Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 7.1.14: Hobby Lobby ruling a boon for Democratic 2014 hopes?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 9:07 AM

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All the kvetching about the Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case confirms that abortion remains a potent force in American politics, some 41 years after Roe v. Wade. But could it affect the 2014 midterms?

With the Democrats fearing they may lose the U.S. Senate in November, the court's decision that the government cannot force certain employers to pay for birth control is clearly a win for pro-life forces, as the high court ruled for the first time ever that profit-seeking businesses  have the right to use their religious views as a rationale for corporate actions. 

Conservatives mocked pro-choice indignation at the court's decision yesterday, emphasizing that it was a "narrow" exception, celebrating religious freedom. But progressives see it differently. As Elizabeth Wydra with the Constitutional Accountability Center wrote on CNN.com yesterday, "The guarantee of free exercise of religion has always been viewed as a purely personal liberty, guaranteeing the right of individuals to worship and exercise religion consistent with the dictates of their conscience. It has never been considered a right possessed by secular, for-profit corporations — until the court's ruling in Hobby Lobby."

The political question today for Democrats today: Could the decision fire up a somewhat somnolent base, particularly with close Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina? Single women are one of the fastest-growing voter demographics — and contraception coverage is something many of them care about. This SCOTUS decision could be the boost the Dems were desperately looking for to fire up a key part of their constituency. 

In other news...

Sick of reading the latest in the Scott-Crist battle? Adrian Wyllie hopes you'll consider him for governor this November, and the Libertarian candidate is continuing to stay relevant in the polls.

President Obama intends to do as much as he can unilaterally on immigration, but he is asking Congress for money to start repatriating children from Central American nations who have landed in South Texas over the past couple of months. Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor says the message must be sent that these families aren't going to get legal status if they make it to America.

Congresswoman Castor is leading an effort to get the word out about the HPV vaccination. Somewhat stunningly, Florida ranks dead last in the country in offering that vaccine, which can help protect young girls against cervical and other forms of cancer.

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