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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. If you had trouble sorting through the blizzard of decisions released by the Supreme Court, led by chief justice John Roberts, you’ve come to the right place. Two of the most knowledgeable court watchers in journalism are here to help decode the implications of those 5-4 rulings on public prayer, organized labor, campaign finance reform and the Hobby Lobby case – that’s the decision that certain companies, on religious grounds, do not have to provide health insurance for some forms of birth control.

Linda Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for The New York Times for 30 years and still writes a bi-weekly column for that paper. She’s a lecturer as well as the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at the Yale Law School.

Dahlia Lithwick, who has a law degree from Stanford, is a senior editor at Slate.com, where she writes the website’s “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence” columns. Currently, she's working on a book about the four women who have served as Supreme Court justices. Welcome to you both.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Thank you.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: You have covered the court, Linda, since 1978. In that context what do you make of the Roberts court?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Ah, so I try to think generously about the court, you know. But I think it's hard for anybody looking at this court objectively to come away not thinking that it's a court in pursuit of an agenda. And I'm sorry to say, I think that agenda maps on pretty closely to a Republican Party platform in things that-- in the hot button issues that many of us care the most about.

BILL MOYERS: And is that unique in the years you've covered the court?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: I have to say so, yes, in terms of a five-member coalition having coalesced for those results. Not that there haven't been conservative versus liberal splits on the court always. And I covered the transition between the Burger court to the Rehnquist court. And certainly Chief Justice Rehnquist had an agenda, was kind of a states' rights agenda that he was pretty successful in accomplishing.

But what we see now, I think, is a much broader effort across more areas on constitutional doctrine that really touch the lives of people, whether it's religion, speech, politics and so on. So it's something that I find quite concerning.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I agree. I think that, you know, you need look no farther than the win record of places like the Chamber of Commerce, you know, big business at the court is having its winningest few seasons under the auspices of the John Roberts court. And these are, you know, business interests that used to win, you know, 50 percent of the time, 60 percent of the time. And in the last few years between 70 percent and 80 percent of the time, issues on which the Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business lobbies get involved in cases, we're looking at huge win rates.

And I think that if you look at the architecture of unraveling the sort of Warren court revolution, what the court stood for, you cannot look at the Roberts court and say that they've done anything other than systemically unravel voting rights, women's rights, worker's rights, environmental progress. It's a pretty palpable and I think unequivocal trend.

BILL MOYERS: I think you've also written that the right on the court is further right than mainstream conservatives.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Well, I think that there's two things. One is that it's absolutely clear (and I think this is empirically proven), that for the last few decades everybody who retires on the court is replaced by someone either slightly to their right or significantly to their right. So the court has not kept apace with, you know, mainstream legal thought. The court has torqued more and more to the right.

And I do think that on some of these issues, notably birth control, which we saw kind of I guess somewhat illuminated in the Hobby Lobby discussion, this is a view of birth control that is not at all in step, I think, with where the American public is on birth control. And so I think in that sense the court isn't simply to the right of sort of mainstream legal thought but dramatically to the right of the rest of the country.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: So you had Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas way out there and you had Chief Justice Roberts I think misinterpreted by many people as steering a moderate middle course. What he was doing was, as he's been doing all along, steering a strategic course to tee up the court to ultimately be in a place where he'd like it to be, but he doesn't need it to be there all at once.

BILL MOYERS: Where do you think he would like it to be?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Well, I think he'd like to get the government out of the business of exhibiting special solicitude toward claims of racial discrimination. And they're moving right along on that. The voting rights decision a year ago, Shelby County indicates that. And they didn't quite get what they wanted in the Fisher case last year, the University of Texas affirmative action case, because they couldn't quite bring Justice Kennedy along. But that's certainly, you know, part of the agenda.

Another part, the court has-- is in the process of sort of hijacking the First Amendment free speech principle as a tool of deregulation in a startling way.

BILL MOYERS: Startling?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Startling, yeah. In what would've been not too many years ago considered just ordinary garden variety federal or state regulation of business activity, all of a sudden we see that there's a First Amendment claim being raised by the business interests, free speech, commercial speech, corporate speech that, you know, is being given a great deal of deference by the court.

BILL MOYERS: They keep pushing this notion of the corporation's personhood. How far can they push that before they lose their claim to be rational and reasonable men?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think that for a lot of court watchers it was simply staggering to take the principle announced in Citizens United that corporations have First Amendment speech rights, which as controversial as it was to the rest of us was not all that controversial in the First Amendment community.

But to extend that to religious freedom under, RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was breathtaking. I mean, that wasn't simply corporate personhood from Citizens United tweaked a little bit. That was saying that for purposes of religious freedom, corporations pull into the parking lot next to you at church and put on a hat and pray and that they can exhibit religious conscience in a way that defies, I think, the metaphor defies most of us. Most of us cannot say that Hobby Lobby prays or exercises religion in the parlance of the case.

BILL MOYERS: Or has a soul.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Or has a soul.

BILL MOYERS: Which many religious people believe comes with the turf.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: And so I think that that was, you know, it's a part of the case that a little bit disappeared in the conversation around birth control, but really I think the part that was breathtaking for those of us watching the court was the ease with which they transported this idea that corporations are people too for speech purposes, to the idea that corporations are persons under a statute that was supposed to protect persons.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: There's nothing in the opinion, the way it's structured, that you can say, ah-ha, here's the stopping point.

Instead you read it and you say, whoa, this just goes on and on. It stops at Hobby Lobby today because it's-- Hobby Lobby brought the case. But there's no reason why it wouldn't apply to some other more conventionally organized company, too.

BILL MOYERS: What do you make of the fact that Justice Alito said, well, this applies only to the contraceptive mandate. Do you take him literally, at his word?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: What worries me about the Hobby Lobby decision, if he's simply going to say contraception is different, and he says that in the opinion-- this is different from real medical interests like vaccinations, you know, there really is a compelling interest, but contraception is different.

So I find that in and of itself terrifying. If I have to take him at his word that this is an unserious government interest, then that's extremely problematic for women's reproductive health and freedom and economic freedom in this country. And so it's almost-- there's a way in which one has to look at, and you know, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her dissent calls this a “minefield,” you know, that what he's opening up is a Pandora's Box.

BILL MOYERS: One exemption after another for any claim for religious conscience?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: And clearly if you read the opinion, there is, as Linda says, really no limiting doctrinal principle. He's just asserting, for purposes of this case, contraception isn't a sufficiently compelling thing not just to protect and privilege but to even really discuss in the opinion. He just elides over the problem of it.

And to me I think it raises one terrifying possibility which is that contraception isn't a real medical need, and that scares me. The other is that maybe that this religion is somehow just a real religion and that the court is inserting itself into the business of deciding when the Jehovah's Witnesses come along and the Scientologists and the strict Muslims, that their religious claims are less privileged, that's equally terrifying in my view.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: He left out a whole bunch of other stuff. For instance, gay rights is-- the court's silence on that was rather thunderous. And that's really the next frontier because we've seen this even before the Hobby Lobby case where religiously motivated employers will say, you know, I don't approve of, you know, this quote, “lifestyle” so I don't need to hire, I don't need to do business with, I don't need to, you know, bake a cake for a same sex wedding, I don't need to this, that and the other thing.

And so I found that a very telling silence both from the Alito majority opinion and the Anthony Kennedy concurring opinion.

Of course Justice Kennedy's being hailed as a hero in many quarters for having written the court's majority opinion last year in the Windsor case that invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act and has been invoked by a couple dozen federal district judges around the country in striking down state provisions that rule out same sex marriage. So where was Kennedy on this?

BILL MOYERS: Is Justice Alito the most partisan of the justices as you see the court?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Oh, there's competition for that title. I mean, you know, Justice Scalia, much his senior, has distinguished himself for many years in writing dissenting opinions that basically seek to mobilize the base. Okay, I mean, it's very interesting--

BILL MOYERS: The Republican base?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: --the Republican base. “The Wall Street Journal” had an editorial this week purporting to criticize Justice Ginsberg's dissenting opinion as being overblown and seeking to mobilize the progressive base, you know, against the court's majority. And I thought, haven't they been listening to their friend Nino for the last, you know, 30 years?

BILL MOYERS: Before you came, I've been leafing through the new book by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz, “Uncertain Justice” they call it, reminding us that quote, "Justices can frame the way we live." So how is the Roberts court framing the way we live?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Let's take race, let's take how the Roberts court a year ago, the five members in that majority in Shelby County, the Voting Rights Act case, framed the story of America and race, okay. If you read that opinion, hey, problem solved. Yeah, we had a problem once, we had sort of a serious problem once and Congress dealt with it. And lo and behold, the problem's over.

The law that was a powerful tool to deal with racial discrimination in voting is outdated, there's no need for it anymore. You know, Congress has stubbornly refused to revise it, to bring it up to modern reality and so that part of the law, the formula that, you know, set the whole mechanism of voting rights protection in motion is unconstitutional. So that's a framing device. And you know, I assume they're sincere in believing it. But I think it's not the American story that most of us understand it to be.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: And I would just add to that, I think one of the most powerful dissents written this year comes up in an affirmative action case out of Michigan. And this isn't directly an affirmative action case because it's the state attempting to ban affirmative action. So it's the flip of the cases we've looked at.

But the court does another recitation of the only way to get beyond race is to get beyond race. And we have to just all acknowledge that racism was a problem but thankfully it's over. And Justice Sonia Sotomayor writes this unbelievable dissent that draws from her experience growing up in America that has very much not gotten beyond race and more or less says to the court, look at me, look at me and people like me before you say that the way to get beyond race is to get beyond race.

The way to get beyond race, she writes, is to talk about it and to acknowledge what it is to be an outsider in this country. And I think Ruth Bader Ginsberg does it in Lobby as well, saying this isn't the America we experience, we as women, we as minorities, we as people seeking justice at the hands of the court system. This isn't the America we see. And so I think there's a real pushback in the dissents in all these cases that it says it may be that you have gotten beyond race, majority of five. The rest of us are still really struggling.

BILL MOYERS: So in the Hobby Lobby case, are they framing corporations possessing more rights as persons than people as individuals? Are they reframing our relationship to corporations?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: I'll give you an oblique answer to that. I think you have to understand Hobby Lobby setting it alongside the other big religion case this term which is a case called Town of Greece-- Town of Greece against Galloway, which upheld the recitation of Christian prayers at the start of town board meetings in this upstate New York town.

And this practice was challenged by two non-Christian citizens who didn't feel like having to listen to these prayers when they showed up at the town board to conduct their business. And they argued and the lower court agreed that this was in effect an establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause.

And Justice Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority that overturns the lower court and upholds the prayer, says, yeah, you know, these two plaintiffs were offended. But adults in America hear lots of offensive speech and basically just, you know, deal with it. I mean, a total lack of, you might say empathy, for the position of these plaintiffs who were being made to feel-- who claim they were being made to feel excluded as citizens in their community.

So take a look at that and then eight weeks later we come down with Hobby Lobby where the court's solicitude for the conscience claim of Hobby Lobby's owners not from having to hand out birth control to their employees but simply following a federal law that includes contraception within the employee health plan and the employees could decide to do whatever they wanted about that — this attenuated claim was so worthy of being heard that the court was just dripping with empathy for Hobby Lobby's owners.

BILL MOYERS: Do you sense any empathy there for women in the majority?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: What's interesting to me is, and somebody actually counted the words, the number of times the word “women” appeared in the majority opinion as opposed to all this language of real deep identification with the religious owners. And it's clearly disparate.

In other words, you know, it's not only that women don't show up, but Justice Alito in his opinion does this sort of clever thing which I likened, in one of my columns, to the way Ricky used to talk to Lucy where he sort of says, I'm going to grant you that this is important so that I don't have to argue it. So that Alito sort of says, let's just concede that it's an important issue. But then he never engages with it.

He in no place says, my God, there are all sorts of no procreative reasons, urgent health reasons, basic reasons that have to do with women's ability to control their reproductive lives over, you know, 40 years of a career, none of that is acknowledged. And so there's a way in which by simply conceding it he gets around the fact that he doesn't have to talk about it.

And it seems to me that this country, you know, if you think about the rhetoric around the Hobby Lobby case and the degree to which this has been represented as sort of loose women who are too lazy to go to the drug store and buy a condom and the blowback we've had about that, had the court had the conversation that says, here's a reason that 99 percent of American women use contraception and these are all the medically indicated reasons that sometimes a very expensive IUD is the thing that the doctor will recommend for you, none of that happens.

And because it doesn't happen in the court, it doesn't happen, I think, in the conversation around the decision. And it seems to me that our ability to have the conversation about why this is serious is just one of the central tragedies of Hobby Lobby.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Well, and I think we also have to acknowledge that this whole contraception discussion and Hobby Lobby is a proxy for abortion, right. So Hobby Lobby's owners say not all the religious objectors to the contraception mandate are in the same position, but Hobby Lobby's owners say, the only things we object to are the quote, “abortifacients,” among the 20 or so required contraceptions by the mandate.

And of course that's a total falsehood actually because if you take the medical definition of pregnancy, I mean, what does abortion do? It ends an ongoing pregnancy. None of these contraceptives actually do that. They-- none of them that are on that list work after the fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus.

And so if somebody wants to believe that a fertilized egg has full personhood, that's certainly their privilege. But that's not a medical definition of pregnancy. So this sort of hijacking of this issue and importing it into the abortion issue is a very clever move that's really at the center, even if unacknowledged, in this whole debate.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: And I would just add, I think, you know, Linda said, you know, we have to look at Hobby Lobby next to own of Greece, the legislative prayer case. I think we also have to a little bit look at it next to McCullen, the abortion buffer case--

BILL MOYERS: Where they--

DAHLIA LITHWICK: --because while that--

BILL MOYERS: That case removed any buffer between the protestors outside who in some cases were harassing the women going into the clinic. And now they can go right up to the door.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Right. I mean, there was a 35-foot buffer. This is Massachusetts, it comes up after a history of horrific clinic violence including shootings at clinics. And Massachusetts says, we don't know how to keep these women safe and how to keep public safety and health, beyond this 35-foot buffer. And it comes up as a free speech case.

But in the opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the solicitude for these sidewalk counselors and the implication that everyone who has ever stood outside a clinic to talk to a woman does so in gentle tones, with sweetness and light, and without any acknowledgment that there is a reason, a historic reason that these women needed to be protected on their way into the clinics is really another example of what Linda's ascribing as that over empathizing with one set of interests and almost total disregard for the interests of those women seeking abortions.

And I just think-- I track both of these as going back to, you know, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and the last time the court heard a major abortion case was so careful to say, we're just worried. Women are extra frail. And sometimes they regret their abortions. And we have to be super duper careful with getting them good information.

And it seems to me that that's kind of the pill from which so much of this sentiment that all of First Amendment law stops and all of religious freedom stops and everything in the constitutional architecture of this country stops when we're talking about women and their reproductive systems, it's so strange.

BILL MOYERS: You're both reporters and well respected, but as women can you be objective about five religiously conservative men making it harder for women to get help with birth control?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: I'm not trying to be objective. I'm trying to understand where they're coming from and explain it to people. But, you know, these days I'm paid by The New York Times to be an opinion columnist. And I like to back up my opinion with facts.

BILL MOYERS: So where do you think they are coming from?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: I think they're coming from, you know, a narrow worldview. I mean, you know, let's be impolite and point out that all five of them are Roman Catholic and in service of an agenda by a couple of presidents who were elected on a party, Republican Party platform that called for picking judges who would overturn Roe against Wade. And you know, being Catholic is a fair proxy for that in the minds of judge pickers.

I think that wildly overstates the, you know, the case for the great majority of American Catholic women, I'm not saying that. So you have these five guys who have a rather narrow background, who live in a certain bubble and, you know, I think are projecting their perspective onto the face of constitutional law.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think it's fair to say that when we talk about the Roberts court what we often miss is that the single most consequential change at the Roberts court was not the substitution of John Roberts for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. It was the substitution of Sam Alito for Sandra Day O'Connor.

BILL MOYERS: How so?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: That in almost every area of doctrine where she really staked out a moderate middle position, a middle position by the way that drove people on both sides of the aisle insane because it was often pragmatic and it was often kind of a balancing test. And she was very, very careful to decide cases for this one issue only and to try to not let it bleed out into the rest of doctrine.

But in every issue that we looked at this year, abortion, church-state, campaign finance, every one of these blockbuster issues, what held sway was O'Connor's test. And when O'Connor left the court and Sam Alito came onto the court, in every one of those issues that test is gone. And the test, the new test, that Sam Alito has been a proponent of, has been dramatically to the right of that center place.

So I think we often make the mistake of thinking that John Roberts was really the decisive change at the court. The decisive change was that O'Connor, love her or hate her, was truly a centrist pragmatist. And when she was replaced by Samuel Alito, that center fell out.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: So I think Town of Greece and Sandra O'Connor is a very good example of this. So what Sandra O'Connor stood for in the establishment clause area was what came to be known as the endorsement test. That is to say that the government should not put people in the position of feeling like outsiders in the general community by elevating some specific religious practice and assuming that everybody goes along with that.

So what Town of Greece tells us, or reminds us, this probably happened already, but it makes it very clear that the endorsement test is gone. And has been replaced by something that the conservatives on the court have been advocating for a long time which is the coercion test which says, and Justice Kennedy in his majority opinion in Town of Greece says this quite explicitly, look, nobody's coercing anybody. If they don't like the prayer, they don't have to come. They don't have to listen. They certainly don't have to pray along.

So as long as there's no coercion, it's okay. And that's a major change. The court has never actually disavowed any of its precedents in the establishment clause area. It's just kind of quietly morphed the one into the other. And we now see what we have.

BILL MOYERS: Can you anticipate where that takes us?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Well, of course, you know, we were talking about abortion. So one question is what's left of Roe against Wade as interpreted by the Supreme Court in 1992 in Planned Parenthood against Casey where the court went right up to the edge of the precipice of overturning Roe and held back, you know. Will there ever be a time when five members of the court say, "We hereby declare that Roe v. Wade is overruled"? I don't know.

You know, will it matter if they enable all kinds of regulation that forces abortion providers to close their clinics and puts all kinds of obstacles, you know. The judges on the fifth circuit issued an opinion this year rejecting a challenge to the admitting privileges law in Texas saying, yeah, it's true that women in the Rio Grande Valley where there will now be no abortion providers have to drive 150 miles to Corpus Christi, but you know, I mean, that's okay for women that probably don't have cars or, you know, may have immigration problems that make them very fearful of getting on the road or whatever--

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Or a day off work--

LINDA GREENHOUSE: A day off work--

DAHLIA LITHWICK: --to do it.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Or you know, that's okay. So you know, you have to wonder what's left of a hollowed out precedent once the court is finished hollowing.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: And I think it's so important to understand in these religious liberty cases, these cases don't arise in a vacuum. So I think it's always really telling that the day after Hobby Lobby there's a rash of companies coming forward saying, "We object to all 20 forms of birth control, they're all abortifacients."

After the Town of Greece decision that Linda's describing, immediately there are towns in Virginia that say, "From here on in no Muslim will solemnize a prayer before our town council, no Wiccan, no scientologist." So these cases don't simply happen and then because the court says it stops here, that it's stops there.

This is part of an enormous litigation strategy that is a long game that is going to take years. But it seems to me that the idea that this stops here is belied by the fact that the very next day there is a legal movement of people who say, "This is a Christian country and we want to have Christian prayer before our town council meetings." And the fact that they implement policies that are now in their view blessed by the Supreme-- blessed so to speak by the Supreme Court, suggests to me that you cannot look at these cases and say they stop here.

I mean, your question to Linda, what's the next case? I think the next case really is a series of cases. And Justice Scalia was very angry by the way that the court didn't take another prayer case that came after Town of Greece. Because in his view Town of Greece changed doctrine even when it said it didn't. And in his view that opens the door for a whole host of other cases.

So it seems to me, I think you can't look the these cases as ending the day they came down and ending the day the press coverage stops. They don't end if the next day there's a legislative action, or in the Supreme Court case an emergency stay granted suggesting that it's only the beginning.

BILL MOYERS: There's a bill in the Kansas legislature that makes it permissible to discriminate against gays. That's part of this long game?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Well, I mean, if you look at already right after Hobby Lobby there was a huge movement to get President Obama to write an exemption into his executive order that was going to afford all sorts of new protections to any federal contractors in same sex relationships. And already you saw, emboldened by Hobby Lobby, a group, by the way a bipartisan group, saying we need an exemption because this offends our religious faith as much as the contraception mandate does.

So it's all of a piece. And I think it's just extremely dangerous to look at these as atomized siloed cases. They are really a part of a movement that says that this is a country that has been oppressing religious individuals, religious businesses for decades and that until we eradicate the wall between church and state and empower not just religious individuals but religious businesses to fully exercise and fully realize their religious convictions, I think that is the end game. And it's, I think, it's folly to not see it.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: And it's really interesting, I mean, these are, you know, basically majority groups that are cloaking themselves in the mantle of victimhood. You know, the oppressed, the religiously oppressed when, you know, it's the majority religion in the country.

BILL MOYERS: And it's been steady and consistent and this court, as you said earlier, has been siding with business in its resistance to regulations for-- consistently. You think that's part of the long game?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think it's part of the long game. I think in a deep way, you know, we like to carbon date this to the Powell memo of 1971. Where suddenly it was in the interest of big business in America to use the courts and to use think tanks and the machinery that we're now really seeing working at full tilt; the machinery of advocacy and really scholarly work behind an agenda that I think is very pro-business.

I think one of the great ironies of Hobby Lobby is the US Chamber of Commerce didn't sign on, wasn't sure how they felt about the notion of piercing the corporate veil, as we say, of saying that a corporation is one in the same as its owners. Because I think there's a real peril, if you think about the idea, that we create corporations in order to protect the owners, in order to completely sever the relationship for liability purposes.

I think that there are members of the pro-business lobby who are very anxious about the idea of conflating the two and saying a corporation and its owners are one in the same. I think that really raises questions. And so Hobby Lobby is not, I think, an all-out win for big business in America. I think it's a very complicated case. Because it does raise this question of where the corporation ends and the owners begin.

BILL MOYERS: You wrote recently that this is the most polarized court ever on these five-four decisions. But is that any different from the way Congress is polarized, or the country is polarized?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I don't think so. I mean, I think, you know, Adam Liptak, at The Times," Linda's successor, has done really interesting work, showing how polarized this court is. And I would add the valiance of it's not simply politically polarized. It's experientially polarized. You--

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Some of the justices are very proud of the fact that they get all their news from AM radio. Some of the justices are very proud of the fact that they don't read any newspaper of record. They-- some of the justices are proud of the fact that they only speak to audiences who agree with them.

More and more the justices only hire clerks who agree with them. Gone is the era where justices would reach across the aisle and try to find clerks who would challenge them. So this court is as polarized in terms of who they interact with, who they see, who they confer with-- I think, that we have ever seen in history.

And I think that when Linda talks about empathy, and she wrote a really nice column about the cell phone case, and how the justices understood cell phones, and they could relate to the idea that it needs Fourth Amendment protections, I think if you really think of the justices as almost disappearing into bubbles of right and left, and you know, the philosophers call this epistemic closure, right, the idea that you need encounter an idea that doesn't affirm your own ideas.

I think the court is as polarized as Congress. And I think the accidental brushing up against experiences that are different from yours happens less and less at the court. And I think the best evidence I have of that is these dissents, where Sotomayor writes you have no idea what is to be Hispanic.

Or where Justice Kagan and the Town of Greece writes, you have no idea what it is to sit through a city council meeting where everybody is praying to a God that isn't your God. I think that these dissents are a pretty good indicator of how the court really doesn't even see each other and see the experience not only of one another, but of the rest of us.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: You know, it's interesting, when Thurgood Marshall retired, Sandra Day O'Conner wrote a little essay in his honor that was published in the Stanford Law Review,” Dahlia's alma mater, in which she said that Justice Marshall's experience as delivered to his fellow justices around the conference table, by his telling stories from his amazing life and career, had changed the way she saw the world.

And this was really interesting because she had come to the court as quite conservative, politician from Arizona, very skeptical of affirmative action, of any racial claims. And she ends up writing close to the end of her tenure, in 2003, the University of Michigan affirmative action case, the Grutter case that upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action in university admissions.

And so, you know, she obviously was on a journey through her tenure on the court that she says herself was informed by being exposed to Thurgood Marshall. And so just picking up on what Dahlia said, you wonder if there's that kind of fruitful exchange going on right now in the court.

BILL MOYERS: You've been heard to say it's not whether the court is polarized or not. But whether they are doing the right thing for the country. Don't you think they think they are?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Oh, I do think they are.

BILL MOYERS: Do you?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: I mean, I do think that they think they are. You know, and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. But what I meant by that column that I wrote a few weeks ago was I thought this sort of trope of, oh my gosh, look how polarized the court is, was sort of missing point.

Because if we were just saying a few minutes ago, of course the court is polarized. Our politics are polarized. And who gets on the court is a function of politics and so on. So, you know, like, we're shocked that there's polarization going on here in Washington. No. I thought that that emphasis on polarization had displaced what I think is the main chance, which is what is it that the court's doing and what do we think about what they're doing?

Whether it's by five to four or nine to nothing. I mean, that's interesting. But that's not the main event. The main event is where the rubber meets the road and how are they construing the Constitution and our statutory. The laws that we live by.

BILL MOYERS: Where are they taking us?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I think that they are taking us to a sort of gradual dismantling of the Warren court era. Deep care and concern for minorities, as we construe minorities. You know, race, the elderly, the poor. And I think that one has to if one doesn't believe this, I don't know where to put it, but I think that if you believe that the court is the one counter-majoritarian check, and that it exists to say when majorities get out of control-- "Wait, stop, where is the little guy in this scenario?"

I think, where it was once understood that the little guy was the African American who was burdened at the polls, or the little guy was Lilly Ledbetter who was being paid significantly less than her colleagues and never do knew it. I think that simply the definition of who is the little guy has changed.

And strangely, as Linda says religious majorities that command huge resources and power are reconfigured as the little guy. And corporations, amazingly, you know, multibillionaires who want to give unlimited contributions are the little guy.

And so it seems to me that, you know, in a deep way, we'll-- I find it interesting that Linda and I keep circling back to the language of empathy. As you'll recall, that was the explosive term during the Sonia Sotomayor hearings. But I think that the court has really a curious empathy for little guys that probably none of us at this table think need an extra hand from the court.

BILL MOYERS: Corporations?

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I just don't think corporations are the little guy. And the notion that they can be reconfigured to look as though they are burdened beyond repair when they can't contribute without limits to elections, I think is really the end game here. And it's fascinating to me. And I think, you know, perhaps what's most fascinating is that we don't realize that that's happened.

BILL MOYERS: Linda Greenhouse and Dahlia Lithwick, thank you for being with me.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Thank you for having us.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Thank you, it was great.

Full Show: Is the Supreme Court Out of Order?

July 11, 2014

The latest session of the US Supreme Court was especially contentious, with important decisions on the separation of church and state, organized labor, campaign finance reform, birth control and women’s health, among others, splitting the court along its 5-4 conservative-liberal divide.

On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of the court’s decisions this term were unanimous — the first time that’s happened in more than 60 years. But there’s more to that seeming unanimity than meets the eye: in some instances, conservative justices went along but expressed their wish that the court had gone even further to the right, and many believe that some of the decisions might simply be a preliminary step toward a more significant breaking of legal precedent in years to come.

This week Bill speaks with Linda Greenhouse a New York Times columnist and Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate, about the latest rulings from the Supreme Court, a beat they’ve both covered for years.

“You can’t look at the Roberts court and say that they’ve done anything other than systematically unravel voting rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights [and] environmental progress,” Lithwick tells Moyers.

Greenhouse adds: “I think it’s hard for anybody looking at this court objectively to come away not thinking that it’s a court in pursuit of an agenda.”

Watch the continuation of Bill’s conversation with Greenhouse and Lithwick online in our Web Extra video »

Learn more about the production team behind Moyers & Company.

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  • Bobcb

    Tired of all this Supreme Court, “corporations are people” nonsense? Check out Mayday.us, the super PAC (of small contributors) designed to rid our politics of the outsized influence of big money special interests.

    I hope Bill will invite Professor Lawrence Lessig, founder of Mayday.us, on his show to discuss Lessig’s amazing and unique idea for returning power to “We, the People” as our founding fathers intended.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand why we have put so much energy in the Supreme Court making decisions that “fix” democracy. The Supreme Court has NEVER been on the side of the people.
    It’s up to the people to make and defend laws that protect their interests. We have to fix the Congress AND THE MEDIA so that we can ALL participate in making the laws that we ALL have to live under and stop leaving it to a relative (or literal in the case of SCOTUS) few.

  • Vera Gottlieb

    ‘Out of order’? A slight understatement.

  • Anonymous

    There is never, ever going to be a great leader to get us out of this mess under the present system. Vividly demonstrating this will emerge as Obama’s legacy.

    Trickle down doesn’t work any better for restoring democracy than it does for creating and equitable economy.
    Unless we can rediscover grass-roots democracy (by discarding the the two-party system), cease passing every issue to the partisan department (by ignoring the main-stream media) and learn to again engage our neighbors in debate – not stand-your-ground argument – we are stuck in a deep ditch of our own making and still digging.

  • Anonymous

    Lawrence Lessig is great and we all need to find a way to get behind his ideas.

  • Billy Lipps

    Nice out of date picture of the justices.

  • Anonymous

    If we want an effective choice, we must change the voting paradigm from the broken, one voter, one vote, ‘first past the post’ paradigm, to either (http://rangevoting.org) and/or (http://www.fairvote.org/instant-runoff-voting#). With the present system, we are all so trapped into stopping the worse evil, over the lesser evil, that there is never an opportunity to vote for what we ACTUALLY WANT! With the alternative voting systems offered, one can vote for what one actually believes in, without sacrificing the opportunity to block the greatest evil that you fear most. Voting for Hope rather than out of fear! Sounds fairly obvious to me.

  • Anonymous

    If we want an effective choice, we must change the voting paradigm from the broken, one voter, one vote, ‘first past the post’ paradigm, to either (http://rangevoting.org) and/or (http://www.fairvote.org/instant-runoff-voting#). With the present system, we are all so trapped into stopping the worse evil, over the lesser evil, that there is never an opportunity to vote for what we ACTUALLY WANT! With the alternative voting systems offered, one can vote for what one actually believes in, without sacrificing the opportunity to block the greatest evil that you fear most. Voting for Hope rather than out of fear! Sounds fairly obvious to me.

    If this post is blocked, I would appreciate a message, to my facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt), as to why my comments are not welcomed. I don’t think that is too much to ask. I am not flaming,… I am just asking, please, why do you choose to block my posts to your site.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that a change in the voting system is one ingredient, but it is not the solution. Also, there are plenty of effective existing systems to pick from; no need to reinvent the wheel.
    We’ve got to honestly examine our individual contribution to the problem. We re-elect individual representatives with almost the same % as we disapprove of them collectively. We contribute funds to PAC’s (the P stands for “politics”, remember) to get money out of politics. Denial is achieved by blaming the people we elect and our institutions.
    If we have a mirror the source of the problem is staring us in the face.

  • Anonymous

    It may be that getting them all in the same room, dressed up neatly in their stage gear and – particularly – smiling at the same time is proving more difficult as time goes on?

  • Anonymous

    It’s worth mentioning that in the instance of the Abortion Clinic Buffer Zone ruling, a few posters on the Internet initially posed rhetorical questions concerning this ruling and it’s implication for the continued establishment of free speech zones surrounding political conventions that in recent years have moved individuals conducting their Constitutionally guaranteed right of peaceful descent to remote out-of-the-way enclosed areas far from a publically sanctioned political event. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2016 to find out if this is an all inclusive free speech ruling or just another case of narrow government sanctioning of religious based activities !

  • http://jdurward.blogspot.com jessied44

    Given it’s decisions about women’s issues, The Taliban Five contingent of the court may need to look for fashion advice on black robes from The Ayatollah Khomeini.

  • Linda Doucett

    I am afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg. People are outraged but who cares? They are taking measures to silence dissenters. Soon we will not have freedom of internet, then all we will know will be what they want us to. Within two generations you can change to a closed society. The future looks very bleak for our children and grandchildren. They are pushing agendas though so fast one can barely keep up. People must do something now.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think we “…have put so much energy in the Supreme Court making decisions..” Its more like the energy has been sucked out of the democratic process, largely through our own neglect with a help from the perversity of our political system.
    Why do we revere the Constitution if it has led us here? Laziness, denial, ignorance or a mixture of all of the above?
    If you admire the Founders, then ask yourself have you not let them down by allowing the power set up for natural persons – “we the people” – seep into the hands of the few that control virtual “people”. If you think the Founders got it worng from the start – what have you done to help fix it?
    The few have the money; we all have the vote.
    Game on.

  • http://www.gdanmitchell.com/ G Dan Mitchell

    What happened to the right’s concern about “activist judges?”

  • Anonymous

    I have little doubt what will happen.
    There will be buffers for the conventions and people will be told they have to wait until AFTER the conventions to sue.

  • Anonymous

    If I’m not mistaken, there’s only one of these published when the court changes because there is a new Justice. This is the one when Sotomayor was added.

  • Anonymous

    Did you missed when the show talked about the threat to voting rights?

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    So, the people we voted into office want to curtail our voting rights. Maybe we should have voted for someone else.

  • Anonymous

    The Bush Administration launched ‘free speech zones’ with vigor, as I’m sure you recall, that just happened to coincide with the crescendo of public opposition to the Iraq War. As with so many other freedoms we lost under that horrific, by all measures, Presidency they assaulted our rights under the very banner they claim(ed) to defend in the interests of ‘national security’ with zero consequences.

    An analogous ‘free speech zone’ is the increasing power of corporate america to influence, control, and dictate our life away from work e.g. Hobby Lobby. I see little in Americans that would suggest they can regain control of our courts, our elections, or our lives…

  • Anonymous

    And Ginsberg, at 81 years of age, has indicated she’ll not step-down prior to 2016 which puts her seat ‘at risk’ of being filled by another Roberts.

    Progressives simply do not understand, via ignorance, disposition, or rose-colored glasses that the right sees this as a, quite literally, long-term war and while the left may gain an increasing share of minority voters…they’ll do very little with the votes if the laws, the law-makers, and the plutocrats simply prohibit them from exercising progressive ideals.

  • Anonymous

    It depends on whose ox is being gored.

  • csteve59

    up to I saw the paycheck of $6699 , I accept …that…my mother in law had been actualey bringing in money parttime from there pretty old laptop. . there sisters roommate had bean doing this 4 only 1 year and recently repaid the morgage on there home and got a great Land Rover Range Rover . you could check here
    ========>>>> MON­­E­­­Y­­­­KI­­­­­N.C­O­M

  • Jon Revoir

    Out of order? They have sanctioned the wedding of Church and Corporate State.

  • Anonymous

    Our S/C is suffering from the same “malady” as the rest of our nation: they have been afflicted by the influence of money and power from the elite in our nation. This cancer has spread to all the organs in our government. Like most cancers if it is not cut out of the body of our society, we will all suffer long term effects. This is the result of turning the use of our Bible and Constitution into the abuse of the same for nefarious reasons.

  • HopeWFaith

    This spiral of UNconstitutional decisions will have very longterm and negative impacts on rights of all the People. Not corporations, but people. That needs to be really thought about and spoken about by the People.

    A serious change is needed in the methods by which this Court is selected, but also how extremists are even CONSIDERED for a place on the court. There is an abundance of evidence that very right wing rhetoric and buzz word methods of getting their way in almost every decision made by our Congress and this court has gone over the cliff of reason. There is no “reason” in it. There is nothing but personal, extremist agenda behind it. Sickness, lies, distortions have become the religion by which they operate, both in political campaigns and on this court, in my opinion.

    I see no “consideration”, as both these writers have pointed out abundantly, by this right wing of the court, of the full circumstances, the full rights of all those being considered in their reviews of the lawsuits and the legal arguments. This is the problem, again and again. As Justice Sotomayor has profoundly understood, the extremists on this court are simply living in a bubble, not of ignorance, but of determined personal agendas, which have NO consideration for real people or the constitution our nation was built upon.

  • Robert H. Pike

    This is why we need to get out the vote this fall more than ever. If the Senate and the House become GOP controlled due to the Gerimandered districts and lazy voters, then no one should complain as we accelerate our direction to a Corporate-Religious dominated society where the rich get richer than ever, and the poor are methodically crushed.
    Once both houses are GOP controlled, the next Supreme court justices selected by them will join this group of people who are clearly influenced by wealth and bigotry.

  • Anonymous

    On the Hobby Lobby owners’ claim that some listed mandated contraceptives act as abortifacients….

    “And of course that’s a total falsehood actually because if you take the medical definition of pregnancy,… what does abortion do? It ends an ongoing pregnancy. None of these contraceptives actually do that. … none of them that are on that list work after the fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus. -Linda Greenhouse, tip-toeing around the issue of when life begins, the heart of the issue for pro-life advocates.

  • Bobcb

    Yes, Lessig was on Bill’s program previously, but that was before he successfully collected $12 million for a Super PAC to end all Super PACS.

    Lessig’s idea to use big money to end big money in politics is just crazy enough that it might work. And he is one smart guy…… very few people get $100 from me, but he did. He is likely to get more if he can effectively utilize that $12 million to get 5 Congresspeople elected that are committed to reducing the influence of big money in politics.

  • Bobcb

    Right you are, AP!

  • Jack Jackson

    The court has more unanimous decisions but more ‘created’ legal doctrine based on ideology. Voting rights laws can become unconstitutional if the data is too old? (That’s nothing less than a reward to those who constipate our Congress!) Closely-held corporations can have religious views? Seriously?! Do they have a favorite color, too? It’s ludicrous.

    Vote Democratic if you would like to see the circus leave town anytime soon.

  • Jack Jackson

    BTW…Couldn’t you find a current picture of the court? Where’s Kagan?

  • Anonymous

    And who will Lessig use his money to support? I’ll wager it will be Dems all the way down – indy progs need not apply …

    The idea that the the way to combat money in politics is – more money – seems a bit disingenuous to me, and subversive in the sense that it cements the idea that Big Money is necessary to win, not to mention that the idea that a SuperPac getting its money from small donors can compete with Big Money in that arena is downright laughable, IMO …

  • Anonymous

    Bingo!

  • Anonymous

    I agree that we have to start voting for what we actually want – but we can do that now through 3rd parties – and that is also the only conceivable way to get to what you want – an alternative voting system. The current one is too favorable to the duopoly now in charge for them to want to change it ….

  • Anonymous

    By George, I think you have this down!

  • Anonymous

    So put Stein in office :)

  • Anonymous

    Yup – get out the vote – for non Duopoly candidates …

  • Anonymous

    Life began 4 1/2 billion years ago – so if you want to go there – any action that curtails it at any point should be opposed by the so-called “pro-lyf” contingent – their decision that it “begins” at meeting of sperm and egg is an arbitrary one that suits their purposes of allowing society to control women’s bodies … if God or MN had wanted society to be in charge of those early months of individual development (S)He would have made us egg layers …. Which reminds me – where are the pro-lyfers when it comes to the “rights” of IVF embryos?

  • Anonymous

    No – vote 3rd party – the Dems are in this up to their eyeballs …..

  • Anonymous

    Choosing when pregnancy begins as a proxy for when life begins is equally arbitrary. Who, from the Medical, Political, or Judicial spheres, can say with authority that life does not begin with the fertilized egg? So you see the problem.

  • John G.

    Dahlia Lithwick says that the decision that money is speech “is not all that controversial” in the free speech community, but the Hobby Lobby case is. I do not understand this at all. Why is corporate personhood with money equated to speech less controversial than corporate religion? Maybe it’s because I’m not religious, but I feel that equating all speech of the corporate entity with money and protecting that money as speech is the most destructive thing that could ever happen. If their money was not speech, but hobby lobby still went through, then they would have an effect over their employees, which is terrible, but with money is speech corporations have overwhelming influence over all of our lives. Even corporate personhood is not as bad as that. If they used protected personhood to avoid lawsuits and evade laws, that’s terrible, but again is limited in its effect. Money equals speech (Citizens United) and speech can not be limited (Mccutchen) create a situation that means that even if Hobby Lobby were never decided on, they would still have the ability to disrupt women’s healthcare, because money equals power, and you could maybe sue and even win, but they could drag out court cases until you were bled dry of funds anyway.

  • Anonymous

    And who can say that it does?

  • Anonymous

    Everybody and nobody. So, who can say with authority that the morning after pill doesn’t have as its function ending a life? One of its functions is to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting. To the pro-life advocate, a life has been ended. You may think it’s just organic goo at that stage, but your view would be as arbitrary as it comes, and is therefore open to the charge that it was arrived at to suit your own purposes. Ms. Greenhouse essentially inserted what amounts to an arbitrary understanding of when life begins, but if she can’t claim with any backing to be “right” in her conclusion, then certainly she can’t claim that the pro-life advocates’ viewpoint that life begins with the fertilized egg is “wrong.”
    Round and round we go.

  • Anonymous

    Which is precisely the point – when no one can say for sure, no one has a right to legislate that using such and such a prescription or engaging in such and such a practice constitutes “ending life” – you can believe it does if you like, but you have no right to impose consequences of such a belief on someone else …

  • Nosy Nosy Nosy

    Up to their necks at least, but the Repubs are all the way in! The trick with third parties is to get them to win more often, rather than just spoil elections, as Nader managed to do.

  • Anonymous

    Yes with our IRS & regulatory agencies investigating & harassing private citizens their is not only outrage but out right fear of govt..The financial child abuse of the future generations causes grave concerns for our grandchildren. Govt spending needs to rained in & our 18 Trillion dollar debt needs to be addressed.

  • Anonymous

    Amen.. The big concern is the seriousness of our voters..I can not believe who they have voted into office.. The that looking at our future I feel we have a dark future. This play to pay & extortion politics needs to stop. No one goes to jail.. Jon Corzine is still walking free..with no investigation or charges .

  • http://democracylover.blogspot.com Charles D

    Easy problem to fix: vote for them.

  • http://democracylover.blogspot.com Charles D

    Let’s remember that none of these bozos could have reached the bench without Democratic Party votes.

  • Skeletonman

    Then God is the greatest abortionist of all time, since something like 1 in 5 pregnancies spontaneously aborts.

  • ACPhantom

    If it can be show that the same members of a given panel, weather it be the city council or the supreme court, consistently vote the same way based on the beliefs of a singular religious point of view, such as Roman Catholic doctrine, with a consistent and clear line drawn between them and the rest of the panel members. Then it seems possible that the argument could be made that the separation of church and state had been violated by those members. And if so, would that not render their judgments and opinions to be null and void under the constitution?

  • http://onpolicyandother.blogspot.com/ Darren

    Never say never;

    We might say the (Earl) Warren Court was on the side of the people.

  • hipocampelofantocame

    When I was at the university, I noted that the brightest members
    of my class eschewed law school. Nothing in my life and
    experience has changed my opinion. For lawyers, arrogance
    is more necessary than intelligence.

  • GenevieveLynam

    just as Douglas explained I am dazzled that people able to get paid $7303 in a few weeks on the computer . read the full info here

    . Free join~ ? M O N e Y KIN. Com ? ~~

  • pennyroyal

    NO judge, lawyer, politician, preacher, priest, or anyone else has the right to usurp a woman’s right to make decisions on her own behalf. Their us of ‘substitute judgment’ is appalling

  • Anonymous

    Beat me to it ;)

  • Anonymous

    Actually, Gore spoiled it for Nader :)

    But it wasn’t Nader who “spoiled” it – Gore didn’t even win his home state, and then of course there was the SC ….

  • Always curious

    I think the debt’s address is somewhere in China.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Our elected officials are indifferent to us.
    No college professor’s ideas and take on what our founding fathers believed will change this.
    Voters send the same old people back to the D.C. trough year in and out. Right now the conversation about the 2016 presidential race revolves mostly around a Clinton and a Bush. Why?

  • ZenderTranscender

    I agree with most of what you say, but we must have a two-party system in this country – at least two parties. You are living in a country in which many people now have their “neighbors” on Facebook. I don’t think this is what you are after. Or maybe you are looking for one enormous town hall meeting.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with country that has led us to this perversion of reality by the Supreme Corp which in turn is leading to this nations downfall is the taking of prayer out of churches. We need to put prayer back in churches in and keep it there.

  • Anonymous

    We need a lot more parties. Two is, patently, a recipe for atrophy. More importantly we need, in addition, proportional representation instead of “winner take all”.
    By neighbors I mean people living close by we can talk to face to face. Social media is the antithesis of neighborliness; it is the carapace we retreat into so we don’t have to deal with real people or reveal our true selves.

  • Nosy Nosy Nosy

    Actually, I hear it was some guy named “Chad” who really spoiled it. That’s a joke, but I thought I’d explain it to you guys. There were a lot of little things that added up to Bush’s so called “victory”, but actually I think FL and OH, at the minimum were probably “fixed” for the Repubs, and old Ralphie boy made it easier to tip the overall result. Yeah, Gore bears a lot of responsibility, but still it was very close, and highly likely that he would have won had the rules been followed more closely or had Nader stayed out of it. Plus, surely you understand that Ralph knew he couldn’t win. He claimed it didn’t matter between the Repubs and the Dems, so it was OK to be a spoiler. But there IS a difference – certainly not enough of one, yet he helped tip us into the Bush era insanity we’re still working our way out of, including this Supreme Court. I admire Ralph’s convictions and all he helped to accomplish in his earlier years, but his foray into Presidential politics was a disaster. Since then, it’s become far more difficult to get anything done. I’d vote for a third party candidate if 1.) I agreed with him or her on most of the issues; 2.) he/she showed the ability to convince enough people to vote for her despite the old guard two party lock on the White House and 3.) he/she showed the ability to actually do something in the context of the reality of modern government. Ralph only accomplished item #1. #2. might create something of a paradox, but it still has to be surmounted. I can wish he was President, but he still has to show me a coalition that will join me in voting for him, or I may be forced to hold my nose and choose the lesser of two evils. #3 seems doubtful as applied to Ralph, as both parties were so successful in marginalizing him in his campaign. Trust me, we would have been a lot better off today, not that there wouldn’t have been plenty to squabble about, had Gore been President instead of W.

  • Bobcb

    Our elected officials are indifferent to us, Z, because we do not fund their re-election, which, unfortunately, is their highest priority. Instead, they cater to the richest 0.01% because that is where most of their re-election funding comes from. And the interests of the 0.01% are often contrary to those of ordinary Americans.

    The 0.01% have the ability to buy enough air time to drown out the voices of those without such deep pockets.

    Lessig has a splendid plan to change all that and return the power and the voice to the electorate, “We, the People” as our founding fathers intended. I, for one, have put my money on him.

  • Bobcb

    I generally agree with you, hip, but in the case of Lessig, I have become convinced that he is different from and far better than your ordinary shyster lawyer.

  • Bobcb

    Good point, AC. Don’t know whether it could pass legal muster, however. But then we must remember that what makes sense and what is legal do not always coincide.

  • discountbrains .

    I assume some colleges granted these two women a degree. What school would do that given their atrocious reasoning abilities? Yes, suppose owners of a business were opposed to some vaccine on religious grounds. Should the gov’t tell them they have to provide it for their employees anyway? What if I’m adamantly opposed to firearms should the gov’t make a law forcing me to buy one? I’m very pleased with this outcome. HL SHOULD NOT be forced to go against their religious beliefs! That’s the important issue at stake here. I’m expecting many more similar challenges to this law. This only points to what a convoluted mess this ACA is and a total mistake. And, there is nothing preventing employees of HL from rejecting their insurance and buying their own. I’ll have to say much of my opinion is based on my STRONGLY held belief that the gov’t should never tell any citizen they have to buy a product or deal with an industry they don’t like. Unfortunately the Supreme Court couldn’t find the ACA unconstitutional. BUT THERE IS AN OVERLOOKED PROBLEM: ON ECONOMIC GROUNDS THE ACA WILL FAIL NO MATTER WHAT ONE’S POLITICAL OR FAIRNESS MOTIVES ARE or it and other policies will drive the country into bankruptcy! Other than variations due to age this one size fits all fee schedule is unfair; consequently, those who are a greater burden on the system should pay more. The insurance industry learned years ago they couldn’t stay viable by operating like this.
    I’ve always believed in a universal gov’t program maybe where u buy the bronze plan and u get so much healthcare for the year or a lifetime and more for the silver plan etc. If u need more than that the gov’t can’t do everything for u.

  • Bobcb

    Little tongue in cheek, but well said!

  • discountbrains .

    If I ran any business and the gov’t forced me to buy health insurance for the employees I’d simply reduce their salary by a certain amount to pay for it. That sounds legal; let’s see if the gov’t could stop me.

  • John Fienberg

    There are quite a number of conservatives who want to criminalize miscarriages too, so you’re not far off the mark.

  • discountbrains .

    I assume some colleges granted these
    two women a degree. What school would do that given their atrocious
    reasoning abilities? Yes, suppose owners of a business were opposed
    to some vaccine on religious grounds. Should the gov’t tell them they
    have to provide it for their employees anyway? Or what if I’m
    adamantly opposed to firearms should the gov’t make a law forcing me
    to buy one? I’m very pleased with this outcome. HL should not be
    forced to go against their religious beliefs! That’s the
    important
    issue at stake here. I’m expecting many more similar challenges to
    this law. This only points to what a convoluted mess and a total
    mistake this ACA is. And, there is nothing preventing employees of HL
    from rejecting their insurance and buying their own. I’ll have to say
    much of my opinion is based on my strongly held belief that the gov’t
    should never tell any citizen they have to buy a product or deal with
    an industry they don’t want to. Unfortunately the Supreme Court
    couldn’t find the ACA unconstitutional. But there is an overlooked
    problem: On economic grounds the ACA will fail no matter what one’s
    political or fairness motives are or it and other policies will drive
    the country into bankruptcy! Other than variations due to age this
    one size fits all fee schedule is unfair; those who are a greater
    burden on the system should pay more. The insurance industry learned
    years ago they couldn’t stay viable by operating like this. Its only
    fair. I’ve always believed in a universal gov’t program maybe where u
    buy the bronze plan and u get so much healthcare for the year or a
    lifetime and more for the silver plan etc. If u need more than that u
    need to find other assistance. The gov’t can’t do everything for u.
    And its not Hobby Lobby’s duty either.

  • http://democracylover.blogspot.com Charles D

    Yes we should get more people to vote, but that will not happen as long as people don’t feel they have a real choice. When they are told there are only two alternatives and they know both are tools of the 1%, why should they vote? It’s only by mass rejection of the Democratic and Republican parties that could inspire people who don’t vote to get to the polls.

  • Anonymous

    Lyrics from a folk song floating around.
    Jesus got hi-jacked by crazy people, while on his way here to heal the people, Now a hostage held for ransom, until we meet their demands, bow before them, obey their edicts worship them as idols, or they will crucify him in our place, again.

  • Bev Mabry

    … like most of Congress these days. it’s a very sad trend that seems to be going around the world as well, taking the working class people back to serf-like existence. Very sad for mankind in general this backwards movement of power and money – which also brings true freedom, voices, inventions, social progress. sorry, but the 1% may know how to use people and resources to make money – but they do not always know how to create anything else.

  • Bev Mabry

    supreme court justices should probably be coming up out of the ranks of federal judges rather than being appointed by presidents. voting on them won’t work because most citizens haven’t a clue about how the law really works in this country, and citizens tend to vote for whoever they’d like to have a beer with (like George W.)

  • Anonymous

    Science and the scientific literature would disagree w/ your hypothetical irrespective of what the belief of a pro-life advocate is. While I understand your argument it suggests that we elevate belief to a level that simply has no place in our Govt…unless you desire a Theocracy.

    Not all positions are valid, not all positions are functionally equivalent and one cannot overstate the danger inherent in adopting such a position.

  • Anonymous

    I will reiterate from prior post. There is NO science to affirm your position barring as a thought experiment it is simply one with elements of magical thinking required to maintain.

    The “problem’ is not what you have set-forth. I do see the problem though – when we elevate belief to that of science when making societal decisions we invite, on steroids, a Theocracy.

    So, the problem is not the belief of a pro-life advocate (to use your earlier words) but that we are providing credibility to positions that exist in belief only & based on that subjugating many to that belief via force of will, weight of legislation, or the hypocrisy of the Rt sitting on the Supreme Court. How is that not an American version of Sharia Law…

  • Anonymous

    How silly “HL should not beforced to go against their religious beliefs!”. I guess you missed the part where they can inflict their religious beliefs upon others in a fashion that has nothing to do with their on-the-job performance. Welcome to your Theocracy.

    I would also assume you’re a proponent of Sharia Law. If you are not, I’d be interested in your distinctions.

    As for your ACA ‘rant’ it is simply based on unfounded rhetoric and it presupposes we had a functioning health care system before its inception. I did have to laugh at your ‘one size fits all’ is unfair in this regard. It’s rather comical because, indeed, you must believe each human life is equally valued – do you not? Or do some matter more?

    Lastly, single-payer health care makes both moral and economic sense. That data is irrefutable and while you might wish to prey/pray at the altar of ‘free market’ nonsense and lies – I’d prefer to stick with economic realities when it comes to health care, quality of care, and the intrinsic value of our neighbors.

  • Anonymous

    That’d be great! I’d love it if all employers stopped providing health care. Why? Because faster than you could blink right/left/center would advocate for and get true single-payer health care. This would cut out the HMO middle-man, gouge the obscene profits thereof, exercise some decency, and restore some of the competitiveness we have lost by NOT doing so for far far too long.

    You do realize that many of the reasons American companies are less competitive is that we pay 2.5-3.0x what other developed nations do with similar political systems for health care? You do realize our health care system (barring some specialized treatments) has worse outcomes than almost any developed nation?

    As an aside, lets assume there were two identical profitable businesses that required good, smart, hard-working, thinking and thoughtful people and one offered health care and the other did not. Who do you think would be able to pick the best of the applicant pool? Your position argues, unwittingly to you, for the descent of the American ideal into some genetic lottery breed with social darwinism and I think the founding fathers would laugh at how unpatriotic your assertion is in the name of profit, greed, avarice, and American selfishness. Ironically, you think that’s the American dream. Tragic.

  • discountbrains .

    I’m really, really disappointed that human beings aren’t smarter than they are. HL is absolutely not preventing anyone from getting healthcare; they’re just not going to pay for it. And, you’re other points don’t refute and have little to do with what else I said. U might want to rethink what u said.

  • Anonymous

    I would never say that.
    Read the record of the number of cases it took Charles Houston/Thurgood Marshall and their associates to get the Warren Court to the decisions they made.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Okay, I’m game. But if makes too much sense, no one will like it.

  • ZenderTranscender

    How about two parties headed b strong leaders? The concept of the two-party system has been damaged by weak, greedy, power-hungry people. The system is okay.

  • discountbrains .

    Where do u get the assumption I’m religious. I believe in all religions; I just don’t take them seriously. No one should ever allow the gov’t to tell them they have to buy a product from a private Co.! That’s my issue here. There are many other serious flaws with the ACA too numerous to discuss here. This HL issue just points out how unworkable it is. By your own admission u say you’re slow; I, on the other hand, its well documented am in the upper 1%.

  • discountbrains .

    No one is usurping anyone’s rights here! Can’t u get that through your head? People have to tell u that over and over. They’ll just have to buy their own birth control. HL now can’t be forced to pay for it. And, it will follow that a lot others can’t be forced to pay for things they adamantly oppose. Which is a good thing!

  • moderator

    discountbrains and AFDA,

    If you cannot make your points without personal attacks, you will be unable to comment again. Please move on without any further comment.

    Moderator

  • moderator

    AFDA and discountbrains,

    If you cannot make your points without personal attacks, you will be unable to comment again. Please move on without any further comment.

    Moderator

  • Matt

    “…overlooked what the Court’s decision was about: a privately owned company’s right in the USA to do business as it sees fit, as long as it is within the borders of the law”

    The Hobby Lobby case was about what the borders of the law are. That was the topic of debate.

  • NotARedneck

    The segment was good at explaining how the RepubliCON majority can be so inconsistent in applying the law.

    They are VERY consistent in applying their opportunity to change the law on behalf of their financial backers (wealthy whites and major corporations) while throwing a few bones to their base (racists, bigots, fundamentalist nitwits, gun nuts, rural welfare queens and the irrationally fearful).

    In today’s political climate it has been a winning formula, so far and will continue to be as long as so many base their voting decisions on hot button issues rather than cold logic.

  • Serene Voice

    So you copied and pasted this from where? [obvious from the formatting of your post] You are a hater, which translates to a burden upon society. You have joined a movement that wants to destroy America. You are fearful and as a result of that fear, you hate and blame all who are not like you. We will no longer tolerate your chosen position of lying rants about how it’s Obama’s fault or the fault of the disabled and/or poor. You are being called out for your hate and if you don’t like it; tough beans. Practice some personal accountability. It’s your duty to educate yourself and stop listening to a.m. hate radio and Fox “News”, which is where you get your so-called information on everything you just spouted above. Grow a critical thinking skill and stop vomiting your lies upon our ears.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. 2 parties can’t represent c. 210m voters. My take is that the system is incapable of resisting weak, greedy, power-hungry people. The system is dysfunctional.

  • Serene Voice

    Moderator, can you help explain this?

  • Anonymous

    Um…no. It was not about a company’s right to do as they see fit. The Court was very specific that it was a narrow decision, applying only to the specific forms of birth control and not having to pay for such medicine because of this notion that corporations have religious beliefs. The medications in questions are used exclusively by women.The ruling did not cover environmental regulations, labor laws, or any other topic that would be involved in “doing business as it sees fit.” Of course, the question is, are these other areas of law now subject to the religious belief of the corporation?

  • moderator

    Serene,

    I have reached out, when a solution is at hand I will let you know.

    Moderator

  • brainhurt_and_fear

    Except HL is an employer, one that is not exempt from from paying for all other mandated healthcare responsibilities. So the ‘they’re just not going to pay for it’ excuse is just that – an excuse.

    When healthcare _is_ covered, why are these particular birth control methods so atrocious?

  • ISAIAH

    THE INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY AND BLIND JUSTICE ARE BOTH DEAD

  • ZenderTranscender

    I was going for the bottom line from the point of view of someone whose family has owned businesses and who has worked for a privately owned family business (not my family’s). What I described is the takeaway for business people.
    Those interested in religious aspects of the case see the decision as it relates to that, and some women see the – you’re correct – narrow ruling as an affront to them. It’s being politicized on all fronts. I can see no terrible Pandora’s Box now opened for other suits – at least, none that the Court is likely to hear. But who knows? Maybe all businesses should close their doors and we can all become employed by the Federal government.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, it is disappointing that the avg. IQ rests comfortably at 100. I never said that HL would prevent individuals from getting health care. Did I? Please provide that quote for it might be nice to know how you interpreted what I said.

    Lastly, I can understand that you don’t see what my points offer refutation for.

  • http://billmoyers.com BillMoyers.com Moderator

    It’s been updated and the long version (not the broadcast version) is now available. Thanks for catching that, Serene.

  • JonThomas

    I agree with your assessment of the ACA being the cause of this entire problem. The unsound premise of businesses being the enforced supplier of health insurance is at the foundation of an entire flawed structure. The Hobby Lobby case is only the beginning.

    You did however mention an idea not so well supported… “suppose owners of a business were opposed to some vaccine on religious grounds. Should the gov’t tell them they have to provide it for their employees anyway?”

    From an ACA perspective, the court was not so much ‘wrong’ in their decision. Where they seem to have gone off course (in my modest opinion) is, as was mentioned in the interview, when they grant personhood rights to corporations.

    In the sentences I quoted from your comment, the emphasis is on ‘business owners’. That is a fine thought if we were talking about a privately owned company. However, corporations are different. For legal and liability reasons, a corporation is an entity separate from the people making its decisions.

    The ACA may fail, I hope it does. It’s a terrible idea fraught with perilous precedents. The business interests of insurance and pharmaceutical industries should not have been allowed so much power in the healthcare reform debate. Universal Healthcare would have solved all these problems!

    In the meantime, while I appreciate much of your what you had to say, it is important to make the distinction between a company which a person, like-minded group, or family personally runs, and a corporation which is defined legally as having a measure of separation from its stock holders. Either the stock holders are liable for what the corporation does, or they are not, can’t have it both ways and still be in the realm of rationality.

  • JonThomas

    It’s more than “a privately owned company’s right in the USA to do business as it sees fit…”

    If Hobby Lobby were just a privately held company, I would agree. Hobby Lobby is a corporation. Whether a public, or privately held corporation, for legal and liability reasons their is a wall of separation from its stock holders (owners.)

    The owners are shielded from liability. If they are shielded, then they can not be held responsible. If they cannot be held responsible, then they are not themselves under liability for government mandates. Can’t have it both ways.

    It is the ACA which is causing these problems, and many of us tried to warn everyone.

  • JonThomas

    Yeah, if I owned a privately owned business (not a corporation,) and the government forced me into a situation I saw as an affront to my principles, I would hopefully fight, then close the doors if that was the last option to maintain my integrity..

  • JonThomas

    To all in this thread here, sorry Aq, just replying to you because your comment is showing up at the bottom…

    From a Biblical perspective… and her is where so many people misunderstand… the morality underlying that which begets life begins before even the act of intercourse. It begins even before marriage. In the song of Solomon, for example, it is mentioned ‘to not awaken love before its time.’

    Throughout the Scriptures, the concept is… life is precious! The act of creating life, or the act which can create life is sacred. It is the most responsibility a person can take on, and is not to be viewed, or considered lightly.

    This is why fornication is against God’s wishes, and why marriage before sexual relations is scripturally important.

    All arguments about fertilization are after the fact. While the moment you choose to engage in an act which creates life is the precipice, it too is even a bit after the fact.

    Imagine a scientist with 2 chemicals that he/she knows, that if combined, will cause an explosion killing 10 people. One might argue when the genesis of the reaction begins, whether it is a slow reaction, or very quick… whether a catylst was present… etc… but someone with the scientific IQ of a 3 year old can say “mommy, why did they pour one into the other?” and say a lot more basic truth than 20 experts arguing the details.

    Anyway, just something to think about.

  • MikeD

    What is happening at the Supreme Court is sad. Lady Justice is blind-folded precisely because, as Sandra Day O’Connor exemplified, cases have to be judged on merit primarily with ideology playing a distant second-fiddle. 5-4 decisions should be the exception rather than the rule but what we have here are two sides voting en bloc on strict party lines. The discernment and individual insights, the vital checks and balances the founders envisioned – gone.

    All the branches of government are dysfunctional but this particular one can “frame the way we live.”

  • Greg Colley

    Two “analytical” observations: first, the principal of insurance does not conflict with the notion of a pool of the entirety being based on a single price for everyone. Competition for desirable subsets causes insurers to reduce prices for some and jack them up for others (effectively telling the different portions of the marketplace who they are willing to do business with, and who they aren’t). But this is also why assigned risk pools exist: because the public has an interest in everyone being insured. If everyone is insured, then a single price which finances all claims is conceptually valid, and in fact, arguably more equitable given the purpose of insurance in the first place: to avoid burdening some with catastrophic losses.

    But you also raise another issue, which sounds a bit libertarian, so I will assume it is: no one should be forced to buy products or services they don’t wish to. On a specific subject, this seems logical enough. But extend the logic and you get a different situation: I object to military spending based on my faith, but yet I am forced to subsidize military spending through government expenditures. I object to subsidies for the fossil fuel and automobile industries for a whole host of reasons, some of which ultimately are built on faith-rooted principles, but yet I am essentially forced to support those through both government spending and my own spending, because mass transit does not cover all of my employment driven transportation needs..

    The principle of “common good” pushes back against your notion that no one should be forced to buy a product they don’t want to. Your principle could also be grounds for refusing to “buy” labor from a person of a particular ethnicity. Do you agree with the implications of your principles in that extension. Because if you do, then you make the assumption that the primacy of individual choice should be upheld regardless of the impact on the common good as a result of those choices.

    The objection I have to your principle is that it therefore imposes no moral accountability on anyone. I am not forced to “buy” intelligent hazardous waste disposal, I am not forced to “buy” non-polluting production technology, I am not forced to “buy” specific forms of advertising because some people object to forms of my commercial messages as “thought pollution.” I can do what I want!

    We do have a moral accountability to others, and this does create a basis for having our choices restricted. The HL case is precisely about this. HL can be boycotted successfully, and so I agree with this idea as an appropriate response. But the Supreme Court never makes decisions which remain narrowly construed, regardless of how they frame them. Huge portions of an entire economy cannot be successfully boycotted — there is simply an imbalance of economic power built into our system. So I object to your principle because it throws out any sense of morality in favor of the primacy of individuality. If you live on a desert island, alone and without interaction with anyone, you can maintain such principles. But you don’t, nor does HL, nor does the Supreme Court. The primacy of individual choice therefore an invalid basis of any morality.

    Is this sufficiently analytical for you?

  • Denni A

    “much of my opinion is based on my strongly held belief that the gov’t should never tell any citizen they have to buy a product or deal with an industry they don’t want to”

    do you hold that same premise regarding forced invasive transvaginal ultrasounds?

  • Denni A

    where are you seeing “personal attacks”?

  • Denni A

    Canada will have to prepare for an onslaught of refugees.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Maybe this is the top of the iceberg with challenges. Time will tell. The ACA rubs many Americans – especially taxpayers – the wrong way because of its manner of passage and implementation. I am all for those genuinely in need of healthcare having it, but maybe Medicare is the answer. This said, the way Medicare is implemented, with all of its corruption, would need to be overhauled. And it would need to happen in a bipartisan way – not led by people who lack the experience to do it and whom no one trusts.

  • Denni A

    then you would (or should be) be required to disclose your “business religious beliefs” during interviews with prospective candidates, no?

  • Denni A

    presidents and congresspersons come and go and we get to choose, SCOTUS not so and they are lifetime appointments.

  • Denni A

    so are you saying that employee/employers interviews should now disclose religious views and beliefs.

  • ZenderTranscender

    There was discussion that Hobby Lobby was considering that move, but I never heard an official word on that. Would have been 14,000 people out of jobs – and benefits – and multiply that effect by at least two.

  • JonThomas

    No. As delineated in the parameters of my comment, my problem is what the government might try to mandate.

    If I decide that such a mandate were a violation of my own personal principles, then I would just shut down.

    Again, as I said, I’m, not talking about a corporation. I am against corporations in general. I think they should be outlawed, and only privately owned companies, where the owner(s) retains liability, should be legal.

    Corporations allow irrationality and irresponsibility to exist in a rational world. They are a sham. A lie. Legal trickery to sidestep responsibility.

  • ZenderTranscender

    A couple of points:
    Interviewees are not required to disclose anything personal about themselves, especially not religious beliefs. Why should a private employer who’s offering them a livelihood do so?

    Sharp job seekers do their research about companies with which they interview. The interview is an opportunity for them to ask questions, as much as it is the prospective employer’s opportunity to assess the interviewee.

  • discountbrains .

    I have no objections to the gov’t requiring the citizens to pay for gov’t programs. Assumptions about my viewpoint are running wild here.

  • Anonymous

    You said in an earlier comment that the debate was descending into the nonsensical. But somehow fearing encroaching communism (government control of businesses) is not part of that descent?

    And the Pandora’s Box? Let me put it this way: I’m an atheist and a business owner. I now seemingly operate at a competitive disadvantage to religious fanatics who can choose to obey or not obey various business regulations, merely because I do not, through my corporation, exercise my religious beliefs (which, of course,. I have none).
    In other words, the Robert’s court has granted, in the corporate world, an economic benefit to religious folks and has created a systematic form of discrimination and disadvantage to non-religious folks.
    Communism, you cry. If anything, it is more in the direction of theocracy.

  • discountbrains .

    I don’t have time for u. The standard argument of all the protestors on TV is that HL would prevent individuals from getting health care.

  • Anonymous

    Am well familiar with that “perspective” – the essence of the RC position on sex ….

    But you are quite right to begin your post with “from a biblical perspective”, because that is precisely what it is – and not all share such a fundamentalist “biblical perspective”, which is why the concept of separation of church and state is so important – a separation that is being whittled away bit by bit -

    We are horrified at the concept of an fundamentalist Islamic caliphate to the point of some municipality going so far as to pass a law forbidding the use of sharia law, even as we seem to be in the process of attempting to erect a fundamentalist Christian one. The establishment of any state religion is as antithetical to democracy as is a secular corporatocracy ..

    Believe what you will with regard to the use and control of your own body and apply those beliefs to your own life if you choose – but you have no right to require that others do so with regard to their own – that should be one of the most “fundamental” tenets of all …

  • JonThomas

    “discountbrains .” has already commented, and he did so succinctly.

    I would expound on his point by saying…

    First… Your main example is a False Analogy. the Constitution of the U.S.A. is what mandates the government to provide for defense. Citizens, therefore, are not mandated to buy, or hire, personal defense contracts from private, for-profit companies. You are comparing apples to oranges.

    Your points concerning industry regulations are also off-track. These are all if-then conditions. If you ‘pollute’, then you must…

    Once again referring to the U.S. Constitution… a person has a right to life. That right cannot legitimately be construed as a mandate of servitude to a for-profit entity.

    While the ACA has stood the tests so far, the it doesn’t take a genius to see the awful future it unfolds.

  • discountbrains .

    Its formatted that way because I had to copy and paste it onto my word processor because this site would not let me edit it. I was also prevented from editing it after I pasted it.This site doesn’t like me. My opinions are solely my own derived from what I see as just and fair for everyone not just because it benefits me which sadly is the way too many people think.

  • Anonymous

    Right to life – so you are opposed to capital punishment and the use of lethal force in any context, including war …

  • discountbrains .

    Yes, I think I do. But, that’s not at all the same as being forced to buy something from a private business. U people don’t know me. In fact, I hate free-market private enterprise. I think we would be better off if we all looked after each other as one big family. My embodiment of this would be a co-op system or 1000s of them where the customer, workers, management, and gov’t would all have input into the business. Management would be chosen from those deemed qualified on a rotating, maybe 2 year, basis. If we had such a system there would be no VA type problems, no illegal immigrant problems etc, etc. In such a system there would be no “to each his needs, to each his abilities”. Rather if u can be of more ‘real’ value to everyone else u get more.

  • discountbrains .

    Excellent point!

  • JonThomas

    I completely agree with your points on personal preference and secular society.

    I am quite ‘fundamentalist’ in my own Christianity. For example… Without going into sidetracked details of every potentiality, I am generally against abortion as a ‘choice’ for a medical procedure, especially as a means of birth control.

    However, this is a choice I make for myself. The U.S. is a secular nation, it is not a theocracy. I have no desire to push my beliefs on society in general. If someone asks me for my advice on the subject of abortion, or I see an opportunity to offer a teaching, I will give it freely.

    This is the same perspective as is found in the Bible. God tries to teach people how to be responsible, but at this time, if they choose to not listen to sage advice, then he does not force them. Every person is free to choose their own path.

    Same with sexuality. People can be told why sexual relations are so potentially serious, but if they choose to engage, they must carry the burden themselves.

    Like I said… when religious minded people start trying to argue the beginnings of life, and that argument involves such discussions as when a person becomes a person, or an egg is fertilized, or when a zygote attaches to the uterine wall, etc… they are missing the Biblical understanding, and imposing spiritual understandings on a secular nation.

    And when any person ignores basic actions and principles of responsibility, they will pay a price.

  • JonThomas

    Well, generally, and personally speaking… yes.

    I do not support any warfare, nor do I personally believe any human has the right to take a life except in extreme cases of self-defense.

    But again… these, except for the military, are if/then conditional propositions.

    One of the main reasons for the U.S. Government is to protect the rights of it’s citizens.

    If you act in an illegal manner, within the confines of the U.S., then your rights can only be removed by due process.

    Under the ACA though, if you are living in this nation, you must be in servitude to for-profit entities. The then statement has been removed and replaced with the conditional proposition of ‘must‘. There is no due process. The insurance industry has literally been allowed to make servants of us all.

  • Anonymous

    I agree – the decision about how to deal with a pregnancy is between a woman and her God – no one else has a right to tell her what she must do …

  • ZenderTranscender

    Absolutely not. That’s against the law and should be. I don’t recall even insinuating this.

  • Anonymous

    Another reason to get out of your chair and work for Democrats across the nation. We have a two party system and make what we have work for we the people and not we the corporate state.

    Suggest
    you watch the Bill Moyers’ video below and soak up Dahlia Lithwick’s and Linda
    Greenhouse’s brilliant analysis of the Roberts’s Court. Dahlia Lithwick is one of my favorites and often on
    MSNBC as commentator. Her mind awes me and I think it should awe you
    too!

  • Anonymous

    Hyped up????? wrong. Dahlia Lithwick is utterly cogent, and passionate in her analysis. If you term that hyped then so be it. Dahlia, hype some more. I LOVE that woman’s mind!!!

  • Anonymous

    Saw the whole discussion. What can I say that I have not said before. I LOVE smart and those women with Bill Moyers are in fact VERY smart. I could listen to them all day. Dahlia, you MUST either run for office or get placed in a judicial position of great power. We need you. I do not want to leave the planet without seeing the immense change for the better you could have. It cannot be overstated that this was a wonderful discussion.

  • Anonymous

    You are forgiven, Bill. Nothing you do is objectionable to me. You have given us so much!

  • Anonymous

    VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE Republican OUT of office and we may get the government we SHOULD get.

  • ZenderTranscender

    I would not use the word communism because I do not see that as a serious threat. Our Nation’s Capitol is impotent to serve us because of corruption, greed, power hunger, ineptness, inexperience and the inability to know or care what the American people need. At the highest levels, there are only politics and narcissism.

    As for a strike for atheism, that happened about 50 or 60 years ago when the Court ruled for Madeline Murray O’Hare. As you must know, cases don’t just breeze into the Court for hearing. There’s a long, arduous path and I am assuming cases are meticulously vetted by law clerks and others before the Supremes accept them, much less hear them.
    I agree we should question and debate the Court’s decisions, but seeing the world in black or white – no longer even black and white – gets us nowhere. There are losses, there are wins. That goes for all of life.

  • Cynthia Davis

    I find it odd that corporations are now “super people” with all the “rights and benefits” but NONE of the liabilities , risk, and responsibility that actual humans have. Guess if you’re wealthy enough you CAN have it both ways. Just spend the money to incorporate yourself and if you partake in jail able offenses – do so in the “corporate name” which absolves you of the consequences as it was the corporation ( not you) that did it… BUT if you want to justify those horrendous acts claim that it is the “right” of the ” closely held” corporation” – just don’t make those “close holders” LIABLE!!
    LMAO all the goodies without having to pay for any of them.

  • Cynthia Davis

    So much for the “SUPER ENTITLED” giving corporations BENEFITS (disguised as rights) WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE is something NO HUMAN has been allowed.
    So REMOVE the Protections afforded to “closely held” corporations and make their “owners” as LIABLE as any other PERSON!!
    It’s only fair if the SAME REASONING is used!!

  • JonThomas

    Yeah the problem is that some religious people view it as murder…

    For the record, I do also, and the Bible has an example which illustrates treating such actions as murder.

    But, as we have already discussed, as a secular republic, using representative democracy, the laws of the U.S. are decided, not by the Bible, but by the citizens, their representatives, and evaluated to Constitutional standards by the courts.

    If, for example, a country such as the U.S. decided that straight-up murder was legal, then those are the laws of the land.

    Unrepentant actions such as fornication and adultery are serious Biblical transgressions which lead to God’s judgement of death, but they are legal in most of this country. It would be hypocritical to protest abortion but not any other serious transgression.

  • Cynthia Davis

    Don’t fall for The “JUST A” killing JUSTICE EFFECT…..
    Here’s a thought. Just like all other oppressive regimes it starts out small, gains momentum and ultimately everyone that believed they wouldn’t be affected discover somehow they are – and nobody but those in charge have any rights left.
    First it’s “just a” couple of medical restrictions and “Just women” then “just immigrants” then “just the poor” then “just those that are not our religion” then it’s “Just sexual preference” then it’s “just skin color” then it’s “JUST ____ fill in the discrimination blank” Then in the end – IT”S YOU no matter who you are.

  • Anonymous

    So do you consider abortion “straight up murder”?

  • JonThomas

    Well, it’s a fair question, but please be patient when I say that there’s not always an easy answer.

    The short answer is yes. The long answer is… just like examples found in cases of my truncated previous description… ‘straight-up murder… it can be just as complicated.

    There are a number of scenarios and levels of intent. I won’t get into those in any depth as each case is personal.

    What I will say that there are even instances where abortion might be chosen in order to save the mother’s life. Or vice-versa, where the mother’s dying might save the child. Again, there are too many circumstances to go into detail and those instances are up to the parents and perhaps a doctor/healthcare worker.

    As far as choosing to have an abortion, although a legal and practical separate category, yes.. I agree with the Bible’s view that it is a serious transgression that was to be given the same penalty as murder. It is the taking of life. It is, at best, a diminution which seeks to impose a person’s trivialized view over the sacredness of life.

    The Bible even offers the view that God ‘sees’ a person while they are still in the womb. Ps. 139:16

    While it’s complicated at times, there are a number of scriptures on the subject so as to guide an individual seeking to please God.

  • Anonymous

    So, if it is to be deemed a crime – what kind of murder is it? 1st degree?

  • JonThomas

    Perhaps you misread one of my comments?

    I don’t think I said that it would, or would not be a crime in this, or any other human government.

    The only answer I can think to give to that question, as it’s phrased and without going into too long a discussion for this forum, is that in God’s Kingdom, unrepentant murderers are under a sentence of death. Rom. 6:23

    Maybe to go a step further I would add that: aside from the principle found at Acts 5:29 (where the Christians disobeyed human rulers who commanded that they disobey God,) whatever the nation, Christians who seek to follow God’s word would do their utmost to adhere to the Bible’s direction at Rom. 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13-15.

    I hope that offers an answer.

  • HopeWFaith

    Agreed. Most American voters don’t even know what their Senate and House are voting for regularly. Unless the media picks it up and blows it out for all to hear about, people just don’t know. Some of us read enough to keep somewhat aware, but you’d almost have to be a Congressional Reporter to see and hear enough to be fully aware. It takes time, effort and a real desire to see what is going on on the “floor”. So electing justices would just turn this into more of an unknown. At least now we can read up on what these appointees have done over time, before the Republicans push them through or deny them. Since Thomas, I’ve had much greater clarity about “what is up” with these sneaky Republicans (and Democrats). It is not good. The Kochs really are in control, and we have got to turn that tide around. Some how, some way.

  • Anonymous

    So you would not support making it illegal?

  • JonThomas

    I neither support, nor do I disapprove of making it illegal.

    See, here’s the thing… for me, and I would say all Christians really, it’s already against the law… just not necessarily human laws. This however is a clumsy way of expressing the idea. God has given us a way to live. Abortion (as I discussed earlier… generally speaking) goes against every lesson God has taught his followers.

    There are transgressions that contradict his ways, and abortion is one of them.

    I can offer another example… if a Christian were to live in China, and the State tried to force an abortion, in order to obey and please God, that Christian would have to refuse the human government.

    Christians are born into citizenship, or can apply for citizenship in human run governments, but we choose a leader and Kingdom upon baptism.

    One of the reasons for baptism is the symbolic representation of choosing to follow God’s ways. Upon baptism, a person is publicly declaring that they will obey God’s commands, and take his son Jesus as their king.

    In a sense, it’s similar to a new American citizen reciting the Pledge of Allegiance… which we discussed on last week’s forum.

    So, whatever the government of this country decides to do with abortion, it doesn’t really affect me or my actions, my course on that subject has already been chosen (well, unless they try to force abortions, that would be a game changer for Christians living here. At that point there’s the whole… I’m a man thing… which really doesn’t matter though when talking about what a Christian would do under such circumstances.)

  • Greg Colley

    There is a significant distinction between making assumptions about your viewpoint and presenting the logical extension of your argument. I did the latter. But just to clarify, your objection is to anyone being forced to buy something from a private enterprise? But if your mandated contributions to government are then used to buy something from private enterprise, this is ok? Even if it for a product or service you otherwise object to and would not acquire personally?

    And you did not address my suggestion that — by logical extension — your approach would seem to support the refusal of a company to “buy” labor from anyone due to racial prejudice, nor obligating private enterprises to take responsibility (by purchasing products and services they otherwise would avoid) for environmental damage they cause. I am making no assumption about your views in these cases, I am asking you to address what seem to be logical extensions of them. Your thoughts?

  • Greg Colley

    I don’t think it is a false analogy simply because (as I pointed out to discountbrains separately) the transaction flows through government, and even if based on a constitutional premise. discountbrains objected to requiring people or companies to make purchases (as he later clarified) from from private enterprise. But using my mandated contributions to government which are then used to make purchases from private enterprise are ontologically different? I don’t think they are.

    And an if-then proposition does not negate the underlying “mandate.” The one does not eliminate the other (a conditional requirement becomes a requirement when the condition is triggered). Can you explain in detail how this is logically “off-track”?

    Ultimately, you, and I, and discountbrains agree that running healthcare through for-profit insurers is a terribly idea. But I was primarily responding to discountbrains criticism of the analytical rigor of the women in the interview. I was pointing out that the position of not requiring private parties to do business with other private (for profit?) parties under specific conditions is an over-broad assertion, because it has far-reaching implications.

    If the US government exists to protect the right of its citizens, and if the government can do so by requiring private parties to enter into transactions with other private parties as a means of protecting the rights of some of those citizens (witness my examples of requiring companies to “buy” labor from people they might otherwise exclude on racial grounds, or requiring companies to purchase technology to mitigate the environmental damage they would otherwise inflict on everyone else), on what first principle do you make a blanket objection to such requirements? There is an unresolved conflict in your reasoning, and it is an important one, to me, because while we agree on healthcare through private insurers (an approach taken for political reasons, which failed miserably in that regard anyway), I do NOT agree that government should be always and everywhere precluded from directing private to private behavior.

    Even in discountbrains ideal environment of a coop system (which I agree with entirely), there is still, logically, a role for government to regulate private to private transactions. This flows from the principle of “common good” which I articulated, but on which you did not comment. I would be interested to hear more specific thoughts from you on that.

  • JonThomas

    As far as I am aware, the Government is under no Constitutional compulsion to outsource to private enterprise.

  • Greg Colley

    Agreed. But the point I am pursuing is that discountbrains objects to free market private enterprise in general, which entails a compulsion to transact with such entities. But it also entails voluntary transactions, including those made by government (setting aside for the moment whether or not coops are free market private enterprise). Government voluntary decisions using my compulsory transfers to government are beyond my control, and therefore compulsory to me. Either way, there are both transactions with private enterprise and a compulsory quality about government purchases, unless government replicates every vendor it uses with a government operated alternative.

    So the lack of compulsion of government purchases is not specifically germain.

    What about my question to you about the validity of government regulation of private transactions under its function of providing protection? You didn’t address that point.

  • JonThomas

    Minus specific examples, such a question is too broad. The Government (re:Congress) has every authority to regulate interstate commerce. How each regulation is accomplished will be at question for it’s constitutionality.

    As for the example given in your previous comment concerning industrial pollution… again, as far as I am aware, there is no mandate that companies must purchase scrubbers (or whatever devise used) from specific marketers. If they wanted, they would be free to design and implement their own.

    In general answer to your question I would opine that as in the regulations mentioned above, every specific example would need to be evaluated on it’s own merits and constitutionality.

    If you want to bring this back around to the ACA… I have never really questioned the Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the healthcare law (that’s a question I personally, with the large amount of case law involved, am ill-equipped to answer.) I question its merits, the cronyism involved in its planning, and the precedents set. The ACA sends this nation hurling down a very precarious and narrow path. The end of which either calls for slamming on the brakes (if that proves possible, which prior example shows it won’t…,) and back tracking… or going over a cliff from which this nation may never recover.

    Seriously. I see it as a similar situation to slavery. At the forming of the Constitution, there was not a little difficulty deciding whether allowing slavery should be the course set. In order to establish a union, slavery was permitted.

    Not far down the down, 70 years or so, the nation saw the need to reverse course and go down a new road. As we all know, such a change proved quite difficult. Slamming on the brakes to preserve the rights of individuals was set against the momentum of the financial interests of private enterprise.

    The result… well, a small skirmish… which could have gone either way.

    When this country reaches that same point – where the desire to form a quick agreement on healthcare reform, just as with slavery, necessitated compromise with self-interested forces of ideology and finance, runs smack dab into the the evolving will of the public – if the forces are just as entrenched as they were 150 years ago, then conditions may erupt.

    There are some caveats of course… can the self-interests and ideologies affect evolution of public will? Can changes be made before the conditions become uncontrollable?

    However, in general, we are seeing individual rights and power being sublimated in favor of the self-interests of finance and especially… corporate entities.

    Is this legitimate or valid? Well, that of course is up to the will of The People. However, the will of the people is far too malleable to the hands of those same financial interests controlling the dissemination of information and opinion.

  • lostinbago

    some really shaky facts. did you include the 30,000,000 killed in eastern europe by the nazis as part of the deaths due to ‘from each to each’ generalized statement? were the civil war deaths in china and vietnam attributed to communism even it caused by their opponents?
    If you want to count deaths, the US has a few million we can take the body count credit for.
    I too am disturbed by the preponderance of one religion (catholic) among the majority of males.

  • lostinbago

    I found them contentious, but did not see any really personal attacks.

  • Anonymous

    Many are baptized as infants – hardly a choice ….

    Your “course on that subject” – as a man, how can you have a “course” as it can never be a real issue for you – only for someone else ….

  • Anonymous

    Fine, I see your point, but if you don’t want to contribute to a black or white world, then perhaps you should be a bit more careful in selecting your words (e.g., “Maybe all businesses should close their doors and we can all become employed by the Federal government.”). It makes it seem (to me, at least) that the author has a B/W perspective on things.

    And as for decisions made 50 years ago (stare decisis, no?), I hold little faith in that principle being followed any more by the SCOTUS. I trust I am not alone.

  • MikeD

    Routine 5-4 decisions, coming down along the basic fault-lines in the body politic, are deeply troubling in that the supreme court of the land is supposed to be above the fray. But I take your point – it is dangerously skewed in one direction.

  • Anonymous

    Not a false analogy when considering the HL case implying that religion trumps the common good. The common good means not forcing other people to bear children because your religion objects to birth control. It shouldn’t matter if that person is your brother, your mayor, your husband or your boss. The corporation of HL was not forced into buying contraceptives; they were objecting to paying for insurance which happens to cover contraceptive methods they didn’t like for invalid reasons.

    The Constitution calls for defending the country, but it does not call for invasions of other nations that pose absolutely no threat to us, nor to arm insurgents in other countries, sell arms to “friends” and a host of other things that “defense” monies have been used for with no objections on the part of the Court.

    The biblical commandments say that killing is wrong but nothing about contraceptives, yet the HL people don’t object to killing living, breathing people in other countries but worry about a fertilized egg not being implanted in a woman’s uterus. But I guess the Constitution doesn’t address religious hypocrisy.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Equal application of the law would be defined in terms of the results. You can’t divorce laws from the real world in which they operate, and expect them to function. I don’t understand what distinction you are trying to make. Maybe you could explain that?

    Progressives do not believe in taking rights away from intolerant people. In the Hobby Lobby case for example, no progressive is arguing that the Green family shouldn’t have the right to live their personal lives according to whatever beliefs they wish. They already have that right and exercise it. Progressives are arguing that employees should have the same right; that a religious boss does not have the right to impose his religious beliefs upon others, infringing upon their religious freedom (or freedom to not be religious). The gay rights movement is not about taking away heterosexual homophobes’ right to marry, it’s about extending those rights to cover everyone, regardless of orientation. Racial equality is not about about taking away the rights of racists, it’s about making rights universal regardless of race.

    Libertarianism is based on the false belief that freedom is maximized when no government exists. All that happens in that situation is that more powerful people infringe upon the rights of less powerful people. Of course a government may be despotic and act as the infringing party. In order to have freedom, it is necessary to not only have a government, but a government which serves a specific purpose. In the absence of a government, you are guaranteed to lose your rights, while the presence of a government at least gives you the possibility of protecting rights (if that government is run according to certain principles). Evil government is not an argument for no government at all.

    “Equal application of the law will NEVER result in equal outcomes NO MATTER what the law may be. Equal results achieved for all peoples can only occur under the most despotic of governments as a matter of course.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, but you seem to be conflating the concept of conformity to the law with the substance or purpose of laws. You can impose laws upon people which strip them of their rights, or impose laws which protect rights.

    “The example of over 140,000,000 people murdered, in the twentieth century, in allegiance to the doctrine of ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their need’, ought to give all genuinely compassionate people pause about using government power to impose compassion upon others.”

    Mass murders do not happen because of an attempt to “impose compassion,” they happen because ruthless dictators want absolute power and control.

    “If it is wrong to impose the altruistic duty to carry an unwanted fetus for nine months, to give birth, and then put the child up for adoption, when is it then okay to impose altruistic duties upon unwilling subjects, I ask.”

    The abortion issue is not about imposing an altruistic duty, it’s about defining what constitutes a human life, with the corresponding set of rights. It is a question of when tissue ceases to be the property of the mother, and begins to be a separate human. If you believe abortion is murder, then you can justify it as a state criminal issue. You however identify yourself as a pro-choice secularist which makes your view that abortion is a state criminal issue inconsistent.

    “Why are any of us so certain of who deserves state assisted empathy, while others do not?”

    On the left, people believe that certain necessities like food, basic medical care, heating assistance in the winter, and basic shelter qualify as worthy of “state assisted empathy,” as you call it. On the right, state assisted empathy should be reserved only for wealthy powerful people who are white, Christian and male. This is a fundamental left/right moral difference. I have a moral certainty that a hungry person’s need to eat trumps a billionaire’s need to further enrich himself. I can’t speak for others, but my certainty comes from a framework of universal principles which I have developed over my lifetime. Moral principles can never be shown (unlike facts and logic) to be “correct” or “incorrect.” You can make a logical argument for consistency, but the underlying beliefs are ultimately a matter of personal opinion.

  • Invasive Evasion

    “Yes, suppose owners of a business were opposed to some vaccine on religious grounds. Should the gov’t tell them they have to provide it for their employees anyway?”

    Yes, of course the government should tell them to provide it anyway. A CEO’s belief in magic doesn’t give them the right to deprive their employees of medical options.

    “Or what if I’m adamantly opposed to firearms should the gov’t make a law forcing me
    to buy one?”

    Your analogy doesn’t work. The government isn’t forcing people to use contraception, they are only requiring that it be available. It would be more analogous to a pacifist CEO threatening to fire anyone who owns a gun, and the government blocking his ability to do this and protecting your right to own one.

    “I’m very pleased with this outcome. HL should not be forced to go against their religious beliefs! That’s the important issue at stake here.”

    Hobby Lobby is a corporation, which is not a person, but an organization composed of many people. When you say “HL should not be forced to go against their religious beliefs” you are equating the corporation with the CEO, and ignoring all of the other people (the employees) who are also part of the organization. The Green family already had and exercised, prior to this court decision, the right to live according to their personal beliefs, and to not use contraception (which they falsely believe causes abortions). What they were objecting to, the motivation behind bringing this suit, was their inability to impose their beliefs on others. CEOs already have the power to control employees’ lives while at work, within the context of performing their jobs. A CEO does not have the right to impose their “faith” upon the private lives of employees, which includes medical options available from insurance. Agreeing to do a job does not strip a person of their individual constitutional rights, and transfer those rights to the CEO.

    “And, there is nothing preventing employees of HL from rejecting their insurance and buying their own.”

    When you say “their insurance” you are assuming that insurance is the sole property of the CEO or the shareholders, and not the employees. It is the labor of employees which pays not only for any direct insurance contributions, but also any indirect contributions made by the abstraction of the “corporation.” Saying that Hobby Lobby is paying for insurance is another way of saying that employees are paying for their own insurance. Why should people paying for their own insurance not have the right to decide what options are available in that insurance? Why do the CEOs preferences take priority over the workers?

    “I’ll have to say much of my opinion is based on my strongly held belief that the gov’t
    should never tell any citizen they have to buy a product or deal with an industry they don’t want to.”

    I fully agree with you on this point. The government has no right to force people to enrich insurance companies. The solution to this is to have a single payer system, in which we pay our insurance premiums into a non-profit government fund, which then pays out as a single source to cover medical expenses. This should also be the case for automobile insurance. We should be paying into a single government fund exactly the amount necessary to cover the cost of claims and management of the fund, without paying extra to enrich corporate elites.

    “Unfortunately the Supreme Court couldn’t find the ACA unconstitutional.”

    Roberts crossed over to join the liberals on the court because as a shill for big business, he recognized that this decision is actually pro-business. He was also likely concerned about the perception of credibility from a court which repeatedly makes ideological 5-4 decisions. The liberals supported it because they figure it’s as good as we can get, and better than nothing at all.

    “But there is an overlooked problem: On economic grounds the ACA will fail no matter what one’s political or fairness motives are or it and other policies will drive the country into bankruptcy!”

    That is not true, and also irrelevant to the Hobby Lobby case. People end up paying for health costs one way or another. Letting people’s conditions worsen to the point where they end up in the ER is a more expensive way to cover costs.

  • JonThomas

    Unfortunately you are being forced to defend a so-called ‘common good’ that is neither common, nor good.

    The only way Healthcare becomes a common good, is when the Government funds or administers the service.

    Until then, it is being unequally paid for by a select group of people through a mandate.

    Americans, like yourself, have been forced into a position of taking up postures against one another to each protect what each sees as their rights.

    Let’s do a little thought experiment to carry just a small tenet of the healthcare law through to it’s logical outcome, shall we?

    Now, this is not reality, nor am I supposing it will ever be reality. Instead, this is a little foray into the question of whether the ACA is a rational method of administering this so-called public good.

    Let’s just jump into it and say that tomorrow, every business in the U.S. decides to close it’s doors and fire every person working.

    What happens to healthcare? Do you criminalize closing down businesses in order to protect this so-called common good?

    Do you expand Medicare to cover every American who is now out of a job?

    Oh wait, that hasn’t even been done now…

    Do you declare marshal law and enact emergency powers to seize the property of all the businesses?

    We all know the answers to these questions.

    If Healthcare is a ‘common’ good which should legitimately be given to every person in the U.S., then it must be funded through the Government and offered to all people equally and without advantage or prejudice. Until it is, then it can not be considered a ‘common good’.

    Healthcare is an indissoluble part of life. There are too many different people, with too many belief systems, who view aspects of healthcare in extremely diverse personal and spiritual ways.

    Until government (a secular institution) is the clearing house for healthcare, all these ridiculous arguments will continue to arise causing trouble.

    Well meaning people like yourself will be pitted against well meaning others.

    Lastly, when it is finally administered by the Government, then not only will it be common, it will be good, and it will be for the common good, and it will be a right!

  • Invasive Evasion

    “But this is also why assigned risk pools exist: because the public has an interest in everyone being insured. If everyone is insured, then a single price which finances all claims is conceptually valid, and in fact, arguably more equitable given the purpose of insurance in the first place: to avoid burdening some with catastrophic losses.”

    In judging the validity of mandatory insurance, you have to judge not only the issue of people paying a fixed or limited price into a common pool (the concept of insurance), but also the issue of being forced to pay into a pool in which part of pool ends up as private profit in someone’s pocket. Mandatory government insurance is valid only if it is also non-profit. We should not be forced into being customers of private industry, and forced to enrich executives and shareholders.

    “…but yet I am essentially forced to support those through both government spending and my own spending”

    Taxes force us to indirectly fund or purchase a great many things against our will, and contrary to our morals. This is not so much an argument that mandatory purchases are acceptable, as it is an argument that tax expenditures should be restricted to purposes in which there is a clearly demonstrable common good.

    I would certainly agree with your larger point that the freedom to abstain from collective purchases (whether directly mandated, or indirectly forced through taxes) is not an absolute. It must be considered within the context of purpose and morality. The burden of proof however lies with those wishing to force a collective purchase, rather than those refusing.

    “We do have a moral accountability to others, and this does create a basis for having our choices restricted. The HL case is precisely about this.”

    If by “this” you mean the issue of whether the government has a right to force people to purchase health insurance, then the Hobby Lobby case had nothing to do with this. This issue was the subject of the original supreme court challenge to the ACA. This was not part of the Hobby Lobby case. The Hobby Lobby case is a question of the limits of corporate power and religious rights regarding insurance and contraception. It has sweeping implications for the rights of employees vs their bosses, and for whether a belief in magic justifies breaking the law, but it certainly didn’t challenge the larger legitimacy of mandatory health insurance.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Unless the military develops all its own weaponry, and internally recreates the manufacturing capabilities of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE, etc., outsourcing to private enterprise is a practical necessity. As taxpayers we are forced to purchase weapons from corporations, and make their executives and primary shareholders fabulously wealthy. This not merely analogous to a mandatory purchase, but an example of one. I don’t understand your objection.

  • Invasive Evasion

    You’re making the argument that there is an inherent conflict between individual liberty, and the pursuit of profit, with slavery being one example. I would agree with that. I would broaden it to say that the pursuit of profit, and the economic system based on this goal (capitalism) have an inherent conflict with morality in general. Immoral behavior radically increases profitability, which is a fundamental, inescapable, and unacknowledged flaw of capitalism.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The HL case is about far more than women’s rights, or the “rights” of a corporation. It intersects with a dozen different issues, all of which it gets dead wrong.

    To focus on your specific issue, are you implying that the employees of a corporation make no sacrifices? Are you implying that executives are not proportionally compensated hundreds to thousands of times more than employees. Are you saying that employees forfeit their constitutional rights to their CEOs? Are you saying that employees who pay for their own insurance through their labor should have no say in what their insurance covers? Are you saying that continued employment by people who are forced by desperation to remain at their jobs somehow justifies the policies of their employer? Are you saying that the “corporate veil” should be one way membrane which allows expanded rights to flow in, but blocks accountability from flowing out?

    Are you saying that a belief in magic justifies breaking the law? Are you saying that non-magical rational moral objections deserve less consideration than objections based on magic? Are you saying that classifying a zygote as human life is a Christian principle? Are you saying that you see no hypocrisy in claiming to be a Christian and running a for-profit business? Are you saying that religion is a menu from which a person can choose beliefs in order to avoid compliance with the law? Are you saying that the function of the supreme court is to make ad hoc decisions to impose their religion on others?

    This is an idiotic and immoral decision on multiple levels.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The fallacy of the false dichotomy is limiting options to two extreme cases. Saying that either CEOs get to impose magical beliefs on employees, or they all close their doors is a perfect example of this invalid argument.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Millions of desperate people in this country will take any available job in the interest of survival. Because an employer can get employees to accept immoral policies in no way justifies having those policies.

    If one side says 2+2=4, and the other side says 2+2=7, you can certainly pretend that presenting both sides is objectivity. This is the business model of the mainstream media. Presenting such false equivalencies is good for ratings, but is a disservice to the truth.

  • Invasive Evasion

    You just made the argument that god opposes itself.

  • Invasive Evasion

    You must be aware that every ancient culture invented stories about magical beings, because they were ignorant. You clearly reject all of these stories except the ones told by the ancient Hebrews. Why are they an exception to you? Why do you feel it necessary to elevate the nonsensical beliefs of this one particular culture? I’m not trying to attack your beliefs, but simply trying to understand how an otherwise rational person can believe stories which so obviously lack any basis in reality.

  • ZenderTranscender

    I could say the same of you with the black-white remark, but I don’t even know you, so I will let you off the hook on that one. No need for argument.

    I am not an emotional thinker, but that is not to say I am uncaring or am devoid of emotions. Our society is awash in drama, romance, consumerism and emotions. That is how many people make their decisions, from electing a president to living their lives. That is also a contributing factor to stress and distress. We have become a medicated society who has lost much of its reasoning powers – we react a lot – and that is a huge reason for our polarization. It’s also why so many people actually choose pets over human relationships. Other than cleaning up their messes, dogs and cats require much less energy than humans.

  • Melwoolf

    Yes, women are definitely going backwards. Men will make sure they rule us again – if you control our reproduction what else is ahead? What all this Hobby Lobby business is doing is making certain that the poor and low paid women will struggle to control their lives. No money, no doctor, no clinic, no control. Keep them down. How horribly tragic and short-sighted these rulings are. Maybe someone can think of a way to reverse our country’s path but how???

    Only middle class and well off women have the ability to pay/control their lives. The Christian Right supposedly care about unborn babies but they certainly don’t care about their lives afterwards!

  • Melwoolf

    Love what you have said. So thoughtful and right. Thank you. Don’t know what David Rogers Hunt is really saying but you framed the argument perfectly in response.

  • Jack Jackson

    Get serious. Voting 3rd party is voting to KEEP THE GAME as it is. There is no serious 3rd party candidates to follow. No 3rd party within shouting distance of actually holding office. Back a third party if you must, but a far more certain plan is to put Democrats into office to stop the GOP obstructions.

  • JonThomas

    Well first… you are correct, I am aware that ancient cultures have stories about magical beings. Although, I’m not entirely sure that they are all ‘invented’.

    I believe that there is a measure of truth in many ancient stories.

    But… before a person is to fully understand my view, just as they would a book, they would have to read the Bible cover to cover.

    I didn’t even read the Bible until I was 30 years old. By then, I had learned a measure about many of these ancient beliefs.

    However, I found myself in the position of having to read the Bible before I could make a judgement. It’s easy to (pre?)judge something upon one’s own basis of understanding… but walking a mile as they say.

    Many of the religions that came after the Bible, the sects and religions which base themselves on the Bible, or use a common teaching, must be internally judged. In other words, do they hold true to their own belief structure. That cannot be judged until one knows the belief structure.

    It’s easy to say that a butterfly has some sort of amazing, magical ability to flutter haphazardly, then immediately alight upon a specific flower… until you learn that they have Tetrachromatic vision.

    Point is… that perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to be learned when the mind is open to rationally, willingly, and earnestly examining something new.

    Every person may come from a different direction when examining these issues, but the one I came from had a binary condition… one that could even be phrased in terms of good, and/or evil…

    Life vs. death… or more clearly expressed… existence vs. non-existence.

    Or more dramatically… To be or not to be.

    If that is the basic condition of life/death in it’s binary form, is there then a rational understanding of how to accentuate one, while minimizing the other? And how can one know when to do either?

    Some rational minded people may enter in through “you can’t get something from nothing.”

    Others look at the majesty of it all and just say… “wow!”

    The Bible says people are ‘called’.

    A radio receiver picks up different signals depending on how it is tuned. Humans aren’t much different. If you find yourself around people who are feeling depressed, it’s very easy to start feeling depressed. Same with anger, same with happiness. What you ‘tune’ into is often the ‘frequency’ at which your senses begin to ‘vibrate’. If you have a measure of strength, regardless of what was around, you could also tune into what you desired.

    Now try to imagine that each emotional sense, anger, depression, happiness, love etc.. has a vibratory tone (we often depict them as colors… red for anger, yellow for happy…) Now imagine that, like that radio, whatever is touching that vibration also begins to resonate.

    One last thing on this lark (I’m obviously not filling in the blanks)… imagine if there were a ‘dimensional’ level at which there existed beings which more closely resembled such vibrations than flesh. Suppose this spirit (in this case, love) was very subtle, and had volition. Now, I’m not saying that this is exactly how it is… I’m just suggesting a possibility. It would be easy to dismiss. Think of all the knowledge long dismissed throughout history because of limitations in perception.

    Anyway… there are more things in heaven and earth horatio…

    The amount and depth of rationality that is contained in the Bible may completely blow your mind. Unfortunately… much of what is known and disseminated outside of that realm of knowledge is often exaggerated and misrepresented.

    Read it for yourself, then decide and judge. Judge it not on what others say about it, or what you may believe. Judge it on it’s own merits. That’s basically what I did.

  • ZenderTranscender

    No. You are saying all those things.
    You seem inordinately invested in a decision that probably doesn’t even directly affect you. Or do you work for Hobby Lobby?
    Go have a cup of green tea with some honey and breathe deeply. In fact, take a lot of deep breaths.

  • ZenderTranscender

    What is invalid about my statement? If you own your company, you can do as you please. That’s a huge plus to not having the government in your business. Hobby Lobby is very successful, so I don’t expect it to close – especially since it won a Supreme Court ruling. But they do have that option. If you feel so strongly, don’t give that company your business.

  • ZenderTranscender

    I agree with you about the media, but people who run for-profit entities want the best people to work for them – especially family-run businesses.
    If you’ve ever been in corporate management and you’re sitting on the hiring side of the table, you are seeking future employees who are a good fit for your organization, people who will perform well. Smart interviewees are looking for the same – even in this terrible job market. It’s a great market for employers with lots of talented people to choose from. I doubt if Hobby Lobby had to deceive people to get them to come to work for them.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The Bible is just an anthology of ancient Hebrew writings which reflects their culture. It contains mythological stories which were invented to fill in the gaps of their vast ignorance. It provides a pseudo-historical account of the people of that time period which is part fact and a great deal of fiction. It contains the moral views of at least some of the people of that time, some of which we would agree with, and some of which we universally reject. It contains tidbits of wisdom and insight as well as beliefs which are foolish, ignorant, stupid, ugly and nasty. If I were to randomly select any ancient culture (and many present day cultures as well), I would find the same components. I could look at the people of the Indus valley, or the ancient Celts, or a Chinese dynasty, or a group of Native Americans, or the Greeks or Romans, and make the same argument that valuable insights exist within these cultures. When studied from a historical perspective, ancient cultures can teach us things about human behavior, and the operation of human societies. If this is what Christianity did, mining one pet ancient culture for insights, then I would find that perfectly acceptable.

    But what Christianity does is to claim that the beliefs and culture of this one particular group of people did not come from ordinary flawed humans, but from some perfect magical source which is unquestionable and infallible. This is utter nonsense. The ancient Hebrews were, (like all humans past, present, and future) guilty of ignorance, stupidity, selfishness, egocentrism, tribalism, bigotry, cruelty, greediness, and every other conceivable fault and human failing. To remove this one culture from the context of history and evolution and place it on a divine magical pedestal is completely insane. The only thing which blows my mind about the Bible is that anyone can see it as anything more than what it is, which is an anthology of writings from ordinary deeply flawed iron age people.

    I look at your explanation for why you think the Bible is special, and I could pick it apart on a line by line basis as being nonsensical. I also know that doing that would not in the least change your mind. Religious debates are non productive because once you abandon reason and evidence, then the discussion is over. The ability of people to be (relatively) rational about the world, and yet compartmentalize this one area of irrationality amazes and baffles me. Your comments on other subjects are knowledgeable, rational, and insightful. Yet when it comes to religion, you’re making claims which are right up there with unicorns and magical garden gnomes in terms of credibility and plausibility. I find that inconsistency absolutely astonishing.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Those are good points with which I fully agree. Greed is a polite word for a hoarding disease, which is not a practically feasible or morally defensible basis for civilization.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Thank you. The application vs. results distinction is an interesting point, but I’m not sure what he meant by it either.

  • Invasive Evasion

    I have never been to a Hobby Lobby, will never go to one, and will certainly never work for one. If this were limited to only Hobby Lobby, I would still care (because I care about justice extending beyond my immediate circumstances), but I wouldn’t care as much. The reason this decision angers me is because it is one more step towards both theocracy and plutocracy. The overall trend and implications of it affect us all.

  • Invasive Evasion

    A business doesn’t have to deceive people in order to gain their committed employment. Economic desperation forces people to accept unfair and immoral agreements.

    Would you not accept that the willingness of people to be exploited doesn’t justify exploiting them?

    Does it bother you at all that we have a business model in which the interviewees are thinking only of potential paychecks, the interviewers are thinking only of quarterly profits, and neither sides cares about fairness, decency, or the potential harm done to others by the profit making activity?

  • Invasive Evasion

    Why is allowing people to do whatever they please in the pursuit of self enrichment, without moral considerations, a good thing to you?

    You’re arguing that we should not care about injustice unless it directly affects us. That’s a horribly selfish and destructive value system.

  • JonThomas

    Well, I do appreciate the complements, but as I said, until you read the Bible for yourself, you have little shared perspective.

    I’ll tell you what, you find a topic from the Bible that you find objectionable or unbelievable, and we’ll discuss that subject. I would ask that you try to keep the topic focused. Writing out such a discussion is not easy for me.

    I understand that you are baffled. From the tenor of your comment, you may not be interested in discovering the apparent incongruity between my mind and my beliefs. But to me, it does seem that the image you have in your mind may not be an accurate reflection of what the Bible teaches.

    Well, it might be an interesting discussion, give it a thought.

  • Melwoolf

    Why don’t you run for office? Please! We need people like you who can get to the point quickly and clearly. Our country needs you!

  • ZenderTranscender

    The Court rattled a lot of cages with this decision, and everyone has his/her interpretation of its meaning. They have taken it personally. Religious groups believe they did not go far enough. Women believe it is all about their reproductive rights, and people like me see the ruling as a plus for privately owned businesses (no government, no donors, no stockholders). They have invested their lives and wealth – which they did start out with but have built – in a company they envisioned. If the family were atheists objecting to a new law that digs into its business, the Court most likely would have ruled the same.

    I am much more concerned about government intervention in our lives. Once their teeth are into you, they don’t let go. You play by their rules. You are not allowed to have rules. If you do, they are null and void. Some people like and even need this for a variety of reasons. I am not one of them.

    Just yesterday there was an article in Politico, Forbes and other publications about how taxes will rise due to ObamaCare and, of course, other factors. This site often does not allow links, so if you are interested, Google “CBO: taxes will quietly go up.” And we are helpless.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Not sure what your story is, but you and I see life very differently. It’s been good to me, but I’ve worked hard because that is what I was taught to do.
    Some people rant about civil rights, but what they mean is how those rights conform to their needs and beliefs. To hell with everyone else. You seem to be one of these. Write your congress people and senators. You can call or email Obama. If you’re not working, go out and get yourself a job or at least volunteer. Fill your head with something other than how unfair the world is.

  • Anonymous

    No, voting 3rd party is voting to change the system – voting D/R is voting to keep the game as it is – that is rather axiomatic, ISTM …

    We have been putting Dems in office for ages, and that ain’t workin’ out too well, now is it? They had their chance to run the whole show and they blew it ….

  • Invasive Evasion

    “If the family were atheists objecting to a new law that digs into its
    business, the Court most likely would have ruled the same.”

    That is factually false. Moral objections to compliance with the law which are not based on magic are not given the same consideration as magically based objections. If I as an atheist tried to violate the law because it contradicted my rational principles of morality, not only would I not win the case, I wouldn’t even have a basis for bringing a suit. This decision was not just a religious decision, but a Catholic specific decision. If I as a Native American want to smoke peyote because it’s my religion…you can read Scalia’s rejection of that religious exception.

    The rules we play by are corporate rules, imposed by greedy sociopaths. These rules are directly imposed on us through employment, and indirectly through the corruption of government by corporations. If you’re opposed to rules being imposed through a representative democracy, then you should be outraged by the level of control the corporate feudal aristocrats have over our lives.

  • Invasive Evasion

    Universal principles of justice are “ranting” to you? You seem to be an amoralist who believes that right and wrong is a matter of what is good for you personally, and if someone else is adversely affected, well too bad.

    Instead of encouraging me to ignore the injustices of the world, perhaps you should encourage the people causing those injustices to think about something other than their own selfish greed.

  • deserthackberry

    Listening to the discussion of the Hobby Lobby birth control case, I can’t help but wondering: Where is the medical community in all this? Were they consulted as to medical reasons for taking female hormones, for the purposes solely of birth control or otherwise? Did the AMA make an effort to offer their expertise? Do they give a damn?

    I find myself asking the same question about many pertinent issues today: Marijuana legalization, the safety and nutritional quality of our food supply, the longer and longer hours to which our workforce is subjected, the enforced immobility to which many workers are subjected, among other unhealthy work practices. Where is the medical community? Too busy checking their investments and taking luxury vacations? Surely SOME of them must have a vested interest in their patients’ health?

  • deserthackberry

    Perhaps in the US, but “The Würzburg witch trial, which took place in Germany in 1626–1631, is one of the biggest mass-trials and mass-executions seen in Europe during the Thirty Years War; 157 men, women and children in the city of Würzburg
    are confirmed to have been burned alive at the stake; 219 are estimated
    to have been executed in the city proper, and an estimated 900 were
    killed in the entire Prince-Bishopric.”

  • Invasive Evasion

    Thank you for your unofficial vote of support. My realistic chances of ever holding public office are somewhere between a snowball’s chances in a hell governed by right wing environmental policies, and the odds that someone on FOX “News” will say something positive about Obama.

  • Invasive Evasion

    I am making a broader argument, and you are wanting to move to debating Biblical minutia. I have read parts of the Bible, and reading more of it is irrelevant to the points I’m making. I don’t need to read the entire Twilight series to understand that it is a teenaged vampire love story, or to argue that vampires are fictional creations. (Yes I realize that Hebrew culture is more sophisticated than the Twilight books, but the larger point stands.) I generally avoid religious arguments (unless someone else brings it up) because it’s a tedious tiresome debate that ultimately goes nowhere. It’s unlikely that we could think of any argument that hasn’t already been made in a video that is already on youtube.

    The one argument that I do think is worth making, is that religion is completely unnecessary for spirituality. People don’t become religious because they critically assess different belief systems, and rationally conclude that their particular religion is the most sensible. People become religious because of emotional reasons. Religion provides emotional and social rewards which for many people justifies the price of irrationality. Adopting religion is a deliberate choice to forego reason in favor of emotional comfort and fulfillment. We live in a superficial culture which doesn’t consider internal reflection or the pursuit of spiritual states as worthwhile goals. Religion is the only available environment in which a person can seek spirituality. The argument I would make to you, and all other religious people, is that spirituality is a worthwhile goal which does not require religion. You don’t have to believe in magical beings or supernatural forces to be spiritual. You don’t have to obsess over ancient Hebrew culture, or pretend that this group of people were any wiser than other people in order gain self awareness or emotional fulfillment. You can separate the emotional and social rewards of religion from the irrational nonsense of religion. You can believe in reason, and evidence, and science, and still pursue these subjectively real spiritual states in order to make life more personally meaningful.

  • JonThomas

    Being blunt here is probably best…

    Making ‘broad’ generalizations about a subject that you admittedly know little to nothing about is an exercise in foolishness.

    Reminds me of those who know nothing about climate science, telling climate scientists that they are all wrong.

    I think at this point I’ll draw from a book that you probably dislike even more than the Bible…

    Concerning your experiences with me, you have said: “your comments on other subjects are knowledgeable, rational, and insightful…”

    Yet, when I express Biblical views, you find that apparent “inconsistency absolutely astonishing.”

    To quote a controversial source… “I’ll give you a hint. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”

    I will say this… People ridiculed Jesus because they arrogantly thought his teaching contained nothing of value Now… 2000 years later…

    Oh well, horses and water…

    If you ever do find the interest I think you’ll find more rationality than you expect.

  • Invasive Evasion

    My point of dispute is not based on a broad generalization, but on a specific assertion that supernatural forces do not exist. My reason for believing this is based on my knowledge of science and of the evidence that science has collected. With that premise, I can conclude that the writings of the ancient Hebrews, as well as every other culture, past, present, and future, come from ordinary flawed human minds. (Even without science I would conclude this as a simple matter of plausibility.) Where I am making a generalization is in saying that the ancient Hebrew culture has no greater or lesser value than any other culture. That all cultures contain examples of both idiocy and wisdom is an obvious and easily supported generalization. You are making the same generalization that I am, regarding every culture EXCEPT the ancient Hebrew culture.

    Rejecting religion is not at all like rejecting climate science, because religion is based on faith, and science upon evidence. Rejecting religion is the opposite of rejecting science.

    Yes, quoting Ayn Rand does not make a case for anything, because nearly everything she said is gibberish. We humans are filled with contradictory beliefs and motivations. We are highly imperfect animals who evolved numerous inherent flaws.

    I am not ridiculing Jesus. I fully agree with many of his views (or at least the views attributed to him, whether rightly or wrongly). I am not saying that ancient Hebrew beliefs have no value, I am simply saying that they have no more or less value than a dozen other cultures I could randomly select. It does continue to astonish me that this can be a subject of disagreement.

    Getting a rational horse to drink the water (I’ll avoid being snarky and calling it Kool-aid) of faith is not going to happen. Getting a person emotionally invested in a belief system to reject it based on rational argument is also not going to happen. Hence…non-productive argument.

  • JonThomas

    Perhaps it may be helpful to clean up a misconception about one of the subjects you mention… faith.

    It is a shame that so many people misuse that valuable trait.

    The Biblical definition of faith is quite a bit different than the common usage. In fact, the amount of Biblical misapprehension is absolutely astounding.

    The Biblical definition of faith is found at Heb. 11:1:

    “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

    In the original Greek, the word ‘conviction’ can also be translated with the terms… ‘knowledge of evidence’.

    In common usage, many people misuse the word faith in catchall phrases of ignorance and pride…

    Question: “Why do you believe X and Y…”

    Answer: “I believe X and Y because I have faith.”

    Where as the Bible uses it as such…

    Answer: “I believe X and Y because I have learned and trust the proven evidence.”

    The difference? If I had a $1 Million vase, and I wanted to put it on a display table, would I just put it on any old table? NO! I would test that table out. I would not take it on the ignorant’s definition of ‘faith’. I would know that the table is secure because I examined and knew for certain that the table met exact specifications and standards of safety

    It’s true, many religious minded people do base their spiritual understandings on what they term as faith. Unfortunately, many preachers and priests encourage, or at least condone such misapprehension.

    Similar to a trial where, surrounding which, some people ‘just know’ a person is guilty (they really don’t, but they don’t let facts stand in the way.) However, only after the evidence is considered can a conviction be made.

    Putting faith in God is very much like putting trust in a person. It is based on knowing their character and their history.

    Of course that leads to more questions, but this is one short clarification.

    Please keep in mind that I am not devaluing the cultures of any random peoples, nor am I actually putting the Ancient Hebrews up on a pedestal.

    I am saying though, that after examination of many belief systems, I do point to the Bible itself as the word of God. I also do not look down on you for not accepting it as such, I didn’t really even open a Bible until I was 30 years old. Besides, we even just had the beginnings of what I would say is a rational discussion on the subject.

  • Richard Williams

    The medical community filed multiple amicus briefs. The majority on the Court paid them no mind. This is just one more example that the majority has an endgame that they will not stop driving toward, regardless of logic, reason, science, etc. It’s been a long term plan. Lithwick alluded to it when she mentioned the Powell Memo. While the Powell Memo was largely motivated by business interests, what has happened in the years since is that all of the various Conservative social interests have been combined with it, often, as Lithwick also pointed out, making some of the business interests very nervous.

  • deserthackberry

    Thank you! You’ve restored at least some of my faith in the medical community. Now if we could just do something about the Court…

  • discountbrains .

    I should take your every point. Suffice it to say its all unintelligent nonsense!…seriously.

  • discountbrains .

    In my co-op system I briefly described here the gov’t and all businesses, their employees etc would be integrated into one. Then this question would not come up. There would be no VA problem, no illegal immigrant problem, no IRS…..

  • Jack Jackson

    Voting 3rd party (this November or November 2016) is gonna make the GOP look bigger than they are. They need to have their power stripped away, not frittered with some damned 3rd party non-winner.
    The Dems *had 8 weeks* to “run the whole show”. (aka filibuster-proof majority in the Senate). From Al Frankens July 7 Inaugration, to Teddy Kennedy’s August 25 death. And they were in recess for 4 of those weeks. Stop believing the propaganda and check the timelines. Everything else was a compromise with the still obstructionist GOP. I would never vote to reward a party that has used what amounts to extortion rather than try to govern.

  • Jack Jackson

    Voting third party is a waste of a vote. If you want to end the circus and bring DC to heel vote Democratic. And then vote out those Democrats that don’t get the job done.

  • Anonymous

    No, voting third party is gonna demonstrate to the Dems that we are fed up with their rightward “drift” and will continue to lose unless they get their act together – and they better do it lickety split, or they will disappear as a party – as the Whigs did …

    LOL – in recess for 4 of those weeks – what does that tell you – we gave them the whole enchilada and what did they do – go into recess ….

    As for the filibuster routine – Reid could have changed the Senate rules at any time to require a simple majority – remember, the Sen. makes its own rules, the filibuster is not in the Const. …..

    “I would never vote to reward a party that has used what amounts to extortion rather than try to govern.”

    Well that’s what you do when you vote D/R …..

  • Anonymous

    Voting D/R is a waste of a vote – we have been doing that for decades and look where we are …

    Dems haven’t been getting the job done for ages – no matter which one you vote in – some of them talk a good talk, but when push comes to shove, if they look serious about upsetting the corp applecart, they get “Kuciniched” …

  • Jack Jackson

    Not voting Democratic to punish them for what you call ‘rightward drift’ is EXACTLY the wrong thing to do. Without a strong and organized third party choice – and there aren’t many organized third party candidates – you just hand the race to the GOP. Not what we need at all.

  • jim davis

    Kangaroo’s should wear the appropriate outfits.

  • Anonymous

    Nope – it’s exactly the right, as in correct, thing to do – absent a large checkbook, all we have is our vote – giving it to a party that doesn’t deserve it and hasn’t earned it is the wrong thing to do and we have been doing it far too long already ….

    There are strong third party choices – Stein was by far the best of the bunch in ’12, e.g. Time, past time, to pick the best – no more LOTE, what a disaster that has been ….

  • Jack Jackson

    Sorry…Casting a vote for a candidate that YOU KNOW WILL LOSE is a poor choice. I vote my conscience in the primaries. I vote for the candidate who most closely represents my views AND has a chance of winning when it comes to the general. [Though if Perot voters had followed that rule, Clinton would never have been elected.]

  • Anonymous

    The only candidates who lose are the ones no one votes for – if we all voted at the electoral polls the way we do in the opinion polls, we would have a lot of Greens in office …..

    Any candidate on the ballot has “a chance of winning” and, in fact, will win if enough folks vote for him/her – this “3rd parties can’t win” nonsense is a ploy used by the major parties to make sure that folks “stay in the fold” – you are either one who has been duped by it, as have, unfortunately, too many, or is using it for that purpose – either way, it is holding us back, big time, from getting what we need and can achieve with a decent gov’t – neither of which we will get with the corp controlled D/R parties ….

  • Jack Jackson

    Sorry, Aquifer, disregarding a few outlier instances where the polling was incorrect, the pre-election polls are accurate. I will cast my general election ballot for the front-runner who most closely aligns to my own view. Expecting a third party candidate to win (absent polling evidence) only weakens the party from which that candidate emerged. TR hurt the GOP, Wallace hurt the Dems, Perot hurt the GOP…etc. Between a corporatist Dem and a corporates GOP member, I’ll take the Dem. And when given a choice, I’ll choose non-corporatist Dem. But I won’t vote for one until they become viable. Otherwise, I’m just putting a Republican into office.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, voting with the crowd ….

    Never mind that voting D these days guarantees that another Rep, if only a “Rep-lite”, WILL get into office ….

    If a Dem “front-runner” “closely aligns” to your views at all, that says a great deal about the direction of your politics – Obama himself has described himself as basically equivalent to a “mod Rep” of the Nixon era ….

    Your biggest concern seems to be not to “hurt” a major party – not whether that party is good for the “general welfare” …. Too bad

    Voting party over principle is what got us into this mess in the first place ….

    As for being “viable” – that determination is up to us – anyone on the ballot can win if enough vote for him/her – its about time, nay, way past time, we voted on the basis of who we want to win, not who some MSM poll tells us is more “likely” to ….

    Reps were a 3rd party once, too – it sounds like you wouldn’t have “taken a chance” on Lincoln, either …

  • Jack Jackson

    My biggest concern is electing politicians that are closer to my position than further away. Right now closer is D, further is R. That could change in the future but I doubt it. I will never forget that without Nader, Gore takes Florida AND NH and spares the country from Bush and his misappropriation of the treasury, goofy wars and takes climate issues far more seriously. The margins matter. Republicans had failed campaigns before Lincoln’s win. I’m not casting a vote for a ‘maybe’ unless the other choices have shown themselves to be incorrect for me in other ways.