A stupid lawsuit whose premise has already been dismissed in other courts, including one with a Supreme in its name.Should Quakers and Buddhists be allowed to opt out from paying federal taxes, since a small percentage of their money goes towards killing?
Really, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans can be compelled to purchase health insurance?I think you're going to be disabused of that notion in about a month.
It's about the government compelling religious institutions to violate their tenets.Writing for the U.S. Supreme Court majority, Obamacare advocate Antonin Scalia had this to say about that:"It is no more necessary to regard the collection of a general tax, for example, as "prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]" by those citizens who believe support of organized government to be sinful, than it is to regard the same tax as "abridging the freedom . . . of the press" of those publishing companies that must pay the tax as a condition of staying in business. It is a permissible reading of the text, in the one case as in the other, to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion (or burdening the activity of printing) is not the object of the tax but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended.We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a "valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes)."Respondents urge us to hold, quite simply, that when otherwise prohibitable conduct is accompanied by religious convictions, not only the convictions but the conduct itself must be free from governmental regulation. We have never held that, and decline to do so now. The government's ability to enforce [..] aspects of public policy, "cannot depend on measuring the effects of a governmental action on a religious objector's spiritual development." To make an individual's obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law's coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State's interest is "compelling" — permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, "to become a law unto himself," — contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.It is no more appropriate for judges to determine the "centrality" of religious beliefs before applying a "compelling interest" test in the free exercise field, than it would be for them to determine the "importance" of ideas before applying the "compelling interest" test in the free speech field.Any society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy, but that danger increases in direct proportion to the society's diversity of religious beliefs, and its determination to coerce or suppress none of them.Precisely because "we are a cosmopolitan nation made up of people of almost every conceivable religious preference," and precisely because we value and protect that religious divergence, we cannot afford the luxury of deeming presumptively invalid, as applied to the religious objector, every regulation of conduct that does not protect an interest of the highest order. The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind."Summarizing:"We have never held... the record of more than a century... have consistently held... We have never held that, and decline to do so now... contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense."Notre Dame & Friends' lawsuit relies on the wiggle room in those words. May God help them.
You understand the difference between a tax and a mandate, right? As in the statement: "We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate."Individual mandate = not free to regulate.
The case Justice Scalia was writing about had nothing to do with either taxation or financial mandates. Scalia was invoking a series of examples from past precedent, including but by no means limited to taxation.You understand the difference between the health care law currently in the Supreme Court's chambers and the "perfectly framed" argument of the Catholic institutions' lawsuit, right? (Hint: one of them has been repeatedly rejected for decades, by courts at every level; the other gets decided in June.)
Uh-huh, good luck with that distinction.http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/05/how-meritorious-are-the-catholic-lawsuits.php
McConnell's comments are hot air and wishes. He says it's an "unprecedented decision" to require American individuals and institutions to act in a way that violates their religious beliefs. As Scalia's text above explicitly states - and it's just an excerpt - requiring American individuals and institutions to act in a way that violates their religious beliefs is heavily precedented. In addition to Constitutional protections under the First Amendment, there is also support for religious freedom in statutory law, McConnell said.Scalia: ...if prohibiting the exercise of religion (or burdening the activity of printing) is not the object of the tax but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended.Bottom line. If the health care law is overturned, the religious institutions' lawsuit becomes moot. If the law is upheld, they lose. There's no legal scenario where they win a final verdict. Distinct enough for you?
Isn't that exactly what I said? That the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Obamacare is indistinguishable whether individual or institutional coercion?I don't know what precedents you're citing - you don't list them - but I'm aware that you can't avoid paying taxes or adhering to standing law by claiming a religious exemption. But I also know that you can't be compelled into action or penalty without due process.But maybe you're right: maybe the individual mandate will be upheld. Most of the Catholic institutions have indicated they'll drop health coverage rather than violate their beliefs. I suppose the government will just pass another law then.
You're crisscrossing different things. "Maybe I'm right and the mandate will be upheld"-- well, maybe I would be, if I had suggested that at any point. But I haven't."The Supreme Court's ruling would be indistinguishable whatever its reasoning"-- but the Supreme Court's ruling has zilch to do with the religious institutes' lawsuit, which is entirely distinguishable from the case currently being weighed. As your link indicates, that suit was just filed on May 21. The Supreme Court heard the "Obamacare" case two months ago.You say the religious suit "frames the argument perfectly"-- but hosts of previous courts have repeatedly disagreed, up to and including Scalia's. And they will continue to reject that "perfect" argument, no matter what the Supreme Court decides next month.Feel free to glut yourself on specific precedents, from taxation to societal prohibitions to marriage law to child labor to military conscription to Social Security to vaccination to racial opportunity to environmental protection to the impossibility of requiring a "compelling interest" to burden a particular religious faith (sorry again, Mr. McConnell), and more, in the full text of Employment Div. v. Smith:http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.htmlMost of the Catholic institutions have indicated they'll drop health coverage rather than violate their beliefs.Which raises the legal question, "Who cares?" That threat will have diddly-squat to do with any ruling by any court. It also raises a non-legal question: "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" (James 2:14) Or more succinctly, "Malice backfires; spite boomerangs." (Proverbs 26:27)
Well, I'm not a legal expert, but it seems to me the distinction is between proscribing action and compelling it. The government can say: "stop smoking peyote" but it can't say "start paying for condoms."I'm fairly sure that the Constitution and common sense will rule on this matter, much to the surprise of Jeffrey Toobin.
Also: I checked the Bible. It does not reference an aboriginal weapon.
You're mistakenly equating the two lawsuits. The continued existence of Obamacare is very much in danger. That's obvious. However, even if the Supreme Court rules 9-0 that a health care mandate is unconstitutional and that the law is dead and that nobody likes Obama because everything he does is horrible plus he has stupid-looking ears, that comprehensive trouncing will have NO reflection on the case you linked to. The death of the mandate will in no way vindicate their claim. The government can and does "compel religious institutions to violate their tenets" every day. It's settled constitutional law, and there's nothing Notre Dame's president can do about it.The dozens of Catholic institutions who filed suit are either going to go 1-0 with a forfeit if the health care law is tossed, or they're going to go 0-2 if it's upheld. There is absolutely no scenario, none at all, in which the mandate is found to be legal, and their right to opt out on religious grounds is also found to be legal.
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