That is the topic for today. What, exactly happened with the Supreme Court and the Little Sisters of the Poor?
I saw a brief news clip of President Obama, pronouncing that if there had been a full court, rather than the eight justices currently sitting, the decision “would have gone differently.” It sounded to me is if he was saying that if he’d been able to get his boy on the court, his position would have prevailed.
But that’s a bridge too far. Here’s why.
The Supreme Court essentially ruled not to rule on the questions raised by the Little Sisters. However, it did so in a manner that gave a clear “win” to the Little Sisters. It did this by vacating lower court orders requiring the Sisters to conform to the Obama Administration’s attack on religious freedom, otherwise known as the HHS Mandate.
This was a clear rebuke of the lower courts’ rulings and set the stage for the Little Sisters to be able to follow their faith. The weakness in the non-ruling is that it did not address the larger issue of First Amendment freedoms.
That leaves the door open for further attacks on American’s First Amendment rights by future administrations or, if it ever begins to function again, Congress.
So, we got a glass-half-full victory. I have no doubt that if Justice Scalia had been alive, we would have gotten the whole glass of a full-on First Amendment ruling in support of religious freedom.
On the other hand, this particular ruling does not, as President Obama claimed, predicate toward a ruling in favor of his invidious Mandate. The reason is that, if the Court had truly been divided on the issue, and the four “liberals” on the court had wanted to do it, they could have tied the whole thing up by pushing for a 4-4 tie vote. That would have left the lower court’s rulings in place, including those against the Little Sisters.
But the Court chose not to do that. Instead, it vacated all the rulings. That is a rebuke of those lower court rulings, plain and simple.
Will this settle the issue?
I don’t think so. There is more to this than the HHS Mandate. More even than the petulance of a president who has staked his presidency on this destruction of religious liberty.
I hinted as to what that something more consists of with the phrase “destruction of religious liberty.” There has never been a reason for this argument to exist except that it is a full-on attack against the Catholic Church. It’s pay-back by those who hate the Church for the long history of Catholic opposition to abortion in particular, and the government destruction of legal protections of life, in general.
In plain political terms, the HHS Mandate was an idiotic move from its inception. It started a war that didn’t need to be and guaranteed what would be at best a Pyrrhic political victory at its conclusion.
This fight has cost the Obama administration dearly and gained it nothing. It was doomed to do anything other than divide the country further and embitter large segments of the populace from its start. It was and is a direct attack on the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
It destroyed whatever integrity and authenticity remained in such groups as the ACLU by pitting them directly against their own mandate and turning them into cheap political whores. Why did a man with sufficient political skills to get elected president do such a stupid thing?
I think the reason is simply that his political skills have never been all that great. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he did not possess the political skill to win the popular vote against Hillary Clinton in 2008.
He also engaged in the most vicious misogyny I have ever seen in a public fight against both Senator Clinton and Governor Palin. I believe Republicans could have bested him in 2012. The race was theirs to lose. They lost it choosing a lusterless pro-life-come-lately candidate.
In truth, President Obama spent seven years in the Illinois State Senate, during which he got beaten in a race for Congress, then got elected to the United States Senate when his Republican opponent withdrew due to scandal. Then, he ran for prez before his first term was up. I, who am certainly not a presidential candidate wannabe, have more political experience than he did, including, odd to say, more “community organizing” experience.
He had no business in the job. But he got it because of our sick way of electing politicians via soundbites and how they look/sound on camera.
The HHS Mandate was amateur-hour bullying from day one. It was also the work of a president who does not respect basic American freedoms.
The basic issues raised by the Little Sisters’ lawsuit remain unresolved.
Buckle your seat belts, my friends. The fight for the First Amendment is far from finished.