May 23, 2012

"For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win Catholic swing voters despite taking positions that are at odds..."

"... with the Catholic Church’s views on abortion, same-sex marriage, and yes, contraception. But it will be considerably harder for this White House to win over those same voters if it seems to be picking a fight with American Catholicism as a culture — with the local Catholic hospital, the local Catholic soup kitchen, and yes, the Fighting Irish."

Says Ross Douthat, who is good at political analysis, but a bit slapdash about the law at issue in the suit that was filed by the Catholic bishops.
Whether [they] win in court will presumably depend on how the judicial branch weighs the public health concern involved. It’s true that religious institutions can’t be exempt from every regulation they don’t like, and maybe the courts will accept the argument that it’s worth sacrificing a measure of religious liberty in order to marginally expand the number of insurance plans covering contraception.
At least he says "presumably," and perhaps he's trying to express the view that the courts don't follow legal rules but approve of laws that seem like a pretty good idea in relation to how troublesome they are to people who like to think they have rights.

20 comments:

bagoh20 said...

" the courts don't follow legal rules but approve of laws that seem like a pretty good idea in relation to how troublesome they are to people who like to think they have rights."

Now c'mon, you know this is the real standard by which the court operates. The rest of it - that stuff about rights - is just Soma.

Matthew Sablan said...

Douthat must not understand the compromise. The compromise is: "You pay for it anyway, but you don't really pay for it-it, just access to it, but you still pay for it."

Bender said...

For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win Catholic swing voters despite taking positions that are at odds with the Catholic Church . . .

For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win senior voters despite taking positions that are at odds with seniors.

For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win black voters despite taking positions that are at odds with blacks.

For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win women voters despite taking positions that are at odds with women.

For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win employed voters despite taking positions that are at odds with workers.

(need I go on?)

ndspinelli said...

Catholics were in large part the Reagan Republicans. He got my mom's vote.

AJ Lynch said...

I believe Obamacare included very broad waivers for Muslim & Amish groups.

Bender said...

As for how the courts will rule, over at the anti-Catholic website dotCommonweal, they are trying to make something of the fact that "only" 13 dioceses filed suit, and none of them in California. As I explained the obvious to them -- this was a coordinated effort to file suit in a number of jurisdictions, presumably in those fora where there was the best chance for success.

Of course the courts are political in their decisions -- the law has been a farce in too many areas since at least 1973.

kimsch said...

When I was a younger woman contraception was explicitly not covered by health insurance or prescription plans. IIRC contraception (birth control pills in particular) started being covered by some Rx plans when Viagra and Cialis were.

Women made a stink about male ED drugs being covered but female BC drugs were excluded.

This covering contraceptives and even making them no charge to the patient is a relatively new state of affairs.

Bender said...

But about the Dem stranglehold on various voting blocs, the FDR generation is nearly died out and their children, to whom they might have passed the disease, are fading too.

For decades many Catholics had bought into the Dems' talk about caring for the downtrodden and poor, etc. and thus many voted Democrat. But in the meantime, the culture has gone into the toilet and decades after beginning the War on Poverty, spending TRILLIONS of dollars in the process, we are told that we are no closer to winning the war (except when a Dem is president), and that we need to constantly raise taxes at every level of government in order to prevent dire budget cuts, etc. Year after year after year it is the same BS.

After a while, even the dimmest of Catholic voters begins to catch on. And it is only the ideological/political Catholic -- that is, the lib who happens to have been raised Catholic, the person whose politics informs his faith rather than vice versa -- it is only these comrades who remain permanent fixtures of the Democrat Party.

MadisonMan said...

For decades, Republican politicians have found ways to win senior voters despite taking positions that are at odds with seniors.

For decades, Republican politicians have found ways to win black voters despite taking positions that are at odds with blacks.

For decades, Republican politicians have found ways to win women voters despite taking positions that are at odds with women.

For decades, Republican politicians have found ways to win employed voters despite taking positions that are at odds with workers.

Can we agree that Politicians do one thing only: Look out for their own best interests. No one will ever write the sentence:

For decades, politicians have found ways to win politician's votes despite taking positions that are at odds with politicians' best interests.

Bender said...

Can you please explain, MadMan, where you got the idea that seniors, blacks, or women were EVER reliable voting blocs for Republicans???

In fact, seniors, blacks, and women have voted solidly Democrat election after election. Indeed, blacks have voted overwhelmingly for the party of slavery, secession, and segregation for decades.

Your attempt at turn-about is completely nonsensical.

Richard Dolan said...

I think the theory of the litigation turns on the scope of a statutory exemption for religious institutions, not a claim that the courts should create one for constitutional reasons. First Amendment concerns are relevant in construing the statutory exemption -- it's quite likely that such concerns were ostensibly what led Congress to adopt an exemption for religious institutions -- but HHS has nevertheless construed the exemption quite narrowly. Same goes with statutes such as the Restoration of Religious Liberties Act -- they should inform the court's construction of the statutory exemption here, and thus lead the court to conclude that the HHS regulation applying it narrowly is inconsistent with the statute. At least, that's my impression of the basic theory of this litigation (based only on a quick skim of the complaint and so I may be mistaken).

Courts normally defer to an agency's interpretation of its organic statute where the statute is unclear or silent, but that deference does not apply if the regulation is inconsistent with the statute. Such a litigation strategy is very much in the mainstream of admin law; its potential for success will turn on how clearly the plaintiffs can show a conflict between the HHS regulation and the statute. If the theory of the Church's litigation were that the courts should use the First Amendment to create an exemption from generally applicable law based on the nature of Catholic hospitals, universities, etc., as essentially religious institutions, I think it would have a low probability of success.

As for the political implications of the litigation, Douthat makes a persuasive case. If SCOTUS upholds ObamaCare, whether to retain or repeal it will be a central issue in the Nov elections. It's quite possible that in one of these newly filed cases, a district court will issue a ruling (perhaps on a motion for a prelim injunction) before the election. Any such ruling (almost regardless of which side won) would have a political impact in that environment.

cubanbob said...

I applaud the democratic party's continuing efforts to piss off as many of the majority of the taxpayers and non-dependant voters as possible. Please keep this up.

MikeR said...

I don't really understand the legal issues here; it sounds Constitutional to me, since the law isn't directed at anyone in particular.

But it is mind-bogglingly stupid. I would think that when you make a law or regulation, you try to weigh how it harms or inconveniences, and compare that with the good it will do. You see if there are ways to avoid the harms. Do I really want to draft Conscientious Objectors along with everyone else, or is there some way to make allowances for them? Can I let Orthodox Jews in the postal service take Saturday off, or is that an unreasonable burden on everybody else? Etc.

Forcing Catholic institutions (and I would include individuals as well) who have religious objections to paying for certain kinds of treatment - well, I don't see why Catholics shouldn't hold that against them.

Moose said...

Think you might get a positive link from Sully for this one, Ann.

MadisonMan said...

Bender, like so many people -- all of them -- I am fundamentally lazy and the easiest way to make my point was to cut, paste and edit your comment.

It requires some ingenuity on the point of the reader to understand my point, but clarity is a victim a laziness always.

Bryan C said...

"I don't really understand the legal issues here; it sounds Constitutional to me, since the law isn't directed at anyone in particular. "

Religious liberty isn't an exemption granted to churches by the grace of government. It's a separate sphere of coequal human activity explicitly outside the scope of the government's power.

If the government can force religious institutions to pay for or offer services that are in direct contravention of their beliefs then religious liberty is meaningless.

Naum said...

Most Catholics, according to polling data, have positions at odds "with the Catholic Church’s views on abortion, same-sex marriage, and yes, contraception."

kimsch said...

Naum said...

Most Catholics, according to polling data, have positions at odds "with the Catholic Church’s views on abortion, same-sex marriage, and yes, contraception."


So?

The degree to which followers of a certain church follow that church's doctrine has absolutely nothing to do with the rights of that church to follow its own doctrine.

Individuals that follow other churches whose doctrine doesn't preclude contraceptives might be personally against contraceptives as well. Should that individual have to pay for others' contraceptives against their will too?

dodson said...

My Blue Cross does not cover Viagra or Cialis. These are not in the formulary of covered drugs with a copay. Oral contraceptives are covered and have a $4 copay. Do any health plans really "cover" ED drugs or is this a straw man argument? The only plan i ever knew to cover Viagra was the Miwaukee Teacher's Plan.

kimsch said...

Back when ED drugs first came out they were covered. That's why there were complaints.

I think that when Medicaid was paying for them for sex offenders those drugs got dropped from the formularies.