Hobby Ruling requires vast implications



It pays to be a bit opportunistic in politics, a view that Gov. Pat Quinn clearly shares after his quick condemning of the recent Supreme Court ruling, in which it was decided that corporations could deny covering contraceptives based on religious beliefs.

Quinn is not alone in using the ruling as a platform, as several democrats have begun using the controversial decision as ammunition against their Republican counterparts.

In truth, the reactions on both sides have been a bit extreme, though the political repercussions are very real.

Democrats and liberals alike have essentially labeled the decision the latest entry in a Republican crusade against women. While such a reaction is perhaps easy to understand, that is likely not the case. Likewise, Republicans have been dancing in the streets and see the decision as the precursor to the end of Obamacare. Again, not likely either.

Indeed, while the case is frustrating on a moral level, it is not the end of contraceptives for women that some have concluded. Women denied contraceptives from their employer will still be able to obtain them for free through an alternative route provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Fortunately, that won’t be necessary for most as there are not many corporations expected to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Of course, that does not excuse the decision. Health care is a form of compensation, just like wages. To dictate how an employee uses that compensation, especially in this case in which it negatively affects numerous women, is wrong.

Besides, the decision also supports the many misunderstandings surrounding contraceptives, and completely ignores the health benefits to them as well.

Also disturbing is how the decision represents yet another case in which corporations are continuously given more power by the government.

Now it seems that the individuals behind a corporation can dictate their personal beliefs while simultaneously being shielded from personal liability under the banner of their corporation. Corporate owners have essentially learned that they can choose when they want to be treated as an individual or a corporation and they are starting to exploit that.

All these implications aside, perhaps the most significant impact this Supreme Court decision will have is on elections across the country, especially the upcoming governor race in Illinois. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Republicans who are celebrating this ruling to soon be regretting it.

It is no secret that President Obama’s approval ratings are record lows, spelling what could be a huge November for Republicans. However, Republican support over the Supreme Court’s ruling will likely fuel the growing disconnect between women voters and the GOP. Throw in an pre-existing lack of minority support, and it is possible that many elections will be closer than what was initially predicted.

For that reason, the Illinois governor race just got much more intriguing. Quinn has already made it clear where his stance is and it will be interesting to see just what Rauner does in response.

Does he try to sway women voters by condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling or does he stick by his party? It may not be enough to stay neutral on what will likely be a critical issue this fall, given that many women already feel alienated from the Republican Party.

Ultimately, the fallout of the Supreme Courts ruling with Hobby Lobby will likely have the most impact on elections.

While there are certainly several misgivings and conversations surrounding the issue, it is not to the extremes that some may believe.

It is very possible though that this ruling could have a significant effect on just who gets elected governor of Illinois.


Nick Ulferts is a senior English education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to


One Response

  1. Mike

    Hello, Nick! I am concerned that in this editorial, you leave out some pertinent information that might or might not change the message therein.
    The first fact that is conspicuously absent is that the Supreme Court ruling hasn’t yet been determined to affect all methods of birth control. Specific to the Hobby Lobby case, only some forms of birth control, (those which take effect after fertilization has occurred, but before implantation of the embryo), were at issue; other forms are paid for by Hobby Lobby’s insurance. The Supreme Court has sent other cases back to lower courts that involve Catholic entities denying all forms of birth control; it is the outcome of these cases that will show the full extent of the ruling.

    The second fact is that this decision of the Supreme Court’s was not a ruling on whether or not the action of Hobby Lobby to not pay for certain birth control was consitutional. It was a ruling on previous legislation. If our congressmen and -women really support the idea that must pay for all forms of contraception for thier employees, they could work to pass a law that invalidates the legislation that allows them to do so in the first place. The discussion for this case is therefore not over – the Supreme Court’s decision means that the ball is now in Congress’s court. You don’t seem to mention this, despite mentioning that elections will be affected by public attitude toward this decision.

    The third fact is more of a misunderstanind: you say that “the decision also supports the many misunderstandings surrounding contraceptives”. This ignores the fact that only some contraceptives – not including birth control pills – were at issue. By implying that all contraceptives were involved and that the Supreme Court just doesn’t understand what it’s doing, is a straw man argument at best, and deeply manipulative of those who don’t know all the facts at worst. It seems irresponsible to employ this kind of rhetoric, especially in a situation that will have emotions imflamed by its very nature. This would be more acceptable if you were to elucidate what these misunderstandings are, instead of assuming that your audience knows already. Making any sort of mention of the controversy surrounding “after fertilization but before implantation” would have supported your idea that this decision spreads misinformation. But you didn’t mention the controversy.

    The fourth and final fact that concerns me is that you mention “corporations are continuously given more power by the government”. For the purposes of this commentary, we will ignore for a moment that the Supreme Court’s decision only applies to “closely held corporations”, effectively excluding the industry giants that your statement is meant to bring to mind. Your statement is not necessarily the case: many industries are continuously being more and more regulated. The Hobby Lobby case was merely affirming that they still have freedom to act in this situation: a situation that congress can move to regulate in the future. Saying that corporations are being given more power incites an “us vs. them” attitude that is misplaced in this piece. It disturbs me that you merely mention this supposed cession of power to corporations, and then immediately move on, offering no support for your statement. Statements that are unsupported like this are unhelpful, and harmful to civil public discourse.

    Now that I’ve said all these negatives, I also have a positive to mention. You mention that reactions to this case have been overblown, and that this is unlikely to be a “crusade against women” or “an end to ‘Obamacare'”. I agree that reactions have been overblown, and that people should calm down and research the case a bit before panicking! It’s important to put things in perspective like this, especially in a case that will become emotional quickly such as this!


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