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Peters Denounces Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Ruling; DeMaio Responds

Aired 7/2/14 on KPBS News.

Both candidates in the hot race for the 52nd Congressional District seem to be on the same page regarding the Supreme Court's controversial Hobby Lobby decision.

Monday's Supreme Court ruling that corporations can choose not to cover birth control for religious reasons divided the court 5-4 along conservative-liberal lines. But both candidates in the hot race for the 52nd Congressional District seem to be on the same page.

Credit: Campaign websites

52nd Congressional District candidates Scott Peters and Carl DeMaio in official photos from their campaign websites.

Democratic incumbent Scott Peters called the court's decision "outrageous." He said it's wrong both because it grants corporations civil rights, and because it gives bosses power over employees' health decisions.

"Just as a matter of personal liberty, that's got to be a decision that the patient makes, in this case the woman, in consultation with her doctor," Peters said in an interview. "That's not a decision for a boss or a company or a country to make, that's a personal decision that's a civil right."

In response to a request from KPBS on his position on the ruling, Republican challenger Carl DeMaio sent a statement.

"The continued divisiveness over this issue simply reaffirms my belief that individuals should have the right to make their own health care decisions and reinforces my proposal to give individuals, not employers, more say in their health care,” DeMaio's statement read.

DeMaio's stance sets him apart from other Republicans in Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, who called the decision a "victory for religious freedom."

The headline on this story has been updated.


Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 2, 2014 at 4:24 p.m. ― 2 years ago

First of, I want to thank KPBS for obtaining feedback on this important court decision from local officials, particularly the ones running for office so we the voters know more about their viewpoints.

Mr. Peters gave a clear answer, and one I agree with. A huge plus for him.

Mr. DeMaio - I don't understand his "statement". It doesn't really say anything, is it some kind of code-talk? I mean it seems like he disagrees with the decision but then makes some vague comment about giving individuals more power over employers in healthcare without explanation of what he's referring to. Is it a jab at the ACA?

In typical DeMaio fashion, I think he's trying to play both sides by using political jargon.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 2, 2014 at 5:04 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Quack_SD, De Mayo's statement sounds libertarian to me! What's the problem?

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Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | July 2, 2014 at 5:09 p.m. ― 2 years ago

I'm sorry that Scott Peters hates religious liberty.

I'm sorry that KPBS rejects science by not distinguishing between contraceptives and abortifacients by lumping the former with the latter in its reporting.

And I'm sorry that Carl DeMaio is just as spineless as his opponent.

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Avatar for user 'CharlesNP'

CharlesNP | July 2, 2014 at 7:26 p.m. ― 2 years ago

As both a former journalist and Congressional and campaign press secretary, I have to say I'm kind of shocked at the sloppiness in this story. Peters took a clear position; on the other hand, DeMaio typically tried to avoid saying anything and to shift the comment to a sloppy backhanded slap at the Affordable Care Act. To say that this comment "sets him apart" from Boehner and other Republicans is absurd, and sloppy reporting looking for a silly and wrong theme to the story.

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Avatar for user 'lifesaver1'

lifesaver1 | July 2, 2014 at 10:16 p.m. ― 2 years ago

CharlesNP: Agree 100%. Two issues here: Naive journalism and an absurd attempt at balance regardless of the obvious obfuscation. I expect better, but alas I am coming to accept same.

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | July 2, 2014 at 10:25 p.m. ― 2 years ago

CharlesNP and lifesaver1, thanks for your comments. My editor and I decided to include the comparison to House Speaker Boehner not to create a theme to the story or attempt balance, but to show the range of responses to the Supreme Court's decision. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss it further.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 2, 2014 at 11:49 p.m. ― 2 years ago

MatthewCScallon, you are entitled to you religious viewpoints, but please don't pass them off as "science" - it's anything but

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | July 3, 2014 at 12:33 a.m. ― 2 years ago

DeMaio's comments are totally meaningless and playing both sides of fence as usual

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | July 3, 2014 at 12:40 a.m. ― 2 years ago

I really don't understand Scallons comments,maybe he would enlighten us on The science of "distinguishing between contraceptives and abortifacients" which I believe might be a made up word.

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | July 3, 2014 at 12:48 a.m. ― 2 years ago

How about not covering workman's comp if someone gets injured on the job or providing lunch breaks based on "religious liberty"?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 3, 2014 at 8:43 a.m. ― 2 years ago

100% agree with MATTHEW C SCANLON

Crickets from QUACK.

I love it when the opportunist hetero becomes more "liberal" than the gay.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 3, 2014 at 9:12 a.m. ― 2 years ago

mission, what does this have to do with being gay?

And I think it's hilarious that you and M. Scanlon think this does anything for religious freedom.

This ruling has more to do with corporate power than with religious freedom.

The people that impacted by this ruling are a small group of extremely wealthy corporate owners, quit acting like this ruling gives religious freedom to the masses.

It doesn't.

And this "religious freedom" mantra is anything but liberal - it's being used as a dog-whistle by the far right to try and inject theocracy into our government.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 3, 2014 at 9:16 a.m. ― 2 years ago


I really don't understand Scallons comments,maybe he would enlighten us on The science of "distinguishing between contraceptives and abortifacients" which I believe might be a made up word.


It's a moving target.

You can ask 25 people at what stage something is a "human life" and you will get 25 different answers.

The most fringe religious zealots claim male masturbating is abortion.

Basically M. Scalon is trying to pass of his opinion of where life starts as being scientifically proven or a scientific consensus which, it obviously isn't.

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Avatar for user 'reallymattgray'

reallymattgray | July 3, 2014 at 11:06 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Epic fail by both candidates, showing neither one understands the First Amendment and has not read the Noerr-Penington Doctrine. Under the right to peaceably assembly, people have the right to coordinate their efforts through an association, union, and corporation to further their individual interests. As such, the assembly of the individuals extends unto the assembly's efforts the rights of the individuals in that collective effort. (The larger effort is simply a construct of every bit of the individuals' rights). This is why people in a formal group enjoy the protections of personhood. Certainly no congressional should represent the People if that fundamental concept is missed.

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Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | July 3, 2014 at 11:32 a.m. ― 2 years ago

@Peking_Duck_SD, you're entitled to your religious bigotry, but you're not allowed to pass it off as science.

Contraceptives prevent conception. In fact, it's in the word; "contra," meaning, "opposed to," or "against." Abortifacients don't prevent conception. Conception occurs, and then the abortifacients acts to kill off human embryo, either by making the uterine environment chemically toxic (e.g, IUD), making the uterine wall impermeable to implantation, or killing the embryo directly through introducing a toxin into the uterine environment. Since all this occurs once the human embryo has already fecundated, they are not contraceptive and are therefore abortifacient.

Now, I realize that, as a scientist, I may used some words which layman may not be familiar with, but my information comes from empirically repeated, peer reviewed sources. I specifically reference the sworn testimony of the late Dr. Jerome LeJeune, one of this world's leading embryologist, recorded the book, "The Concentration Can."

There is no scientific doubt that human life begins when the human sperm fertilizes the human ovum. At that point, we have, barring contamination and mutation, 46 human chromosomes, 23 from the father's sperm and 23 from the mother's ovum. If you have scientific source that proves to the contrary, then please provide it. If you can't, then you can't keep your snarky remarks to yourself.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 3, 2014 at 12:26 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Mr. Scallon, the bottom line is that your trying to push YOUR religious views onto others, and I am offended by that.

Keep it to yourself.

If you don't want to use these medications then don't, but health insurance is part of a worker's compensation package - it's part of THEIR benefits, and employers have no more right to tell them what they can and can't buy with their health insurance than they can with their paycheck.

I guess you are lucky that we have a right-wing stacked SCOTUS that hands you victories like this, but all it is going to do is alienate women voters.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | July 3, 2014 at 5:11 p.m. ― 2 years ago

"But that was Monday!
Today is Thursday!"

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan said the court had betrayed a promise it made on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” in Thursday's dissent, written by Justice Sotomayor, said. “Not so today.”

Maybe it was "a bait on purpose laid to make the speaker mad."

For Scott Peters it is just a matter of votes among of the crucial cohort: the young females. At least Carl deMaio doesn't overreact. It wasn't clear how the "closely held" for-profit company religious exception worked anyway.

When both/all the Republicans/Democrats voted the most recent federal budget they unanimously supported the National Security Administration. DeMaio said he'd have voted "no."

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Avatar for user 'jerzo'

jerzo | July 3, 2014 at 5:35 p.m. ― 2 years ago

MattthewCScallon: Apparently you and Hobby Lobby both agree that Plan B pills are abortifacients. If so that makes both of you anti-science. How so? Science has long known that the plan b pills are not abortifacients, but simply prevent ovulation just like regular birth control pills do. Get it? Plan B is not an abortifacient, no matter what you, Hobby Lobby and other junk science lovers call it.

Hobby Lobby is OK with birth control pills but wants to draw the line with plan B. Why? Because they harbor a false belief that plan B causes abortions in spite of the scientific evidence that it does not. Sadly, the Catholic supremes allowed a falsely held belief to deprive women of safe emergency contraception. Bummer!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 3, 2014 at 9:16 p.m. ― 2 years ago

BEIJING QUACk, NO, the BOTTOM LINE is that at least in the abortion debate, we ARE dealing with A form of life, regardless of where you stand. THAT is the bottom line. I don't agree with sociologist and feminist Camile La Paglia, BUT at least she is intellectually honest when she says that yes, a defenseless life is being taken. She is in FAVOR of that choice, but UNLIKE you and PP and the even more straight-jacket ideologue group, NARAL, doesn't coat and diffuse it with some political euphemism or some vague, murky "right."

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 3, 2014 at 9:20 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Jekrkso says " Sadly, the Catholic supremes allowed a falsely held belief to deprive women of safe emergency contraception. Bummer!"

Yet those SAME Catholic supremes ruled that Obamacare IS constitutional and repealed DOMA and overturned CA's Prop 8 . . .

Now what kind of supremes did you say again???

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Avatar for user 'no_soup_for_you'

no_soup_for_you | July 3, 2014 at 9:59 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Missionaccomplished and Matthew Scallon are men, just like the ALL MALE court decision in which ALL the female justices dissented. I am dismayed that it's 2014 and we are STILL being told what to do with our bodies and with our healthcare by men.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 3, 2014 at 10:05 p.m. ― 2 years ago

No-swill-for-you, you want to know how many times I've heard that??? You cannot even come up with something more original because it is the same, lame, comeback from many moons ago. Ironically, the Right wing used that same mantra against Obamacare and the First Lady's "let's exercise" campaign. Ironic, no? Ideologues from both extreme are not very bright.

But DO reread Scanlon's post, he offers some scientific facts which I cannot provide as a lay person.

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Avatar for user 'Boots'

Boots | July 4, 2014 at 1:36 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Hilarious that Scanlon considers an engineer a scientist and also an expert on female reproduction It's a little creepy that so many rw men are so interested in
female reproduction Thanks for calling out the disinformation the rw spew jerzo
Also, there is no scientific consensus as to when human life begins.It is a matter of philosophic opinion or religious belief.two-thirds of human conceptions are spontaneously aborted by nature.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 4, 2014 at 9:41 a.m. ― 2 years ago

So what about the cray crays who think male masturbation is murder and violates their religious freedom?

Is this case going to give people like them and other cray crays who are against vaccines, blood transfusions, medical research, etc., etc., etc. the precedence to sue so they can force their OPINIONS on everyone as well?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 5, 2014 at 11:01 a.m. ― 2 years ago

The people who support this don't see this as an ending, but as merely a beginning.

There is an incrementally slow but persistent effort amongst the right wing religious freedom advocates to completely outlaw abortion and to force the government to comply with their religious moralism in a theocratic manner.

And, if the current makeup of the SCOTUS remains right slanted as it is today, or help us all if it gets more right wing, they will get their wish.

Proof of this desire to keep pushing further until we have draconian religious theocracy in our country can be seen by some of the supporters commenting here.

Mr. Scanlon, for example IS one of the types of people I mentioned above who looks as this only as a beginning and who wants to see the government dictating things like masturbating and vaccinations based on biblical law.

Here are some comments from his posting history:

".....HHS is forcing Onanism upon them, and that IS THE POINT!"

"not practicing Onanism is healthy behavior. Given all of the health risks with practicing Onanism --from perferated uteri to death-- it's far more healthy than practicing Onanism. I don't mind being the voice crying out in the wilderness so long the government was trying to impose itself on me, and THAT'S THE POINT!"

"There are moral problems with different vaccines. The MMR vaccine in this country, for example, come from the cells of a murdered baby whose cells are continually kept alive in order to produce the vaccine --with the accompanying profits . Though such a vaccine can save a child's life, that only ameliorates the evil of murdering the baby.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | July 7, 2014 at 9:43 a.m. ― 2 years ago

Insurance can pay for medicine. It should not pay for promiscuity. Women don't need birth control if they do not run around with men. Why should I pay for them to sleep around with guys?

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