The Corner

Law & the Courts

The ‘Class of Special Rights’ Called the First Amendment

Sister Loraine McGuire with Little Sisters of the Poor after the Supreme Court heard Zubik v. Burwell, an appeal demanding exemption from providing insurance covering contraception, in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2016. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

In a piece for the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog, opinion columnist Paul Waldman offers a few rather disorienting comments on yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, et al.

The case dealt with whether the Trump administration had the authority to grant religious and moral exemptions to employers who object to covering contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health-insurance plans, as Obamacare’s HHS mandate requires. One such employer is the Little Sisters, a group of Catholic nuns who serve the elderly, sick, and dying poor.

In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled in favor of the administration’s authority to grant those exemptions and thus, by extension, in favor of the religious and conscience rights of the Little Sisters.

Waldman observes that the ruling is evidence of “a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, one that is determined to create a class of special rights that in practice are enjoyed only by conservative Christians.” (Justices Kagan and Breyer will be thrilled, I’m sure, to hear of their new assignation.)

This “class of special rights” Waldman mentions is, of course, the religion clauses of the First Amendment, and conservative Christians continue showing up in court to claim its protections only because their fellow citizens and antagonistic government officials continue forcing them to do so.

Later on, after advocating the abolition of employer-based health-care coverage — something many conservatives would welcome — Waldman further reveals his ignorance. One benefit of removing employer-based coverage, he avers, would be that it “would deprive religious conservatives of the ability to keep suing over contraception, which gives them a focus for their endless cries of oppression and aggrievement.”

It is difficult to imagine how one could honestly believe that the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby, the University of Notre Dame, and the Little Sisters of the Poor were overjoyed to have spent nearly a decade in court fighting merely to preserve their right to practice their faith in the public square.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Film & TV

Laughing at Beyoncé’s Absolute Monarchy

Back in the Nineties, when hip-hop zealots questioned the intelligence of Beyoncé songs like Destiny’s Child’s careerist anthem “Survivor” and the sex-as-junk-food hit “Bootylicious,” there was little regard for the female agency that she now channels into an intersectional act, trading on gender and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World’s Worst Idea

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World’s Worst Idea

Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be ... Read More
World

A Shattered City

On the menu today: Unraveling the mystery behind yesterday’s devastating, jaw-dropping explosion in Beirut; reports suggest that Joe Biden’s vice presidential search isn't going well -- although one report suggests his list is down to two contenders; and yesterday’s primary leaves one less thing to worry ... Read More
World

A Shattered City

On the menu today: Unraveling the mystery behind yesterday’s devastating, jaw-dropping explosion in Beirut; reports suggest that Joe Biden’s vice presidential search isn't going well -- although one report suggests his list is down to two contenders; and yesterday’s primary leaves one less thing to worry ... Read More
Elections

Ilhan Omar’s Got a Little Competition

Ilhan Omar, the Democratic U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, has been described as a “rising star” of the progressive movement and as President Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare.” So she surely did not expect to face much opposition during her reelection campaign. ... Read More
Elections

Ilhan Omar’s Got a Little Competition

Ilhan Omar, the Democratic U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, has been described as a “rising star” of the progressive movement and as President Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare.” So she surely did not expect to face much opposition during her reelection campaign. ... Read More