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Little Sisters, Would You Please

Scenes from an Argument

I’ve perused the argument transcript in Zubik v. Burwell (better known as Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell) and some of the press coverage. I’ve also looked at the press pictures and noodled over whose side I’m on—the grim-faced harridans demanding free contraceptives now, or the cheerful Little Sisters.

(They’re not smiling because of the argument, although it gave them reasons. I’ve been around them and they’re always joyful because of some stuff that happened 2,000 years ago, this glorious weekend.)

Even the most sympathetic plaintiffs sometimes deserve to lose. Here, though, I don’t see it. It’s not so much that I disagree with the government’s position; it’s that I can’t comprehend it.

Under the Affordable Care Act health insurance plans have to provide coverage for contraceptives and the like, without co-pays or deductibles. Many religious institutions want no part of that. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed with nary a dissent during the Clinton years but today wouldn’t garner a single Democratic vote, says (in substance) that when government imposes a substantial burden on religion, it must have a “compelling interest” and achieve its objectives by the least restrictive means. The administration has made an exception for churches and some religious orders but not for other religious institutions—like the Little Sisters (a religious order but they transgress the limits by providing care for the elderly poor, regardless of religious affiliation). They don’t have to pay for this stuff; that’s the government’s “accommodation.” But they have to help the government ensure that the services will be covered under their health plans.

What’s there not to understand? A ton.

In the first place, how there can be insurance for something that’s sure to occur or to be consumed? No homeowner’s insurance covers lawn mowing. Under a plan that’s either a pre-payment for future services or else a cross-subsidy—here, for people desiring to contraceive. (Justice Kennedy noted the point.) Why is that compelling?

A few minutes into Paul Clement’s argument for the Little Sisters, Justice Sotomayor wheeled out the artillery. She feels very strongly about this. At one point the Chief Justice inquired whether ACA plans worked in a certain way and while Solicitor General Verrilli was fumbling for an answer Justice Sotomayor erupted, “That is a falsehood.” Geez. Anyhow: we allow Quakers to be conscientious objectors, Justice Sotomayor said. But they have to claim that status knowing full well that the government will make someone else take their place. Why isn’t that the same complicity in sin that’s alleged here?

The reasons came out in the argument. “My clients would love to be a conscientious objector,” Mr. Clement closed his argument on rebuttal. “But the government insists that they be a conscientious collaborator. There is no such thing.” Jackpot. But even if the analogy holds: we ask lots of people to bear lots of things to fight wars. But to provide birth control pills??

It gets yet more mystifying. There’s a million ways to provide “free” contraceptives without dragging religious institutions into the business, like carpet-bombing campuses with condoms. (Petitioners’ counsel proffered more plausible ideas, such as separate, subsidized health insurance plans.) Ergo, that can’t be the government interest. Soon into General Verrilli’s argument, Chief Justice Roberts nailed the point:

Your compelling interest is not that women obtain the contraceptive services. Your compelling interest is that women obtain the contraceptive services through the insurance plan or the third-party administrator hired by the Petitioners, hired by the Little Sisters.

General Verrilli did not dispute that specification of the government’s interest with a single word. Instead, he insisted that “a one-off jerry-rigged separate channel to get contraceptive coverage” wouldn’t be good enough. It’s got to be “seamless.”

Seamless—how? So seamless that the “insured” can’t be asked to carry a second insurance card for all the free stuff? Yes. So seamless that even churches themselves could be put under the obligation? Yes. “But,” General Verrilli assured the Justices, “we have constrained ourselves. We have tried to be especially careful with houses of worship.” So seamless that “grandfathered” health plans—unlike the Little Sisters—are exempt? Well, those are going to die anyhow, by design. Those plans are the ones we were supposedly allowed to keep if we like them. General Verrilli did not lose much by exposing that lie: it’s long been a matter of public record.

None of that is intelligible, and none of it went over very well. So Justice Breyer volunteered an interest of his own:

[Y]ou don’t want to have the women to ask for the coverage because vast numbers of women will, quite a few who have religious objections won’t, and then there will be that middle set of people who are inertia bound. And since they are inertia bound, we can’t say so what, because poor people who don’t object religiously, if they get the contraceptives, that lowers the cost of health coverage later on. [Assumes fact not in evidence but let it go.] … And therefore, there is an interest of some kind in […] not having a system where the inertia bound have to take initiative.

Wow: behavioral economics meets the First Amendment, and RFRA. Again, I don’t get it: is there any scenario in which the government does not have “an interest of some kind” in overcoming people’s “inertia” to make them do what the government wants them to do?

I had to read to the near end of the transcript to hit a point I do understand. All these fabulous comprehensive plans on the Exchanges must be comprehensive. So, Justice Alito inquired,

Could the Executive say, as a matter of our enforcement discretion, we are not going to take any action against insurers who offer contraceptives-only policies, and in fact, we are going to subsidize those insurers at 115 percent, just as we do in the situation of the self-insured plans?

Not really, the SG replied. We couldn’t do that and it wouldn’t solve the “inertia” problem. Justice Alito persisted:

But why would it be not something that you could do in accordance with your understanding of executive power?

That’s a fist in the face. The point is tangential, and “your understanding” is the unbounded executive theory the administration has abjured in this case but has relied on and will again rely on in absolutely every other case of consequence. But the point is unlikely to register with an administration that can count on four votes no matter what.

Back to my incomprehension: why have a fight over the First Amendment, or RFRA, over this? We know (a president might reason) there are these religious people who don’t like us. They have good lawyers and they want an issue, and we don’t need that fight so let’s sideline them and cut a deal with the Little Sisters, on the White House lawn. We make transactional deals in matters of faith all the time (like Solyndra and global warming); why not now and for nuns?

Beats me.

Reader Discussion

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on March 25, 2016 at 09:58:17 am

You may find this take on the oral arguments of some interest. Here is a brief excerpt from Michael McConnell piece at NRO this a.m. in which the government concedes that it MAY NOT EVEN SEEK TO ENFORCE the damn thing:

"4. One of the most telling moments of oral argument came during General Verrilli’s final two minutes, when Justice Alito highlighted a key government concession—that because some of the petitioners, including the Little Sisters, have a self-insured church plan, the government actually lacks authority under ERISA to make their third-party administrator provide contraceptive coverage. “In that situation,” Justice Alito asked, “will the Little Sisters still be subject to fines for failing to comply?” General Verrilli’s response was astonishing: “No, we don’t think so.” In other words, the government said it has no plans to actually enforce the mandate against the Little Sisters—and, by extension, any of the roughly 500 other religious organizations that have self-insured church plans. And even if the government coerced these organizations to sign its form, this would not make contraceptives flow."

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/433254/mcconnell-little-sisters-argumet

Also, yesterday, it was shown that Sotamayor interceded to assist Verilli's argument and appeared to cross the line between "consideration" (of an argument) and ADVOCACY. I suppose when one is a "wise Latina" this sort of thing is permissible. I mean nowadays, advocacy is conflated with wisdom, is it not?

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gabe
on March 25, 2016 at 10:55:09 am

"Little Sister don't ya do what ya Big Sister does"

One assumes that Sotamayor is the "Big"Sister in this instance - I mean they all wear Black Robes and Sotamayor's robes appear substantially larger as is her ego.

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gabe
on March 25, 2016 at 11:26:57 am

Even the most sympathetic plaintiffs sometimes deserve to lose. Here, though, I don’t see it. It’s not so much that I disagree with the government’s position; it’s that I can’t comprehend it.

I utterly disagree: You can comprehend it; I have faith in you! But don’t feel bad -- you exhibit the same degree of incomprehension exhibited by the Chief Justice, so you’re in good company.

Here’s the overview: The ACA attempts to make the US health care system more efficient. Some people may argue that unregulated free markets are the most efficient system. I won’t address that here except to say that the US health care market pre-ACA was far from an unregulated free market; costs are socialized through a variety of market-distorting means. The ACA was designed to be the best improvement over the status quo that could get through Congress.

Pregnancy and child birth are expensive. Sure, uncomplicated pregnancies and child births are not so bad – but the complications are plentiful and pricy. The ACA reflects the conclusion that birth control is a cheap substitute for unplanned pregnancies and child births. The goal of the birth control policy is not primarily to promote the interest of sexually active women or their lovers; the goal is to promote the interest of everyone who bears the cost of our socialized health care system.

When a private party opts out of providing birth control, there will be more unplanned pregnancies and child births – and we will all bear additional costs as a result. In short, it is a choice to shift the burdens of one person’s preferences/religion onto other.

What’s there not to understand? A ton.

In the first place, how there can be insurance for something that’s sure to occur or to be consumed?

Look, health plans have long covered the cost of pregnancy and child birth. You could argue that this reflects an abuse of the world “insurance” since frequently people are choosing to become pregnant and incur these healthcare services. If that’s a semantic issue for you, feel free to take it up with the health insurance industry.

Contraceptives are a substitute for unplanned pregnancy and childbirth. And if the cost of providing contraceptives is less than the cost of paying for unplanned pregnancies and childbirths, why shouldn’t public policy favor that alternative? Whether you call that “insurance” is irrelevant to the policy or its rationale.

[W]e allow Quakers to be conscientious objectors, Justice Sotomayor said. But they have to claim that status knowing full well that the government will make someone else take their place. Why isn’t that the same complicity in sin that’s alleged here?

Indeed, when Congress was debating the language of what would become the Second Amendment, they considered adding language ensuring conscientious objector status. (Apparently Congress labored under the delusion that the Second Amendment pertained to well-regulated militias, but that’s a whole ‘nuther topic….) The proposal, echoing policies that other states had adopted, was that a man should be able to opt out of military service on grounds of conscience – provided he provide a substitute volunteer, or sufficient funds to hire a replacement. That is, Congress believed that 1) we all must bear our share of costs for society, and 2) we should accommodate people’s conscientious objections, but those objectors should not be excused from bearing their share of society’s costs. The idea that a conscientious objector should be allowed to shift his share of society’s costs onto others would have been anathema to them.

(The conscientious objector language was eventually stricken from the amendment. Allegedly this reflected a view that the executive should exercise discretion in accommodating conscientious objectors; it may also have reflected a prevailing prejudice toward Quakers in general.)

“My clients would love to be a conscientious objector,” Mr. Clement closed his argument on rebuttal. “But the government insists that they be a conscientious collaborator. There is no such thing.”

I agree. And I have no objection to the Little Sisters refraining from taking any action here. But I merely ask that the Little Sisters bear the cost of their religious practices – not me. The idea that I would be forced to subsidize their religion violates MY religion.

BUT HERE'S THE APPROPRIATE LITIGATION STRATEGY: Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, government must tailor its policies in the least-burdensome manner. If the Little Sisters refrain from offering birth control coverage AND refrain from submitting the exemption form, they will become subject to penalties. It is unclear to me that the magnitude of the penalties is equal to the magnitude of the expected social cost of the added pregnancies and child births. And to charge the Little Sisters more than the cost of their actions would be to penalize them for Free Exercise -- that clear no-no.

I don't know who should bear the burden of proof on the quantification question. But surely there's some religious freedom interest group out there that would pay for a study showing that the incremental social cost of an employer the size of the Little Sisters withholding birth control coverage would be small. Then let them pay the small incremental cost -- and then stand in the defendant's box when the HHS sues to collect the balance. I would find that a very sympathetic posture for the Little Sisters.

There’s a million ways to provide “free” contraceptives without dragging religious institutions into the business, like carpet-bombing campuses with condoms. (Petitioners’ counsel proffered more plausible ideas, such as separate, subsidized health insurance plans.) Ergo, that can’t be the government interest. Soon into General Verrilli’s argument, Chief Justice Roberts nailed the point:

”Your compelling interest is not that women obtain the contraceptive services. Your compelling interest is that women obtain the contraceptive services through the insurance plan or the third-party administrator hired by the Petitioners, hired by the Little Sisters.”

1. Are the Little Sisters willing to provide this subsidy? Or are you simply saying that we can accommodate people’s religious preferences by shifting the cost of those preferences onto others?

Great. The Iraq War violated my religious convictions, so I shouldn’t have to pay taxes. Don’t worry, you can accommodate my religious views by simply shifting the tax burden onto … oh, somebody else….

See the problem with this rationale?

2. An insurer has an interest in providing birth control to their own customers because the cost of birth control is less than the cost of unwanted pregnancies and child births. (Check to see the co-payment on your insurer’s provision of surgical birth control; you may well find that it’s $0). But that same insurer would have no interest in providing birth control to random people, because such a policy would result in additional cost without avoiding additional costs.

Thus, the government has a very practical reason for letting insurers know that the birth control the insurer provides (at no incremental cost) will be going to their own customers. Ergo, that can be the government interest.

BOTTOM LINE: We wouldn’t be having this discussion if the Supreme Court hadn’t upheld Hobby Lobby. And the Supreme Court wouldn’t have upheld it without Kennedy’s concurring opinion that was predicated on the fact that “there is an existing, recognized, workable, and already-implemented framework to provide [birth control] coverage," that that Health and Human Services has devised for non-profit corporations with religious objections. Kennedy then noted that he would distinguish other religious claims “in which it is more difficult and expensive to accommodate a governmental program to countless religious claims based on an alleged statutory right of free exercise.”

So if we want to conclude that the HHS accommodation for birth control is unworkable, then we’d need to conclude that Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Hobby Lobby was based on a false premise and should be rejected. Hobby Lobby then becomes a 4-4 deadlock, the plaintiffs would lose, and we wouldn’t even reach the complaints of the Little Sisters. Everybody happy now?

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nobody.really
on March 25, 2016 at 12:24:18 pm

Great!

So based on efficiency - why not advocate vasectomies for males or tubal ligation for females.
That would also stop pregnancies and a vasectomy is a heck of a lot cheaper than full term pregnancy - even for a healthy one.

I mean that CAN be the government interest, right!

Then again, we could accept Justice Ginsburg's opinion that as to abortion, " we were really only interested in CERTAIN people reducing their birthrates", or words to that effect.

Oops, I guess we can't really do that - remembering the "forced sterilization" antics of the Progressive Left from the 1920's onward - or can we?

Nobody really wants to advocate that even if it is more efficient!

Boy, how we do love to stretch an argument such that efficiency assumes primacy over conscience. How *clever* we have become, all to support the interventions of a government that has lost sight of the rather limited role prescribed to and for it.

And BTW if it is of such paramount concern to the government, then a) simply make contraceptives free on demand, b) have the government assume the cost and c) allow consumers to purchase them with EBT cards - after all they already purchase beer, cheap wine and cigarettes at the local mini-marts. All while I stand in line with my $20 bill in my hand. Hey wait a minute, my conscience is against this use of EBT cards. Well shucks, maybe we all have to pay for someone else's *privilege* - be it religious or otherwise. Seems to me that is the price of civil association. We simply need to learn to live with these little "collisions" and "inconveniences"

Let the Little Sisters off the hook AND I won't bitch about paying for some "victims" cigarettes and booze. I like neither their brand of cigarettes nor their cheap wine and beer.

And oh BTW, Obamacare has failed to meet any of its stated goals - especially cost. why should one expect that governmental promises in this case will be any different.

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gabe
on March 25, 2016 at 12:51:19 pm

Of course there is nothing wrong with Professor Greve's report or his views; but there is so much wrong with what are assumed to be the "basics" of these issues.

We are not observing the "actions" of the constitutionally delineated government (and the application of its limiting principle). We are observing the operation of the Federal Administrative State [FAS]; in particular , a single segment, a "department" [HHS].

We are NOT looking at the operating effect of a ** statute ** (legislation). We are looking at an arbitrarily constructed (and arbitrarily enforced) **regulation** - which is referred to as the "required benefits" [HHS determined] of "plans" under the powers delegated to HHS.
It is that power, arbitrary power of a segment of the FAS, which is the underlying issue in this case.

HHS has evolved in consolidations from preceding facilities established (in theory) as means to meet particular social needs. However, it, and its segments, like other segments of the FAS, have taken on lives of their own distinct from the purpose of the original levels. They become "institutionalized" and take on activities and purposes (objectives) of their own separate from and different from the purposes for which they were intended. Those facilities consist of people organized in relationships to one another. When institutionalized those relationships become ends in themselves. Essential to those relationships (which become largely hierarchal) is the power of the institution (a bureau, "office of," division, department, etc.). ***

It is that power and its arbitrary exercise which is being defended. Thus, much of the "arguments" are not (and can not be) coherent or consistent.

Encompassing all that is the great judicial false construct of a "Compelling Interest" of the government. Only **people** have interests. To add that false construct to those other arguments adds to the incoherence. If there is judicial determination that the FAS or any segment, such as HHS has a "compelling" or any other kind of interest, that is a determination of power from that "interest."

Perhaps some day it will be discovered that when a duty is assigned to an administrative body, that assignment must carry with it the assignors' limiting principles.

*** See, Carroll Quigley

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R Richard Schweitzer
on March 25, 2016 at 14:49:49 pm

Richard:

Let me take it one step further.

all you say is correct and constitutes another fine observation re: FAS.

However, (and what I forgot to make explicit in my comments above) the real issue is simply this.

1) The government is involved in far too many functions and makes far too many interventions in the lives of the citizenry.
2) All such actions, for whatever reasons or motivations, serve to transform some "noble" purpose from a Civic Good into a Public Good. As a Public Good the governing structure is thus compelled to make choices and determinations a) that are best left (generally speaking) to the citizenry's own devices, b) which by their very nature enables (compels) the government to diminish the liberties of some in order to foster the "equality" of some other group(s) and c) result in a never ending spiral of claim - counterclaim.
3) Prevents, inhibits or destroys the natural tendency / ability / willingness of the citizenry to enable, create and sustain accommodations that are somewhat more grounded in tradition and practical realities of civic association.

In short, it is inevitable that government will induce conflict as a result of its determinations to favor one over another, such choice being backed up / compelled by force.

This is not only disheartening but it saps the vitality of the citizenry and makes it far less likely that they will be prepared to deal with the inevitable "collisions" of human civic interaction.

Nobody really believes that the Progressive prescription / encouragement of a governmental disposition for an instrumental end (in this case *universal health / contraceptive care) is proper and without conflict AND that a seemingly rational (think the mellifluous tones of National Public Radio) argument predicated upon efficiency is sufficient in itself to justify the primacy of economics (false economics, in this case) over conscience.

Bunk in sweet tones is still bunk! Cow-pies drenched in Ralph Lauren cologne may only temporarily mask the nature of the underlying base medium.

Consider - if the government were not involved in "health care." Would this discussion, this case be necessary.

Oh well, I guess it does keep a fair number of folks employed - the minions of the FAS, lobbyists and not an insignificant number of Black Robed oracles - competent now to divine what is and is not properly divine.

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gabe
on March 25, 2016 at 15:41:14 pm

So based on efficiency – why not advocate vasectomies for males or tubal ligation for females.

That would also stop pregnancies and a vasectomy is a heck of a lot cheaper than full term pregnancy – even for a healthy one.

I mean that CAN be the government interest, right!

Exactly; that’s why I wrote, “An insurer has an interest in providing birth control to their own customers because the cost of birth control is less than the cost of unwanted pregnancies and child births. (Check to see the co-payment on your insurer’s provision of surgical birth control; you may well find that it’s $0).

In short, I agree that 1) government agents exercise free speech rights, and thus may advocate positions, and 2) surgical forms of birth control may prove cost-effective as a public policy. Then again, they may not. It’s a perfectly valid public policy question – but perhaps not one closely related to the current discussion.

Then again, we could accept Justice Ginsburg’s opinion that as to abortion, ” we were really only interested in CERTAIN people reducing their birthrates”, or words to that effect.

Then again, we could accept gabe’s claim that he’s “a raving lunatic who is so hopped up on Oregon wine that [he] can’t be bothered to quote people accurately and cite sources” or words to that effect.

Oops, I guess we can’t really do that – remembering the “forced sterilization” antics of the Progressive Left from the 1920’s onward – or can we?

Nobody really wants to advocate that even if it is more efficient!

I may not want to advocate forced sterilization. But I would retain the Free Speech right to do so. I may disagree with what you say, yet fight to the death for your right to say it.

[H]ow we do love to stretch an argument such that efficiency assumes primacy over conscience.

No, your efficiency need not take primacy over your conscience, nor mine over mine. But the Little Sisters are asking that their conscience should take primacy over my conscience. And yes, I object to that.

I want the Little Sisters to be able to act in accordance with their conscience – and I want them to bear the cost of their actions. I propose measuring the cost of their actions by seeing how much their actions cause us to deviate from an efficient outcome. But if you don’t like that measure, fine: We can regard the penalty provisions in the ACA as a proxy for the cost. I’m flexible.

[I]f it is of such paramount concern to the government, then a) simply make contraceptives free on demand, b) have the government assume the cost and c) allow consumers to purchase them with EBT cards….

Great – at least, as far as the policy applies to people with EBT cards. I’d guess that most people working for the Little Sisters don’t get such cards, however, so we might have to extend the policy further.

And if Congress passed such legislation, I’d guess the President would sign it. But, of course, Congress has done no such thing. Congressmen may shed tears for the terrible burden that the ACA imposes on people, but even when there are bipartisan remedies they do nothing to implement them. They’d rather have the issue to campaign on than alleviate the Free Exercise issues they claim to care about.

I like neither their brand of cigarettes nor their cheap wine….

ENOUGH WITH YOUR FANCY OREGON WINES ALREADY. You’re making me thirsty.

And oh BTW, Obamacare has failed to meet any of its stated goals….

Let’s assume that to be accurate. Let’s also assume that my religion forbids gratuitous killing, that Bush justified gratuitous killing in Iraq based on the need to control weapons of mass destruction, and that Bush found no weapons of mass destruction there. What conclusions can we draw about the need to comply with policies we disapprove of?

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nobody.really
on March 25, 2016 at 21:20:36 pm

1) Walla Walla Valley wines are from Washington State.

2) We actually did find WMD in Irag AND we did find many many tons of yellowcake - so let's be factual here.

3) No matter how you choose to spin it: " But the Little Sisters are asking that their conscience should take primacy over my conscience. And yes, I object to that." - the fact remains that had the government not intervened and sought to provide what it deemed to be an *instrumental good, we would not have need of this case, nor of governmental coercion.
AND
you would still be able to "object to that" (as would the Little Sisters) w/o fear of penalty or fine
AND
those whose conscience allowed them to choose this health care remedy could do so at THEIR OWN COST and neither ask the good Little Sisters to either pay for it (even if secondhand) or feel the whip of government *encouragement*
AND those whose conscience did not allow them to participate could do so without imposing any costs on the enlightened and benighted "protectors" of reproductive health services (such as you) and would also need not fear the scorn, albeit masked as concern for their conscience / speech rights when in fact our cultural advance guard wishes to deny them this very right
AND (and this is a very BIG IF) the Progressive Vanguard would perchance have an opportunity to reflect and recognize that WITHOUT government intervention in this healthcare marketplace / mechanism (or a host of other areas)there would be NO NEED TO LIMIT THE LIBERTIES of the good Little Sisters. Will you not ever recognize nor acknowledge that it is government interventions that cause these differences to be elevated to "constitutional issues" - in fact, they neither are nor ought to be so construed.
There is no constitutional or institutional right to "reproductive services" - there is no properly delegated power allowing for the government to determine that ALL health insurance must include contraceptives, viagra, sex-change operations or anything else.
Should you want one of these products / service, pay for the damn thing yourself OR at least pay for the insurance at a fair market value. Nor should ANY employer be required to provide any of these services either in a self insurance or standard insurance market.

See no problems - you, who frequently cite "market" determinations ought to recognize this. No insurance company is going to insist that an employer provide any of these services or products, now are they. Voila! No problem with conscience. You want it - you pay for it - No conscience rights or, heaven forbid, reproductive freedom rights, are threatened.

Will you not ever admit that so much of these very problems are the direct result of the actions / motivations of smug, "morally superior," know-it-all, utopian statists / planners and their cohorts in the Fed Admin State.

I wonder did James Madison and the boys ever have to contend with such absurdities as that for which, once again, you offer a prescription. It all comes down to this - NO, they did not; and they did not have to do so because they recognized that the government ought not go around transforming a Civic Good (health care) into a Public Good (a constitutional right (almost).

4) As a "raving lunatic", a victim that is, I feel I am thus entitled to government mandated and provided health care at taxpayer expense. My own conscience does not allow me to pay for my own needs.
Fork it over,

5) Spray on all the Ralph Lauren perfumes and colognes you desire, the base medium of the concoction you offer is still evident. It offends the sensibilities, if not the rather dormant conscience of the citizenry.

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gabe
on March 25, 2016 at 22:10:02 pm

Oops, I forgot (and I have not even had any Washington Wine yet);

6) The critical difference between "contraceptive health care" conscience considerations and your much ballyhooed Iraq War conscience considerations is this. One of the "objectionable things is actually a delegated power of the Federal Government and one is a concoction of feel-good prescriptions. Can you guess which is which.
Surely, you have Googled it by now and found that the federal Government (Legislative Branch) is empowered to raise both armed forces and the monies required to sustain them. And then there is the small matter of the Office of Commander-in-Chief. Unless, of course, I am mistakenly identifying that Office as a Military Office and not a Commander in chief of contraceptive distribution.
Whadda ya think?

And NOW for a rather fine bottle of Columbia Valley Syrah. I'll not hear any Baptist objections to good wine BTW!

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gabe
on March 26, 2016 at 20:29:29 pm

The government's position is easy to understand. Every knee shall bow to liberalism in all its forms.

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Clark Coleman
on March 27, 2016 at 10:59:41 am

Clark,

The issues here are NOT the defense of **liberalism** in any of its forms.

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R Richard Schweitzer
on March 29, 2016 at 19:45:17 pm

Hey kids, here is an INTERESTING update:

OMG, has sanity found its way into the deliberations of the venerable Black Robed Guardians (or perhaps just a "guilty" conscience on the part of the lapsed Catholics on the Court as they remember the kind instructions of their own Black gowned instructors of yesteryear - the sisters of St. Joseph, perhaps):

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/433428/promising-development-little-sisters-poor-case-supreme-court

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gabe
on April 02, 2016 at 13:13:26 pm

[…] S. Greve, Little Sisters, Would You Please, Law Liberty […]

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Weekend Reading – The Ordeal of Consciousness

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