Fun with Corporate Conscience Clauses

Fun with Corporate Conscience Clauses

Read at the NYTimes

The Supreme Court heard the Hobby Lobby Case last week. Hobby Lobby has been very vocal about their opposition to the birth control mandate ever since the Affordable Care Act became law. I drew another cartoon about that over two years ago.

A for-profit company that employs the general public has no business imposing its owners’ religious beliefs onto its employees. But the Supreme Court loves corporate persons more than flesh and blood persons, so Hobby Lobby’s employees should probably read up on the rhythm method.

The Disenfranchising Team

The Disenfranchising Team

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North Carolina passed an expansive voter suppression bill last week. Other states began moving forward with their own bills immediately after the Roberts’ Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in June. They claim it’s to stop voter fraud, but when there are other verifiable, more pressing problems with our elections, it’s a convenient excuse to disenfranchise minorities and the poor.

This isn’t new; many GOP-led states tried the same shenanigans during the 2012 election, but were often stopped by the now extinct preclearance conditions in the VRA. It’s the hail Mary pass of a party that knows it has lost minorities and the young and has no idea to win national elections any more.

The Injustice of Racial Entitlements

The Injustice of Racial Entitlements

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Justice Scalia said a bunch of dumb things last week during the Supreme Court’s hearing on striking down part of the Voting Rights Act; most notably saying reauthorization of Section 5 was a “perpetuation of a racial entitlement.” That section makes states and regions with a history of racial discrimination submit any changes to their voting laws to the Justice Department for approval before they’re implemented, AKA “preclearance.”

Opponents of Section 5 claim it puts an unfair burden on the states and regions it applies to. But most have glossed over the fact that there is already a process to get out of Section 5 called “bail out.”

Almost ignored by the justices, however, was that the Voting Rights Act has a provision that allows states to “bail out” of Section 5 coverage if they go a long time without proposing discriminatory voting changes. Almost 200 jurisdictions have bailed out of Section 5 since 1982, at a cost of about $5,000 each. Shelby County, Alabama, can’t do that, though, because in 2006 local officials redistricted the only black lawmaker in the city of Calera out of his seat.

Essentially Section 5 has its own sunset built-in. When racial discrimination in voting laws is eliminated in every American jurisdiction, and they all bail out of Section 5, it will be rendered moot. Striking the section before its time will ensure discriminatory shenanigans like Voter ID laws, gerrymandering and reducing voting hours in majority-minority precincts will continue well into the 21st century.

However, there are obvious problems with Section 5, especially that it mostly applies only to the South. This allows states elsewhere (And ALWAYS GOP-led) to enact bullshit laws designed to reduce minority turnout (who ALWAYS vote overwhelmingly for Democrats) in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. This could be easily fixed by placing the entire Republican Party under the jurisdiction of Section 5 until they stop being racist, or in practical terms, forever.

Lastly, Justice Roberts screwed up when he cited my state of Massachusetts as being more discriminatory than Mississippi. I’m not saying it’s free of racism, just that its large population of racist Irish drunks (As a progressive Irish drunk, I can say this.) don’t exert much influence on our voting laws.

Congratulations! You’re Still Insured!

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Obamacare and Romneycare are both flawed, but they are better than the alternative of going without health insurance. Thanks to Romneycare, I have a PCP and can get preventative care on the cheap, unlike most of my freelancing brethren.

I was fully expecting the Court to scrap the Affordable Care Act, so I had to come up with this cartoon very quickly before my Friday deadline. Maybe I can use Romneycare to get an Adderall prescription the next time I have to pull an all-nighter. (Joking! Caffeine hasn’t failed me yet.)

I forgot to mention it last week, but I’ve been doing The Strip for over a year now. The time has flown. Because I’m drawing cartoons all the damn time.

Religious Exemptions for Piety & Profit*

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Even though the contraception mandate has been established and validated in the courts for years, a bunch of loud-mouthed bishops bitched about it, and the bored news media decided to run with the wedge issue football all last week. And naturally Obama caved, offering up some cockamamie compromise where the insurance companies cover the contraception obligations instead of the religious employers. If we had single-payer healthcare, instead of the byzantine employer-funded health insurance system we’re stuck with, this wouldn’t even be an issue, and everyone would be happy.*

The point’s been made everywhere, but in case you missed it, when churches function as employers to the general public, not just those of their faith, they should abide by the same obligations as any employer. I say “should” because last month the Supreme Court blasted a unanimous loophole through employee rights with the ministerial exception.

*Not literally. Insurance industry toadies, and the perpetually miserable would still be sad.

Free Speech Free-for-All


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I suspect if the Westboro publicity whores were advocating atheism in their signature abrasive style, instead of homophobic religious drivel, more of the Supremes would’ve joined Alito in the dissenting opinion.

It should go without saying that I believe anybody, even stupid shitheads, can say anything they want, including inciting others to violence.

Next Week: Parental Devices

How to Opt-In to Your Rights


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Thanks to five assholes, Miranda rights have been weakened. I’m not planning on getting arrested anytime soon, but this ruling essentially changes a right to a privilege, only available to those who know how to implement it. Warrantless search and seizures can’t be far behind.

And Thanks to Tom for kicking a few bucks my way to get my ass back to covering politics.

It’s a busy summer so far here in BFW land. I’ll try to get back to blogging and cranking out Quickies soon.

Next Week: New Summer Series.

Corporate Persons Are Jerks


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The Supreme Court took a big wet shit on the shag carpet of democracy with their decision last week. Corporate personhood is garbage. A shitty human being can be shamed, or in the case of super-greedy-fucks, at least be torched and pitchforked by an angry mob. A corporate person can morph into a faceless non-person and hide behind a pile of money and an ace legal team as soon as it’s convenient.

The only rights corporations should have are the ones that protect their human participants’ individual rights. Telling ExxonMobil or Lockheed to shut the fuck up and stay out of elections doesn’t stop any of its vile, rapacious employees or shareholders from doing the same. Until Apple develops a tablet with its own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, only human beings deserve certain unalienable rights.

There were many great comics on the subject this week. Here are a few of my favorites:

Matt Bors – The Corporate Civil Rights Movement

Lloyd Dangle – This Week’s Troubletown

Abell Smith – Great Moments in American Jurisprudence

Kevin Moore – If Persons Were Treated Like Corporations (I’m sad to report that this is the last In Contempt strip ever. At least until President Jenna Bush draws Kevin away from Wanderlost in the Fugly 20s.)

Next Week: Big Fat Valentines