Senate Democrats Move to Overturn Hobby Lobby Decision

Harry Reid official portrait 2009 crop

Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, is leading the charge to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision.

From The Washington Post:

“One thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Tuesday. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think it’s — they’re going to have — be treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

Senator Reid can make this audacious claim because Hobby Lobby v Burwell was adjudicated on a statute, The Religious Freedom Act. What Senator Reid, and, according to him the rest of the Senate Democrats, wants to do is basically repeal the Religious Freedom Act. I only have a few points to make at this juncture.

  • As a lifelong Democrat and an 18-year veteran as a Democratic elected official (I’m still in office until November) I am ashamed of my party for doing this.
  • We need to convert the Democratic Party. If we do not, this kind of back and forth will continue until it destroys our Republic. We will never build a culture of life unless we convert this party.
  • I wish those who oppose the HHS Mandate would mount the same kind of of fearless and passionate offense against it. One thing that has been abundantly clear to me for well over 30 years is that pro life politicians do not have the same fearless commitment and willingness to do what’s needed for our cause as the other side’s politicians have for it. Where is the pro life Wendy Davis? Why hasn’t the House taken on the HHS Mandate with the same fervor that we are seeing in this attack against Hobby Lobby v Burwell in the Democratically-held Senate?

We are trapped between our own wishy-washy advocates who make speeches, gather votes based their “stands” and then do nothing, and these passionate, committed opponents who are willing to stake their careers on attacking religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. It is simply not an effective tactic for us to continue demonizing our opposition while we settle for nothing but empty promises and political grandstanding from our supporters.

We are being used.

Meanwhile, the other side of this fight has real political warriors with fire in their bellies who are willing to stake everything on defending their viewpoint

I am going to suggest you do two things today and one thing tomorrow.

For today, write both your United State’s Senators and demand that they fight publicly and behind closed doors to stop this re-write of the The Religious Freedom Act. It does not matter if they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, they need to hear from you. Second, write your member of Congress and demand that they stop sitting on their hands and take action against the HHS Mandate.

That’s for today.

For tomorrow, check with your state political party about when precinct meetings will be held next spring. Put the date on your calendar and plan to go.

For Republicans, Google “(name of your state) Republican Party” or (name of your state) Republican Committee. For Democrats, Google, “(name of your state) Democratic Party”.  Examples: Oklahoma Republican Party, or, Oklahoma Republican Committee. Oklahoma Democratic Party.

  • AnneG

    Glad you are back, btw. Hope the situation is under control.

    • hamiltonr

      Thank Anne. No, it’s not. But I’m endeavoring to persevere. :-)

  • TXGal

    There are many, many pro-life Wendy Davis -es, but they’re all on the GOP side and don’t get as much media attention. For example, TX Sen Donna Campbell, who ended Davis’s filibuster.

    I’d love to see some movement in the Democratic party towards life. I’m a conservative but would be an occasional cross-over voter were it not for the abortion issue. There is some hope though – the NY Democrats for Life helped defeat Gov. Cuomo’s abortion bill last year. Good luck, Rep. Hamilton, and thanks for writing this.

  • SisterCynthia

    Five white men? Is His Honor Clarence Thomas white now, or is good master Harry so used to blaming all the ills of the world on white men (ironic, when he is one) that he just automatically includes race when impugning others? I am curious, tho, can the Senate alone repeal this? :-/

    • Bill S

      I don’t know why he called them “five white men” The point is that they are men and the women on SCOTUS have all dissented the majority decision. I have praised SCOTUS when they decide in my favor and I have pointed to them as being the final say.

      I still respect its authority but I wish Justce Scalia would retire or in some other nonviolent way cease to be a justice. Replacing him with one who would side with other four would prevent something like the Hobby Lobby decision.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        The flip side of the Hobby Lobby Decision, Bill, is the Government being able to force corporations to own slaves.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        He called them that because Harry Reid is mentally deficient. There is something off inside that man’s head. He says too many things that are kooky.

  • hamiltonr

    Great job Anne! I mean that, thank you.

    As for the Ds, it’s going to be like turning a barge to convert them. In fact, the only way we can do it is to bring new people in. Nobody’s going to change the minds of most the ones who are running the party now. But, isn’t that what we are called to? I said on Facebook, that Jesus began with 12 men, and one of them was a traitor.

  • oregon nurse

    If they do act to repeal RFRA then it will be much harder for them to deny that religious freedom is under attack and that could actually be a good thing.

  • hamiltonr

    It presumably will not pass the House. However, he’s not just blowing smoke. This is a battle line being drawn.

    Also, it is quite easy to slip a few lines changing one statute as “clean-up” language into, say, a many-thousand-page appropriations act the does much the same thing. If Reid really means this, and I think he does, his options to get it done are large.

    I say again: Our people aren’t dedicated. Their people are. Our supporters in Congress are simply willing to give public votes, if and when the public votes are called.

    They don’t/won’t make this an issue in the real negotiations. They are not willing to try to do something, not even, it seems, grandstanding. They are using it for vote getting and have no interest in repealing the HHS Mandate. They want to use it to get power. We are being used.

    The other side has an army of committed lawmakers who mean what they say about this and are willing to do what it takes. We’ve got a bunch of dead fish.

  • hamiltonr

    Thank you Manny.

  • hamiltonr

    The flip side to this is that the Rs have a party position and are willing to give their votes in open votes that are called. However, they do compromise on abortion (I’ve seen it.) and they will not do anything else except give those public votes. Their commitment is a mile wide and an 8th of an inch deep.

    What that amounts to is that we get beat behind closed doors unless the Rs have complete control of the government and then we still get beat behind closed doors, only not so much. I’ve seen the Rs kill one pro life bill after another at the behest of the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve also seen them pass one bill that put abortifacients on the counter, after they had bullied the pro life advocates into keeping their mouths shut.

    In truth, the leaders of pro life organizations are afraid of the Rs. Again, I’ve seen this. It’s not a surmise.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      It’s an inch deep because the public wants abortion rights. They are running counter to the culture, so they have to tread carefully. You gain an inch when you can. It’s better than nothing. And remember, all the pro-life justices on the Supreme Court have been appointed by Republicans.

      • hamiltonr

        I don’t hold them responsible for what the justices go off and do once they’re appointed. I think that’s a bogus accusation.

        On the other hand, I’ve seen how deep the commitment to life is. I’ve seen them kill pro life bills and hide it from the public. I’ve seen them bully and badger clergy. I’ve seen … more than I feel like going into now. We’re being used Manny.

        • hamiltonr

          Manny I’ve been thinking about what I said here and I while it was accurate, it was also inadequate. The Republicans are at least willing to be publicly pro life. With the Rs, a pro life legislator is not the butt of abuse the way they are in the Ds. The Rs also have passed the pro life legislation we’ve gotten through all over the country.

          What gets me going is that I know the insincerity behind this. I do not mean all Rs, not by any means. There are passionately pro life people among the Rs. On the other hand, a good number of them regard the whole pro life issue as well as what is called “social issues” as a bother and a menace. From what I’ve seen the party is dominated by money interests, and the money interests will only tolerate pro life and other “social issues’ such as traditional marriage to the extent that they are necessary for them to hold power.

          I’m going on here, but I want to be clear because I think that clarity matters. When I say we need to convert both parties, I mean it. I mean it absolutely. But that does not take away from the good things the Rs have done — or, for that matter, from the good things the Ds have done.

  • hamiltonr

    He’s not just within his rights. He has the power. I’m not sure anyone grasps just how much power he has, if he chooses to exercise it. More than that, he has the will, which is something that our advocates in Congress do not have.

  • hamiltonr

    :-)

    Family are the last people we can convince.

  • hamiltonr

    Thank you Mary.

  • Lark62

    I expect you realize that the $9 figure is an oversimplification. There are many forms of birth control, some of which have large up front costs. Also, some women are prescribed specific birth control pills to treat specific medical conditions.

    The view from the other side is that if I have earned medical benefits as part of my compensation, I do not want my employer interfering in my medical care. Many medical decisions should be made by many doctor and me.

    • hamiltonr

      What medical treatments are the morning after pill and the IUD used for? That’s what the Hobby Lobby decision was about.

      Also, it is not about your doctor and you making your medical decisions. It’s about forcing someone else to violate their religious beliefs to pay for it.

  • hamiltonr

    It’s not a question of insincerity. It’s a question of whether or not we will ever prevail in this fight. I am convinced that we will not do it with these tactics and these wishy washy people. We also will not do it if we don’t get our heads out and stop allowing ourselves to be manipulated by them.

    I’ve said it over and over and nobody seems to get it. I don’t care about Rs and Ds. I care about saving this country.

  • hamiltonr

    I hit send before I was ready. :-)

    I’m not telling you to not vote a straight party ticket. I’m not telling anyone how to vote at all. What I am saying is hold their feet to the fire once you do it. I want to see both Rs and Ds stop letting their parties get away with this garbage. The first step in that is to stop excusing them when they are wrong.

  • hamiltonr

    Ted, the way you “convert” a political party is to get involved and bring all your friends. It’s about numbers. By convert I guess I really mean change the direction of.

  • hamiltonr

    You may be right. I know that here in Oklahoma, if the Democrats who are pro life would stop hiding and running away, they could turn this thing around in a heartbeat. The only problem in Oklahoma is that pro life people aren’t doing what they should be doing. I imagine this is true for states throughout the South and Southwest. The rest of the country, I don’t know.

    As for the Rs, I don’t know of a rank and file Republican who actually supports what their party is doing. Most of them just don’t know what their party is actually doing. Again, if they got involved, they could turn this thing on its head. I don’t know if Rs in other places are like those here in Oklahoma, but I imagine there are plenty of states where they’re not. A lot of people are voting R because of “social issues,” and they’re not getting what they think they’re buying, even with that.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I saw that. It’s rather new. If it’s true (these things go back and forth) then you will see more action on it. But watch the language. They favor restrictions, that doesn’t mean they favor eliminating it.


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