I'm not sure I followed every nuance of Ari Ezra Waldman's latest critique of the Supreme's Hobby Lobby decision which allows some family owned companies to refuse to cover some forms of contraception. Even so, Waldman's conclusion is disturbing.
As part of the ruling the justices point to a part of the Affordable Care Act, in which Obama had already worked out a deal with religious institutions. They could fill out a document to proclaim their objection and the gov't would pay for contraception coverage.
But for highly conservative Wheaton College that wasn't good enough. Objectionable contraception coverage was still given to employees, even if WC didn't pay for it. So they challenged this compromise.
The way I understand it, the Supremes wrote the Hobby Lobby ruling saying the religious exemption to the ACA is for only this one thing. Nothing else will be allowed. We can't permit these exceptions to proliferate. Don't even ask.
The next day Wheaton College asked. And the Supremes said, well, maybe that too.
At the moment the Supremes haven't ruled that Wheaton College gets their exception. But the Supremes did imply there is a good chance WC will so they'll let them have their way until they get around to an official ruling.
Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Kagan were livid and blasted their male colleagues in dissent. This WC mess does two things. It erodes the respect citizens have for the court. And it implies that the Supremes will look kindly on other religious exemptions – likely to the further detriment of women and sexual minorities.