Sebelius, Gowdy, Nuance and the HHS Mandate – UPDATED

I am inclined to want to see the actual transcripts of this exchange between HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Representative Trey Gowdy (R–SC) at a hearing this past Thursday. It’s not that I don’t “believe” CNA in its coverage, but, I guess I just need to verify its completeness and accuracy for myself.

Why? Because it is staggering to comprehend that the vast and discretionary powers conferred upon “the secretary” by the Affordable Care Act are to be wielded by a woman displaying so little familiarity with or curiosity about the Constitution of her country. Does she seem a little cavalier about insuring that her decisions conform to it?

“I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of the constitutional balancing tests,” Sebelius told Representative Trey Gowdy (R–SC) during an April 26 hearing.

In her responses to subsequent questions, the secretary admitted she was unaware of Supreme Court cases stretching back several decades, in which religious believers’ rights against government intrusion were upheld by the court.

Gowdy had asked Sebelius to explain the legal basis for what the secretary called an “appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”

“There are only three ‘balancing’ tests that I am aware of, when it comes to matters of constitutional significance,” Gowdy told Sebelius. The HHS secretary was questioned about the contraception rule during a House Education and Workforce Committee hearing on her department’s 2013 budget.

Gowdy cited the “rational basis” test – which involves the legitimacy of a state’s interest in legislation – as well as the criteria of “intermediate scrutiny” and “strict scrutiny,” which judges apply in order to gauge a law’s relevance to fundamental state concerns.

When Sebelius responded that she did not understand the “nuances” of these tests, she was pressed by Gowdy to explain why she regarded the contraception mandate as constitutionally valid. [. . .]

“We can talk about the politics all we want to. I want to talk about the law,” he told Sebelius. “I want to talk about balancing religious liberty with whatever else you think it’s appropriate to balance it with – because you used the word ‘balance.’”

“Which of those three tests is the appropriate test to use when considering religious liberty?”

“I am not going to wade into constitutional law,” Sebelius responded. “We are implementing the (health care reform) law that was passed by the Congress, signed by the president, which directed our department to develop a package of preventive health services for women.”

Sebelius said she agreed with the statement that government could not “force certain religious beliefs on its citizens.” When asked why this could not happen, she cited “the separation of church and state,” a phrase not found in the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s the Constitution,” Gowdy replied, citing the First Amendment which guarantees the “free exercise of religion.”

Read the rest here. Or just watch. Seems CNA missed nothing.

YouTube Preview Image

Truly, one need not be a constitutional scholar to understand that Obamacare’s HHS Mandate treads with both feet on the first amendment. Our “constitutional scholar” president probably knew as much from the start — it is inconceivable to think he did not — and should have instructed his secretary to “find some more nuance and balance” as regards religious freedom, before the mandate was publicly released. That he didn’t is actually cause for some concern. It suggests that he allowed advisors and cabinet members to lead him about until he okayed something he knew was not constitutionally sound.

That, of course, flies directly in the face of his presidential oath of office.

UPDATE: From Diane in the comments, more video and more links here

UPDATE II: Completely unrelated, but what the what?

Related:
Obama weighed religious politics before decisions
The Rule of Sebelius
Healthcare Czar (pdf)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://te-deum.blogspot.com Diane K

    Forget the transcript… watch the video

    At one point she let out a tone of exasperation.

  • http://elizabethk-fthnfort.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth K.

    I found the video astonishing, even given what I already think about Sibelius and this whole mess. There’s a real problem with giving this kind of power to anyone and any agency, to begin with. But she does seem breathtakingly ignorant of the Constitution; in fact, she sounded both arrogant and stupid. “Separation of church and state”–really? What on earth is happening in this government right now?

  • http://elizabethk-fthnfort.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth K.

    And then I read the link to Hot Air. Um, yeah–what???? I repeat–what on God’s green earth is happening wit this government?

  • Rosie E.

    Take a look at the youtube video wherein Sen. Ron Johnson questions Sec. Sebelius about the costs of the Affordable Care Act. She is frighteningly clueless.

  • Bill M.

    What did they put in the water at Trinity College, anyway?

  • Dan

    It’s not just about that. Congress has given sweeping discretionary powers, seemingly all over the place. My slight familiarity is with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). If you read the law, there’s not a lot there except that HHS has a lot of interpretation, establishment of rules, and extension of powers to play with. What was started, we’re told, as some way to carry your health care coverage between jobs, and a way to get access to one’s own medical records, has expanded into a mess of rules one wouldn’t recognize from the wording of the law. And along with that, there’s a number of civil and criminal penalties to go along with them.

    Congress isn’t writing laws (no matter how many pages) so much as providing the executive departments a method to do whatever they want.

    Sad.

  • http://culture-corner.blogspot.com Tess

    Obama was never a “constitutional scholar” nor a “professor”. He taught an evening class at the University of Chicago. Nothing more.

  • Teresa

    I was not surprised by her testimony at all. Judging from her past, this is exactly what I expected from her. She of course appears to be incompetent and she probably is; however, most importantly, she is a left wing radical. The constitution does not matter to her. Congress is to blame for this because they wrote and passed a bill that turned over 1/3 of our economy to the Secretary of HHS–someone who was not elected.

  • William L. Harnist

    President (yikes!) Obama knows exactly what he is doing, and laughing at everyone while he is destroying the Constitution right under everyone’s noses, and getting away with it.

  • Pingback: Remember John Houseman in “The Paper Chase?”

  • LisaB

    The first Revolution was fought on the precept of Taxation without Representation and the recent Tea Party movement articulates that idea at a fundamental level. However, taxation is not the root of our rot; it’s unabridged power. I believe the second Revolution will be based on the precept of Legislation without Representation. I use the term Legislation loosely.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Wow, that Congressman is outstanding. Hope he goes further in his career, say Senator. I want him over Lindsy Graham.

    He tore Sibelius to shreds! What an amazing excahnge.

  • ahem

    Of course he’s avoiding Congress again; he’s made it virtually obsolete. Who needs Congress? Certainly not him. Between trying to force the church to relinquish its First Amendment rights and passing the NDAA, he’s destroyed the entire Bill of Rights. We’re living in a police state.

    He’s a dictator. Isn’t anyone paying attention?

  • Mark Greta

    I find it amazing that anyone could be surprised by anything in this entire administration. It is the most inept and at the same time idiological toward the socialist state since the founding. That combination is frightening. But one must remember that this is the party that has been in bed with the killing of 54 million babies for decades now and when you are in bed with that grave a sin for that long, it is bound to have a very evil impact on your soul, in this case, the soul of the party.

    It also applies to us as the voters who put this clown in office and maybe also to the party system we live with today that was not part of the Constitution. It should have been forseen by the founders and it would have been nice if they had dealth with it right from the beginning. How? One way would have been to give the voters a choice in every election of None of the above and if that number was above a certain amount, the party has to put up someone else and the election move forward again with these new candidates. Kind of a no confidence vote. Another solution would be for candidates to office to have to pass a test that shows they are competitent to hold office. Seems like you should have to have a strong background and understanding in the Constitution to hold office. This should also apply to those given cabinet positions or those heading up all the various agencies that they have some strong knowledge of that agencies business as well as the constitution. The scores could be posted in the ballot to give the people some understanding of the knowledge of the candidate for what they are seeking to lead. Of course I would not mind taking a mini exam of some kind along with voter ID to vote but that is just me. If people do not have a clue on who is going to lead, they should stay home as it would be better for them and the country in the long run and have a strong incentive to learn about the country before taking a role in picking out who should lead it.
    Seems like if the parties are raising all this money, one job they should take on with those funds is to educate those they want to get to the polls. But some don’t even want to have a voter provide a photo ID, something they need for about everything they are doing from flying to opening a bank account to getting a job. If we have to be darn near strip searched to fly, we should demand people prove they are eligible to vote when they are selecting someone that can lead us to war and financial ruin.

  • Doug Indeap

    The Secretary is on solid ground. It is the Bishops’ arguments on the health care law that have gone from wrong to ridiculous.

    First, the Constitution. Confronted by questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith, the courts have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, torts, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/494/872/case.html)

    When the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions for conscientious objectors.

    The real question here then is not so much whether the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting and enforcing the generally applicable laws regarding availability of health insurance (it does not), but rather whether there is any need to exempt some employers in order to avoid forcing them to act contrary to their consciences.

    Second, no need for an exemption. While the Bishops may well oppose the law’s policy of promoting the availability of medical services they find objectionable, the law does not put employers in the moral bind they suppose. Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved. Solved–unless an employer really aims not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather to control his employees’ health plan choices so they conform to the employer’s religious beliefs, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer need an exemption from the law.

    Indeed, some continued clamoring for such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    In any event, those complaining made enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They counter what they call the government’s “accounting gimmick” with one of their own: “Catholic dollars.” These dollars, it seems, can only be used to pay for things conforming to an employer’s religious beliefs even after the employer spends them and they thus become the property of others, e.g., insurers or employees.

    I can only wonder what the Bishops would think of their tag-the-dollar idea if they realized that I have loosed some “atheist dollars” into society, some of which have found their way into the Bishops’ wallets. Those dollars can be used only for ungodly purposes, lest I suffer the indignity of paying for things I disbelieve. If one lands in your hands, whatever you do, for god’s sake, don’t put it in the collection plate.

  • Ransom

    Sibelius has always displayed the same mix of “ignorance” and arrogance when it comes to her Catholic religion. She was frequently taken to task by her home-state bishops. Didn’t seem to care then either.

  • Raymond Suda

    After three years of watching the great deceiver and his minions operate none of us should be shocked at any of this madness. If you need to read the texts/ manuscripts of the hearing you’re kind of like St. Thomas was after the Resurrection. If anyone can’t see the pure evil emanating from this administration by now, God save us. Sebelius’s credentials need no further scrutiny, she was protetecting Tiller the baby killer when she was gov of Kansas. We all need to wake up and smell the coffee, Ms. Scalia. The evil ones legions are in our midst and we must not be in denial.

  • Tom T

    The HHS mandate will follow the way the Supreme Court decides on the whole Health Care Bill
    passed in Congress without one Republican vote. If Arizona`s immigration law and the health care law both get shot down, hopefully by June, there won`t be much to talk about except, that Obama will probably run on the pledge to eliminate an activist Supreme Court who keeps undermining everything the left wants to get through, no matter the Constitution. Whatever happens, brace yourself for one of the dirtiest campaigns this country will probably ever see.
    It has to be, Obama has no record to run on, all he can do is demonize his opponent.

  • SKay

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/10/obama_2001_scrap_the_constitut.html

    This is a 2008 pre-election article discussing the 2001 Obama interview in which he talks about his views of the Constitution. At the time you could also hear his own words on a youtube video–but now that is conveniently no longer available. At least the article talks about and quotes some of his more “interesting” and disturbing views.
    I heard the interview several years ago when it was still available–so I heard him say that he does not like the Constitution as written. That explains his governing(?) attitude. Swearing to uphold the Constitution just seems to be a minor detail.
    This horrible healthcare bill was written and passed by a Democrat House, Democrat Senate and a Democrat President to be implemented by a Democrat HHS Secretary who is apparently “just follwoing orders”.
    If Obama is re-elected and they keep the majority in the Senate, they will be able to pack the Supreme Court with like minded(pro abortion) Justices. That would insure that a lot of lawsuits against this bill would be decided Obama’s way. We already know that a couple of the more liberal Justices think that the Supreme Court should sometimes look at foreign law when deciding cases. Where is that in the Constitution?

  • Howard

    It’s way too late to think that the Constitution will suddenly be taken seriously.

    Congress has not formally declared a war since WW2. Has that stopped us from waging wars? We can call them “police actions”; we can have invoke the War Powers Act (which is probably not Constitutionally valid anyhow, and which Obama ignore wrt Libya); we can have Congressional “expressions of support”; but none of the wars we have fought since World War II have been Constitutionally valid.

    More recently, it has been decided (by the president, of course), that the President of the United States is always and everywhere the commander in chief of the US military — but that the rest of the Constitution is only binding to the water’s edge. If indeed that far.

    Don’t give me any whining about the Constitution if you voted for Bush in 2004. You knew that he was violating the Constitution, and you didn’t care, but now you think that the other guys will care when they are caught violating the Constitution? It’s not going to work.

  • Peggy R

    Off-topic. I keep looking at that photo of Sebelius and Obama. I’m no radical feminist, I assure you. But his hand on her arm steering her looks really patronizing and controlling. I’ve seen him do similar things w/other women in his administration. He seems very patronizing and condescending toward women. I wonder how those hard-core feminists can stand it. Why is he touching her at all? A boss shouldn’t do that to his female staff, especially a female who is also in an executive position. It diminishes her. O knows how to diminish those around him.

    I could go on about how I recall him being patronizing toward women and Hilary during 2008. I also thought he was insulting in his joke last night about Hilary “drunk texting” in Columbia–not that she should have let herself be photographed in that undignified state.

    And this is the man delivering the utopia of free abortion and birth control to the feminists…I guess the feminists have to suck it up to get what they want.

  • SSG Mac

    This obvious unconstitutionality suggests something else to me: President Obama neither knew it was unconstitutional because he skated through school and he never even considered it because he allowed his appointees to make policy without his over-site.

  • Mike R

    The discretionary authority to the Sec of HHS pales in comparison to another insidious element of the ACA. It is called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB ). It’s another one of those hidden little clauses in the 2700 page bill that Speaker Pelosi said we did have to read because you know we can trust the government. If you don’t know what it is, you really should google it. In short it is a 15 member panel APPOINTED by the POTUS who will decide what programs and services to stop paying for if Medicare grows at a percentage deemed to large. No one will oversee this panel and their recommendations become law unless Congress overrides and comes up with a different plan. So once again, under this law, unprecedented power is being given to unelected individuals who are beholden only to the POTUS. Essentially in both the Sebelius case and this IPAB case, Congress which is supposed to control the purse is allowed to abdicate ther responsibility. In doing so, they are also failing to fulfill their responsibilities to their constituents, the taxpayers.

  • Gerry

    I love when a troll writes a dissertation because it’s so much fun too ignore so much drivel

  • Robert F

    “Constitution?!!… WE don’t need no steenking Constitution!!!”

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Oh, Lord, yes—”We don’t need no stinking constitution!”

    And the culture of death marches on.

    (Yes, always ignore troll rantings.)

  • Tom T

    What I can`t seem to understand, is the logic behind the USCCB who with Card. Dolan and company produces a letter from all the bishops to be read at all the Masses to unite Catholics against the Obama Adminst. in the fight against the HHS mandate, and then along comes Archbishop Gomez with Card Mahony and the USCCB and files a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Obama Admin. in the lawsuit against Arizona. Now that ought to unite Catholics. Stroke of genius, that is.

    [Because Catholicism is not about being Republicans or Democrats and lining up on their issues - admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I think what we’re seeing with Mahoney, etc., is the separation of the sheep and the goats.

  • Corita

    I love that the audience here is so good at ignoring trolls. Over at a fellow Patheos blog (ahem! Bad Catholic! ahem!) the youthful earnest types just can’t help but getting sucked into looong exchanges with the manipulative troll types that have been also plaguing NCR lately. It’s sad.

  • Patrick

    To be fair, Sibelius has a responsibility to enforce the law whatever her personal opinion on its constitutionality might be, unless (or until) it’s struck down by a court. That’s her job. But still, she could have made some token concession to religious liberty like, “Yes, of course we take your concerns very seriously and they will be reviewed by the relevant authority.” Even if totally insincere, it would have made her look much more like a grown-up instead of a petulant teenager getting lectured by parents who she thinks are like, totally lame.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Honestly, Sibelius sounds like she doesn’t know what she’s talking about—and doesn’t know anything about the Constitution, or law.

    The trolls will, of course, come out from under their respective rocks, to try and bully us into submission on issues like this. It’s what they do. What we can do, is ignore them.

  • Mandy P.

    @Patrick,

    The problem with that is Sebelius inst just “enforcing” the law as written. There is nothing in the ACA law itself that mandates contraceptive coverage. That’s a rule that Sebelius, as head of HHS has enacted. The ACA gave her department control over creating regulations as she sees fit. So she is the one who decided to create the contraceptive mandate and is also the one who refuses to back off it.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Elizabeth, I think you missed something here, vis-a-vis the President and Constitutional law. You’re are perfectly correct to say that he knows this measure is unconstitutional.

    He doesn’t care.

    A friend of mine, a graduate of Yale Law, told me it has been decades since many people cared. Seven or eight decades, actually, since most lawyers considered the Constitution to be a written law, rather than a “living document” subject to interpretation as required by the agenda of the hour.

    Moreover, if he is not a Maoist in social-economic policy, our President is certainly a Maoist when it comes to linguistic policy. “Words are like little sticks of dynamite in people’s minds,” the Chairman said. They don’t *mean* things; they *accomplish* things. On what other basis could a “constitutional law scholar” possibly say in front of the nation that it would be unprecedented for the Supreme Court to invalidate legislation? He knew it false, if he knows true from false. More to the point, he didn’t care. He had a good soundbite, a good rallying cry.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    @Patrick

    Sebelius helped write the law. This is her baby.

  • Howard

    I believe I am the “troll” being referenced, but I am just making the point that Chesterton made in THE APPETITE OF TYRANNY. Unless you are what he called a “positive barbarian”, then you must acknowledge that the same standards must be applied to you and your side as to the other guy and his side. That means that if it is repulsive to every good citizen for a president to blatantly ignore the Constitution, it doesn’t matter if that president is a Republican or a Democrat, or if his name is Obama or Bush.

    However, very few of these Catholic blogs attacked Bush for his violations of the Constitution; they were more inclined to defend him. Mark Shea was a prominent, but almost solitary, exception. As a result, appealing to the Constitution is not going to work as a political strategy. The Constitution can’t be an obsolete document incapable of foreseeing the complexities of life in the 21st century one day, and the basis for our most fundamental freedoms the next. Tu quoque *is* a logical fallacy, but it’s more than sufficient to carry the day in a political debate.

    Rather than appealing to the Constitution, then, we should instead concentrate on the Natural Law and on the inherent wrongness of contraception, abortion, and sterilization for everyone. That will be a harder sell, because people don’t want to hear it, but the Catholic Church has an obligation to tell this truth anyhow. Far from being a “distraction”, this is the only real option we have at this point.

    [Conversely, of course, those vociferous critics of Bush's policies have been silent as Obama embraced them and have little-to-nothing to say about this instance. You are correct that Mark Shea was a solid voice against Bush's excesses. Some of us were uncomfortable with them by stymied by 9/11 and the aftermath. Evolution is possible, though and some, like myself, did move away from fully-supporting Bush's excesses near the end of his term. Natural law is a harder sell, you're right, but I do not think appeals to the constitution should yet be abandoned. -admin]

  • Tom T

    In my mind it is sort of an oversimplification to simply state Catholicism is not about being Republican or Democrate or their issues. If that is true, why file a friend of the Court brief
    to support the enforcement of State laws when the Court is going to decide on the merit and not whether a full page article by Archbishop Gomez in the Washington Post supports the Obama administration`s effort to keep Arizona from enforcing a law that the Federal Govt.
    refuses to enforce to protect the people of that State. If what you say is true, then being a pro-life Republican vs. a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-HHS mandate Democrate dosen`t really matter. This has been the problem all along. Mixed messages from catholic leadership. It is the reason we have a pro-abortion President with a party in lockstep forcing mandatory contraception and he is doing all this with an honorary degree from Notre Dame. Give me a break.

    [Sorry, they're not "mixed messages from the Catholic leadership." The Catholic leadership has always been pro-life and it has always been for immigration reform that takes the dignity of the human person into account. Being Catholic simply does not conform neatly into either party's agenda, b/c every issue is its own issue and must be considered uniquely. -admin]

  • Peggy R

    Re: The idea that it’s too late to demand constitutionality.

    If not now, when? Is it ever too late to walk away from sin and start living right? Is it ever to late for a prostitute or murderer to repent and turn away from sin? We are just to throw up our hands and let things go? Concede to chaos, lawlessness? The tea party was a response W Bush excesses in spending and war as much as a fear of what Obama would do–which has come to fruition.

    As for the law giving much discretion to HHS, this is generally the trend in both federal and state laws. The idea is that experts at executive agencies can engage in evidentiary proceedings, solicit technical information and make policies that make, economic, scientific and legal sense, etc. Legislatures move too slowly to change details in laws. So, some of this passing off of discretion might be reasonable. But, yes, this law (and many others) goes way beyond what is prudent. The legislatures should provide stricter parameters as to the administrative flexibility of the executive branch agencies implementing the laws. Obama-care is probably the worst offender of such legislation with the worst consequences for our fiscal condition and liberty for citizens–as we already see.

  • Howard

    “I do not think appeals to the constitution should yet be abandoned. -admin”

    Fair enough. I don’t think this will make as much progress as many believe it will, in part because Americans really do fall for the fallacious rebuttal, and in part because Americans have become so accustomed to seeing the Constitution violated that it has lost its ability to shock or even alarm. We have to also make clear why this violation of the Constitution should be taken more seriously than those that have been going on for generations if we’re going to convince the undecided.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    Just so. It is important to remember that *habeas corpus* was ignored in the case of Jose Padilla, a natural-born American citizen – while Obama may or may not be the first President to order the assassinations of US citizens, it can hardly be said that he is the first to trample our Constitution and the ancient liberties it is intended to protect and promote.

  • Howard

    @Ryan Haber

    I’m not sure the assassination was really that different from the old “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters. He should have been given the option to turn himself in and receive a fair trial (which is no guarantee that he gets off lightly). I don’t know if that was done or not.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    The thing is. . . Obama’s the guy in the White House, now; he’s the president. The buck supposedly stops with him, now. Hashing, and re-hashing, over what past presidents did, and didn’t do, is irrelevant.

    We can’t change the past, we can only keep an eye on the present. and Obama has gotten a pass on a lot of the same things the Left called Bush on. (Not to mention he’s gotten a pass on Solyndra, running up a trillion-plus debt, alienating our allies, declaring war without congress’ approval, etc)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, in the case of Anwar Al-Alwaki, given that his treason was pretty blatant, I think his American citizenship should have been openly revoked. Then, they could have gone after him, no holds barred.

    (And, as a traitor, had he been captured alive, he should have been given a military trial—not a civil one. Of course, traitors captured on the battlefield usually get dispatched pretty ruthlessly. Fighting your country’s enemy is different from, say, dealing with muggers, or bank robbers.)

    P.S. Does anybody remember Molly Norris?

    P.P.S. And, no, it’s never too late to defend the Consitution!

  • Howard

    In some sense what you say is true, but it is poor persuasion. It’s like complaining about steroids in sports while wearing a Bary Bonds jersey; however logical and correct your arguments against steroids may be, no one will take them seriously coming from a fan of perhaps the biggest steroid abuser in baseball — and one who got away with it (never was caught by MLB).

    Look, it’s NOT ENOUGH to be logical and correct. If the Catholic position is not also PERSUASIVE, the contraceptives mandate stays in place and the bishops will be that much more reluctant to challenge Obama on his next move. (My guess is a push for nationwide acceptance of “gay marriage” being his next move, probably starting with recognition from all federal agencies.)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Howard, Bush is no longer president.

    The Anchoress has publicly stated she’s moved away from supporting many of the things he did (And many, like myself, aren’t fans of his at all, and were never very fond of him.)

    However, time only moves in one direction. We can’t go back and make Bush vanish from history. We could, I suppose, all do something like the monks in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, who are marching around chanting and bashing themselves in the head: “Deus Irae Dominae—WHACK!” But I doubt that would convince our opponents of our true repentance, and, anyway, they give Obama a pass on the same stuff, and much, much worse (Solyndra, anybody? Fast and Furious?), which is kind’ve like calling someone “Fat” when you, yourself, weigh 800 pounds. Or it’s like the old “People who live in glass houses. . . “.

    If logic and being correct—or the Constitution—can’t convince people, I’m really not sure what else we can do. Bush did bad things—but the issue right now isn’t really Bush, and I doubt it’s any lingering memory of him, making cowards of any Catholic bishops. Persuasion? Um, sure, let’s put on our straw hats, and dance, twirling a cane! But if logic, and the rightness of your possession can’t persuade others—what are you supposed to do then? Threaten to riot, if you don’t get what you want? Not a good idea, and the OWS is already performing that particular schtick. . .

    (It could be the next move is approving gay marriage; I’ve always believed that something connected with gay rights is going to be the wedge they’ll use to step pressure on Christians; however, they might skip that part, and just go for the throat. Anti-bullying maven, Dan Savage, already berated an audience of Christian high schoolers, insulting the Bible, to the point that about 100 of them got up and walked out on him. He’s been a guest at the White House; is he warming up for his job as “Commisar of Searching out Incorrect Thinking?” )

    P.S. Seriously, does anyone remember Molly Norris?

  • Medbob

    So… Mr. Obama is a Constitutional Scholar?

    I think that the Character “Scotty” from Star Trek said it best:

    “Yeah… and if my Grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.”


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