Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category
This op-ed in the Wall Street Journal should frighten civic-minded people of all political persuasions. It paints the picture of what hardline progressives specialize in:
Last year Wisconsin prosecutors—at the behest of Milwaukee’s Democratic District Attorney John Chisholm —launched a secret criminal investigation involving almost every conservative advocacy group in the state. Armed law-enforcement personnel executed pre-dawn searches of the homes of consultants for the Wisconsin Club for Growth. The organization had engaged in “issue advocacy”—running ads that do not call for the election or defeat of a candidate—both before and during the extended cycle of recall elections for state officials following Gov. Scott Walker’s collective-bargaining reforms in 2011. At the same time, subpoenas were directed to approximately 30 other conservative advocacy organizations and their bankers and accountants.
In other words, hardline leftists like John Chisholm perverted the criminal justice system for political purposes. Chisholm and his thugs had a goal to silence conservatives’ political speech. It looks like they accomplished that mission while chilling political speech.
That’s as un-American as it gets.
The investigation has been stopped by a preliminary injunction in O’Keefe v. Chisholm, and it is the subject of legal wrangling in state and federal courts, but if Mr. Chisholm’s efforts were politically motivated, then he can already claim victory. As midterm elections near, Wisconsin conservative groups have been sufficiently intimidated amid the uncertain legal climate, or their money has been so depleted by courtroom fights, that they are not the force in the state that they were in 2012.
Chisholm has won this part of the fight but he hasn’t won the war. What’s needed is an army of thoughtful people who put the Bill of Rights ahead of short-term political gains. If that army doesn’t exist, then Chisholm’s won the war, not just this fight.
When short-term political gains are more important than fighting for the Bill of Rights, we’ve passed the tipping point as a nation. It’s time to fight for the Bill of Rights. It’s time to momentarily put partisanship aside and focus on doing what’s right. Chilling political speech through the courts is abhorrent. Utilizing unconstitutional laws to chill political speech is disgusting.
It’s been said that people shouldn’t subscribe to conspiracy theories the things that can be explained by incompetence. This isn’t about incompetence. It’s a plan that Democrats utilize because they don’t like taking criticism. They’ve used the IRS to stifle conservatives’ political speech. Senate Democrats just attempted to gut the First Amendment. There’s nothing accidental about the Democrats’ campaign against the Bill of Rights.
Campaign-finance lawyers often say that the process is the punishment, and that has certainly been the case in Wisconsin. I have witnessed it first-hand as my organization, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, consults with many conservative advocacy groups across Wisconsin.
After the raids became public knowledge, the prosecutors claimed that they were investigating allegations that the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other groups had illegally “coordinated” their speech on political issues with Gov. Walker’s campaign in violation of the state’s baroque and often inscrutable campaign finance laws. The investigators seized sensitive and highly confidential records of a good part of the state’s conservative infrastructure.
When Chisholm is laughed out of his final court, which will happen, he’ll still have won because he will have silenced conservatives. Winning in court wasn’t part of his fascist agenda. Chisholm’s goal was to intimidate people into silence. That’s called censorship.
I don’t trust people being the arbiters of what’s acceptable political speech and what isn’t. That’s why I cheered when the Senate’s bill, predictably, went up in flames.
Al Franken and Sherrod Brown are just 2 of the Democratic senators that want to limit political speech. Truthfully, all 55 senators that caucus with the Democrats think that political speech should be regulated by the Senate. Here’s Sen. Brown’s latest attack on the First Amendment:
Where to start with Citizens United?
It’s brought unprecedented outside spending into our elections. It’s undercut the public’s faith in their elected officials. And it’s cowed Congress by putting a target on the back of any member who tries to stand up to special interests — like they did with me, when special interests spent $40 million against me in 2012.
Corporations are not people. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t say that “all corporations are created equal.” And there’s no good reason to pretend that corporations have the same rights as real, flesh-and-blood people.
But that’s exactly what Citizens United does, and in the process, it allows corporate cash to flood our elections and distract voters from issues that really matter.
Citizens United has done major damage to our democracy. Today, we start undoing that damage. Add your name to mine and demand an end to Citizens United.
First, I’d love hearing Sen. Brown, or Sen. Franken for that matter, explain where in the text of the First Amendment it says that corporations don’t have the right of political speech. Here’s the text of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Founding Fathers meant for there to be robust debate of the issues. Notice, too, that they mentioned that “people”, not individuals, should have the right to peaceably assemble or petition their government “for a redress of grievances.”
Further, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain how a union is a group of individuals but a corporation isn’t a group of individuals.
The truth is that the Democrats’ attempt to amend the Constitution is all about election year politicking. The Democrats should be forced to explain why pro-Democrat political organizations should have the right to participate in the political process but pro-Republican organizations shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the political process. Finally, I’d love hearing Sens. Franken and Brown explain why incumbents should have the right to regulate anti-incumbent political speech. Why should I think incumbents are honest arbiters of what is and isn’t acceptable political speech?
Yesterday, I got an email alert about a lawsuit filed by the Center for Competitive Politics challenging the constitutionality of another provision of McCain-Feingold. Here’s the heart of the matter:
The Independence Institute wishes to run two ads: one asking Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett to support a federal sentencing reform bill, and one asking citizens to contact Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and urge him to initiate an audit of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. The McCain-Feingold law, along with a similar state statute, effectively prevents the group from raising money for the ads.
“This situation shows the damage to free speech caused by carelessly written campaign finance laws,” said David Keating, president of CCP. “Instead of advocacy on an important public issue, there will be silence. That’s unacceptable under the First Amendment, and is the reason why we filed this lawsuit.”
Prior to the passage of Obamacare, McCain-Feingold was the worst legislation in the last half century. I can’t even say that the intent behind McCain-Feingold was good. Its effect was to protect incumbents while limiting political speech.
There’s nothing honorable about either thing.
Here’s what McCain-Feingold does to issue advocacy:
Colorado and federal law treat speech about public issues as campaign speech whenever a candidate is mentioned in a broadcast ad within 60 days of the general election. Groups must either file public reports with personal details about donors who have provided funds for the ads, or refrain from speaking. The result is what First Amendment advocates call a “chilling” effect on advocacy, depriving the public of important speech about issues of public importance.
Here’s why disclosure in these instances is frightening:
Donors and speakers have many reasons to protect their privacy. Some fear retaliation from government officials who disagree with them. Others fear physical harm or threats to themselves and their families, vandalism to their property, loss of jobs, or boycotts of their business if they support unpopular views.
Over half a century ago, the Supreme Court ruled in NAACP v. Alabama that not disclosing donors to issue advocacy groups was constitutionally protected. Imagine the fury that the KKK would’ve visited upon the people supporting the NAACP.
While the threats are different today, the threats are just as real. Instead of fearing the KKK, these days, issue advocacy groups have to worry about the Justice Department, the IRS and other agents representing weaponized government.
It’s time to eliminate another disgusting part of McCain-Feingold. The sooner it’s eliminated, the better.
Technorati: McCain-Feingold, Censorship, Issue Advocacy, NAACP v. Alabama, Supreme Court, Independence Institute, Center for Competitive Politics, Civil Rights, First Amendment, Weaponized Government, IRS, DOJ
Thanks to this article by the Wisconsin Reporter, conservatives can learn about the Democratic Party’s witch hunt machine. Anyone that thinks Democrats are nice people that conservatives simply disagree with is badly mistaken. Read the article, then tell me that:
MADISON, Wis. – Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.
That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.
Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.
That the John Doe prosecutors tried to get records from “at least eight phone companies” is frightening enough. Who needs the NSA when Wisconsin has these John Doe prosecutors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there:
Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.
“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Anyone that thinks this is just a case of some rogue prosecutors gone bad apparently hasn’t paid attention to Rosemary Lehmberg’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX). These naive people should read this, too:
Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. Sources have described predawn “paramilitary-style” raids in which their posessions were rifled through and seized by law enforcement officers.
If you thought that weaponized government was just a term used by paranoid conservatives, you’d better rethink things. This is proof that some Democratic prosecutors will use their office for blatantly political purposes. Again and unfortunately, that isn’t all these Democratic thugs with law degrees did. Here’s more:
Court documents show the extraordinary breadth of the prosecutors’ subpoena requests.
They sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period, “which happened to be the most contentious period in political politics,” the conservatives note. They note that prosecutors did not pursue the same tactics with left-leaning organizations that pumped tens of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s recall elections, in what certainly appeared to be a well-coordinated effort.
Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing.
In other words, these Democrats wanted confidential information. That’s why the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Eric O’Keefe filed their civil rights lawsuit.
There’s little doubt that these Democrats would’ve used the information they gathered through their witch hunt to chill these conservatives’ desire to participate in the political process. The only retaliation against these Democrats is to a)prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law when possible, b) end their political careers by removing them from their positions of political power and c) pressure Democrat politicians into passing sweeping reforms to prevent these fishing expeditions from today going forward.
If Democrats aren’t willing to limit rogue prosecutors’ ability to conduct political fishing expeditions, then we’ll know that they approve of these Democrats’ behavior.
Thanks to M.D. Kittle and the Wisconsin Reporter, we now know that these Democrats were attempting to chill conservatives from exercising their right to participate in the political process. This needs to be stopped ASAP and it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.
Technorati: John Doe Prosecutors, John Chisholm, Political Witch Hunt, Subpoenaes, Bank Records, Emails, Phone Records, Civil Rights Violations, Chilling Effect, Smear Campaign, Weaponized Government, Democrats, Scott Walker, Eric O’Keefe, Wisconsin Club for Growth, Civil Rights Lawsuit, First Amendment, Rick Perry, Republicans
Virginia Postrel’s article is a welcome spotlight on the corrupt practices of “Citrus Community College near Los Angeles.” Thankfully, someone afflicted by Citrus Community College’s corruption has a spine:
Last September, Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, a student at Citrus Community College near Los Angeles, was collecting signatures on a petition asking the student government to condemn spying by the National Security Agency. He left the school’s designated “free speech area” to go to the student center. On his way there, he saw a likely prospect to join his cause: a student wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirt. He stopped the student and they began talking about the petition. Then an administrator came out of a nearby building, informed them their discussion was forbidden outside the speech zone, and warned Sinapi-Riddle he could be ejected from campus for violating the speech-zone rule.
Sinapi-Riddle has now sued Citrus College, a state institution, for violating his First Amendment rights by, among other things, demanding that “expressive activities” be confined to the 1.34 percent of campus designated as a “free speech area.” Perhaps the most outrageous part of his experience is how common it is. The vague bans on “offensive” language and other “politically correct” measures that most people think of when they imagine college speech codes are increasingly being joined by quarantine policies that restrict all student speech, regardless of its content.
People don’t have a constitutional right to not be offended. As Ms. Postrel, these policies aren’t just anti-constitutional, they’re anti-educational:
Contrary to what many people seem to think, higher education doesn’t exist to hand out job credentials to everyone who follows a clearly outlined set of rules. (Will this be on the exam? Do I have to come to class?) Education isn’t a matter of sitting students down and dumping pre-digested information into their heads.
Higher education exists to advance and transmit knowledge, and learning requires disagreement and argument. Even the most vocational curriculum, accounting, physical therapy, civil engineering, graphic design, represents knowledge accumulated through trial and error, experimentation and criticism. That open-ended process isn’t easy and it often isn’t comfortable. The idea that students should be protected from disagreeable ideas is a profoundly anti-educational concept.
That Citrus Community College thinks that they can establish a rule that trumps the First Amendment of our Constitution is stunning. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights trump everything. If a law doesn’t fit within the Constitution’s framework, it’s unconstitutional and it should be repealed ASAP.
Why would a college want to brag that they’re producing intellectual wimps incapable of dealing with life’s uglier moments? That doesn’t make sense, especially to employers. They’re looking for people who can defend their ideas, who can stand up to criticism and still deliver a high-quality product.
Places like Citrus Community College and other like-minded institutions are producing the opposite of what businesses are looking for.
Sinapi-Riddle, in other words, can make a strong case that the Citrus Community College District blatantly violated his First Amendment rights. That’s why his lawsuit and two others involving speech zones at other public schools are part of a new litigation push by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil-liberties watchdog group on whose board I serve. By bringing cases that don’t require new precedents, FIRE hopes to make public colleges pay for their violations of free speech and thereby change the financial incentives facing administrators. “They’re probably going to succeed,” says Volokh, who is not involved in the litigation, “because the case law is generally on their side.”
These lawsuits are great if you’re attempting to right a wrong. Litigation should always be a weapon in the citizen’s arsenal if anyone violated their constitutional rights. What’s better, though, is that state governing boards would discipline institutions that violate students’, or faculty’s, civil rights before it gets to a lawsuit.
Shouldn’t universities be held to a high standard of obeying students’ civil rights? After all, these instutions are shaping future captains of industry. They should respect a person’s civil rights.
I suspect, however, that they aren’t enforcing the Constitution because today’s ‘intellectuals’ don’t agree with the US Constitution. That attitude must stop ASAP. Any institution that doesn’t respect the Constitution deserves getting ridiculed. It’s that simple.
It’s time universities not hire administrators who won’t sign a pledge to live by the Constitution. It’s time that attitudes started changing about the Bill of Rights.
Andrew Napolitano’s op-ed for Fox News is a great history lesson of the Nixon administration’s and the Obama administration’s attempts to suppress political speech. It’s today’s must reading. Here’s Judge Napolitano’s illustration of how the Nixon administration suppressed speech:
Classic examples of “chilling” occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up at anti-war rallies and proceeded to photograph and tape record protesters. When an umbrella group of protesters sued the government, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that the protesters lacked standing, meaning, because they could not show that they were actually harmed, they could not invoke the federal courts for redress.
Here’s what Judge Napolitano highlighted about the Obama administration’s attempt to suppress political speech:
So, what has the Obama administration done to stifle, or chill, the words of its detractors? For starters, it has subpoenaed the emails and home telephone records of journalists who have either challenged it or exposed its dark secrets. Among those journalists are James Risen of The New York Times and my colleague and friend James Rosen of Fox News. This is more personal than the NSA spying on everyone, because a subpoena is an announcement that a specific person’s words or effects have been targeted by the government, and that person continues to remain in the government’s crosshairs until it decides to let go.
This necessitates hiring legal counsel and paying legal fees. Yet, the targeting of Risen and Rosen was not because the feds alleged that they broke the law, there were no such allegations. Rather, the feds wanted to see their sources and their means of acquiring information. What journalist could perform his work with the feds watching? The reason we have a First Amendment is to assure that no journalist would need to endure that.
To his credit, Rosen hasn’t stopped asking tough questions while reporting on the touchiest of subjects. Though there’s no question that Mr. Rosen and his family have felt pressured by the government, Mr. Rosen has continued doing his job.
I suspect that that’s due in large part to his bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, have told him that they have his back. Further, I’m certain that his co-workers, people like Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Greta van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox’s correspondents, have showed him that they’ve got his back, too.
The point is that people can withstand a tyrannical administration’s attempts to chill political speech if a) they’re suppported by their colleagues and b) they’re willing to show that administration that they won’t be intimidated.
That’s the lesson in this tyranny. There’s nothing that’ll send a stronger message to a tyrant than saying that you can’t be intimidated. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. Still, the rewards can be tremendous and the respect gained from colleagues immense. It’s what’s needed in stopping a bully like this:
Two weeks ago, a notorious pot stirrer in Norfolk, Neb., built a mock outhouse, put it on a truck and drove the truck with permission in a local Fourth of July parade. In front of the outhouse, he placed a mannequin that he claimed looked like himself, and on the outhouse, he posted a sign that stated: “Obama Presidential Library.”
Some thought this was crude, and some thought it was funny; yet it is fully protected speech. It is protected because satire and opinion about public figures are absolutely protected, as well as is all criticism of the government. Yet, the Department of Justice has sent a team to investigate this event because a local official called it racist. Such an allegation by a public official and such a federal investigation are chilling. The reason we have a First Amendment is to ensure that the government stays out of investigating speech.
There’s no question that President Obama and his chief henchman bristled when they saw this. President Obama has the thinnest skin of any American president in my lifetime. It’s one thing to not like it when people poke fun at you. It’s quite another to start a federal investigation when someone pokes fun at the president.
President Obama’s history has been to eliminate his political opponents whenever possible. When that isn’t possible, he’s resorted to Gestapo-like tactic. Threats and intimidation are definitely part of his ‘weaponry.’
The most indespensible tool in fights like this, again, is to show people you’re willing to stand up to their bullying tactics. Another great tool is to get people rallying around you. That’ happened in Rosen’s case. What hasn’t happened, though, is that Democrats haven’t shown they’ve got the integrity required to stand up to a thug in their own party.
The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to permit, encourage and even foment open, wide, robust debate about the policies and personnel of the government. That amendment presumes that individuals, not the government, will decide what language to read and hear. Because of that amendment, the marketplace of ideas, not the government, will determine which criticisms will sink in and sting and which will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.
This is one of those times when the best defense is a great offense. Nothing stops a bully as quickly as giving them a bloody nose or taking out their knee. That’ll send the message that you’re prepared for battle. That, more than anything else, will give a bully pause.
The Democrats must think that they have to push their fake War on Women meme. This week, it’s TakeAction Minnesota’ Dan McGrath’s turn to push that dishonest meme:
The Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn rulings handed down by the Supreme Court’s conservative and male majority lay bare exactly what they value. And it’s not caring for each other. Nor is it a woman’s right to make her own decisions. Instead, these justices value ever-expanding corporate power at the expense of working people and believe that women, and the professions they lead, are worth less than others. In ruling as they did on two very disparate topics, these five men have launched an assault on women in the workplace. But it’s workers and their families who should be concerned.
In the Hobby Lobby ruling, the conservative majority took the absurd notion that corporations are people one step further. In its earlier Citizens’ United ruling, these justices granted corporations the right of free speech, and thus the ability to spend limitless amounts of money in elections. Now, these same justices have established corporate religious freedom, and the right to refuse women contraception. As the power of corporations expands, a woman’s ability to decide what is in her own best interest is diminished. That this ruling applies to “closely held” corporations means that as much as 52 percent of the American workforce may be affected.
First, I’d love hearing where the First Amendment only pertains to individuals. I still haven’t heard a Democrat point to the part of this text that says the First Amendment’s protections only pertain to individuals:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment talks about “the right of people peaceably to assemble.” Otherwise, there’s no hint on whether they thought the First Amendment should apply only to individuals.
What compelling case can Democrats make that the political speech of corporations is less legitimate than the political speech of individuals? Should LLCs with 3 owners be allowed to express their political beliefs but corporations with 50 stockholders be prohibited from expressing their political beliefs? If Democrats think that, why do they think that?
Hobby Lobby simply said that they’d offer insurance that covered 16 forms of contraceptives, not 20. Am I to think that women are incapable of making the right decision in that situation? Further, should I think that women working at Hobby Lobby can’t afford to pay for the other types of contraceptives? After all, they make twice the rate of minimum wage.
What right do women have to have their contraceptives paid for? If I received $10 for each time I’ve heard the left talk about reproductive rights are a woman’s private decision, I’d be wealthy and then some. If it’s that private, then women should bear some of that responsibility.
Finally, why should government tell people that they can’t practice their faith? The First Amendment certainly promises people that government can’t tell them how to practice their faith. That’s one of the biggest reasons why people left Europe.
In Harris v. Quinn the same five justices ruled that workers who provide care to children, the elderly and disabled are only partial government workers and, therefore, can opt out of paying union dues, even if they benefit from workplace protections obtained by a union. While public employee unions are already finding ways to adapt, this is a serious blow to their strength. But it’s an even bigger blow to care providers, 90 percent of whom in Minnesota are women, many of whom are women of color.
In Harris v. Quinn, the Supreme Court said that small business owners have the right to determine who represents them in petitioning the legislature. In fact, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits business owners from belonging to a union. The high court decided that small business owners aren’t public employees, at least in the sense that a PR person for a public agency is a public employee.
This is pure BS:
Homecare is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. But the wages these workers earn are paltry. The average wage of non-union caregivers is $9-11 per hour. In Illinois, whose homecare union was the subject of the court case, wages are $13 per hour. By limiting the power of these workers to bargain for better wages and set higher professional standards workers and those they serve lose out. While anyone who depends on a caregiver knows their work is priceless, these five justices are saying that work in the home is less valuable than other male dominated professions.
That’s a non sequitur argument. Child care provider establish their rates independent of government. If they want to negotiate a raise for themeselves, they negotiate with the parents who get the check. They don’t negotiate with the commissioner of Human Services.
If they think that government should spend more money on this assistance, then they petition for higher assistance rates. When they do that, they’re the ones who determine whether they should hire a lobbyist, a trade organization, join a union or just lobby the legislature themselves. That’s their decision alone.
The unions are dishonest in saying the Supreme Court is anti-women. That’s insulting. They aren’t anti-women. They’re just pro-Constitution. The dirty little secret is that unions don’t care about women. They see unionizing them as their best opportunity to gain more political clout.
Betsy McCaughey’s post is a great starting point to discuss the Left’s dishonesty:
“Really, we should be afraid of this court,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 30 Hobby Lobby ruling.
What the Supreme Court ruled, if it’s distilled to its core, is say that female employees at Hobby Lobby have to pay for their own birth control if they want to use 4 types of birth control that are called abortifacients. The decision didn’t make any form of birth control illegal, though that’ what Nancy Pelosi and Patty Murray are lying through their teeth to make you think that:
Sen. Patty Murray announced, “After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with a woman’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong.”
Here’s Ms. McCaughey’s reply to Sen. Murray’s diatribe:
Another whopper. Nothing in Hobby Lobby gives employers control over a woman’s birth control choices. The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby and a related chain of Christian bookstores, objected to paying for four types of birth control that their religious teachings consider abortifacients. Their health plan covers 16 of the 20 types mandated by the Obama administration’s insurance regulations. The Court ruled that Hobby Lobby is protected by the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993 and doesn’t have to pay for the other four products. But women can still choose to use them.
I’d argue that, though RFRA was cited in Justice Alito’s opinion, Hobby Lobby was protected by the First Amendment. Government doesn’t have the right to force people to ignore their religious beliefs.
As a sidenote, I’d question the left’s argument that corporation aren’t protected by the First Amendment. That’s a silly argument. Should a sole propietorship be forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs? Should limited partnerships be forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs? Should 10 women who formed an LLC be forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs?
The question that Ms. Pelosi and Sen. Murray won’t answer is if a LLC with 2 shareholders should be exempted but LLCs with 10 shareholders should be forced into abandoning their deeply held religious beliefs. Pelosi’s and Murray’s opinions are intellectually flimsy, both from a moral standpoint and from a legal standpoint.
That isn’t surprising because the hardline left is as intellectually dishonest as they are morally bankrupt.
David Schultz’s post about the Hobby Lobby ruling is stunningly dishonest, especially considering he’s a lawyer. Here’s Dr. Schultz’s dishonesty:
Five votes. Five Catholics. Five men. One decision. Potentially millions of American women denied contraceptive coverage.
Dr. Schultz should be ashamed of himself for making that dishonest statememt. The Hobby Lobby ruling didn’t say closely held companies like Hobby Lobby could deny all types of contraceptive coverage. It said that the ACA couldn’t force Hobby Lobby to provide coverage for 4 types of contraceptives known as abortifacients. Megyn Kelly explained in this video:
Here’s Kelly’s explanation of the Hobby Lobby ruling:
MEGYN KELLY: Nancy Pelosi either doesn’t know what she is talking about or is intentionally misleading you. First of all the gender of the justices in the Hobby Lobby majority is irrelevant. Mrs. Pelosi’s reference to it is obviously an attempt to stoke resentment. When Roe vs. Wade was decided it was all men in the majority. Does she think those justices were ill-equipped to fairly decide that case? Or is it only when a judge disagrees with Mrs. Pelosi that his gender is an issue. If Speaker john Boehner made a similar comment about the female Supreme Court justices, Nancy Pelosi would be crying sexism and that’s what she is guilty of here.
Moreover, the five men in the Hobby Lobby majority did not, I repeat, did not “determine what contraceptions are legal” nor they did get down to the specifics of “whether a woman should use a diaphragm.” What a gross misrepresentation. News flash, all birth control that was legal before this decision remains legal today. The high court simply found that a religious freedom law which was cosponsored by none other than, wait for it, Nancy Pelosi, sometimes protects corporations from being forced to violate their religious beliefs. She cosponsored the law that gave them the right!
Neither the high court or Hobby Lobby took issue with Kathleen Sebelius’s minions over at HHS mandating behind closed doors after Obamacare was passed, that companies cover birth control. Sixteen forms of it in fact. But the majority did say Hobby Lobby still had the right to object to covering four terms of birth control that happen to terminate a fertilized egg, which some believe is abortion. No one ruled those contraceptives were illegal and the diaphragm was never even discussed. It wasn’t one of the birth control forms at issue, which she should know since she famously promised us that after Obamacare was passed at some point, we’d know what was in it.
Either Dr. Schultz didn’t read the ruling or he’s intentionally being dishonest. Based on what he said later in the post, I’m betting that he’s being intentionally dishonest. Here’s what he said later in the post:
So think first about the sexism of the decision. Five male Justices rule that it is ok for an employer to deny women contraceptive coverage.
Again, that statement is dishonest. In fact, if Dr. Schultz had done his research, which he obviously didn’t, he’d know that Hobby Lobby’s insurance plan has covered contraceptives long before the ACA was passed. They just didn’t cover abortifacients.
At this point, I don’t know whether Dr. Schultz is an ill-informed scholar or if he’s a political hatchetman spewing the DFL’s chanting points. At this point, both are definite possibilities. Later, Dr. Schultz said this:
When the First Amendment was written it declared that “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion.”
Like most liberals, Dr. Schultz didn’t include the full text. Here’s that text:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In other words, the First Amendment proposed a balance on religion. First, it said that the government couldn’t declare a denomination as the national religion. Their intent was to prevent the government from telling religious institutions what their beliefs should be.
The next clause in the First Amendment says that government can’t prohibit people from living their faith. Dr. Schultz says that “RFRA and the five Justice majority appear to have” established a religion. I’d pose a contrarian question. Didn’t the HHS essentially tell people that they didn’t have the right to practice their religious faith? How is it ok for government bureaucrats to tell people of faith that they can’t live out their faith but it’s wrong for the Supreme Court to protect a company’s First Amendment rights?
Dr. Schultz’s hypocrisy is disappointing. He’s substituted his political beliefs when he should be rendering a constitutional opinion. By doing that, he’s lost credibility.
Those of us old enough to recall Richard Nixon’s time in office know that he didn’t respect the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment. That wasn’t the only way he broke the law but it’s certainly the most famous. That being said, this president is the greatest scofflaw-in-chief in American history because he just doesn’t care about the Constitution or the Supreme Court.
Even liberal constitutional law professors like Jonathan Turley are noticing:
The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court late last month that President Obama violated the separation of powers in appointing officials is the type of decision that usually concentrates the mind of a chief executive. Obama, however, appeared to double down on his strategy — stating in a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday that he intended to expand, not reduce, his use of unilateral actions to circumvent Congress. Summing up his position, the President threw down the gauntlet at Congress: “So sue me.”
This is just the latest proof that this president doesn’t give a damn about the rule of law or the Constitution. Apparently, he thinks he’s America’s king. Institutions like the Supreme Court and the Constitution don’t mean much to him.
Those things don’t mean much to Eric Holder, his Attorney General:
On June 26, in National Labor Relations Board v. Canning, all nine Justices ruled that President Obama’s “recess” appointments to the NLRB violated the Constitution.
Not only did Obama’s own judicial appointees vote against him (including his former solicitor general), but the majority opinion was written by Stephen Breyer, a liberal stalwart of the Court.
The Administration also lost United State v. Wurie, in which the Holder Justice Department claimed that the police and federal authorities did not need a search warrant to seize all of the information stored in the cellphone of someone who had been arrested.
Putting this in more schoolyard terms, the Obama administration and Eric Holder have gotten their butts kicked when facing the Supreme Court. The number of unanimous decisions that’ve gone against President Obama’s administration is the highest in history.
Let’s summarize these cases. In NLRB v. Noel Canning, President Obama, the CEO of the executive branch, argued that he, not the Senate Majority Leader, should determine when the Senate was in session. In US v. Wurie, Holder argued that the Fourth Amendment didn’t apply to cell phones. (That rationale escapes me entirely.) In both cases, the Supreme Court justices voted unanimously that “the constitutional scholar in the Oval Office” and his attorney general were wrong.
In fact, there have been 20 such cases during this administration — and even more if you include cases in which the administration filed an amicus brief, such as in McCullen v. Coakley, the free-speech case that was handed down the same day as the recess appointments case.
The Obama administration filed an amicus brief in that case supporting the Massachusetts law in question and helped argue the case before the Supreme Court.
But all nine justices found the Massachusetts law, which created a 35-foot “buffer” zone around abortion clinics, violated the First Amendment by restricting speech in public areas “that have historically been open to the public for speech activities.”
Here’s Dictionary.com’s definition of scofflaw:
a person who flouts the law, especially one who fails to pay fines owed.
a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.
That definition fits President Obama perfectly. The constitutional law professor at George Washington University disagreed with the “constitutional scholar in the Oval Office”:
In our system, there is no license to go it alone. Rather, the Republic’s democratic architecture requires compromise. The process is designed to moderate legislation and create a broader consensus in support of these laws.
Nor is congressional refusal to act on a particular prescription of how to fix the economy or repair immigration laws an excuse. Sometimes the country (and by extension Congress) is divided.
When that happens, less gets done. The Framers understood such times. They lived in such a time.
Moderation isn’t this president’s hallmark. Apparently, ignoring the Constitution this president’s hallmark.
Technorati: NLRB v. Noel Canning, US v. Wurie, McCullen v. Coakley, Supreme Court, Unanimous Rulings, President Obama, Eric Holder, Richard Nixon, Lawlessness, Fourth Amendment, Constitution, Jonathan Turley