A…Misunderstanding…on the Supreme Court

The liberal wing of the Supreme Court is at it again. The three women of the wing are furthering their demand that women generally are entitled to get their contraceptives via OPM, rather than with the women’s own money—apparently, it seems, because these three female Justices think women generally are too helpless to have their own money. These three also are continuing their demand that access to contraceptives must take priority over the religious tenets of the ones they would require to make the provision.

Some Thoughts the Relationship among Individual Liberty and Duty, Spirituality, and Government

President Calvin Coolidge had a couple, on the day after the 150th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. He delivered these thoughts and others in a speech in Philadelphia on July 5, 1926, 88 years ago today, now 238 years on.

First, he said this:

Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government.

Some More Thoughts on Hobby Lobby

I’m riffing here and in a nearby post on The Wall Street Journal Law Blog‘s excerpts of a couple of opinions from this week’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. That decision can be seen here.

The excerpts in this post are from Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion for the court.

Page 2: Under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act], a Government action that imposes a substantial burden on religious exercise must serve a compelling government interest, and we assume that the HHS regulations satisfy this requirement. But in order for the HHS mandate to be sustained, it must also constitute the least restrictive means of serving that interest, and the mandate plainly fails that test. There are other ways Congress or HHS could equally insure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contraceptives at issue here and, indeed, all FDA-approved contraceptives.

Some Thoughts on Hobby Lobby

I’m riffing here and in a nearby post on The Wall Street Journal Law Blog‘s excerpts of a couple of opinions from this week’s Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. That decision can be seen here.

The excerpts in this post are from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent.

Page 8 of the dissent: The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would override significant interests of the corporations’ employees and covered dependents. It would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage that the [Affordable Care Act] would otherwise secure… In sum, with respect to free exercise claims no less than free speech claims, “[y]our right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”

Two Men (Or Three) Who Know What They’re About

Ihor Kolomoisky, a 51-year-old outspoken banking tycoon, and recently appointed by [Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, himself a so-called oligarch] as governor of Dnipropetrovsk region in eastern Ukraine, has decided to dip into his fortune to bolster that army and defend the homeland.

So far, that has included buying tires, car batteries and fuel for army units, as well outfitting local militias. He also announced a program to buy up contraband weapons and offer a $10,000 bounty for any pro-Russia militant captured with a gun.

Some Folks Know What They’re About

The leader of Iraq’s Kurds said his forces won’t relinquish territory they are defending against Sunni rebels, adding to worries that continued fighting could speed the breakup of Iraq along ethnic and religious lines.

After Sunni insurgents led by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham launched their military offensive in northern Iraq three weeks ago, Kurdish fighters stepped into the breach left by the Baghdad government’s ineffective and retreating armed forces.

On Friday, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region, said that control of Kirkuk and other towns now guarded by Kurdish forces wouldn’t revert to the central government in Baghdad when the crisis subsides.

Cell Phone Searches

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday police must almost always obtain a warrant before searching mobile devices seized when arresting someone….

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the Court’s unanimously held opinion, said

Modern cellphones aren’t a technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans “the privacies of life.”

Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cellphone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant[.]

Gina “Joe” McCarthy is Speaking Again

In a recent speech to the National Academy of Sciences, the EPA Administrator had this to say in decrying her critics:

…claiming that research is secret if researchers protect confidential personal health data from those who are not qualified to analyze it—and won’t agree to protect it.

By whose definition are the folks who want to see the data for themselves deemed not qualified, Madam? You’re the one keeping the data secret, on what basis do we take your word for it?

The Ground Zero Cross and Atheists

American Atheists filed suit three years ago against having this symbol included in the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which officially opened late last month. Their suit was tossed forthwith as baseless; US District Court Judge Deborah Batts wrote

No reasonable observer would view the artifact as endorsing Christianity. [The museum curators] have not advanced religion impermissibly, and the cross does not create excessive entanglement between the state and religion.

The group appealed to the Second Circuit which responded by instructing American Atheists actually to make a case and not just bellyache, and to do so by 14 July. In so instructing, the Appellate Court cited an amicus brief provided by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty which argued among other things that

On Anti-Patriotism

Duy Tran, newly moved into his home and flying his American flag, was confronted by the apartment complex manager. Duy said the manager

told him to remove the American flag hanging outside his home, because she deemed it a “threat to the Muslim community.”

Because patriotism is offensive. So just shut up.