Monday, July 13, 2009

Common Sense vs. the Ninth Circuit

The LA Times informs us of yet another assault on common sense by the liberal left. This time it centers around whether a pharmacist has the right not to carry abortifacients in his/her pharmacy:

Pharmacists are obliged to dispense the Plan B pill, even if they are personally opposed to the "morning after" contraceptive on religious grounds, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a case that could affect policy across the western U.S., a supermarket pharmacy owner in Olympia, Wash., failed in a bid to block 2007 regulations that required all Washington pharmacies to stock and dispense the pills.

Family-owned Ralph's Thriftway and two pharmacists employed elsewhere sued Washington state officials over the requirement. The plaintiffs asserted that their Christian beliefs prevented them from dispensing the pills, which can prevent implantation of a recently fertilized egg. They said that the new regulations would force them to choose between keeping their jobs and heeding their religious objections to a medication they regard as a form of abortion.

Ralph's owners, Stormans Inc., and pharmacists Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen sought protection under the 1st Amendment right to free exercise of religion and won a temporary injunction from the U.S. District Court in Seattle pending trial on the constitutionality of the regulations. That order prevented state officials from penalizing pharmacists who refused to dispense Plan B as long as they referred consumers to a nearby pharmacy where it was available.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, saying the district court was wrong in issuing it based on an erroneous finding that the rules violated the free exercise of religion clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air offers this opinion. Unfortunately, Morrissey's opinion is so sensible that the jurists who sit on the 9th Circuit were sure to reject it:

There have been two different issues in the legal fight over Plan B. In one group, pharmacists not working for themselves - for instance, at chain pharmacies - objected to dispensing the pill and wanted job protection despite their refusal. Those cases hardly stand up to scrutiny. The owner of the pharmacy has the right to decide on his own inventory and what to sell, and the employees of that pharmacy either should follow that policy or find a job somewhere else if it offends them. It falls into the same category as a cashier who refuses to handle meat at the checkout counter because he's a vegetarian.

However, this is something else. The owners of the pharmacy do not want to stock the pills for their own reasons. Even apart from religious grounds, that still seems to be their decision in the marketplace. If they don't want to sell aspirin, or Ginsu knives, or inflatable life vests for swimming pools, that should be their decision, too. If their customers object to their policies, they will find other pharmacies to patronize. The government has a public interest in telling retailers what they cannot sell for safety reasons (like dynamite, as an example), but should not force business owners to sell something they do not want to sell.

How would Judge Sotomayor rule on this case? We may have an opportunity to find out since it seems that the pharmacists are going to appeal it as far as they can. We wish them luck.



Like many other Americans you may have wondered why in the world the Obama administration released back to Iran five terrorist operatives who had been captured in Iraq. You may have wondered why we would freed people who were implicated in the deaths of over four hundred Americans and countless civilian Iraqis to a government that is hip-deep in fomenting death and destruction in Lebanon and Israel, which refuses any concessions on its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and which is fresh off the rigging of an election and the murders of its citizens. What possible basis could there be for this shameful act of abasement and appeasement?

Andrew McCarthy offers a pretty good analysis of this question at National Review Online. His piece is compelling and not very flattering to Mr. Obama. McCarthy doesn't use these words, but he gives the impression that if we were being led by people who have no particular love for this country, no particular pride in either our history or our traditions - if we were being led by people who see the U.S. as the source of all the world's problems - they wouldn't govern much differently than Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats are governing today.

During the sixties leftist students demanded that AmeriKKKa be brought low. Those students have now risen to positions of power and influence and find themselves ideally situated to bring about the destruction they dreamt of in their youth.

Letting those who kill American soldiers go free, saddling the nation with so much debt that we collapse under the burden, nationalizing as much of the private sector as they can get their hands on, repeatedly apologizing to the entire world for vague historical shortcomings, and refusing to protect our national borders are all very perplexing policies, but they're not accidents or misjudgments. They're completely consistent with the belief that capitalism is evil and that America is the cause of most of the world's problems.

Read McCarthy's piece. It's worth the time.


A Little Late

Liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes says she has knowledge about Al Franken that leads her to believe that he'll make an awful U.S. Senator, but she refused to broadcast this information during the election campaign, leaving it instead to Franken's Republican opponent, Norm Coleman, to disclose.

Now she comes out, after Franken has been certified for the Senate, and says that he's a very bad choice for the job. Can you imagine any liberal who had information about George Bush in 2004 that would have changed people's minds about voting for him and not shouting it from the housetops? They were so desperate for any dirt they could find on Bush that people like Dan Rather were making stuff up.

Now Rhodes expects us to think that she had some noble motive for not discrediting Al Franken when she had the chance? Isn't it more likely that she knew she'd incur the wrath of her fellow liberals if she diminished Franken's chances against Coleman? Isn't it more likely that rather than put her country first she put her popularity and career first?

Anyway, courtesy of Radio Equalizer, here's her statement on the ascendancy of Mr. Franken to the Senate:

This is a little bit like watching a house burn down and then, after the place is reduced to ashes, calling the fire company. Thanks for waiting until after the election to tell the people of Minnesota they made an absurd choice for senator, Randi. What good does it do to tell everyone now?