Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:06 am

Remedial education

Filed under: Housekeeping — Lex @ 1:06 am

Anyone pondering commenting here should read this first.

Don’t like it? You’ve got the whole rest of the Internet to play with.



  1. Needs a little updating…….

    Palin, Bush, etc. Kind of old news……..

    Comment by collards — Thursday, March 1, 2012 6:27 am @ 6:27 am

  2. That’s because it’s an old page. It’s not intended to be updated frequently, anyway: In general I’m happy to discuss just about anything. I’m just not going to allow the blog to be used as an outlet for demonstrably false propaganda or disingenuous “teach the controversy” messaging. One would hope such topics wouldn’t become controversial in any meaningful way very often.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:21 pm @ 12:21 pm

  3. Even at the risk of giving the idiot further public mention, I think you should seriously consider an update on Limbaugh & misogyny . . .

    Comment by Nick — Sunday, March 4, 2012 6:33 am @ 6:33 am

  4. Nick: I’ve been doing that on Twitter during study breaks the past 48 hours or so. You can follow me (without joining Twitter, if you prefer) at My most recent tweets also show up in a feed down the right-hand column of this blog’s home page. But at the moment I can’t spare time from schoolwork to do a full-fledged post, much as I’d enjoy it.

    But you’re right: To borrow from an old Stephen King short story, With respect to women’s rights, U.S. conservatives have finally shed their child-psychologist skin to reveal the monster in the closet that lay underneath. This isn’t about religious freedom, it’s about control over women, pure and simple, and it’s despicable and un-American.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, March 4, 2012 9:46 am @ 9:46 am

  5. How are women being compelled to do or not to do … anything … by others? They are not.

    How is it that when government (the empowered) compels action and others (the powerless) resist being compelled, the left comes to the conclusion that resistance is actually control? It seems seems that according to the left that when one says “no” they are, in fact, exerting control. What would this say in cases of out and out rape?

    How is religion not being compelled to act against its morality by government?

    This is about religious freedom and displacing religion in the public square, pure and simple, and it’s despicable and un-American. Conservatives point to the first amendment as being infringed; what constitutionally protected right does the left think is being transgressed? They have yet to point to one.

    Comment by polifrog — Sunday, March 4, 2012 7:20 pm @ 7:20 pm

  6. If hospitals run by Jehovah’s Witnesses were refusing to allow insurance to pay for their (non-JW) employees’ blood transfusions, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. So, no, this is not about “religious freedom.”

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, March 4, 2012 7:45 pm @ 7:45 pm

  7. And the applicable constitutional law starts with the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Griswold v. Connecticut, but does not end there.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, March 4, 2012 7:47 pm @ 7:47 pm

  8. The Catholic Church claims an infringement of their 1st amendment rights. It is their call. Therefore this discussion is about religious freedom as protected by the 1st.

    You claim equal-protection, but show no infringement. Show how women are being denied anything or show how women are being forced to act against their will first. No such thing has occurred or is even being proposed.

    Your comparative rationalization with JW assumes that different faiths should respond to similar occurrences in the same way. JW apparently does not have a problem with supporting financially the transfusions of others. Different religions are perfectly free to have different doctrine concerning similar instances.

    Comment by polifrog — Sunday, March 4, 2012 8:27 pm @ 8:27 pm

  9. It’s not an infringement just because the Catholic Church says it is. Although the law gives wide latitude to free-expression claims, it also circumscribes discriminatory behavior. For example, the Catholic Church is free to hire only Catholics as clergy (and perhaps a few other positions), but it is not free to discriminate in its hiring for non-pastoral positions, broadly defined. It must open positions such as custodian, full-time financial administrator, etc., to people of other faiths.

    Moreover, although it can claim a narrow exemption for clergy and similar positions from some broad public benefits (e.g., Social Security and the withholding tax that funds it), it cannot deny all its Catholic employees exemption from that broad public benefit, let alone all its employees of any faith who work in the church’s secular operationis and accommodations (e.g., universities, hospitals, etc.). To do so would be a violation of both employment law and the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment. That’s the infringement you refuse to see. A court will have little trouble, however; this is settled law.

    Finally, a plain reading of my earlier comment does not in any way yield the meaning that I believe different faiths should respond to similar occurrences in the same way. My point, rather, was that if the JWs did respond in that way, they would be laughed out of the courts of both law and public opinion — although there is no substantive or legal difference between my hypothetical example and the actual position the Catholic bishops are taking. That we’re even having this conversation simply shows that in our culture, Catholics — ironically, the outsiders for many years — have more standing to propose outlandish violations of other people’s rights than do Jehovah’s Witnesses and be taken seriously. That says a lot more about our culture than it does the legal or logical merits of the bishops’ case.

    Also, you knew damn well what I meant and were arguing disingenuously. That’s trolling. Do it again and you’re banned.

    Comment by Lex — Sunday, March 4, 2012 11:13 pm @ 11:13 pm

  10. Meeting your disingenuous comparison that the life saving and frequently urgent nature of blood transfusions is in any way similar to contraception with the same disenguousness you hurled my direction is perfectly fair.

    Comment by polifrog — Monday, March 5, 2012 1:31 pm @ 1:31 pm

  11. BTW, the warning of banning rather than jumping straight to banning is appreciated.

    Comment by polifrog — Monday, March 5, 2012 1:33 pm @ 1:33 pm

  12. Not disingenuous at all. In both cases, religious bodies seek to deny government protection even to their employees who do not share their beliefs. Your opinion of the merits and/or necessity of different specific examples of that protection is irrelevant to the constitutional principle at issue. (Indeed, during oral arguments at the Supreme Court, justices pose such hypothetical questions all the time.) And you have failed to address the flaws I’ve pointed out in your original argument.

    Comment by Lex — Monday, March 5, 2012 1:42 pm @ 1:42 pm

  13. Indeed, during oral arguments at the Supreme Court, justices pose such hypothetical questions all the time.

    And are more frequently rejected for not applying than applying. Yours does not apply for the reasons I already mentioned.

    As for flaws in the arguments made, the flaws are yours.

    You claim an infringement of equal protection but none has occurred. Your words indicate your acceptance of this fact when you say “to do so would…”:

    To do so would be a violation of both employment law and the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

    There can be no claim harm that has yet to occur. Point out one person who has been denied equal protection due to the church not offering mandated contraception in their offered insurance. You can not because the requirement to have contraceptives covered by insurance has not yet begun.

    However, the church is already under obligation to meet this upcoming requirement. The current discussion, therefore, is one of religious freedom and the church will move protect its interests under the Constitution at which point the mandate will be found unconstitutional. Of course, that assumes ObamaCare, itself, will not be struck down by the Supreme Court this summer… which it will be.

    UPATE: Comment updated with clarifying language at commenter’s request.

    Comment by polifrog — Monday, March 5, 2012 8:40 pm @ 8:40 pm

  14. And are more frequently rejected for not applying than applying.

    And your documentation of that claim would be …?

    Yours does not apply for the reasons mentioned.

    You didn’t give any reasons, you simply presumed that I presumed that different faiths should — your word — behave similarly, when my point is that if the Catholic bishops’ claim is given the force of law, different faiths could. And I’ve already told you that you were misinterpreting my point, yet you cling to that misinterpretation.

    It is correct that no violation of rights has occurred yet. But, hey, here’s an idea that I think a lot of Republicans ought to consider seriously if they want to save tax money: Stop passing bills that are facially unconstitutional. Just a thought.

    I suppose it’s possible that the Supremes will find parts of the ACA unconstitutional, but even if they do, it isn’t going to be because the individual mandate is a historic overreach. (Even some some conservative conlaw bloggers are predicting it may even be upheld 6-3, with Scalia in the majority. I think 5-4 is more likely, but that’s little more than a guess and in any case is not germane to this particular topic.)

    What is clear is that, as it has in previous employment-law cases, the Supremes will most likely find that the Catholic Church might be able to make this kind of claim for its clergy but not for every single person in every operation it employs. It’s possible to hope otherwise, or to believe otherwise based on the belief that the conservative majority will act politically rather than with respect for precedent. I give that a 50-50 chance myself. But if the court follows precedents, which is what federal courts are, you know, supposed to do, it will not bode well for the bishops.

    UPDATE: Comment updated to reflect clarifying changes in wording to previous comment made at commenter’s request, and also because your host is dumb and hit “send” before he was finished.

    Comment by Lex — Monday, March 5, 2012 9:23 pm @ 9:23 pm

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