Politics Blog

UPDATE: Candidates in Washington's first congressional district react to Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision

UPDATE: After I posted this, the campaign for Ed Moats, another challenger in the first congressional district, submitted his statement on the decision. Scroll down to see his full comment near the bottom. (Marked with two asterisks so the new section is easy to find.) 

As many readers have probably heard, yesterday the Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

The case asked the United States' highest court to decide whether or not corporations whose owners disagree with a provision of the federally-mandated Affordable Care Act for religious reasons could opt to exclude certain preventive women's health care from the insurance plans they provide to employees.

In the 5-4 June 30 decision the court said, in short, "Yes, they can."

Specifically, the court held that "closely held for-profit corporations" have the right to exclude coverage for four medications that can prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus, including "two forms of emergency contraception commonly called 'morning after' pills and two types of intrauterine devices.

The text of the decision can be found here.

Below are the reactions from the two candidates receiving the most attention in the race for Washington's first congressional district, which includes most of Whatcom County, along with most of Skagit, Snohomish and part of King County.

Incumbent Rep. Suzan DelBene (D) released the following:

“I’m very disappointed by the Court’s decision to allow closely held corporations to deny access to basic healthcare, such as contraception, to their employees.

“With this ruling, the Court has allowed employers to impose their religious beliefs on their workers. A woman’s boss should never be the one to make healthcare decisions for her – these decisions should be between her and her doctor.

“Birth control is a critical component of women’s healthcare. Ninety-nine percent of women use birth control at some point in their lives, and more than 600,000 women in Washington state have benefited from the requirement that insurance companies provide preventative healthcare free of charge.

“The Supreme Court’s decision could also have serious consequences far beyond contraception. While the Court’s decision suggests that today’s ruling applies only to contraceptive coverage, I am troubled by the opportunity it creates for employers to potentially object to further medical services on religious grounds.

“In the coming weeks, I’ll be working with my colleagues in Congress to address this ruling and to ensure women’s access to birth control is protected.”

The campaign for challenger Pedro Celis (R) released the following:

“It is one more startling indication of the flaws and failures of Obamacare that its provisions became a cause of action in a case such as this.  As I have said many times, putting the federal government in charge of something as complex and delicate as our healthcare system is bound to produce catastrophic errors. 

“We can be thankful that a majority of Justices in this case chose to negate a tiny element of what’s wrong with the monstrous and flawed Obamacare law, but we cannot rely on future Courts to continue rejecting Obamacare.  We also know that incumbent Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene will not be a check and balance against government overreach.  She will rubber-stamp whatever action the President proposes as he attempts to save his fading legacy.

“In Congress, I will continue to push for real healthcare reform that will actually lower health costs, takes back our right to choose our own doctor, and protects our basic rights.”

** The campaign for challenger Ed Moats (prefers G.O.P.) released the following:

“The Hobby Lobby decision issued today by The Supreme Court of the United States is a very welcome breath of fresh air, curtailing, at least for now, the continual executive overreach and disregard by President Obama.

The court ruled the 1st Amendment religious liberty protection of the United States Constitution overruled regulations written by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement Obamacare.

This decision is cause for celebration! It sends a clear message to President Obama and his liberal supporters in Congress that individual liberties, including those of family-owned businesses, cannot be trampled.

There are, however, two issues which must be noted.

The precedent-setting value of this decision lies in how it will or can be applied to similar cases in the future. The Hobby Lobby decision does not apply broadly to all corporations, but narrowly to only closely-held businesses.

It is unfortunate that President Obama and his Department of Justice deployed considerable amount of time, money, and other resources to force Hobby Lobby to accept the harsh rule of Obamacare or face penalties of $1.3 million per day. Just image how more secure our border would be if those resources had been invested there.

Under the Obama Administration and his liberal supporters - which includes my opponent Suzan DelBene - it has become the policy of this country to remove or diminish those rights guaranteed to all of us by the United State Constitution.

What Fast & Furious, IRS targeting, the Border Patrol stand down at our southwest border, the CIA & military stand down in Benghazi, and the releasing of five top terrorist operative to the Taliban all have in common is a president declaring his country out of his protection and himself above his nation's laws.

Under the US Constitution Article II Section 1 the President swears to preserve the Constitution, and under section 2 he is obliged to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." But our nation is faced today with a president who wholly disregards this oath and this duty."