People who don’t even work or shop at Hobby Lobby complaining about the situation as if it somehow affects them
There is something called a legal precedent.
Legal precedent is an existing legal ruling. Legal precedent comes from case law, or past judicial decisions and cases. Precedent is binding, unless overturned by a higher court.
In the United States, much of the law is made and interpreted by judges. This judicially made law, or common law, is valid unless the legislature overrules it. Case law can involve interpretations of statutes or other legislation, interpretation of the constitution, or decisions on a case in which no statutory law directly implies.
When a judge issues a decision on a case, that case becomes legal precedent. This means that any following cases will follow the precedent set forth in that case. People can look to precedent to guide their behavior, and lawyers can look to precedent to estimate how a case will turn out, and to make arguments for or against a particular legal interpretation.
The United State’s Court system has a strong respect for precedent. The legal doctrine of stare decisis dictates that precedent will be followed in future court cases. Stare decisis, a Latin phrase, means “to stand by and adhere to decisions and not disturb what is settled.”
There are two types of precedent in the United States: binding and persuasive precedent. Binding precedent is precedent that must be followed. Persuasive precedent refers to interpretations of the law that can suggest a course of action, but that legally do not have to be followed.
When a court within a jurisdiction issues a ruling, it is binding precedent on all other courts within that jurisdiction that are at the same level or lower. For example, if a district court in California issues a ruling on an issue or interprets a law, all California District Courts, and all lower California courts must follow that precedent.
Persuasive authority, on the other hand, refers to an interpretation from a court that is not obligatory. Persuasive authority can come from decisions in another jurisdiction. For example, a Washington court’s interpretation of a law is not binding on a California court, but it can be persuasive.
In what just may be the most stunning example of hypocrisy in my lifetime, Mother Jones has uncovered numerous investments on the part of Hobby Lobby’s retirement fund in a wide variety of companies producing abortion and contraception related products.
Hobby Lobby is currently seeking relief from certain contraception benefit requirements of Obamacare in a United States Supreme Court case that promises to be a landmark decision on the rights of corporations and the extension of personal religious protections to corporate entities. In the case of the Hobby Lobby corporation, the company is closely held by the Green family who purport to have strong religious objections to certain types of contraceptive devices and are suing to protect those religious rights.
Remarkably, the contraceptive devices and products that so offend the religious beliefs of this family are manufactured by the very companies in which Hobby Lobby holds a substantial stake via their employee 401(k) plan.
As I suspect many readers will find this as hard to believe and digest as I, the data can be confirmed by reviewing the company’s 2012 Annual Report of Employee Benefit Plan as filed with the Department of Labor.
I know this is a few months old, but worth bringing it back again.