From a trio of law professors writing for Slate, the most sedulous thrashing of Hobby Lobby I've read yet. Here's a condensation of its key points:
[I]t corporatizes religious liberty. It extends to for-profit businesses the rights and privileges that have long been associated only with churches and religious nonprofits.... Hobby Lobby is for religion what Citizens United was for free speech.... For the first time, the court has interpreted a federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or RFRA), as affording more protection for religion than has ever been provided under the First Amendment.... Ignoring congressional intent, the court reads RFRA as having shed its First Amendment skin.... The court has eviscerated decades of case law and, having done that, invites a new generation of challenges to federal laws, including those designed to protect civil rights.
Conclude the professors: "[I]f anything is clear, it is that the Roberts Court is now unconstrained by precedent."
What's most striking to me is that all of this springs from the Court's primordial lack of constraint and heaving of precedent: Bush v. Gore, in which the ideological Court, in an astounding act of anti-democratic offensiveness, perpetuated itself by installing a friendly, Justice-nominating ideologue in the Oval Office. Hence Alito and Roberts, both of whom in their confirmation hearings pledged absolute fidelity, of course, to the legal principle of stare decisis--to stand by precedent.
The founders would be, on this Independence Day, appalled at the Court's weird kind of autocratic rule, which weirdly tends to a kind of theocratic anarchism. They knew their history and because of that they well understood the perils of any sort of religious supremacy in civic governance. In the United States the historical harm of religion would in the future be neutralized by equalizing all forms of it. Now comes the Roberts Court--vile spawn of the Rehnquist Court--ruling that civil law is, in law, subordinate to religious prejudice. And this, in turn, throws civic and secular governance into a tailspin.
The founders would be horrified. Happy Fourth of July.