Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

3 Ways Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Impact 2014 (Video)

The Supreme Court’s narrow Monday decision allowing some companies to not offer contraceptive coverage for employees could have an impact on the November midterms.

The ruling is a polarizing one for Democrats and Republicans — and both sides have already tried to use it to their political advantage.

Republicans mostly support the court’s decision, calling it a win for religious freedom and a major defeat for the president’s health care overhaul law that required company health care plans to cover birth control. Democrats are using the decision to emphasize what they see as the GOP’s unfriendly policies toward women.

That contrast could play out in three key ways in 2014 elections:

1. Fundraising
Publicly, many Democrats expressed outrage with the court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. But privately, they acknowledged the decision will likely be a financial boon for the party in the coming days.

Minutes after the decision, Democratic organizations started to use it in their fundraising pleas.

“In 2014 we should not have to be fighting for access to birth control. A boss should never be able to tell an employee which medical care he or she can have,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., wrote in a fundraising email for her Off the Sidelines political action committee that supports women running for office.

“With the Court’s decision to restrict women’s health care dominating the news, the press and political pundits will scrutinize our [Federal Election Commission] report to determine whether momentum is on our side,” EMILY’s List Executive Director Jess O’Connell wrote in a fundraising plea shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

Republicans will also be in a position to use the decision to raise funds from the party’s base. But in recent cycles, Republicans have had less success with small-dollar donations than Democrats, especially in congressional races.

2. Female Voters
Female voters have become an essential voting bloc. They helped deliver a victory for President Barack Obama in 2012, breaking for him by a 12-point margin. This cycle, Democrats have identified single female voters as a key electorate in many of their top congressional races.

Most Republicans support Monday’s ruling, so Democrats will likely attempt to pin it to GOP candidates in competitive House and Senate races in states where large groups of single female voters have helped them before: Colorado, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia.

“A woman’s personal health decisions about choosing to use contraception and when to start a family should stay strictly between her and her doctor — not her boss,” Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said in a statement released after the decision. “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision unacceptably takes these choices out of doctors’ offices and into the workplace.”

Udall’s opponent in the competitive Senate race, GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, said the court “made the right decision” but also called on the Food and Drug Administration to “make oral contraceptives available to adults without a prescription.”

3. An Underscored Argument for Senate Control

Republicans have worked to tie this cycle’s most vulnerable Democrats to Obama, whose popularity has declined since his re-election in 2012.

Now the Hobby Lobby decision gives Democrats more ammunition for their argument that they should keep control of the Senate. Supreme Court nominations must be OK’d by that chamber.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent its own fundraising missive that warned, “We CAN’T let the GOP use this to steal the momentum, erase our lead, and take over the Senate. The consequences would be dire.”

This cycle Democrats are playing defense in several competitive Senate contests in states such as North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Michigan and Iowa. Republicans must net six seats to win control of the Senate.


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  • ShadrachSmith

    A bad week for Obama, and its only Monday :-)

  • Cool Ranch, Texas

    Even with civilization’s advance, we have retained the instinct of mass action that typically results from the effects of crowd psychology.

  • Sam Fuels

    Those who profess no limits to the actions which can be taken in the majority’s name are undermining liberty and democratic processes.

  • JohnnyAngel Advocacy Group

    Where will all these issues go when ObaPutin is tossed out like yesterday’s wash ? Right along with him !! This “sane part of the country” is about to go into political hiding after the complete drubbing they are going to get in November. Wait & see. Communism will be a talking point for the Right and the Left defending it…well that’s going to be pathetic. Our group is in contact now with various others to put this strategy in place. Watch and learn…the Left will look pathetic after being exposed ! A very definite voting line is going to be drawn. Choose wisely Amerika !!

  • View From The Left
  • Martina Patrick

    Ladies, it’s on us. VOTE to stop the GOP from taking away YOUR freedoms!

  • mabramso

    Nice try. My wife and daughters will be voting straight Republican.

  • mabramso

    Interesting that the “impact” is all in favor of the Democrats. I doubt this will have much impact at all.

  • Roberto M

    You are free to pay for your own birth control. Why should either taxpayers or people of faith opposed to abortion pay for your birth control or morning after pill?

  • Roberto M

    I get a kick of how these bankrupt leftists frame this issue. They want to fool the public into thinking that unless someone else is footing the bill, women can’t get birth control. Nice try!

  • dav

    Those Packyderms will soon not be having back packs big enough to get the money to the old bank !

  • mabramso

    It is more onerous than that. For years, the Left has spewed their venomous accusation that people of faith are intolerant and want to force their views upon them. Not only is that not true, but I can’t think of ANY clearer case of Freudian projection — that is, it is the exact opposite, and they project their own intolerance upon people of faith by trying to compel conformity against the dictates of their consciences. And I can only say to the the Supreme Court, “BRAVO”, they got one exactly right. The only shame is that it came as a 5-4 decision. 20-30 years ago, this would have been a 9-0 decision.

  • Jay Colbs

    Yeah @mabramso:disqus ! Totally agree! We should also allow companies of faith to choose to keep gays out of the workplace. Or those who marry inter-racially. Or blacks out as well. I mean, religion is the best right! I can say whatever I want and hate poor people, muslims, women, whoever and just say that it’s in the bible. Isn’t that awesome! Oh sure, an IUD costs $500-$1000 and the average Hobby Lobby employee only makes that much in a month, but it’s religion! I have the right to force these women to have babies that they can’t afford to feed so that when they go on food stamps and their children end up uneducated and commit crimes I can say “See! I told you so!”. Isn’t religion awesome :) Now, if I could only find a way to get rid of those pesky hispanics. Unfortunately they really like religion too. I’ll figure it out though cause I’m sure they are somehow taking money from me. Any ideas gang? Hey, can any of you let me borrow your white hood for the next rally? I can’t find mine anywhere.

  • windycitygurl

    My freedoms are intact. I don’t have to pay for your sexual activity and you don’t have to pay for the next person. See how that works? You still have access to your qualified insurance plan. If it covers contraceptives, you have not been disenfranchised.
    What are the odds a liberal would want to work for an organization with religious views?
    What are the odds Hillary is deeply disturbed by a case that held to RFRA, a bill that her spouse, Bill Clinton signed in 1993. Selective memory or memory loss? You can decide for yourself.

  • windycitygurl

    Bigger cases coming to SCOTUS. These may cause meltdown.

  • mabramso

    Wow, I congratulate you for illustrating my Freudian projection comment PERFECTLY — and with almost no thought whatsoever. You have my pity.

  • mabramso

    But not before the 2014 midterm elections, which is what the author is talking about.

  • yesIDeeClaire

    At this link we find Bolshevik ideologue Ezekiel Emanuel desperately defending comrade Obama’s lies:

  • allencic

    Surely women can’t be so stupid as to believe the Democratic con men who claim this takes away any of their rights in any way. Oh wait, they did vote for Obama twice so they really are that stupid.

  • BullIsland

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [. . .] (First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.)In Employment Division v. Smith, Justice Scalia wrote for the U.S. Supreme Court that:

    We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes). [Emphasis supplied.]

  • BullIsland

    Scalia: Well now we aren’t talking about native savages, we are talking about white Christians . . so never mind what I said previously.

  • mabramso

    The Court relied primarily on the RFRA, which was signed into law after Employment Division v. Smith. The RFRA is settled law, and according to the Court, the current regulation (which was not specifically part of the ACA) violated the RFRA.

  • BullIsland

    The RFRA is not a constitutional amendment and therefore cannot trump the Establishment Clause. WHich is why the majority could not, and did not discuss it.

  • mabramso

    Establishment clause???? What are you talking about? That is an argument for Hobby Lobby, not against them! Clearly, the justices did not see this as a violation of the EC.

  • BullIsland

    Au contraire, the court’ sruling, which places HL’s religouls views over those of its employees, favors (not surprisingly) those CHristians who (mistakenly) view the Ella and Plan B pills and the IUDs as preventing the implanting of a fertilized embryo.

    ANyway, congrats on your victory. Also, facts aside (that’s evidently how HL and the religious right prefer it), hopefully HL and Wheaton will get out the young female vote in 2014, and these fiascos can be corrected through legislation.

  • mabramso

    What someone believes, mistakenly or not, is irrelevant. After all, fully believing Catholics (and I have known a few) do not believe in ANY form of birth control other than abstinence. You and I may not agree with that, but Catholics constitute a nontrivial segment of the population, and they have the right to religious belief and expression. And all the Court did was say that those rights do not end when an individual opens and runs a business. But I think this is all overblown anyway. It is doubtful this case will affect many people. There will be a small market for insurance that covers the less offensive (to certain Christians) forms of birth control, and the rest of us will start paying for everyone else’s birth control. I would really like to see the pill goes over-the-counter, but I don’t expect to see the Democrats to allow it because they get too much political mileage from what I consider to be a non-issue.

    With regards to your hopes for election results, I think the best the Dems can hope for is to avoid a huge political wave against them. But they are not going to flip the House, and may very well lose the Senate. Consider:
    1. 6th year midterm elections are always about the incumbent President, not recent SC decisions. So Obama has a few months to improve his standing, but I don’t see it happening.
    2. If I am not mistaken, only twice in US history has the President’s party even picked up ANY seats in the House in a 6th year midterm, and both times, it was less than 5. This time around, each side has roughly 2-3 seats that are likely to flip, and from there, the pickings are mighty slim. And it is probably going to be that way until 2022, the next redistricting.
    3. In the Senate, all the GOP has to do to flip control is hold on to GA (which seems very likely now) and win the seats in states that Romney won by double digits despite losing nationally (and that doesn’t include NC, CO, and IA, which all look like toss-ups at this point).

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