The Indiana #RFRA, Memories Pizza, and the Left’s Fascist Orgasm


**Posted by Phineas

satire left tolerance liberal fascism

(Credit: Michael Ramirez)


“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Richard Nixon (1970)

(Preface: I should clarify something from the start — I am not a religious person. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I haven’t been to a Mass for anything other than a wedding or funeral in over 35 years. While I respect the Church (and most other faiths) and the opinions of the faithful (Well, most of them), I feel no need or urge to go to church on Sundays or offer up my voice in prayer; the existence or not of God is not of great importance to me, though I don’t doubt that God exists in some form. Neither atheist nor agnostic, perhaps the best description for me is “apatheist.” I just don’t care.

What I do care about passionately, however, is the promise of the American Revolution, the political and social settlement represented in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the freedom of all decent people to live their lives as they see fit without fear of being picked on or persecuted for who they are. What I write below should be read in that context.)

What happened in Indiana over the last week was an utter, damnable disgrace, and a good portion of this nation should be ashamed of themselves for acting like a digital lynch mob.

How did this start? A bit over a week ago, the Indiana legislature passed a bill, similar to a federal act and laws in 19 other states, allowing defendants in lawsuits, including those brought by non-governmental actors, to offer religious belief as a defense when accused of discrimination. It was not a “safe harbor” or anything that precluded a suit or encouraged discrimination. A court still had to determine whether the professed religious defense was outweighed by a pressing state need. Its only purpose was to provide a possible shield to those who felt their religious beliefs were being trampled. (Further essential reading.)

The reaction to the bill made one wonder if Indiana hadn’t opened death camps for gays.

The hysteria generated by progressive reactionaries and other fools who I’m sure didn’t read the bill was appalling to behold. Monumental hypocrites such as Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook roundly denounced Indiana for bigotry against gays and for denying their rights… while Apple makes iPhones in Communist China and sells them in Iran, where gays are regularly murdered by the state for being gay. Other ignoramuses called for the NCAA basketball tournament to be moved from Indiana next year, or ran to the microphones to condemn Indiana while pretending their own state’s RFRA didn’t exist..

Eventually the pressure from the howling horde of progressive corporate execs, the MSM, and “activists” proved too much for the cowardly lions in the Indiana legislature and their jelly-spined governor, and they amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to gut its provisions. The mob had won, and the democratic will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives was left beaten and bleeding in a back alley. If that were the end of it, it would be bad enough.

But it wasn’t.

During the week of furor over Indiana’s RFRA, a “reporter” at ABC’s Channel 57 affiliate in Indiana,  Alyssa Marino, went looking for devout Christians mouth-breathing, hate-filled homophobes who would refuse service to homosexuals.

And she found them at Memories Pizza

You can read Scott Ott’s report on how the media created the Hell that was about to descend on the O’Connors, owners of “Memories.” But I want to point out one especially egregious example,  a tale of two headlines:


(h/t @TDelovely)

The top is the first headline to run over Marino’s story, and below is the “corrected” version. See the enormous difference between the two? The first claims the O’Connors declared a blanket denial of service to gays. Pretty despicable, right? The later limits that to catering a gay wedding. (And who would order pizza for a wedding, anyway?) But, here’s the kicker: Marino’s question to Crystal O’Connor was wholly hypothetical! There was no gay couple seeking pizza for their wedding. Marino has simply walked in and asked a question along the lines of “What would you do if…?” O’Connor then made the mistake of answering honestly: gays would be welcome to eat at the restaurant, presumably also to get takeout or delivery, but that her business would decline to cater a wedding because it would require them to participate in an activity that went against their Christian faith. Again, a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. The hypothetical gay couple could then go to another pizza parlor for catering, which would profit.

Simple, right?

No. This was the crime of “wrong thought,” and for that the O’Connors became vragi naroda, “enemies of the people.” Thanks to the media and the firestorm ignited on the Internet, Memories Pizza’s social media presence was attacked, and threats of violence, arson, and even death were received. It got so bad the O’Connors closed their shop and went into hiding. While through the efforts of Dana Loesch and her crew at The Blaze TV, the O’Connors more then recouped their losses (1), one has to ask: Did they really deserve this for simply holding an opinion not popular with our media and urban elites?

Of course not! What happened to Memories Pizza and to the Indiana government was disgusting: Thinking they had found their new Emmanuel Goldstein, the ignorant, reactionary Left began with a ritual Two Minutes Hate and ran with it until it became nearly a sexual ecstasy of rage. The state government was intimidated, a couple was left in fear for their lives, and the rights of people to freedom of conscience and freedom of association were torn apart in a political Bacchanalia.

There is a sickness in our body politic, one brought about by the authoritarian Left the late Senator Moynihan cited at the start of this article. One key component of the American settlement is the idea of political and religious tolerance, that we can all hold different beliefs –and we don’t have to like those beliefs or even each other– but not be punished for them. Our English forebears, Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, experienced just that sort of oppression and came to a New World to escape it. Later it was the Jews fleeing persecution in Europe; a letter from President Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island eloquently describes that idea:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.


May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Emphases added. Washington, I’m almost certain, would be nauseated by what happened this last week.

What the authoritarian Left is doing strikes at the heart of the American settlement by refusing to honor the “liberty of conscience” we have long made room for in this land. Remember the conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War era (and earlier wars), who refused to engage in combat because of religious objections? Then, the Left lionized them as heroes. Would they now be spat upon because they used religion as a defense? It was for moments like these, when the power of the State impinges on the deeply felt religious beliefs of people, whether in matters of war or simply participating in a wedding, that Congress passed nearly unanimously and President Clinton signed the federal RFRA, and the states followed with their own.

But the Left leaves no room for dissent, unless it is dissent they approve of. All others are not just disapproved of, but must be actively harassed and punished until they publicly recant and think right thoughts, like some Maoist “struggle session.”

I’m going to close with a long quote from attorney Kurt Schlichter, who served many years in the Army, including Kosovo, where he saw first hand what happened when the consensus of tolerance broke down:

Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.

Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.

Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.

That’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect to change the status quo for yourself and then expect those you victimize not to play by the new rules you have created. You cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind.

Read the whole thing.

The Left is discarding the rule of law for the rule of force, substituting the power of the mob for the “immunities of citizenship,” and while you may think it silly to compare America to Kosovo, it may also be that Col. Schlichter has simply reconnoitered farther down the road they want us to walk and seen where it ends.

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

And we should, still.

(1) Fair disclosure: I was one of the donors and was honored to do so.

RELATED: The Power Line podcast has an excellent discussion of the Indiana situation, and RFRAs in general, with law professor John Yoo.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Let’s remember how #JamesFoley lived, but also how he was brutally murdered

James Foley

Photojournalist James Foley

For those of you who were under the radar and missed this horrifying news from earlier this week:

In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley – and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. Even so, the U.S. military pressed ahead, conducting nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday.


Foley, 40, from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.

The beheading marks the first time the Islamic State has killed an American citizen since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, upping the stakes in an increasingly chaotic and multilayered war. The killing is likely to complicate U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Obama administration’s efforts to contain the group as it expands in both Iraq and Syria.

The group is the heir apparent of the militancy known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which beheaded many of its victims, including American businessman Nicholas Berg in 2004.

The video released on websites Tuesday appears to show the increasing sophistication of the Islamic State group’s media unit and begins with scenes of Obama explaining his decision to order airstrikes.

It then cuts to a balding man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in the desert, next to a black-clad militant with a knife to his throat. Foley’s name appears in both English and Arabic graphics on screen. After the captive speaks, the masked man is shown apparently beginning to cut at his neck; the video fades to black before the beheading is completed. The next shot appears to show the captive lying dead. The video appears to have been shot in an arid area; there is no vegetation to be seen and the horizon is in the distance where the sand meets the gray-blue sky.

At the end of the video, a militant shows a second man, who was identified as another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warns that he could be the next captive killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013; he had freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.

I was on Twitter when news of Foley’s murder broke.  The expressions of outrage towards his killers, the condolences posted to his family – all were understandable. For a brief moment, I joined in with the calls for people to always remember how he lived, and to put out of mind how he died.  It seemed fitting at the time. But as the week went on, and the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that – while it is indeed important to remember Foley’s work as a photojournalist, something he felt called to do in war-torn countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq, it was also vitally important to keep his murder fresh in people’s minds as a reminder of just how radicalized the “religion of peace” has become, and how we simply cannot continue the policy of appeasement towards Islamofascists that has taken place under the Obama administration.

Like many, I have not been impressed AT ALL with the “official response” communicated by the Obama administration to Foley’s brutal murder, because there is a continued insistence by them and other dangerous liberal moral relativists that terrorists like ISIS simply “pervert” the Islamic faith.  There’s the implication that if we stop and try and “understand” these inhumane swine who behead innocents in the name of “Allah” and bury alive rape victims as punishment in countries like Iran then maybe we could all just “get along”, sing “Kumbaya” and all that.

No.  I wrote this in 2010, and I still believe it to this day:

For a brief time long ago, I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a “moderate” element to Islam. I don’t anymore. Yes, there are Muslim Islamists out there who are not hateful, who are respectful of the religious beliefs and faiths of others, etc, but my opinion is that these Muslims are not full-fledged Islamists – and that’s a good thing. There is hope for that minority of Islamists that they can turn away from the evil “religion” we know as Islam.

That is, if they’re not murdered first.

No, Mr. President – I will not be “tolerant” of this religion, not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Doesn’t mean I’ll get violent, but it DOES mean that I will speak out strongly against it, loudly and often. Islam, which is the law of the land in many Muslim countries via the use of the Koran as their “standard,” stands for everything we’re supposed to be against. Secularists and non-secularists alike can see this. It’s a crying, outrageous shame that you and so many of your fellow “enlightened” liberals do not.

If Foley’s sickening, torturous death does not wake people up as to the horrors of radical Islam, perhaps the ongoing persecution of non-believers by ISIS will:

Reports coming in from Sinjar, a small town that was once home to Iraqi minority community, Yazidis, suggest that the Islamic State militants are carrying out a “genocide” in the town.

For the Sunni militants, the Yazidis are a race of “devil worshipers” and killing them would only amount to a “holy act.”

The 4,000-year-old religious group has faced persecution for centuries for its unique belief and practices.

Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic State captured the town after driving away the Kurdish forces in the region. Witnesses claim that the militants are executing dozens of Yazidis for refusing to convert to Islam.

The Gulf News report claimed that 67 young men were shot dead by the militants. Besides executing the Yazidis, the Al Qaeda offshoot, is also reportedly taking Yazidi women for “jihad” marriage.

Mohammed al-Khuzai, an official with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society told NYTimes that ISIS took more than 100 Yazidi families to the airport at the nearby town of Tal Afar, where it executed the men.

“ISIS killed all the men,” Khuzai said, “and are planning to keep the women for jihad marriage.”

Reports have also come in claiming that the Islamic State militants have forcefully taken away a large number of children from the Yazidi town. A resident told McClatchy DC that militants were taking away young children from their families. 

Several Sinjar local government and municipal workers also have been executed by the ISIS. 

And then there are the Iraqi Christians. And the Syrian Christians.  I could go on and on, but you get the disturbing picture.

It’s time for world leaders to stop being silent, time to stop sitting back hoping the problem will just “go away.” Time for “leaders” here at home to stop largely ignoring the issue or downplaying because it’s “not happening here.”  Time for dangerous left wing moral relativists like the President, Reps. Keith Ellison, and Sheila Jackson Lee to stop playing the religious equivalency games.  Condemn it, call it out, STOP making excuses for it, stop rationalizing it. Stop putting it “in its proper context.”  9/11 wasn’t the first time radical Islam used its might to kill innocents in its quest to punish “infidels”, and James Foley’s beheading won’t be their last radical act of cold, sickening brutality, either. Pretending otherwise on all counts will only ensure that more will die.  

Justice Ginsburg: An all-female SCOTUS would’ve ruled differently on #HobbyLobby

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The shameful judicial advocacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been making the media rounds and the Internet is eating it up. After telling Yahoo News the five men on the court have a “blind spot” when it comes to discrimination against women, she turned around and told the Associated Press they’ll just have to live and learn.

The five conservative justices recently ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. that closely held for-profit companies may refuse to cover women’s contraceptives for religious reasons. Ginsburg was joined by the two other women on the court as well as liberal Justice Stephen Breyer in a dissenting opinion, which held that leaving it to companies to decide what sorts of health coverage a woman may use amounted to a form of discrimination.

Asked about the decision by the AP on Thursday, Ginsburg suggested the five male justices simply didn’t know better. “I have no doubt that if the court had been composed of nine women the result would have been different in Hobby Lobby,” she said. But, she added, she hasn’t entirely lost hope for the men in the court’s majority opinion: “As long as one lives, one can learn.”

Here’s the shorter version of what Ginsburg has said all along about the ruling on Hobby Lobby, including her dissent on the case:  The United States Supreme Court should consider gender before the Constitution when deciding which way to rule on any given case where there is a perception that women could potentially be impacted. Furthermore, implicit in her public reaction and dissatisfaction with the majority opinion is the insinuation that the five “conservative” (hilarious that National Journal considers Justice Kennedy a “conservative”!) Justices ruled that way because they’re men – full stop, and that a court of all women would have (and should have) taken gender into account and ruled primarily on emotion rather than basing their opinion solely on the  Constitution.  And here you thought it was misogynistic for anyone to suggest women allow their sex and emotion to dictate their decisions rather than logic and fact and, in this case, the law! Silly rabbit.

 I respect the position of SCOTUS Justice, and I respect the years Ginsburg has been on the bench.  It’s cute that she and Justice Scalia are reportedly “close friends” in spite of their obvious ideological differences.  However, none of that changes the fact that she has crossed a serious line here in suggesting in so many words that the men on the court are, well, just being men and that a majority of women on the court would have and should have ruled differently based more on the sideline emotional aspects rather than Constitutional law.  She’ll get by with it, of course, without much criticism from the Usual Suspects™ who would have, I should note, flipped their lids at this point if any of the so-called “conservative” male Justices on the Supreme Court had even remotely suggested after a court ruling that the women on the court were, you know, just being women. 

Move along here, business as usual, and all that …

Meriam Ibrahim and family flown to Italy – plus, fate of other Christians?

Meriam Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim

Via Fox News:

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith, has been flown to Italy on an Italian government jet, accompanied by that country’s vice-minister for foreign affairs.

Reuters reported that Italian television broadcast images of Ibrahim, 27, arriving at Rome’s Ciampino airport accompanied by her family and Italian politician Lapo Pistelli. Earlier, Pistelli had posted a picture on his Facebook page depicting himself with Ibrahim and her two children. The caption, translated from Italian, read “With Meriam, Maya, Martin and [Ibrahim’s husband] Daniel, a few minutes from Rome. Mission accomplished.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was among those who greeted the plane, calling it “a day of celebration.”

Pistelli told The Daily Telegraph that Ibrahim and her family were due to fly to the United States in a few days. The minister also said that the family would be given an audience with Pope Francis.

Ibrahim had spent more than a month at the American Embassy in Khartoum after a previous attempt to leave Sudan was halted by that country’s authorities. They said she had attempted to use false travel documents, a claim Ibrahim denied.

Last month, Sudan’s Supreme Court threw out the death sentence Ibrahim had received for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Ibrahim’s father, a Muslim, claimed she had abandoned Islam and committed adultery with her husband Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen who lives in New Hampshire. However, Ibrahim insisted that she had been raised Christian by her Ehiopian Orthodox mother after her father left the family when she was still young.

While it looks like Ms. Ibrahim’s story will have a happy ending, the persecution of Christians abroad has turned into an epidemic of sorts:

The story he references is written by St. John’s University’s Director of the Center for Law and Religion Mark Movsesian:

Say goodbye to one of the most ancient Christian communities in the world. Last week, members of ISIS—the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” a Sunni Islamist group that recently has captured parts of Iraq and declared a new caliphate—began going through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and marking the homes of Christians with the Arabic letter “Nun.” “Nun” stands for “Nasara,” from “Nazarenes,” a word that refers to Christians. The implications were clear. Mosul’s Christians faced the same fate the Christians of Raqqa, Syria, had when ISIS captured their city last spring. “We offer them three choices,” ISIS announced: “Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The dhimma is the notional contract that governs relations between the Muslim community, or umma, and Christians (as well as Jews) in classical Islamic law. The dhimma allows Christians to reside in Muslim society in exchange for payment of a poll tax called the jizya—in Mosul, ISIS required a jizya of about $500—and submission to various social and legal restrictions. The dhimma forbids Christians from attracting attention during worship, for example, from building new churches, and generally from asserting equality with Muslims.

The dhimma is said to date back to an “agreement” a seventh-century caliph made with the Christians of Syria, though nowadays most scholars dismiss that claim. Most likely, the rules developed over time; by the eighth or ninth centuries, they were standardized in the Islamic law books. From the classical Muslim perspective, the dhimma reflects the fact that Christians, as the recipients of an earlier, incomplete revelation, merit some protection and communal autonomy. But there is a price. The jizya and the many dhimma restrictions are meant to keep Christians in their place and provide a salutary incentive for them to convert to Islam.

Incredibly disturbing. Make sure to read the whole thing – and pray for Christians in these parts of the world, and others, where their faith effectively becomes a death sentence. Fortunately, Ms. Ibrahim and her family were able to escape. Many more Christians, unfortunately, will not.

Related: Via BBC – Isis ‘orders female genital mutilation’ for women in Mosul

Senate Dems, including @KayHagan, set to try & “reverse” #HobbyLobby ruling


Hobby Lobby

Because religious freedom sucks and stuff – and so do the “five white guys” on the Supreme Court. Via The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up the first procedural vote on a bill that would reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows some employers to deny birth control coverage for women.

“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said while introducing the bill last week.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that companies, such as Hobby Lobby, don’t have to provide their employees birth control coverage as mandated under ObamaCare. The 5-4 decision stated that the mandate violated the religious liberties of employers who don’t believe in the use of contraceptives.

Democrats have pounced on the issue ahead of the November elections in order to draw contrast between the two parties on the issue.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” said Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a lead co-sponsor of the bill. “My common-sense proposal will keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn’t be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”

Senate Democrats will need at least five Republicans to join them in voting to end debate on the motion to proceed to S. 2578, but it seems unlikely they will get that support. That vote is expected Wednesday.

In other words, they know they aren’t going to get anywhere on the bill. It’s just election-year posturing designed to let perpetual (and in some cases “professional”) “feminist” victims on the left who dogmatically support the demagogues in the Democrat party know that when it comes to choosing between respect for the First Amendment versus abortion on demand, they’ll choose baby-killing every single time.

And yes, as the headline to this post suggests, North Carolinians, Senator Hagan (D) supports this bill:

Shameful. And out of touch with North Carolina voters. But not surprising.

Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) apparently has trouble with the Constitution


**Posted by Phineas


So, I’m enjoying a quiet morning and reading an article on the reactions of the various candidates for the US Senate from Alaska to the Hobby Lobby decision, when I come across this howler from the incumbent, Mark Begich:

“I believe people, not corporations, have a right to practice their constitutional right to freedom of religion, but not at the expense of others,” said Begich.


It’s tough to decide whether Senator Begich, whose seat is not secure, is just ignorant of what the Supreme Court decided, the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or if he’s a desperate hack just reciting DNC talking points. Of course, both could be true. But the key to that quote above is the senator’s odd belief that, upon forming a corporation, individuals somehow give up their natural rights.

Senator Begich, meet the First Amendment. First Amendment, meet Senator Begich:

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 right to peaceably assemble has been held to include the right to freely associate. See, for example, NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held, in effect, that individuals do not give up their rights when they form an association (1). And a corporation is an association of individuals with rights and inherits those rights:

Corporations have rights because natural persons have rights. It is sometimes said that corporations are “creations of the state,” but that’s not really true. Corporations are created by people — they are merely recognized by the state. 

To deny the rights of a “legal person,” such as a corporation, is no different than denying those rights to the individuals who own that corporation. Perhaps the newspaper editors of Senator Begich’s home state would like to ask him if their papers, in his view, lack the rights of free speech and freedom of the press, also recognized by the First Amendment, simply because they’re incorporated businesses. The answer should be interesting.

PS: Democrats sure have a problem with that whole freedom and democracy thing, don’t they? Why, yes. Yes they do.

(1) In short, the state of Alabama demanded the NAACP surrender its membership lists. The NAACP argued –correctly, given the times– that this loss of their members’ privacy would have a chilling affect on their members rights of free speech and free association.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Liberal freak-out commences in the aftermath of #SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling


Panic button

I had a million things going on today so I wasn’t around much in the immediate aftermath of today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case, but it was pretty predictable how the left would react if the court didn’t rule in favor of the Obama administration’s position on the so-called “birth control mandate.” Just to recap, the court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby’s position:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that certain “closely held” for-profit businesses can cite religious objections in order to opt out of a requirement in ObamaCare to provide free contraceptive coverage for their employees.

The 5-4 decision, in favor of arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby and one other company, marks the first time the court has ruled that for-profit businesses can cite religious views under federal law. It also is a blow to a provision of the Affordable Care Act which President Obama’s supporters touted heavily during the 2012 presidential campaign.

“Today is a great day for religious liberty,” Adele Keim, counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which represented Hobby Lobby, told Fox News.

The ruling was one of two final rulings to come down on Monday, as the justices wrapped up their work for the session. The other reined in the ability of unions to collect dues from home health care workers.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion in the ObamaCare case, finding the contraceptive mandate in its current form “unlawful.” The court’s four liberal justices dissented.

In other words, it was a bad day all around (again) for liberals when it comes to Supreme Court verdicts. The first wave of bad news hit last Thursday with their rulings against President Obama’s recess appointments position as well as striking down the Massachusetts abortion clinic “buffer zone law” on First Amendment grounds.

Understandably, Thursday was bad enough but today’s “setbacks” for the left were too much for some to bear, and they lashed out in a big way.   Sean Davis at The Federalist blog compiled a tweet round-up (with responses) of some of the most ridiculous arguments coming from high profile Democrats in the aftermath of SCOTUS’ majority opinion on Hobby Lobby, while Twitchy Team took left-wing Twitter’s temperature earlier today after all was said and done and found more than a few folks, er, hot under the collar.

Probably the dumbest Tweet of the day was a quote from – surprise – Senator Harry Reid:

Because only five (liberal) female Supreme Court justices would be able to “correctly” interpret the US Constitution in cases involving “women’s rights”, right? *insert eye roll here*

Open Thread: #SCOTUS Hobby Lobby ruling


The interior of the United States Supreme Court.

As I noted yesterday, the Supreme Court is expected to announce today their verdict in the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case, which pits the family-owned company against the Obama administration’s Obamacare “birth control mandate.” The Hill provides a preview of what’s ahead:

The boundaries of religious freedom hang in the balance as the Supreme Court prepares to close out its term with a decision on the Affordable Care Act’s “birth control mandate.”

Monday’s ruling, the most closely watched of the season, decides round two for ObamaCare at the high court, and will be the second time that the justices will close their term with a ruling on President Obama’s signature law.

The stakes are high. A ruling against the administration could undermine the statute’s provision requiring companies to offer contraceptive services to workers as part of their insurance coverage.

It would peel away a significant portion of the mandate, potentially affecting preventive health coverage for millions of women, the government and backers of the law say.

Perhaps even more important, they contend, are the ramifications of a finding that corporations could be exempt from federal statutes on grounds that they have religious objections.

“This really is about whether or not employers based on religious views can pick and choose which federal laws to follow and not follow,” Kathleen Sebelius, who guided the law’s rollout through rough political waters during her turbulent tenure as Obama’s health secretary, said Friday.

Critics of the provision are on equally sharp tenterhooks in advance of the ruling, which will strike at the very root of the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The consolidated case, generally known as Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, centers on challenges to the contraception mandate brought by a pair of companies: the Hobby Lobby craft store chain and Conestoga Woods Specialties, a Pennsylvania-based cabinetmaker.

The firms and like-minded critics of the mandate say it violates both the First Amendment’s free exercise clause and the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which provides that, “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

That statue trumps the contraception rule, argues Noel J. Francisco, a partner at Jones Day, who has represented business interests before the Supreme Court and chairs the firm’s government regulations practice.

“That regulation, like all regulations is subordinate to RFRA, which is a law,” he said, asserting that Congress approved the measure “to protect against this kind of thing.”

10 a.m. ET today is when we’ll find out. Please make sure to check SCOTUSblog’s live blog of proceedings as well as their Twitter feed in order to stay updated on the latest news regarding the high court’s ruling on this case. And no doubt all the major 24 hour news networks like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC will be providing news and analysis of today’s verdict in real-time.  Also, please feel free to use this as an open thread to express your opinion on both the ruling and its implications going forward.

#SCOTUS verdicts in Hobby Lobby, union fees cases to be announced Monday


The interior of the United States Supreme Court.

The Associated Press reports that Supreme Court is preparing to release verdicts tomorrow in two more key cases, most notably the one involving Hobby Lobby versus Obamacare:

The Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in a case that weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to the birth control of their choice.

The court meets for a final time Monday to release decisions in its two remaining cases before the justices take off for the summer. The cases involve birth control coverage under President Obama’s health law and fees paid to labor unions representing government employees by workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

Two years after Chief Justice John Roberts cast the pivotal vote that saved the health care law in the midst of Obama’s campaign for re-election, the justices are considering a sliver of the law.

Employers must cover contraception for women at no extra charge among a range of preventive benefits in employee health plans. Dozens of companies, including the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, claim religious objections to covering some or all contraceptives. The methods and devices at issue before the Supreme Court are those that Hobby Lobby and furniture maker Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. say can work after conception, the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella, as well as intrauterine devices, which can cost up to $1,000.

The Obama administration says insurance coverage for birth control is important to women’s health and reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies, as well as abortions.


The other unresolved case has been hanging around since late January, often a sign that the outcome is especially contentious.

Home health care workers in Illinois want the court to rule that public sector unions cannot collect fees from workers who aren’t union members. The idea behind compulsory fees for nonmembers is that the union negotiates the contract for all workers, so they all should share in the cost of that work.

The court has been hostile to labor unions in recent years. If that trend continues Monday, the justices could confine their ruling to home health workers or they could strike a big blow against unions more generally.

The opinions on these cases should be revealed Monday at 10 a.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to SCOTUSblog’s live blog of proceedings as well as their Twitter feed to stay updated on the latest developments.  

Liberals were not pleased with last week’s verdicts on the issue of Obama’s recess appointments as well as their strike-down of the “buffer zones” law in Massachusetts that essentially limited the free speech of pro-life advocates.  Let’s hope the trend continues.

On Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of #SB1062 – the religious rights bill

Gov. Jan Brewer

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last week or so you’ve heard about Arizona’s SB 1062 bill – dubbed by the mainstream media and those who oppose it as the “anti-gay” bill when the more correct term for it is that it actually was a religious rights/freedoms bill, a point even some national MSM outlets finally recognized … but only once it was vetoed last night by Governor Jan Brewer.

I didn’t devote much space here at the blog on this issue but perhaps I should have, not that it would have made any difference in retrospect. The bill was sparked in response to some cases that have sprouted up in the US involving bakers, photographers, florists and caterers who have been asked to bake a gay marriage wedding cake or provide some other service related to it – and who told their customers in response that they could not provide one on religious grounds. In a couple of instances, the bakers told the couples they’d make them any other type of cake but not one that celebrated gay marriage, but that wasn’t enough and the bakers got into legal trouble.  In one now-infamous case, an elderly florist in Washington state who had been happily providing flowers for two customers for  years declined to provide flowers for their wedding,  and that’s turned into an ugly battle that should have never been taken to the level it has:

Consider the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington State who is being sued by the attorney general of the state for refusing to involve her business in a gay wedding. You can watch her in her own words in the video above, but here’s what happened. Stutzman had been serving a gay couple in her flower shop for over ten years. She considered the men to be her friends, and they considered her to be their friend. The two gay men said that throughout their decade long friendship, they did not know that Stutzman believed homosexuality to be a sin. She didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else. She was a friend to them and served them while knowing full well that they were gay.

Does this sound like Jim Crow segregation to you? Does this sound like bigotry to you? Does this sound like discrimination to you? So what happened that got her in trouble?

The two men came into her shop one day and asked her to provide floral arrangements for their wedding celebration. Stutzman responded by taking her friend’s hand and saying this:

‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.’ We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed it was the end of the story.

What happened next? Did the gay couple feel bad about putting their friend in a tough situation? Did they tell her, “We disagree, but we understand” and then take their business elsewhere? No, that’s not what they did. They used Facebook to spread the word about her refusal. Her refusal was reported to authorities, and now this Christian florist is being sued by the Washington State Attorney General.

Cases like that caught the attention of the Arizona state legislature, and they passed a bill – SB1062 – which, contra to the hysteria surrounding it by the Usual Suspects, did not allow you to carte blanche “refuse service to gay people” but instead gave you more of a firm legal ground in case you were sued because you refused to provide a service on religious grounds.   National Review’s Rich Lowry cuts through the bull:

The legislation consisted of minor clarifications of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been on the books for 15 years and is modeled on the federal act that passed with big bipartisan majorities in the 1990s and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.


If you’ll excuse a brief, boring break from the hysteria to dwell on the text of the doomed bill, it stipulated that the word “person” in the law applies to businesses and that the protections of the law apply whether or not the government is directly a party to a proceeding (e.g., a lawsuit brought on anti-discrimination grounds).

Eleven legal experts on religious freedom statutes — who represent a variety of views on gay marriage — wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer prior to her veto explaining how the bill “has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.”


In addition to the federal government, 18 states have such statutes and about a dozen other states interpret their state constitutions as extending the same protections, according to the letter. The statutes, the scholars write, “say that before government can burden a person’s religious exercise, the government has to show a compelling justification.”

The letter argues that, properly interpreted, the federal law that inspired the Arizona statute covers cases that don’t directly involve the government and covers businesses. So Arizona’s changes weren’t radical but in keeping with a federal law once championed by none other than Sen. Ted Kennedy.

A religious freedom statute doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to do whatever he wants in the name of religion. It simply allows him to make his case in court that a law or a lawsuit substantially burdens his religion and that there is no compelling governmental interest to justify the burden.


The question isn’t whether businesses run by people opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds should provide their services for gay weddings; it is whether they should be compelled to by government. The critics of the much-maligned Arizona bill pride themselves on their live-and-let-live open-mindedness, but they are highly moralistic in their support of gay marriage, judgmental of those who oppose it and tolerant of only one point of view on the issue — their own.

For them, someone else’s conscience is only a speed bump on the road to progress. It’s get with the program, your religious beliefs be damned.


And just for the record, I think there were/are good arguments for and against the bill, but most opponents of it went straight for the jugular: “Anti-gay”, “Jim Crow laws”, “BOYCOTT” etc.  Once you start framing it in those terms without really trying to get to know the opinions of the people arguing for or against something, it’s hard to have a civil discussion about the merits – or lack thereof, if you feel that way – about any particular issue.

Anyway, she vetoed it so that’s done for now, but the issue itself is not going to go away.   The only question at this point will be: Which state will be next?