Scalia Death Puts Religious Freedom on Trial

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Mar 24, 2016 No Comments ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

Do we have freedom of religion in this country or not?

That question is before the Supreme Court right now. With Antonin Scalia dead and gone, the eight remaining justices will decide – or they won’t, if they break along party lines. At question is a part of Obamacare that gives government the power to force employers to provide free contraception to female employees. There is an “accommodation” – groups that want to opt out must sign a form that shifts the cost to the insurance company or to government. Four appeals court rulings approved that idea.  firstamendment_0

But Catholic charities and other faith-based groups still want no part of it. So here is an instance where the law is subjugated to political ideology. The four liberals on the court are dependable votes for the government – and that may result in a tie.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

The Constitution is clear.

The First Amendment specifies freedom of religion. Therefore, the only question must be: Is forcing an organization or company to be part of an activity that it holds a religious objection to an abridgement of that freedom? The obvious answer is “yes.” But liberals on the court are there to advance liberal ideas – not to protect the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

We mentioned that four appeals courts have ruled for Obamacare in this case, but there is one court – The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) – that has ruled that it violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

The Little Sisters of the Poor.

This is, perhaps, the most salient organization this side of Hobby Lobby that objects to the Obamacare provision. According to an article in the Daily Caller, it would stop the Little Sisters in their tracks:

A religious order of nuns is concerned about its future presence in the United States because of Obamacare’s impact on its charitable operations. The Little Sisters of the Poor told The Daily Caller that it may not qualify for a long-term exemption from Obamacare’s healthcare mandate. The law requires the order to provide government-approved health insurance to its 300 sisters who tend to the elderly in 30 U.S. cities. The exception is needed, said Sister Constance Carolyn Veit, the Little Sisters’ communications director, because Catholic teaching opposes contraception and medical treatments that cause sterility or can cause abortions.

 Nuns opposed to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement protested outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. (Photo: Zach Gibson/The New York Times)

Nuns opposed to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement protested outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. (Photo: Zach Gibson/The New York Times)

A photo in the New York Times shows nuns from “Women for Religious Freedom” picketing outside the Supreme Court. You can find out more about them at

How much do we miss Justice Scalia?

Those who believe in originalism and rule-of-law miss him a lot. If Justice Scalia were still on the Court, the outcome of this case would almost certainly be to protect religious freedom – one of America’s founding principles. Without him, the best that can be hoped for is a 4-4 tie, leaving appeals court rulings in place – and leaving the door open for another case once we have 9 justices again.

Now, imagine what would happen with Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, on the Court. Garland is characterized as a “moderate” by the Mainstream media – but there is little question that he would lean left in case such as this – and to hell with religious freedom.

As things stand now, the Constitution must depend on Justice Anthony Kennedy just to achieve a tie. Obama has put our judicial system into an “unholy” mess, making the November election crucial for rule-of-law.

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