In Washington, the Supreme Court had ruled over a case (Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores) that was about a corporation that is family-owned to pay for insurance coverage for contraception for its female workers that is stated in the Affordable Care Act that actually violated the law that protects religious freedom. “The court ruled that corporations controlled by religious families cannot be required to pay for contraception coverage for their female workers” (Liptak, 2014, para. 3). The interesting aspect about this case is that the decision was actually in contrast to what many had expected as in many had virtually believed the Hobby Lobby Corporation would be forced to pay for the contraception coverage needed by the female employees since only religious employers like churches and religious nonprofit organizations are exempted from this law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was really inclining upon increasing rulings that would bring change.
Criminal law controls the social conduct and relates anything that is a threat or is harmful or endangering an individual’s property, safety and health, or moral welfare. Criminal laws are mainly sourced from four different sources which are case laws, statutory law, rules set by government agencies and the states constitution (“Purpose of the criminal law”, n.d., para. 3). The case law is designed from previous court decisions and interpretation and is a major source, whereas statutory law is made by elected local or even national legislatures. The main source of the criminal law related with the case mentioned, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is a statutory law that was introduced in 1993 and passed by a unanimous vote and signed by President Bill Clinton hence accepted as a law. As much as it was dissented, it is still applied in the federal government.
The main purpose of this criminal law was to act as a deterrent for organizations especially for-profit organizations that failed to cater for the female employees. Also, this law was to rehabilitate employers who failed at fulfilling this law and it is always an option whenever possible. As per jurisdictions, this law only exempts religious employers like churches and the religious non-profit organizations. Accomplice liability is termed as the act of giving encouragement or assisting an individual to commit a crime, also known as complicity, whereas criminal liability involves asserting that an individual committed the crime in question and determination of the individual’s intent of committing a crime. In the case of Hobby Lobby Corporation, the criminal liability involves the employer failing to cover for the expenses as proven and whose intent was based on their religious beliefs, which implies conception is the beginning of life and using contraceptives is ending lives. Nonetheless, accomplice liability is not applicable in the above case.
Mens rea is the state of mind that an individual has when engaging in criminal activities which usually implies the guilty mind. Actus Reus is usually the criminal act that an individual commits and apart from the state of mind, a crime must have this element to qualify it. They usually occur together and this is the final element usually known as concurrence of Mens Rea and Actus Reus (Shestokas, 2012, para. 3-10). For the above case of the religious corporations, the state of mind for the employer was there and accompanied by the criminal act which involved not paying for the coverage of contraceptives for female workers. The concurrence of the Mens Rea and Actus Reus was concurrent making it a crime. Even so, the ruling was in the favor of the Hobby Lobby Corporation.
Liptak, A. (2014, June 20). Supreme Court Rejects Contraceptives Mandate for Some Corporations. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/us/hobby-lobby-case-supreme-court- contraception.html
“Purpose of the criminal law”. EnlightenMe. Retrieved from http://enlightenme.com/criminal- laws/
Shestokas, D. J. (2012). Principles of Criminal Liability. The Constitution of the United States of America. Retrieved from http://www.shestokas.com/general-law/criminal-law/principles- of-criminal-liability/