It seems to me that Sullivan keeps backing himself into an indefensible corner.
"I would not," he writes, "have given Hobby Lobby what SCOTUS just did, but I sympathize with the principle involved, and prefer a limited government in a free society over a powerful government in a more just one."
One could substitute, say, "White Citizens Councils" for "Hobby Lobby," and indeed 1950s and early '60s conservatives did roughly that in defense of slow-walking civil rights. Quite aside from any inherent bigotry, their argument was framed as one in support of "limited government" and a "free society." This however meant that somebody else would have to take the fall, so to speak, for their freedom, and that somebody just happened to be a whole lot of somebodies of color. Yet this was justifiable in their minds, because, as we know, these conservatives also believed that extremism in the defense of liberty was no vice.
Many of these Goldwater conservatives were genuine in their beliefs. They weren't bigoted. They did extol freedom and limited government above all other principles. What they ignored was that others had to pay for their "free society." And when social "justness" has evaded the afflicted long enough, a friendly, powerful central government begins to look pretty damn good. In short, Goldwater conservatism's overzealous pursuit of limited government only hastened its ill health.
Still, what more easily counters Sullivan's argument, it seems, is that the Hobby Lobby decision was grounded in statutory law--not First Amendment principles--for a rather good reason gone bad. The Affordable Care Act was not, is not, and never will be an act designed to interfere with the sanctity of religious freedom. Period. On the other hand we are governed--by constitutional design--by principles of a secular, not theocratic, society. Accordingly, the evangelical Green family's corporate empire should be no more exempt from the statutory law of the land than Sears or Starbucks is.
In the other way--the way of a kind of First Amendment free-for-all--lies madness, as Justice Ginsburg correctly observed, and, I'm afraid, as we're about to find out. In once again perverting the law to achieve an ideological objective, Justice Alito et al knew what they were doing: they were gunning for government in general. And they won't rest till they prevail. In fact they've been hammering away since Goldwater.