The Corner

Pay No Attention to the Constitution Behind the Curtain

At yesterday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney offered some revealing talking points about the profoundly wrongheaded and illegal HHS contraception mandate.

JAY CARNEY: [T]his decision was made after careful consideration by Secretary Sebelius, and we believe that the proposal strikes the appropriate balance between religious beliefs on the one hand and the need to increase access to important preventive services for women.…We understand that not everyone agrees with it. All I can tell you is it was made after very careful consideration based on the need to balance those two issues and that the necessity to provide access to preventive services for women was an important consideration.

ED HENRY (FOX NEWS): What about the constitutional right to freedom of religion?

JAY CARNEY: I don’t believe there are any constitutional rights issues here, but I would refer you to others to discuss that.

Which scenario is more troubling: that the White House knows perfectly well that there are “constitutional rights issues” involved but for nakedly partisan reasons they deny it? Or that they really, honestly believe that in contemplating a coercive action, government bureaucrats can judge the merits of religious beliefs without any thought to “constitutional rights issues”?

— Stephen P. White is a fellow in the Catholic Studies Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and the coordinator of the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society.

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