Supreme Court Rulings and legislative reactions
The recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the freedom to exercise religious freedom by the Owners of Hobby Lobby is seeing efforts to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Religious freedom and the practice thereof are guaranteed under the first amendment to the Constitution. It does not limit this right to individuals and should apply to owners of companies/organizations regardless of whether it is for profit or not for profit entity.
While the case was decided based on the RFRA act religious freedom and the exercise of it states the government cannot restrict or impede the exercise of religious beliefs. Our constitutional rights should never be jeopardized through any legislative efforts. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act identified two conditions which must be met for the government to be successful in a court case. The language is identified below:
““governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification” and “the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.”
I have no problem with legislative action in response to Supreme Court decisions if it was not the intent of the applicable legislation on which a decision was based. I do have a problem if it involves our rights under the Constitution. The language quoted above makes it clear that specific tests must be met. Our religious freedom and other rights under the 1st amendment and others should never be impacted by legislative action.
The current action being proposed is to remove the applicability of for profit organizations from the protection of the RFRA act. Whether you are an individual or the owner of a company/organization should not impact your free exercise of your religious beliefs. Companies have the right to operate their specific organizations per their beliefs. Religious principles affect all organizations whether you are a non-profit or for profit entity. It is hoped the action which appears at this point to be a liberal agenda and a Democrat agenda should not be finalized. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican supporting this action makes no difference.
In recent years several actions by Congress and/or the Executive Department have been under attack. It is time for Congress and the Executive Department to refrain from trying to impact our liberties for which many of our military have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend. The Constitution and the rights within it apply to all individuals without exception. Owning a business is not exempted from the guarantees within the Constitution.
Businesses and their owners have the same rights and individuals and should be protected by court decisions. The key thing about Supreme Court decisions is that they should be honored and Congress in most if not all cases should not attempt to change the rules simply for the reason they do not like the response. Congress in their infinite wisdom passes laws and while there may be instances where the impact was not intended overall the laws passed by Congress and decisions associated with them should be respected.
Legislation regarding constitutional rights under the Constitution should be clear as to the intent and objective. Legislation as many of them are written is vague in many respects. If the language was clear and not in violation of our rights they should not have a problem with court decisions at any level especially the Supreme Court. When actions or legislation violate the constitutional authority of Congress the Supreme Court has the authority to reject them as in violation of the Constitution. This applies to all our rights including freedom of speech, freedom of the press and protection against unreasonable search and seizure. There have been many decisions by the Supreme Court and there will be many more in the future. Congress has the responsibility to honor all the requirements of the Constitution and when they violate those conditions the Supreme Court steps in to negate those actions. Congress needs to learn what actions they take are within the scope of the Constitution and refrain to expand their control/action to refrain from violating those conditions. This applies not only to Congress and the Executive Department and their agencies.
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