Let's Build a Stairway to Alberta
I was picking at my habanero and lychee salad in one of Washington’s many new chichi must dine at spots and sipping a melon vodka martini which Barry our waiter had highly recommended when it dawned on me . I was so embarrassed this week to be a woman that only fear of surgery kept me from considering a sex change. Once again the left has manufactured a make-believe War on Women as a defense against America’s fury at intrusive, expensive, and foolish big government.
This time the vehicle for the statists was the Hobby Lobby case and once again they enlisted ill-informed voters -- especially single women -- to their cause by lies and distortions.
To start with, the requirement that employers provide birth-control insurance coverage for their employees was never due to a legislative act.
Professor Philip Hamburger of Columbia Law School has argued in Is Administrative Law Lawful? that law should be made by elected representatives, not unelected and almost impossible to ditch bureaucrats, and the genesis of the contraceptive mandate makes his case, I think. If you recall, Congressman Stupak headed a group of representatives who said they could not support ObamaCare unless it clearly forbade the use of federal funds to support abortion. The president promised to issue an executive order that banned public funding for abortions in ObamaCare. Most observers thought Stupak had traded his and his groups’ votes for a meaningless promise.
In any event, like most of the breezy, ill-considered language in this 2000-page law, great discretion was given to the unelected secretary of HHS and Sebelius quickly acted to make sure the pro-abortion crowd, increasingly unpopular with voters, had the upper hand. She appointed a 15-member committee, eleven of whom “demonstrate a more than casual commitment to the furthering of the abortion lobby” and unsurprisingly, the group issued a report that “not only favored contraception, but indicated that surgical abortion coverage would have been a viable candidate, had federal law not stood in their way.”
It was this committee’s report -- not a Congressional decision -- which HHS used in mandating that employers provide coverage for 20 kinds of birth control for women, including 4 which are abortifacients, devices which lead to the destruction of fertilized eggs.
Some 204 outfits favored by Democrats were granted waivers by the president from ObamaCare, which means their employees do not have the right to employer provided birth control. These include upscale restaurant, nightclubs, and hotels in then-Speaker Pelosi’s district; labor union chapters; large corporations, financial firms, and local governments.
Women did not march through the streets to complain on behalf of their downtrodden sisters at Boboquivari in San Francisco which sells porterhouse steaks at $59 a pop and such. Apparently they are up with laws written on Etch-a-Sketch boards which the president can rewrite at whim. And their moral outrage is dependent on whether or not the employer is a Democrat crony.
On the other hand, Congress did pass a law relevant to this issue in 1993, an act which passed almost unanimously and was signed into law by then-President Clinton. That law is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and it was on the basis of this law that last week’s Hobby Lobby case was grounded.
The inconsistency of the opposition to the result in that case which allowed a closely-held corporation opposed to abortion to refuse to cover 4 of the 20 mandated contraceptive devices which were abortifacients is so patent, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s wonderful “Best of the Web” feature, laid it out by contrasting two paragraphs in NYT editorials 21 years apart:
“Three years ago the Supreme Court threw away decades of precedent and watered down the religious liberty of all Americans.... By radically changing the ground rules for deciding claims of religious liberty, the Court alarmed organized religion, civil liberties organizations of all stripes and Senators as different in outlook as Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Orrin Hatch of Utah.... The Religious Freedom Restoration Act reasserts a broadly accepted American concept of giving wide latitude to religious practices that many might regard as odd or unconventional. The bill deserves passage.... With the Restoration Act, Congress asserts its own interest in protecting religious liberty. It’s a welcome antidote to the official insensitivity to religion the Court spawned in 1990.” -- editorial, New York Times, Oct. 25, 1993
“The Supreme Court’s deeply dismaying decision on Monday in the Hobby Lobby case swept aside accepted principles of corporate law and religious liberty.... It was the first time the court has allowed commercial business owners to deny employees a federal benefit to which they are entitled by law based on the owners’ religious beliefs, and it was a radical departure from the court’s history of resisting claims for religious exemptions from neutral laws of general applicability.” -- editorial, New York Times, July 1, 2014
The NYT was far from alone in its hyperbolic kvetching about what, in fact, is a narrowly-tailored decision that balances the administratively designed regulations against religious freedom spelled out in the RFRA, a duly passed and signed law designed, it would appear, to halt the very overreaching of which the HHS was guilty.
The crazy reaction of the left was documented by Powerline and Taranto among others.
Sandra Fluke was rolled out again and again was illogical, only semi-literate, and nonsensical. Taranto documented it:
"The anti-choice movement wants to limit not just affordable access, but all access to abortion and birth control," Fluke claims in the op-ed. "It is an attack at all levels, and today's decision is just another success in these efforts." Even if true, that is irrelevant to the legal merits of the case.
Yesterday Fluke tweeted a graphic declaring: "Let's Use This Moment to send an Overwhelming Unmistakeable [sic] Message: We're Sick And Tired of SCOTUS Putting Corporations Ahead of People." She uses at least four different, clashing fonts and three text colors.
The graphic also includes two hashtags, "#NotMyBossBusiness" and "#StandWithSandra," which are too big and off-center so that the hash marks bleed into the blue background. As Twitchy notes, what one tweeter called her "horrid" design drew many dissents; Jon Gabriel tweeted that Fluke "doesn't want to pay for contraceptives or a graphic designer."
An online friend who has appropriated a Romanian dictator’s nom de plume, Danube of Thought, observed:
The Left is not in a spastic, frothing rage about its actual effect, which is that women who want to have their employers coerced into paying for their abortifacients [lost]. They are, in that respect, no worse off than they were from the beginning of time until about 2011. Nor have their faces turned purple over the prospect of actually paying for these items (whose cost is trivial) themselves. In fact, it is almost certain that the taxpayer will bear the cost, and they will get this stuff for "free.”
No, the sputtering, venomous and hateful hyperbole is attributable to one thing, and one thing only: the Court did not allow the state to bend Hobby Lobby to its will on their behalf. And that is what matters most to them.
I fully concur.
When the votes are in public on the floor of the Congress, the Democrats will pay lip service to religious freedom, hoping the faceless bureaucrats with court acquiescence will achieve their goal of forcing citizens to forego their religious scruples and bend to the will of the state. How else to explain Hillary Clinton’s statement that she was “bewildered and confused” by the ruling that was soundly based on the very law her husband signed and her party fully supported?
The New Republic, to its credit, stepped back from the hysteria:
The Court’s decision essentially required that the same accommodation be extended to religious for-profit employers. That will create some administrative headaches, which is why the administration resisted. But the alternative was imposing a heavy burden on the owners of Hobby Lobby, who clearly take their religious scruples very seriously.
Most importantly, as Justice Samuel Alito noted in his majority opinion, the burden on the women involved “would be precisely zero.” They will get the same free contraception that the challenged rule would have provided. In short: good for women, good for religious liberty. It’s a clever resolution that none of the parties had asked for, but that is better than anything on the menu that the Court had before it.
My favorite response to the shrieking and wailing was from The People’s Cube:
Epidemic Deaths of Females Across the US Ghastly Result of Abortifacient Deprivation
Here, ladies and gents, we have the updated phenomenon: Women in droves dying in the malls, bowling alleys, library stacks and Vegas parking lots because - let us all gasp together - they were unable to continue life as we know it without free concomitant abortifacients of convenience.
They're depressed. Defeated. And dying on account of being deprived.
At the moment, now, there are bigger domestic fish to fry.
Lured by the presidential promise of immunity, tens of thousands of unaccompanied children and thugs of every nature and nationality are streaming across the border. They appear to be deliberately encouraged to do so by the administration whose petulant leader thought this would compel Congress to grant him the immigration reform fantasy he wants. On the contrary, states and communities throughout the affected areas, appalled at the drain on their coffers, the spread of communicable disease and crime brought by these uninspected interlopers are outraged. Some are fighting back, blocking the vehicles carrying migrants to their communities. Others are demanding the federal government act.
Obama dithers when he could use his famous “pen” to order the National Guard to defend the border and fly home those illegals.
At the same time, the president is under fire for failing to approve the Keystone pipeline which (unlike his make-believe and incredibly wasteful “Stimulus” program) offered the possibility of thousands of construction jobs and would provide a big economic lift to the areas through which it passed. As he dithered despite numerous studies showing its value, Canada has moved on to change the route and allow the crude oil to be shipped to Asia. He chose his rich greenie donors over American workers. Do you see the AFL-CIO marching on the White House in anger? I don’t. Maybe they are out of money having paid for losing fights against Scott Walker and the anti-public union movement he succeeded in spreading. Maybe they are planning a march to the borders because with so many new immigrants their wages and work opportunities will be even further diminished? Well, with just a little bit of work with his pen Obama can turn these two disasters to his advantage.
Change the path of the pipeline and have it run north from Laredo to Alberta, make the pipeline bigger and with windows, put a fast train inside and welcome all the illegals at the border for a free train trip to Alberta, They’ll love it way up north. One pol there is now demanding Canada provide $20,000 per person minimum income. I think that offer might even beat the free benefits we’re offering. What could be better incentive to large scale immigration than a very generous welfare state?