Through the Non-Covered Medicine Glass

I find our local Hobby Lobby to be a useful store for a variety of things. I do wish that they made custom frames in-house instead of having them built in Oklahoma, requiring an extra 10 days to 2 weeks from the time I place an order till they make it back to the retail location. But that’s a small and very specific quibble.

And, as a matter of fact, so is Hobby Lobby’s decision to not not provide (read: subsidize) insurance premiums for policies which would cover (read: pay for) certain medicines or medical devices which Hobby Lobby believes to be morally wrong. Hobby Lobby is not refusing to provide health insurance to its employees (which would be counterproductive to hiring). Nor is the store requiring that its employees refuse to procure these things via some other means, or punish them somehow if they do. So why all the hullabaloo?

Matt Walsh cuts to the heart of the matter:

But no employer is trying to stop its employees from using birth control. The issue is about employers not wanting you to get birth control THROUGH THEM. Uninvolved in your sex life? Yes, that’s precisely what they would be. They aren’t interfering with your reproductive choices. You are free to do whatever you want to do. You just aren’t free to force others to subsidize it.

Hobby Lobby isn’t forcing its workers to abstain from MAPs and IUDs. They are merely declining to cover it. That’s all. Someone declining to give you something is NOT the same thing as them removing your right to obtain it. If I refuse to buy you lunch, am I taking away your ability to eat?

By this logic, I guess I am.

This is an extension of the freeloader’s dictum : “If I desire something, then somebody owes it to me.” In its simpler form, this is often seen as “________ is a human right,” where the blank can be filled in with anything one wishes.

The problem is that now that our federal government has decided we can be forced to purchase something we do not want (in complete contravention to good sense and that troublesome 200-year-old document), no particular legal basis is needed to force Hobby Lobby to offer something for purchase (since employees “buy” the insurance through their employment) which it finds immoral.

I hope it is not too late for several of the (supposedly) smartest people in black robes on the planet to understand that a government which can do either of the above is no longer answerable to the people who constituted it.


Jay Sekulow nails it:

If government can regulate when it pleases, however it pleases, regardless of the strength of the owner’s convictions or the weakness of the government’s interests, then does anyone truly own a business any longer?

When the IRS Cares

P&R points out that Oklahoma has a case against Obamacare which basically says “The bill said we wouldn’t be penalized if we didn’t have the state exchange.” But the IRS wants the money anyway. Arrgh.

The modern IRS exist to determine how to separate people from their earnings. While it is right and proper to tax for purposes of maintaining the necessary defense (external enemies) and establishing law and order (internal enemies) the IRS doesn’t really care about that. Rather, it has become a part of the bureaucracy which exists to feed itself. How else does one explain the insane complexity of the tax code, if there is not buried within it any number of perverse incentives for increasing the size and scope of the IRS’ activities?

Money is power–and as long as regular citizens have too much money (in the words of a recently elected official), the government can’t stand the competition.

Not Holding His Peace

President Obama made a remarkable statement the other day–which is why I and many others are remarking on it:

“Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

“And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.  Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”

It’s rare for a president to comment on a pending Supreme Court case, let alone one of his own, in deference to the historic decorum surrounding the separation of powers among the three branches of government.

It is rare for a president to say many of the things which our current president has said, that above simply being the latest in an extensive list. When you or I say foolish things, we hurt people–but usually only a few. When legal head of the United States says foolish things, the damage he can do is commensurate with the position he holds.

Or, as someone else has put it:

[I]ntellectually, this is the week where Barack Obama jumped the shark. In a deep, fundamental way, he is no longer a serious man. Nor an honest one. His public words are now purposefully bleached of truth. And that is a painful thing to have to say about an American president.

And, I would add, the consequences of such words are far more painful than the words themselves.

Down EPA, Down

In a move which provides hope to landowners from sea to shining sea, the US Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA cannot prevent people from filing suit to stop it (the EPA) from running roughshod over them:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled for an Idaho couple who have been in a four-year battle with the Environmental Protection Agencyover the government’s claim that the land on which they plan to build a home contains sensitive wetlands.

The decision allows Mike and Chantell Sackett to go to court to challenge the agency’s order.

“There is no reason to think that the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for review–even judicial review of the question whether the regulated party is within the EPA’s jurisdiction,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia.

I’m thinking that Tell, Orrin and Jubal would be pretty proud of these modern-day Sacketts.

Let’s celebrate a step in the right direction.


The Appeal of Justice (UPDATED)

A man who holds a powerful position is accused of abusing a hotel maid. Now, the maid’s credibility shot, the prosecutor reconsiders the charges.

A mother is found not guilty of the death of her daughter under suspicious circumstances.

A judge is accused of attacking a fellow judge of the same court. The accusation is reciprocated.

A recent parolee is suspected of causing the death of a woman whose car he stole. UPDATE: Man confesses to murder and says that he planned to kill people all the way to the White House–and then kill the President. Justice should not be too long delayed for this one.

What do all of these have in common? Simply put, all of these situations need justice to set them right. Yet, justice is insufficient to put things back they way things were. History cannot be erased, merely overwritten. Why then does justice hold such an appear for us? Because we understand that such wrongs (rapes, murders, assaults, etc) ought to be made as right as is possible–and that punishment for the wrongdoer is the only way to make things just.

If we no longer have a society where justice is sought then we no longer have a society.

Do we always get it right? No. But God, being the only one with perfect knowledge, will ensure that any who slip through the cracks are not without their rewards.

The Lone Bulb State

Once again, Texas leads the rest of us up the path of freedom and light:

Want to keep buying traditional incandescent light bulbs and avoid the federally mandated phase-out? Consider moving to Texas.

Texans can keep buying traditional incandescent light bulbs, under a bill allowed to become law this week by Gov. Rick Perry. It was authored by State Rep. George Lavender of Texarkana.

Lavender and supporters said the bill protects individual freedom against an unwarranted expansion of government authority.

And it does. Or, in blunt terms, it protects individual freedom to choose the best bulb for the job.

Althouse is glad but thinks the law is legally suspect:

I love my incandescent bulbs, but the law is obviously preempted by federal law. The argument that the Commerce Clause doesn’t give Congress the power to ban light bulbs manufactured and sold within one state is plainly wrong under the Supreme Court case law. But I appreciate the gesture, because I want my light bulbs.

Is case law ever found to be wrong? I would say that yes, it does happen, though infrequently.

Though we have long permitted the federal government to awe and bully the state governments into conformance with a variety of laws (some in keeping with our country’s foundational principles of freedom and self-responsibility, and many others not) one can hope and work toward a time when the bullying stops.

Meanwhile, thanks to Texas for leaving the lights on for us.

Look Out Wisconsin, Here Come the Feds

First, we had a state in deep financial trouble. Then, we had a governor and a majority of legislators who determined that public employee unions were contributing to the problem. Next, we had a crazy state supreme court election along with a state judge deciding to overrule the governor and legislators on the matter of the public unions and collective bargaining. And, most recently, we had the state supreme court tell the state judge that not only did she get the law wrong with her ruling, but she got it so wrong that the supreme court is not returning the case to her for a do-over.

Now, it gets interesting:

One day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of collective-bargaining legislation that potentially affects thousands of public-sector employees, a coalition of unions filed suit in federal court seeking to block it.

The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO on Wednesday joined a number of other unions seeking to halt Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial collective bargaining legislation.

The groups include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 24, AFSCME Council 40, AFSCME Council 48, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the Wisconsin State Employees Union, The Wisconsin State AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union – Health Care Wisconsin (SEIU).

Having been apparently unable to control the lawmaking process at the state-level, the labor unions are taking their boo-boos to Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam, meanwhile, is still kicking South Carolina via the NLRB case against Boeing.

The disposition of these two union-related matters will go far to determine if states have the rights that were not delineated by the US Constitution as belonging to the federal government.


Margin in Wisconsin

This was supposed to be written up yesterday, but wasn’t. I believe the surprise (as in “I’m surprised to have this much snow in the middle of April”) storm messed up my schedule.

Now that I have my excuse out of the way, let’s look at the recent election in Wisconsin. You remember how it went, right? It appeared that Kloppenberg (the not-as-conservative candidate) had won by 204 votes or so. Immediately, various luminaries–including the self-hating capitalist Michael Moore–told everyone that the election was over and that Prosser (the more-conservative-candidate) should concede, regardless of how close the vote was. After all, a majority is a majority.

Then, we found out that about 10,000 votes had not been recorded in the official tally. Now, we have the official totals. Prosser has the contest by 7316 votes. Or, to put it another way, a few hundred short of the percentage needed to preclude a recount:

The margin – 0.488% – is within the 0.5% limit that would allow Kloppenburg to request a statewide recount at taxpayers’ expense.

The deadline for calling for a recount is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Although counties have certified their results, by law the Government Accountability Board can’t certify the statewide results and declare an official winner until after that recount deadline passes or after completion of a recount, the state agency noted.

The Kloppenburg campaign has not decided whether to seek a recount, and it has not conceded the race, either.

So, what’s it going to be? Will those who were in favor of allowing the majority candidate to win with a very small margin stick to their principles?

We should find out in the next few days.