Surprise, Surprise: Hobby Lobby Wins, New York Times 'Dismayed'

The Supreme Court on Monday delivered its verdict in the closely watched Hobby Lobby case, ruling 5-4 that the Christian-run craft store doesn't have to obey the Obamacare mandate that requires health care plans to pay for birth-control drugs that may induce abortion. Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion stated that requiring such closely-held corporations to provide such coverage violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Yet New York Times legal reporter Adam Liptak's lead story Tuesday, under the banner headline "Court Limits Birth Control Rule," managed to quote liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent in the second sentence.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. It was, a dissent said, “a decision of startling breadth.”


Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, emphasized the ruling’s limited scope. For starters, he said, the court ruled only that a federal religious-freedom law applied to “closely held” for-profit corporations run on religious principles. Even those corporations, he said, were unlikely to prevail if they objected to complying with other laws on religious grounds.

But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent sounded an alarm. She attacked the majority opinion as a radical overhaul of corporate rights, one she said could apply to all corporations and to countless laws.

Even though she was on the losing side, a slice of Ginsburg's dissent was quoted in a text box before a section of Alito's majority opinion appeared.

Tuesday's front page also contained a label-heavy political analysis, "A Ruling That Both Sides Can Run With," by Jeremy Peters and Michael Shear.

The story squeezed in eight conservative labels and a reference to the GOP's "right flank," versus just one liberal label (and a professor describing a hypothetical woman with a "somewhat liberal point of view"), along with loaded language like this:

Yet even as conservatives celebrated coming out on the winning side of a divisive social issue, their court victory may have also handed Democrats an issue that will turn out liberal voters in the fall....Within hours of the decision, Mr. Obama and his allies criticized it as the latest attempt by conservative men to control private matters that are best left to women and their doctors.

Yet there was also Alan Rappaport's surprisingly positive profile of David Green, executive director of the company: "Hobby Lobby Made Fight a Matter of Christian Principle."

It's no surprise that the paper's left-wing editorial page was unhappy with the ruling, reacting under the false,ham-handed headline "Limiting Rights: Imposing Religion on Workers."

The Supreme Court’s deeply dismaying decision on Monday in the Hobby Lobby case swept aside accepted principles of corporate law and religious liberty to grant owners of closely held, for-profit companies an unprecedented right to impose their religious views on employees.

Judiciary Labeling Abortion New York Times ObamaCare Hobby Lobby Adam Rappaport Adam Liptak Jeremy Peters Michael Shear
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