Freedom of Religion

Was Yesterday's SCOTUS Decision in Zubik a Win for Religious Liberty? You Bet It Was

That this case got as far as it did is an indictment of the Obama administration.

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The Little Sisters of the Poor at the U.S. Supreme Court
Stephanie Slade

Yesterday the Supreme Court shocked most everyone by handing down a decision in Zubik v. Burwell (better known as the Little Sisters of the Poor case). This was unexpected because hot-button rulings often come late in the Court's term—Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, which decided a similar question two years ago, was announced on June 30 even though it, like this one, was argued in March.

The justices' decision here was also surprising for its unanimity. The more liberal wing was widely expected to side with the Obama administration in affirming the Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate as not violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In the absence of a full bench, a 4–4 split would have upheld the four lower courts' rulings against the Catholic nuns who have become the face of this controversy and the other six petitioners (including Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik). This was what people overwhelmingly predicted would happen after the conservative Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February.

But the Supreme Court didn't split 4–4; instead, the eight justices all agreed to vacate the lower courts' ruling, remanding the case back down to be heard again in light of the "clarification and refinement in the positions of the parties" that have emerged.

This has been widely described as "punting" on the question at hand. And in a sense that's right—the justices explicitly said they were declining "to decide whether petitioners' religious exercise has been substantially burdened, whether the Government has a compelling interest, or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive means of serving that interest."

But really that's a lot of hogwash. As David French wrote at National Review, "Speaking as a person who's argued a few cases in courts of appeal — when the court vacates the ruling you're challenging, that's a win."

Whether the justices want you to see it this way or not, their decision amounts to a ruling against the government, which argued that (a) the HHS "accommodation" offered to the Little Sisters and the other religious nonprofits doesn't substantially burden their religious exercise; and (b) even if it does, it's the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest of providing free and seamless contraception coverage to the employees of religious nonprofits.

How do I know the Court believes there are less burdensome ways to achieve that end? Because it already proposed one and got both sides to agree to it.

In the days following oral arguments, the justices took the unusual step of asking the parties to the suit to provide "supplemental briefs" specifically addressing whether the outcome the administration wants could be accomplished without any involvement from the religious employers. Both the petitioners and the government answered that an arrangement whereby the insurance company, and not the employer, is responsible for making the coverage available through a separate plan would be acceptable.

This is the "new development" the Court is using to justify returning the case to the lower courts. In essence, it got the administration to formally concede there are less restrictive ways to make sure women have seamless access to free birth control (which it reluctantly acknowledged despite the solicitor general having spent his oral argument time rigidly insisting that there could be no possible other method of achieving the government's end).

In challenging the "accommodation," the petitioners were saying they could not in good conscience take the affirmative step of notifying the government about their refusal to provide contraception coverage, because they knew that doing so would trigger the government to force their insurance providers to offer the coverage anyway. This would make them complicit in a sinful act. The result of this ruling is that they almost certainly won't have to do the thing to which they were strongly on moral grounds opposed.

That the administration has spent the last four years threatening these seven religious nonprofits with millions of dollars in punitive fines when it now admits the groups' involvement in providing this coverage isn't even necessary is at best an indictment of the judgment of the left—and at worst an indictment of its motives.

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  1. Good.

    1. I guess Soave is on PM link duty today.

      1. He’s not budging until he gets his latte and new can of hair spray.

        1. That’s a latte cocktail.

  2. WTF!!!11!111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  3. Link or in the pink. Take your pick.

      1. Safe word is “ragnorak”. Let us begin. *starts quoting last Sugarfree post

        1. ragnorak! ragnorak!

  4. Excellent article.
    Thanks Slade.

    1. And she provided her own illustrating photograph.

      1. She has hit a few out of the park recently. I think she’s a good counterbalance to some of the dreck Reason has been putting out lately. Lenore has been doing a great job, too. (ENB is usually better than average, too, but I haven’t read an article of hers in a while, except for the beer one) Reason’s best writers are all women!

        1. What about Jesse Walker?

  5. I for one don’t suffer the PM link addiction my cohorts suffer.

    1. Suck ass.

      1. If I don’t social-signal that now, then when?

        1. Why would you signal that you suck?

          1. Because then no one would know.

              1. Are you saying you already knew? What are you, Kreskin?

    2. Neither do I. *Twitches intermittently; sweat drips from brow.*

          1. My dislike for you is increasing, bacon-magic.

            If you belong anywhere, bm, I suppose that you belong at H&R.

            1. Thanks! I love you too, and your little orphans.

              1. Is he the one with the orphan army?

            2. Bm belongs in the toilet. Or on Crusty’s chest.

    3. The Robby value ranking:

      (Check hair in mirror, refill cocktail, open sunroof to run wind through hair, check hair in mirror, go through alt-text hall of fame, drop a deuce, check hair in mirror, finish cocktail, PM links)

  6. The ghost of Antonin Scalia at work.

    1. Has NOTHING to do with Scalia’s wacky rejection of the 9th Amendment, And trashes the goobers who claim “rogue judges” are writing laws. If they did so, they’d have issued a ruling on their own solution. So zealots on both the left and right got smashed here. An 8-person court found a very creative solution. And didn’t write any new law.

      What it says is that BOTH sides had a legitimate issue (rarely the case). Now if Congress could only do the same.

      1. Dude, your shit’s all retarded and you talk like a fag.

        1. Have you noticed there are things that trigger Mike Hihn into action? It’s like BigT pressed the little red button and Hihn came leaping out from behind the bushes (God that metaphor was awful).

        2. you talk like a fag.

          (yawn) A “rogues judges” conspiracy nut.

  7. Let’s make our own LINKS, shall we?

    http://fox2now.com/2016/05/12/…..et-quotas/

    UNPOSSIBLE!!! I’ve benn told by law enforcement on numerous occasions that ticket quotas do not, nor have they ever, existed.

    1. Here in Montreal they admitted there is one.

      And you can tell when it’s that time of the month. The streets are suddenly filled with cop cars. Funny that.

      1. You need Midol for pigs.

      2. Ah, yes. The influx of cops on the streets pulling people over during the last week of the month has always been a mystery to me.

      3. “Timbits are for closers!”

  8. * been

  9. “Both the petitioners and the government answered that an arrangement whereby the insurance company, and not the employer, is responsible for making the coverage available through a separate plan would be acceptable.”

    Isn’t that judicial activism–the Court fishing for a preferred revision? Don’t you need an act of Congress to change the ACA like that?

    Why couldn’t the Court just have affirmed the First Amendment?

    Why is it soooooo crazy for the Court to say that the ACA infringes on these nuns’ free exercise rights?

    I’d ask, “What is it about the ACA that makes the Court so meek in defending our Constitutional rights against it?”, but that isn’t the real question. The real question is, “What is wrong with the Court that makes it so meek in defending dour Constitutional rights against the ACA?”

    Why not just write the ACA into the Constitution itself and be done with it? The employer mandates are a disgrace, the penaltax is a standing joke, and the exchanges continue to implode. Some states will only have one option on the exchange next year. Why is the Court walking around the ACA like they’re on eggshells?

    1. The real question is, “What is wrong with the Court that makes it so meek in defending dour Constitutional rights against the United States Government?”

      This is a question I and other individuals have been asking for quite some time, Ken.

      Why couldn’t the Court just have affirmed the First Amendment? There are occasions that it almost seems as if many of them are pro-statist shills.

      1. Why couldn’t the Court just have affirmed the First Amendment? There are occasions that it almost seems as if many of them are pro-statist shills.

        In what way did the petitioners demand such a ruling? Are you REALLY so misinformed as to believe ANY rights are absolute? Learn about “conflicting rights,” which are a core principle of the Natural Law enshrined in our Constitution.

        Both sides have a victory here. Both sides agreed to it. So you are PISSED that you didn’t get it 100% your way. THAT is the problem in today’s America. Are you a follower of the Paulista Cult?

        1. Go fuck a goat you fascist old piece of shit.

          1. Go fuck a goat you fascist old piece of shit.

            (laughing)
            Fundamental rights are “unalienable”
            Unalienable means precisely equal to each other.
            Which means that no rights can be absolute — else they’d no longer be equal!
            But only goat fuckers cherish the words of Thomas Jefferson.
            Or can use a dictionary.

            1. Unalienable means “unable to be taken away.” What the fuck are you talking about? You are seriously retarded.

              1. I LOVE humiliating bullies!

                Ship of Theseus
                Unalienable means “unable to be taken away.” What the fuck are you talking about?

                Umm, unalienable rights cannot be taken away. As Jefferson stated, (emphasis added)

                We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

                That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government

                I’ll TRY to dumb it down.
                We have unalienable rights.
                We form governments to protect those rights.
                Thus ….. they cannot take away what they are created to defend,
                Taking away is NOT defending!
                You’ll learn this in US History, when you get to high school,
                Any more questions?

                You are seriously retarded.

                You don’t know the most fundamental premise of our founding. So that makes ME retarded!

                They travel in packs,, like wild dogs.

                (My tone and boldface in response to aggression)

                1. You made absolutely zero sense, and completely ignored what I said. You’re the worst kind of dipshit.

                  I’ll try to dumb it down.

                  Michael Hinh:

                  Unalienable means precisely equal to each other.

                  Me:

                  Unalienable means “unable to be taken away.”

                  Feel free to try to bold-yell your way out of that one.

                  1. CAUGHT RED-HANDED
                    One sick liar
                    BLATANT lies about his own words, a mere three posts back!

                    Michael Hinh:
                    Unalienable means precisely equal to each other.

                    Me:
                    Unalienable means “unable to be taken away.”

                    TRUTH (click link and vomit at the lie,)
                    (emphasis added)

                    Unalienable means “unable to be taken away”. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? YOU ARE SERIOUSLY RETARDED

                    This is one VERY sick dude, But when he calls me retarded because HE doesn’t know what unalienable means …..? (snicker)

                    Feel free to try to bold-yell your way out of that one.

                    Game Set Match!
                    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

                    I STILL love humiliating bullies!

                    (My tone and boldface respond to serial aggression by a very desperate stalker.)

    2. Obama has pictures.

      We as a society have not yet evolved to the point where what it is John Roberts is doing in those pictures is even within the scope of what is out-of-bounds in this society. (If Sugarfree and Agile ever got together and started swapping stories and consumables the two of them might be able to come up with a hint of what’s in the pictures, provided this year’s mescaline crop has been particularly high-quality.)

      That’s the only explanation I can think of, anyways.

      1. What do you see in the pictures? Do they prove Obama a birther?

        what it is John Roberts is doing in those pictures is even within the scope of what is out-of-bounds in this society.

        Because he’s not a flaming asshole and should have pissed all over Obama?
        Everyone who doesn’t share your partisan hysteria is “out-of-bounds” in this society?

        Does the ‘liberal agenda’ influence any of this?
        Do you know the difference between a dictatorship and our constitutional republic?
        How can being extremely anti-social advance (or maintain) liberty in a pluralistic society?

        1. No, dipshit, because he refuses to admit that a blatantly unconstitutional law is in fact unconstitutional. You really are pathetic.

          1. (laughing at the jackass) How do the photos prove that?
            How should he have acted toward Obama?

            Does the ‘liberal agenda’ influence any of this?
            Do you know the difference between a dictatorship and our constitutional republic?
            How can being extremely anti-social advance (or maintain) liberty in a pluralistic society
            For how long has WTF been empowered to make constitutional rulings?

            Is he one of the brainwashed goobers who doesn’t know the exchanges are mentioned twice in the ACA? (gasp) Because his puppetmaster tol him otherwise.

    3. Typical dumbfuck wing of libertarianism!

      Isn’t that judicial activism–the Court fishing for a preferred revision? Don’t you need an act of Congress to change the ACA like that?

      Thanks for showing how totally wacky are you, Ron Paul and the others. Pay attention.

      1) There was no revision to ACA.
      2) Ruling on their own solution, even when both sides agreed with it, THAT would be writing the law.

      Why couldn’t the Court just have affirmed the First Amendment?

      (laughing hysterically) Did the plaintiffs include that in their brief?

      Why is it soooooo crazy for the Court to say that the ACA infringes on these nuns’ free exercise rights?

      Similar to abortion. As you’ll learn in high school, NO rights are absolute, because they can intrude on each other. Slade explained it, if not in those terms. Essentially, the state has a legitimate interest, but they exercised it poorly and/or incorrectly.

      The real question is, “What is wrong with the Court that makes it so meek in defending dour Constitutional rights against the ACA?” The beauty of this ruling is that is rejects zealots on BOTH the left and the right.

      Why not just write the ACA into the Constitution itself and be done with it?

      (yawn)

      (No, I did NOT defend ACA, so no bullshit please)

      1. Essentially, the state has a legitimate interest

        Begs the question. And even if true wouldn’t create the dilemma you propose (a conflict of rights). The state doesn’t have rights. The question is one of a limit of powers.

        Also, you’re a senile fascist old piece of shit. Go fuck a goat.

        1. The Hihntard can’t seem to understand that the Constitution does not actually say “shall make no law except in the case where the government claims a legitimate interest.” Because he’s suffering from dementia.

          1. WTF (stalker)
            Constitution does not actually say “shall make no law except in the case where the government claims a legitimate interest.”

            Umm, the state’s interest is “legitimate” if ….. it’s acting under the Constitution!
            Just as all individual actions are “legitimate” if they are acting under the law!
            This is what legitimate means.

            le ?git?i?mate
            adjective
            l??jid?m?t/
            1. conforming to the law or to rules.
            “his claims to legitimate authority”
            synonyms: legal, lawful, licit, legalized, authorized, permitted, permissible, allowable, allowed, admissible, sanctioned, approved, licensed, statutory, constitutional;

            Because he’s suffering from dementia.

            No further response needed,
            Anything else I can teach you today?

            (Boldface used in self-defense against an act of aggression. Which often includes ridicule)

        2. Dumbfuck rides again

          Begs the question.

          How?

          And even if true wouldn’t create the dilemma you propose (a conflict of rights).

          Which you don’t understand

          The state doesn’t have rights.

          Tell that to Ron Paul. (lol)

          The question is one of a limit of powers.

          Tell that to Ron Paul. (lol)

          Also, you’re a senile fascist old piece of shit. Go fuck a goat.

          (laughing)
          The goobers here are screeching in rage about a compromise accepted by the Little Sisters!!!
          Bit blowhards gotta bellow.

          1. Why are you so obsessed with Ron Paul? You’re the only one bringing up his name rather than actually arguing the point. “Tell that to Ron Paul” is the dumbest fucking response to his gripe.

            You’re an incredible pain in the ass. Why do you come here? You bring nothing of value, everyone hates you, and your diatribes are routinely ignored. Why don’t you make better use of your time? Perhaps some ducks need feeding.

            1. Add Ship of Theseus to the ones who cannot answer a simple question. “How?”
              Slightly more difficult: “WHY is it not a conflict of rights?”

              Instead launches MORE aggression.

              “Tell that to Ron Paul” is the dumbest fucking response to his gripe.

              See the two question above. Go read my original comment.
              Ron Paul denies all those points. Apparently, so do you!

              You’re an incredible pain in the ass.

              Says another bully.
              Learn the difference between self-defense and aggression,
              As you jump into a thread, add NOTHING but insults (yawn)
              Apparently ALL the goobers are enraged by this:

              https://reason.com/blog/2016/05…..nt_6129778

              Count the insults and attacks.

              (This, too, is posted in defense of aggression)

              1. ADD MIHCEAL HINH TO IDIOTS WHO CANT ANSWER SIMPLE QUESTION ABOUT PAULISTA CULT OBSESSION!

                1. ADD MIHCEAL HINH TO IDIOTS WHO CANT ANSWER SIMPLE QUESTION ABOUT PAULISTA CULT OBSESSION!

                  MORE bellowing!
                  1) You lie. I used none of those three words, Paulista, Cult Obsession.,
                  2) That’s not even what you asked! Which I did answer.
                  3) You just corpse fucked this thread again.

                  Here’s how the bullies work. I ask Ship of Theusus failed to answer two questions he ignored.
                  1) How?
                  2) Why is not a conflict of rights”

                  That’s the truth. He did ignore my questions. So my aggressor lies about his question, ignores my answer and claims ….. I didn’t answer HIS question …. like a little kid, “He started it Mommy.”

                  Stop your bullying. Answer MY questions, and tell me why my answers confused you,

                  Repeat: Count the insults and lies
                  And: Have you learned the difference between self-defense and aggression yet?

                  (Again, my tone and boldface are in defense from a serial aggressor)

                  1. Who the fuck are you even talking to a this point? It’s as if you’re justifying yourself to the voices in your head.

                    1. (laughing)STILL stallking?
                      You were just proven a liar, Also here:

                      https://reason.com/blog/2016/05…..nt_6131238

                      PLEASE keep humiliating yourself.
                      (flush)

  10. “when the court vacates the ruling you’re challenging, that’s a win.”

    Exactly. Like evacuating your bowels.

    1. Which part befuddles you so?

      1. Speaking of bowel-evacuate…

      1. Did you see the link to Nude Yoga, CJ?

        As one of my old co-workers would frequently (in a rising voice) inquire of us when a potential client arrived at the office: “Wouldja Wouldya Wouldja?”

        He had about 40% of SugarFree’s imagination, which he also enjoyed sharing at seemingly random intervals.

    1. A short video clip from the older show shows the bottle blonde stunner beaming as she questions the Manhattan mogul about his trademark locks.

      bottle blonde stunner

      Nice album name.

      1. The bottle blonde stunner sounds like Luna’s finishing move.

        Or maybe bonde stunner is a good name for a microbrew.

      2. Bottle Blondie, the all trans Blondie cover band.

        1. “Ass of glass” really rolls off the tongue, and brings back memories of shock sites.

  11. “whereby the insurance company, and not the employer, is responsible for making the coverage available through a separate plan”

    You can pay a $500 premium for $300 worth of birth control pills. Or you could just pay for the birth control yourselves and cut out the middleman. Insurance is for large unexpected expenditures.

    1. I know we will have reached utopia when my car insurance covers gas, tires, and windshield wipers.

      1. Your carrier has no business denying you access to those things.

        1. You’re only being denied when there’s no reasonable expectation that you can pay for it yourself

    2. it really is insane. why on earth go through all these legal shenanigans so you can add a middleman to your supply chain? also, re the college sex assault scare, is it a woman’s choice to have sex or not? or maybe there’s some new way to get pregnant.

      1. What in HELL does sex have to do with it? Are you an atheist?
        God’s clearly expressed will is that humans enjoy sex for pleasure alone, which is why ONLY humans can have pleasure even when procreation is impossible. The woman need not be in heat!!

        It is only lower animals who procreate only for sex. Elementary biology.

        1. which is why ONLY humans can have pleasure even when procreation is impossible.

          Painfully irrelevant, as always, but also incorrect. Although the goats you fuck probably don’t enjoy it that much.

          1. the stalker continues!

            which is why ONLY humans can have pleasure even when procreation is impossible.

            but also incorrect.

            I gamed you!
            I needed YOU to prove that human sex is NOT only for procreation

            Although the goats you fuck probably don’t enjoy it that much.

            (laughing at the bully)

    3. Insurance is for large unexpected expenditures

      Clever soundbite, but not currently. One of many GOP fuckups in healthcare. What kind of retard would propose Medicare vouchers, or selling across state lines as major reforms? Increase competition in the INSURANCE MARKET? (OMG)

      Can we impact car prices with more competition between GEIGO and Allstate? The “champions of free markets” (both conservative and libertarian) don’t even know which market is relevant, insurance or treatment..
      Progressives are winning by default. No credible challenger.

      1. I’m starting to see why you lost in your bid for insurance commissioner.

        1. Btw, if the fascist senile old piece of shit comes back and corpse fucks this thread again in another 6-8 hours, somebody owes me a Coke.

          1. Looks like you’re owed that Coke.

            1. Ship of Theseus
              Looks like you’re owed that Coke.

              You just corpse-fucked this thread to … accuse ME of corpse fucking.!

              (Walks away laughing)

              1. Someone had to check to see what shenanigans you’d pull. In fact, I’m back again, to keep an eye on your necrophilia.

                1. Says the proven liar
                  Here:
                  https://reason.com/blog/2016/05…..nt_6130887

                  And here:
                  https://reason.com/blog/2016/05…..nt_6131238

                  (flush)

                  (My tone and boldface AGAIN in self defense of repeated aggression by a cyber-bully )
                  (walks away laughing harder)

          2. if the fascist senile old piece of shit comes back and corpse fucks this thread again

            Note to readers. Pat(PM) does this all the time. He ran all over the page, spouting insults and bullshit at and around 5:30 AM. Then ANYONE who DARES to post after 5:33 AM has corpse-fucked this thread. But he’s not a authoritarian bully!

            Since then ,,, wait for it …. NINE post by his fellow gang members

            Four by Ship of Theseus … including just below this one!! (Bright, eh?)
            WTF corpse fucked the thread four times. And (laughing hysterically)
            Pat (PM) corpse fucked his own deadline (yes, THAT stupid)

            https://reason.com/blog/2016/05…..nt_6129872

            Another totally out of context insult at me.

            (This is self-defense from three stalking serial aggressors)

        2. MORE stalking

          I’m starting to see why you lost in your bid for insurance commissioner

          So … you believe the Libertarian Party wins statewide elections?
          And you believe we can “impact car prices with more competition between GEICO and Allstate?”
          (snort)

          (My tone and boldface in defense AGAINST a serial aggressor)

  12. What happened when American Bikers United Against Jihad rode into Islamberg, N.Y.

    Get those browns!

    The American Bikers United Against Jihad’s “Ride for National Security” to Islamberg featured exactly five bikers, the Guardian reported. A handful of cars ? fewer than 10 ? also joined the ride, the Oneonta Daily Star reported.

    And while it was cold, 300 to 400 people met those bikers as part of a “peace rally and community day.”

    Oh…

    1. The media is so desperate for white supremacists they’ll write stories about 15 guys riding around being kind of dickish and accomplishing nothing

      1. Riding around to a location in the middle of nowhere.

        1. It’s like kristallnacht all over again

        1. “It really showed how a lot of people really feel,” Shane Coakley said. “The blacks are afraid.”

          Afraid of who? Thin, effeminate white hipsters that you could knock over with a feather duster? It’s Seattle, for fuck’s sake.

        2. According to the article, Paul, the bag of garments included a “KKK robe with patches, a rope and a hood” (if you watch the video you’ll certainly see the robe in question).

          1. I know the article, I know the story, I know the entire background and foreground. And it’s not an article, it’s been an ongoing fucking front page series. On this one event. A story where (if you read the article) there was zero evidence whatsoever that the robe meant anything. It was a bag of clothing left in a used clothing store, one of the items turned out to be a KKK robe. Yet the entire incident has been treated as a sinister attack on this woman’s shop, resulting in the woman closing her store.

            Coakley-Spring’s check helped investigators track down the 25-year-old suspect. He had gone to the store at the request of his father, who told police he had recently cleaned a friend’s home in Tacoma and needed to dispose of some items, according to police. It’s unclear who the robe belonged to. Yet this story made every major news outlet including international sources.

            “They honestly told the detectives they had no idea that that was in the bag,” Range said. “I think it’s unfortunate for the community to be so affected by it. It’s a really unfortunate incident. I mean, there’s no denying that if you see a garment like that, it could be very threatening.”

            1. Yet this story made every major news outlet including international sources.

            2. A story where (if you read the article) there was zero evidence whatsoever that the robe meant anything.

              Paul,

              I think I understand your opinion regarding … this story made every major news outlet including international sources and in addition have the sense that you think the store owner and media sources seem to have overreacted.

              Regardless, the robe in and of itself does have meaning, and those who don it wear it for that meaning.

              Determining whether or not it (and the hood and rope) was intentionally included in the bag with the other clothing is what the police investigated.

              Would you at minimum agree that these items are paraphernalia of white supremacists?

              1. Would you at minimum agree that these items are paraphernalia of white supremacists?

                I would agree that the Robe is in the style of a KKK robe, a known white supremacist organization. What the media has done here is rush to the story in hopes to find a white supremacist, then filling the articles with countless non-sequiturs.

                Fact: A robe resembling a KKK robe was found in a bag in a used clothing store. No one, including the detectives, reporters or the store owner can identify by name, or by description any white supremacists. The white supremacists for the story become the non-sequiturs. “Hate exists”. Yep, what does that have to do with the robe? “This proves we need a discussion about race!” Does it? Why? Show your work.

                There is exactly as much evidence that this was a “message sent to the store” as there is some old hollywood prop closet was cleaned out and they threw in an old movie costume. Read: none.

                1. There is exactly as much evidence that this was a “message sent to the store” as there is some old hollywood prop closet was cleaned out and they threw in an old movie costume. Read: none.

                  Once again, I think I understand your impression that there was an overemphasis by media outlets and I also can see how you arrived at the idea that the store owner overreacted to a threat that in your opinion did not exist.

                  If you had been the individual intending to sell the dresses and other garments in the bag, do you think you would you have included the “old movie props” when you filled the bag?

                  1. If you had been the individual intending to sell the dresses and other garments in the bag, do you think you would you have included the “old movie props” when you filled the bag?

                    If I’m pouring out trunks of clothing into bags, not looking at each garment, with the intention of getting rid of it after say a homeowner dies, then absolutely. 100%. Because I’ve done exactly that.

                    It seems to me that you’re kind of assuming that the garment was indeed known to be in there and known to be a threat. And there is exactly 0 evidence of that. It’s a total and complete assumption.

                    It’s not my opinion that there’s a non-existent threat, it’s that there is no evidence whatsoever to assume a threat. Believing in any way it was a threat is the very definition of assuming facts not in evidence.

                    If someone had thrown a brick through the store window with a note that read “All niggers must hang” we could reasonably infer a threat from that, and identify the hate group/white supremacist, if not by name but by description: the individual(s) who threw the brick.

                    In this case, no one can identify the white supremacist, either by name or by description. Was it the person who left the bag? Was it the father of the person who left the bag? Was it the friend of the father who left the bag? Were the bags left unattended at any time by any of the above parties?

                    1. It’s not my opinion that there’s a non-existent threat, it’s that there is no evidence whatsoever to assume a threat.

                      I just want to point out that most modern discourse is entirely unable to recognize such nuance.

                      Back to your regularly scheduled discussion.

                    2. If I’m pouring out trunks of clothing into bags, not looking at each garment, with the intention of getting rid of it after say a homeowner dies, then absolutely. 100%. Because I’ve done exactly that.

                      Paul,

                      I have had the responsibility on occasion, both appropriate and unfortunate, of going through the belongings of deceased relatives (and other individuals for whom I cared to varying degrees).
                      I think that you would agree that this is far from a pleasant experience.
                      If, while doing so, I had seen such items as are described and shown via the link you provided, these items would have roused me from my familial or custodial duties, and I would have paused and given thought to their proper place.

                      Had you seen the rope, hood, and robe resembling a KKK robe, would you have removed them before taking them to a consignment store, regardless if it was Ms. Coakley-Spring’s?

          2. “This was a hate crime, that’s what it was,” Coakley said. “This wasn’t him trying to sell us a Klan outfit, this was a guy trying to send a message to us… we’re going to keep this store open and not let him win.”

            Well, so much for that.

    2. Speaking of bikes, what a waste. Only the government would do something like this.

      http://nbc4i.com/2016/05/17/cr…..de-cycles/

      1. Destruction is all they know.

        Are ATV and minibike riders required to wear DOT motorcycle helmets? I wear a bicycle helmet when riding my dirtbike because I’m seldom going more than 25MPH.

        I had a job where I had to work on an Air Force base. Although the base-wide speed limit was 25MPH as a motorcycle rider I had to wear a DOT helmet, jacket, full pants, boots and gloves. I was often passed by bicyclists wearing little more than a bike helmet and spandex shorts.

        Motorcycles are scary!

        … Hobbit

  13. Nanny state gets sneaky.

    Several states have laws to legalize and regulate online gaming, but language quietly slipped into a Senate Appropriations Report could allow the feds to steamroll those state laws. The amendment, introduced by Lindsey Graham would effectively ban all online gambling, both interstate and intrastate.

    Some Republicans in Congress ? egged on by Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and major GOP donor ? have been trying to pass an online gambling ban for several years.

    Adelson’s interest in such a proposal is fairly obvious: fewer online gaming options means more people have to trek to casinos to get their gaming rush. In Nevada, where online poker is legal, Caesars dominates the industry, while Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands casinos don’t offer an online poker site.

    He can’t get Congress to approve an online gambling ban through traditional channels, so Adelson has been pressuring close friends ? Graham ? to sneak language into unrelated bills.

    The language inserted into Senate Appropriations Report comes from the so-called Wire Act, which was written by lobbyists for Las Vegas Sands last year.

    The Wire Act, as interpreted by federal courts in a landmark 2011 decision, only regulates sports betting but allows states to police themselves when it comes to other forms of internet-based gambling.

    1. TIL Lindsay Graham was jilted by a croupier

  14. No PM links? OK, I’ll put this here.

    MA trooper involved in beating was suspended with pay

    A 32-year-old Massachusetts state trooper involved in the arrest and beating of a man in Nashua after a high-speed chase Wednesday was suspended with pay after a hearing Friday.

  15. Wonder if Biden knows that this ice cream shop had to shut down twice last year for listeria.

    http://nbc4i.com/2016/05/17/vi…..ice-cream/

  16. Energy dept launches five new sites to train soldiers in the solar industry.

    (nothing left to cut)

    Energy Department Launches Five New Solar Ready Vets Training Locations, Announces $10 Million for National Solar Training

    Today, the Energy Department announced five additional military bases will join Solar Ready Vets, a solar jobs training program that prepares service members for careers in the solar industry when they leave active duty. The Department is also awarding $10 million to 10 new projects through its Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) funding program, which was created to help meet the solar industry’s growing demand for well-qualified, highly skilled installers and other industry-related professionals.

    1. Thus adding to civilian unemployment.

    1. And two of them are libertarian!

      1. I’m an arsonist because burning down the cucks at RedState is just gravy.

        (That should cover two)

    2. Everyday that I see more progressive social engineering idiocy, I warm more and more for a Trump presidency.

      1. Umm, anyone who glorifies feeding people into wood chippers was born to support a bully like Trump
        Too young for Hitler. But the Savior has arrived!

  17. Reposting, because I think it is interesting, and I am the one who links: Columbia University to Open a First Amendment War Room

    The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Columbia University announced on Tuesday that they would team up to create an institute at the university’s Manhattan campus dedicated to expanding in the digital age the freedoms of speech and the press outlined in the First Amendment.

    The Knight First Amendment Institute would take on legal battles that newsrooms have found increasingly too costly to pursue on their own, the groups said in a statement.

    1. Gentlemen, you can’t fight here, this war room is a safe space!

  18. So we’re just not getting links tonight?

  19. Can we separate health insurance from employment and end all this bullshit already?

    There is no benefit to this system.

    1. Can we separate health insurance from employment and end all this bullshit already?

      ^ This x 1000

    2. Just let insurance commissioner Hihn explain it to you, you right wing Paulite 9th amendment denier!

      1. Just let insurance commissioner Hihn explain it to you

        Sure. This was me, published in 1994. Still the smartest way to balance the tax consequences.

        http://libertyissues.com/healthg.htm

        That was written for liberty lovers. A shorter version was published as an op-ed by a number of American newspapers

        Any questions?

  20. ‘Feminist’ T-Shirt Top Selling Item at Park Slope Boutique

    A neighborhood boutique is smashing the patriarchy while smashing sales records.

    A T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Feminist” in gold foil letters is flying off the shelves at Diana Kane women’s shop on Fifth Avenue and President Street, with shoppers snapping up more than 500 since December.

    “That’s a lot of units for my store, especially in the winter,” said owner Diana Kane, who designed the shirt herself. “The response was instantly enthusiastic.”

    1. Saw one at work last week. I work a few blocks away.

    2. Does it come in a wife-beater version?

    3. Oh I get it! The thin gold lettering is in reference to the Gilded Age, which feminism has largely to thank, due to the reduced reliance on men as laborers and the increased equality of opportunity brought by technology and innovation. Clever!

      1. We gave them the vote and they took away our whiskey!

    4. I don’t like the font.

      1. Dowdy Old Style

        1. That’s why.

  21. “…it’s the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest of providing free and seamless contraception coverage to the employees of religious nonprofits.”

    Exactly when did it become a “compelling government interest” to provide “free and seamless contraception coverage” to anyone? Hell, it wasn’t even “compelling” enough for Congress itself to put “free and seamless contraception coverage” into the statute itself. It was Obama’s minions in DHHS who decided that “free and seamless contraception coverage” should be part of Obamacare coverage.

    1. And what is this “free” nonsense? If you don’t have to cut a check to the IRS in April, does that mean your taxes were free despite having had money withheld all year? So they bake the money, plus no doubt a hefty overhead, into your premium. Yay, free contraception.

      This debate is goddamn retarded.

      1. And all this is about nuns. Nuns!

        1. Expecting free anything is a bad habit to develop.

          1. They wanted free nothing, and got a face full for their troubles.

    2. Exactly when did it become a “compelling government interest” to provide “free and seamless contraception coverage” to anyone

      That was the government’s argument and it was rejected, which is how she described it.,

  22. OT – in NYC, if you own a business or even are a customer of one, you will be made to care what pronouns people want you to use on pain of fines. Libertarian moment if I’ve ever seen one!

    http://tinyurl.com/zp5ns6q

    1. I would prefer “I’m an asshole”. That way every time they addressed me I get to hear them tell me that they are an asshole.

  23. THE BLAME GAME INTENSIFIES
    I blame Tonio. Yesterday he got aware of the content of the upcoming PM links several minutes before they got posted. Apparently it broke the space time continuum.

    1. Tonio is Robby?

      1. Tonio is Robby who is Milo?

        1. That is one serious case of multiple personality.

    2. Maybe they posted PM links and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, then the post disappeared. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen that happen around here, but it’s more than a few. Of course the only time it never reappeared sometime later, was the infamous greatest post of all time.

  24. Sitting here with Fox on in the background. Hillary and the Berninator are neck and neck in KY, only 2% in. Of course, everyone knows even if he beats her in a another landslide, as always she gets just as many delegates. How does that work? The commie can’t even win if he wins. Capitalism must be to blame.

  25. No lynx! No piece (of cake)!

  26. Revered comedienne Hillary Clinton will join new Ghosbusters cast on Ellen DeGeneres show

    Who cares if the government has been concealing information about UFOs or aliens landing at Area 51? We need their dirt on all the ghosts. Have you seen Ghost Hunters? They find evidence of supernatural infestation 100 percent of the time. That percentage is simply too high. Hopefully Hillary Clinton and the cast of Ghostbusters can get to the bottom of America’s secret wraith problem when they all appear on Ellen Wednesday, May 25. And really, if the choice was between calling the Ghostbusters and calling Hillary Clinton, you know Hillary would bust your ghost in a shorter amount of time with minimal hilarious banter. Plus she probably has a less obtrusive car.

    Paging Mr. Barfman.

  27. Traditional Russian folk song. Would give the female member a piece of my blin.

    1. Them be pirates and scalawags!

    2. We used to listen to that song on this record.

  28. Maybe Grand Mufti Obama told the leftists in black robes to give the nuns a break this time so as not to further inflame the crazy clingers right before an election. Then told them ‘Don’t worry, after the election, we’ll them them, run them over a cliff when they’re in a bus holding babies’.

    1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman!!

  29. ” it’s the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest of providing free and seamless contraception coverage”

    I’m not seeing the compelling part.

    1. Compelling belongs in scare quotes. A “compelling” government interest is whatever the SCOTUS wants it to be.

      1. I can’t believe you don’t see the government’s interest in me wearing a rubber thingy on the end of my dingy as compelling.

        I can wear a rubber thingy on the end of my dingy if I want to–that’s what being a progressive is all about!

  30. Without the mandate there’s no conflict between the parties and no case to be brought. Just give people their freaking paychecks and let them buy what they want.

  31. There’s also a MUCH larger story here. Despite screeching and hysteria on the left about an 8-person court, THEY crafted a solution, a win-win for both left and right..

    Despite all the screeching and hysteria on the right, about “rogue judges” writing law, the case was remanded BECAUSE it was the Court that crafted a solution. If they had issued a ruling based on THEIR solution, THAT would have been writing new law. (Who explains all that to Ron Paul?)

    1. There is more than one decision available. The case hinges on the “government’s compelling interest in providing free and seamless delivery of contraceptives.” Say what?

      Prove that their is no compelling government interest here (as is done is many cases) and this case falls apart. People get paychecks for their work. There’s no reason for their employer to be required to provide additional benefits above that.

      1. There is more than one decision available.

        Not really, but I’m sure the Little Sisters are very eager for you to explain how they agreed to a solution that violates yoer purity test.

        There’s no reason for their employer to be required to provide additional benefits above that.

        Umm, the reason is the tax code.
        But eliminating the employer preference does not address the issue at all.
        Because government still defines the minimum benefits, even at the state level.

        Prove that their is no compelling government interest here

        Damn! Nobody has thought of that yet. The think tanks are too busy with stupid things like Medicare vouchers.

        There’s also a political issue driving all this. Many socons who have been manipulated into supporting the defunding of Planned Parenthood which would INCREASE abortions and eliminate the sole source of healthcare for millions of inner-city women, mostly black.

        Libertarians, like conservatives are so focused on anti-gummint bashing and economic theory that they miss the most obvious solutions. “The pill” costs as little as $9. Do you see it?

        Processing the claim cost more than the reimbursement!

        The best immediate solution has nothing to do with economic theory, but a lot to do with knowing the law. Allow contraceptives to be sold over the counter. I don’t hear any clamoring to provide aspirin, do you?

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