The decision was handed down only a few hours ago, but Monday marked a big day in politics, as the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby after the company sued on religious grounds to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act mandate requiring employers to pay for insurance coverage for certain types of contraception.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a small Mennonite furniture producer also involved in the lawsuit, won their case in a 5-to-4 decision. Though the companies are reportedly willing to provide insurance for several mandated forms of contraceptives, they objected to coverage for emergency contraceptives in particular such as Plan B and certain intrauterine devices (IUDs), arguing that they induce abortion or prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.
Justice Samuel Alito elaborated on the decision in the majority opinion, writing that the companies in question are “closely held corporations” controlled by a few members and/or members of a single family that make it harder to distinguish between a business and its owners. The ruling applies only to those types of companies.
The ongoing case has been a hot topic of conversation, so it’s not all that surprising to see Hobby Lobby, #SCOTUS, and #ReligiousFreedom become top trends in the U.S. on Twitter as people use it to voice their reactions to the decision. Naturally, there’s no shortage of opinions, no matter which side of the verdict you landed on.
Planned Parenthood, for instance, says it will be fighting back against the decision, inviting followers to #JoinTheDissent. Hobby Lobby Case, the official Twitter account for updates on the case, meanwhile, called the decision a “landmark victory for #religiousfreedom.” Some are hard at work combing through the alphabet soup to collect some of the angrier reactions, such as the conservative-leaning Twitchy. You can go down the rabbit hole and see what everyone under the sun is saying about it in almost real time here.
Others are viewing the decision in the context of government involvement in private business, such as libertarian YouTube personality Julie Borowski, who said that what the government is mandating isn’t the important thing, but rather “that they are forcing people to do something in the first place.”
Here’s a good, pithy tweet from @iowahawkblog, who said “I support a woman’s right to choose whether or not to patronize Hobby Lobby.” That was after the one where he said “BREAKING: SUPREME COURT SAYS HOBBY LOBBY MUST ALLOW CONCEALED CARRY GLUE GUNS.”
For some of the most humorous reactions (actually, they’re reactions to the reactions), look no further than @SCOTUSblog, the Twitter account for the private Supreme Court blog of the same name sponsored by Bloomberg Law. Throughout the morning, the page has been adding some snarky responses to angry users voicing their displeasure with the decision and presumably thinking the blog is the actual Supreme Court (it’s worth reiterating here that the blog covers Supreme Court cases but isn’t its official blog). For instance:
“Lost our copy, apologies. MT @opinali: @SCOTUSblog today you have f@cked up real hard. Go read the f@cking First Amendment again, OK?
“Um…… -Amy. RT @VictoriaaC0418: Hey @SCOTUSblog … Thanks for treating women like second class citizens.”
“Noted. -Scalia MT @ypiddle: @SCOTUSblog You sided with the crazies. Good job!! Tell your boys to keep their thingies in their pants.”
It wasn’t all snark from @SCOTUSblog, however, as the account also reminded people to not “overread” the decision, pointing out that women can still get birth control coverage, nor is it “opening the door wide to religious claims.” It also notes that the Obama Administration can and “is almost certain to” pay for the coverage itself. Reuters is now reporting that the White House will consider whether President Obama can act on his own to “mitigate [the] effect” of the ruling.