emails: