All my adult life I have heard right-wingers whinge endlessly about “activist judges” – usually when said judges didn’t strike down Roe v Wade, confiscate all the assets of Planned Parenthood and order all physicians who perform abortions be immediately arrested and frog-marched to the closest execution chamber.
I have read the Constitution, front to back. More importantly, I understood what I was reading, and nowhere in the document does it grant the powers to the Supreme Court that Alito usurped Monday when he took the court in a new activist direction never seen before. He and the other four Opus Dei Romans on the Court seized more power than a king under a Constitutional Monarchy could get away with…if a king, queen or crown prince in any of the countries on Earth that have a Constitutional Monarchy tried a stunt like our Supreme Court did Monday morning; by afternoon no one would be surprised if there was a military coup. The court didn’t merely decide the cases…in one a whole new category of public employee was created and stripped of rights in one fell swoop; in the other a new medical category was created.
Again, I have read, and more importantly, I have understood the Constitution, and there is simply nothing in it that gives them the right to do what they did Monday. I knew that Scalito was bad news all along, but I didn’t know he was going to turn out to be the most activist judge of them all. Monday, he created a whole new category of public employee when he stripped union rights from home health aides in Illinois. Most home health aides are women, and most are minorities. They do a thankless, difficult job and they have never lived large. Before they had a union, they made minimum wage. After they organized and got the SEIU to represent them, they make around $13.00 per hour, and they do not participate in the Social Security retirement system, so if they spend all their working lives in home health and don’t pay in from other employment sources, they won’t get a Social Security check when they retire. Don’t you dare try to tell me you would do that job for the compensation they get, or I will call you a liar. They work hard and they are still underpaid and ought to be treated like the Goddesses on this Earth that they are; instead they are used and abused and every last dram of their marrow is wrung out before they are discarded. And discarded they are – let one of them file a workers comp claim for a ruptured disc after moving patients for 20 years, and the employer will come back with pictures of her carrying a grandchild or a bag of groceries, so obviously she is just a lazy bum who is tryin’ to get over on her poor, put-upon employer.
Then, while he was at it, he created a whole new category of medical care. Here is the money quote, the part where he basically came right out and called three generations of the women in my family immoral sluts for using hormonal birth control:
“The Hahns and Greens believe that providing the coverage demanded by the HHS regulations is connected to the destruction of an embryo in a way that is sufficient to make it immoral for them to provide the coverage. This belief implicates a difficult and important question of religion and moral philosophy, namely, the circumstances under which it is wrong for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but that has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another. Arrogating the authority to provide a binding national answer to this religious and philosophical question, HHS and the principal dissent in effect tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed. For good reason, we have repeatedly refused to take such a step. See, e.g., Smith, 494 U. S., at 887 (“Repeatedly and in many different contexts, we have warned that courts must not presume to determine . . . the plausibility of a religious claim”)”
Funny how when the judges are taking actions the American Taliban agrees with, they don’t howl about them being activists, isn’t it? Also, I underlined the weasel-word “arrogating” because that pretty much says it all – it literally means to lay an unjustified claim and implies that HHS has no authority, and if HHS has no authority to enforce a reproductive health mandate, it has no authority to enforce any mandate, even those with a clear public health interest like vaccinations, which in her brilliant, scathing dissent, Justice Ginsburg pointed out.
“Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”
Let’s get a couple of things perfectly straight before we go any further…there is nothing “sincerely held” about the beliefs of the Green family, they are rank hypocrites and wholly undeserving of any riches that have come their way. The only “sincerely held” beliefs they have involve a gleeful desire to keep their foot on the throats of their low-wage work force, a desire to undermine the ACA that borders on blood-lust and a hatred of this President. The retirement funds that the higher-ups in the company enjoy are heavily invested in the companies that make the very birth control methods they went to court begging for relief of the burden of having to pay for through their health plan. They also sell products that are primarily made in China, which enforces a strict 1-child-per-family policy, and if they really don’t know how the Chinese government achieves that, there are a few million women in this country who would stand in line all day and wait their turn to tell them.
Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012 three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).
Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have stock holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.
These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan Band ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other stock holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer, which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skylaand Mirena; AstraZeneca, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufacturesProstodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.
In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, the Greens object to covering Plan B, Ella, and IUDs because they claim that these products can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus-a process the Greens consider abortion. But researchers reject the notion that emergency contraceptive pills prevent implantation the implantation of a fertilized egg. Instead, they work by delaying ovulation or making it harder for sperm to swim to the egg. The Green’s contention that the pills cause abortions is a central pillar of their argument for gutting the contraception mandate. Yet, for years, Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plans did cover Plan B and Ella. It was only in 2012, when the Greens considered filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, that they dropped these drugs from the plan.
A website Hobby Lobby set up to answer questions about the Supreme Court case states that its 401(k) plan comes with “a generous company match.” In 2012, Hobby Lobby contributed $3.8 million to its employee savings plans, which had 13,400 employee participants at the beginning of that year.
The information on Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) investments is included in the company’s 2013 annual disclosure to the Department of Labor. The records contain a list, dated December 31, 2012, of 24 funds that were included in its employer-sponsored retirement plan. MorningStar, an investment research firm, provided Mother Jones with the names of the companies in nine of those funds as of December 31, 2012. Each fund’s portfolio consists of at least dozens if not hundreds of different holdings.
All nine funds-which have assets of $73 million, or three-quarters of the Hobby Lobby retirement plan’s total assets-contained holdings that clashed with the Greens’ stated religious principles.
Roll that around in your head for a minute and let the hypocrisy marinate. Now go ahead and say it…you know you want to…WHAT THE EVER-LIVING FUCK???
Given the fact that the filing with the Department of Labor revealed the substantial investment in the very drugs they would decry as immoral three months later their claim of “sincerely held beliefs” was torched and the case should have been laughed out of court. Instead, Alito, the least-like-a-real-boy of all the Justices on the high court, and the rest of the conservative bloc, on Monday created a new class of medicine, which just so happens to be one that only women ever have a need for. Instead, we got a ruling based on religion, not law. The ruling was reached by the five male Catholics on the court, and if it feels to you like you just had a copy of The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism shoved down your throat, you aren’t alone.
What the Court should have done was decided each case on it’s face, but by being Catholics first, Americans and Jurists somewhere secondary, they opened a floodgate and the same people who are always shrieking that sharia law is just around the corner, are happily going about trying to set up a Christian one and don’t see the irony.
We better avoid the rush and start expecting the Spanish Inquisition. At lest those of us of the XX persuasion ought to, anyway.
The power to create laws is the exclusive province of the legislative branch. It’s a long process to make a law, and that is a good thing, because laws tend to have unintended consequences. Look at “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” – they were not supposed to be used to the ends they were, but once they were put into practice, they didn’t work they way they were supposed to in theory.
Article I of the Constitution details the rights and responsibilities of the legislative bodies and individual legislators. Article II details the rights and responsibilities of the executive branch. Article III defines the scope of the federal courts, and no where in the three sections does it give any jurist, even the Supreme Court, the right to legislate from the bench.
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Nope. Not one word about creating law and bypassing the legislature and the executive the process…but you know what else there isn’t a single word about? Judicial review. I don’t give a flying fuck or one hair on a rat’s furry ass what leftwing nutjob Thom Hartman says (point of order: he is not an attorney and although he calls himself a psychotherapist that is a weaselword with no real credentials required…which is good, because I can’t find that he has actually earned any, instead he’s just a gadfly.) You and I can both read, and he’s just pulling that out of his ass. A law or an amendment giving Congress judicial review would be a good thing, but we need a new Congress to get either one, and a whole passel of new state legislatures to get an amendment.
The good news is…we’ve stood at a very similar crossroads before. In 1989, the Rehnquist court decided that Missouri could restrict abortions and women reacted across the nation at the ballot box in 1990.
The nation, of course, was divided on the issue of abortion. How the issue played politically depended on which side of the debate saw itself under attack, and in this case the Webster decision mobilized pro-choice supporters. The right to abortion became a hot issue in the 1990 elections, and in the final results, abortion-rights supporters came out ahead. There were several telltale races. In Florida, Democrat Lawton Chiles defeated incumbent Republican Governor Bob Martinez, who, in the wake ofWebster, had championed restrictive laws for Florida.
In the Texas governor’s race, Democrat Ann Richards defeated Republican incumbent Clayton Williams. According to polls, Richards, who made opposition to Webster a centerpiece of her campaign, garnered over 60 percent of the women’s vote, including 25 percent of Republican women. In the final tally, abortion-rights supporters, running against or replacing anti-abortion candidates, secured a net gain of eight seats in the House of Representatives, two Senate seats, and four statehouses.
What was also striking was the overall size of the gender gap. According to the National Election Studies survey, there was no gender gap between male and female supporters of Democratic congressional candidates in 1988. In 1990, gender gap was ten percentage points-the highest ever. All in all, 69 percent of women voters backed Democratic congressional candidates that year. Of course, there were other issues than Webster that were moving votes, but there is no doubt that the court ruling played an important role that year.
Fast forward to 2014. If Webster improved Democratic chances in 1990, the court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby could prove a boon to Democrats. Abortion rights remain controversial but contraception is not, and the opposition to contraception raises hackles among most voters, but especially among women. If Democrats, who had seemed destined for defeat in November, can tie the ruling around the necks of their Republican opponents, they could do surprisingly well in November.
They’re not, as a group, particularly quick on the uptake, so they’re acting like fools and gloating. Louie Gohmert might be safe, but not every republican congressman represents the Texas First…and Democrats running for or defending Senate seats can say on the stump that they, unlike their opponent, would not vote to put an Alito or a Roberts on the bench…and with women, that argument will go a long ways, trust me, I know…I’ve been one for a long, long time.