The Corner

Sebelius’s ‘Balance’

My new Bloomberg column discusses HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s claim that the administration’s newest health-care mandate “strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services”:

It’s a strange sort of balance. The Constitution provides specific protection to only the first of the two goods being balanced (“religious freedom” and “increased access”). That protection contains no hint of a suggestion that it is up to federal regulators to strike whatever balance they consider appropriate between religious freedom and their other goals.

Administration officials defending the decision in a conference call said they have no estimate of how many people would have greater access to contraceptive services as a result of the regulation — an admission that undermines the contention that a careful balancing took place. Further weakening that claim is Sebelius’s reliance on a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine, which, to judge from its report, heard from no representatives of any religious organization before making it. . . .

It’s not as though the administration has been insisting on a rigid application of the law in all other cases. It has been notorious for handing out waivers freely — just not to religious groups.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More