Supreme Court Rules Against First Amendment

 
stormans

The Stormans family.

The left has won the culture war, and now they’re roaming the countryside shooting the wounded. The Supreme Court quietly endorsed progressives’ mop-up operation by refusing to hear the case of Kevin Stormans who had his life turned upside-down by government bureaucrats in Washington state.

The Stormans family pharmacy has served Olympia residents for four generations. But in 2007, they ran afoul of the state’s pharmacy board which mandated that every pharmacy stock and dispense the “morning-after” pill, an abortifacent. This violated Stormans’ religious, moral, and ethical beliefs, so he challenged the regulations in court.

If women wanting a Plan B pill called in a prescription, he would gladly refer them to one of the 30 other pharmacies within a five-mile radius supplying the drug. No one was harmed or prevented from receiving the pill, while Stormans was allowed to freely practice his faith.

This wasn’t acceptable to state bureaucrats, who insisted that every man and woman bend their knee to a strange new god, Planned Parenthood. After years of litigation, a federal court agreed with Stormans. The state immediately appealed to the famously liberal 9th Circuit which sided with the bureaucrats.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to enforce the first amendment and ensure that an all-powerful government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Instead, they abstained, refusing to even hear the case.

Representing the constitutional minority on the Court, Justice Samuel Alito (joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas) registered his disapproval with the majority:

This case is an ominous sign. At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.

Great concern, indeed. This anti-constitutional interpretation might as well insist that kosher delis serve bacon and Hindu-owned restaurants sell hamburgers. But that comes later. For now, the left’s social warriors are focused on stamping out the scourge of “live and let live” Christians like Kevin Stormans. Every knee must bow before the strange new god.

For more background on the case, Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Stormans, created this video:

https://youtu.be/gSpH6EU1YM0

Published in Law
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  1. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Republican leaders could put a stop to this, had they any courage.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Just one more nail in the coffin of freedom.

    • #2
  3. jpark Member
    jpark
    @jpark

    If the pharmacists elect their Board in Washington, one or both of the Stormans should run for it and see if they can change the rule that way. More generally, all these appointed Human Rights Commissions should be elected. They might do less harm if they had to answer to the voters.

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Very sad day indeed.

    • #4
  5. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    First, they came for the pharmacists …….

    • #5
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Indeed.

    The free exercise of religion: Prohibited.

    The freedom to think what you want as long as you don’t exercise it: Sacred.

    • #6
  7. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    So what’s the penalty if they continue to fail to stock it?

    It’d be a darn shame if they had a lot of ordering and delivery problems that  made it difficult to keep the product in stock.  Is there a requirement to keep a certain amount on hand, or can they order one unit, then wait at least 2 or 3 weeks to order a replacement after it’s used.

    Is the stuff shelf-stable, or is it likely to be rendered unusable if it gets to warm or too cold in storage?  Maybe there’s a heat vent in the stock room where the box gets put.  Or it inadvertantly got put in the refrigerator.

    • #7
  8. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Saint Augustine:Indeed.

    The free exercise of religion: Prohibited.

    The freedom to think what you want as long as you don’t exercise it: Sacred.

    No, no, no. You are still free to exercise your religion, it is just that once you do that you forfeit your right to earn a living. I am sure that is what the founding fathers had in mind.

    • #8
  9. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Ugh.

    • #9
  10. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    Are doctors allowed to refuse to perform abortions?

    What would be the distinction?

    • #10
  11. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    They should just buy one dose. Once it sells, be very, very slow about ordering a new one.

    When someone calls in, just say, “It was big night. We’re out.”

    • #11
  12. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Explain to me again why the proper response is not:
    “Kill the Masters.”

    • #12
  13. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    Obviously some leftwing wing nut brought the original complaint to the pharmacy board. This was a set up that started at a lot lower level than the board or the courts. I fail to understand why anyone would find it odious to be referred to another, nearby pharmacy to purchase a prescription. Unfortunately, the western portion of my state, at least that part which abuts Puget Sound, is inhabited by leftest Trolls who seem to have nothing more important to do than to mess with other people and their rights. That they are majority of the Washington state population is appalling to the rest of us who prefer to live and let live.

    • #13
  14. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    If women wanting a Plan B pill called in a prescription, he would gladly refer them to one of the 30 other pharmacies within a five-mile radius supplying the drug. No one was harmed or prevented from receiving the pill, while Stormans was allowed to freely practice his faith.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

    The idea that the imaginary absolute right to an abortion trumps the clearly stated Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution is completely stupid. The Supreme Court is exhibiting left-wing derangement syndrome to the max.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Is the selling price of the drug regulated?

    Keep it in stock, charge $243,532.67 for the dose.  If the customer doesn’t like the price, refer them to a nearby pharmacy.

    • #15
  16. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to enforce the first amendment and ensure that an all-powerful government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Instead, they abstained, refusing to even hear the case.

    Really, Supreme Court, really?

    Two different rulings by two different lower courts in order to adjudicate a contested interpretation of a state agency’s regulatory ruling! That makes it a textbook case for a Supreme Court review.

    • #16
  17. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    I have to say that this ruling horrified me at a more visceral level than other upsetting rulings and decisions.  It reminds me of a statement I used to tell the docs about patients who possessed medical decision making capacity but were making truly unwise decisions about their treatment options—“your (the MD) logic has no home there.”

    The logic of freedom of religion rests on the principle of whole-hearted agreement of correct opinions.  The correct opinion is that abortion should never be restricted or inconvenient, period.    If your religion foolishly tells you otherwise, well that is fine, but abortion should never be restricted or inconvenient, period…trump card.

    Or at least that’s how I hear it in my head…

    • #17
  18. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    jpark:If the pharmacists elect their Board in Washington, one or both of the Stormans should run for it and see if they can change the rule that way. More generally, all these appointed Human Rights Commissions should be elected. They might do less harm if they had to answer to the voters.

    …which is why they will never be elected.

    • #18
  19. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Misthiocracy:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to enforce the first amendment and ensure that an all-powerful government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Instead, they abstained, refusing to even hear the case.

    Really, Supreme Court, really?

    Two different rulings by two different lower courts in order to adjudicate a contested interpretation of a state agency’s regulatory ruling! That makes it a textbook case for a Supreme Court review.

    It probably would have come back 4-4 anyway…

    • #19
  20. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    Misthiocracy: Two different rulings by two different lower courts in order to adjudicate a contested interpretation of a state agency’s regulatory ruling! That makes it a textbook case for a Supreme Court review.

    Not quite.  You need a split in the circuits to create the textbook case.  A district court being overruled by its circuit court of appeals happens almost every day within every circuit.

    • #20
  21. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    Mike H:

    Misthiocracy:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to enforce the first amendment and ensure that an all-powerful government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Instead, they abstained, refusing to even hear the case.

    Really, Supreme Court, really?

    Two different rulings by two different lower courts in order to adjudicate a contested interpretation of a state agency’s regulatory ruling! That makes it a textbook case for a Supreme Court review.

    It probably would have come back 4-4 anyway…

    Or worse, 5-3, so it would be the law nationwide rather than just on the left coast.

    • #21
  22. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    KC Mulville:Are doctors allowed to refuse to perform abortions?

    What would be the distinction?

    I think that the Left intends this ruling to serve as a stepping stone to “bigger and better” things like prohibiting doctors from refusing to perform abortions, euthanasia, and sex-change operations; and clergy from refusing to perform same-sex marriages.  Eventually, people with moral scruples will simply not become doctors or ministers, which (one presumes) will usher in utopia.

    • #22
  23. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    So a state can’t impose regs that make getting an abortion more difficult, but can require pharmacists to violate their conscience by forcing them to facilitate abortions.

    This is why the religious freedom recognized in Hobby Lobby is really meaningless. It’s a case by case thing, dependent on legal minutia and what judges are hearing it. You have no way to know beforehand whether your freedom will even be recognized. That’s  a freedom that has no value.

    • #23
  24. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    Mike LaRoche:Republican leaders could put a stop to this, had they any courage.

    How?  And these are the same Republican leaders who couldn’t even manage to get a Republican as the party nominee for President.  I’m not sure it’s courage that they’re short of.

    • #24
  25. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Mike LaRoche:Republican leaders could put a stop to this, had they any courage.

    They are incapable of articulating the reason and need for the First Amendment’s religious protections.  Or they don’t care.

    • #25
  26. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Irregardless:

    Mike LaRoche:Republican leaders could put a stop to this, had they any courage.

    How? And these are the same Republican leaders who couldn’t even manage to get a Republican as the party nominee for President. I’m not sure it’s courage that they’re short of.

    You’re talking about people who thought Jeb! was a good idea.

    • #26
  27. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    Irregardless:

    Mike LaRoche:Republican leaders could put a stop to this, had they any courage.

    How? And these are the same Republican leaders who couldn’t even manage to get a Republican as the party nominee for President. I’m not sure it’s courage that they’re short of.

    I don’t want to be misunderstood as arguing that Republican leaders have courage, in fact I’m pretty sure that most of them don’t.  Just I don’t think a lack of courage is the limiting factor here.

    • #27
  28. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Saint Augustine:Indeed.

    The free exercise of religion: Prohibited.

    The freedom to think what you want as long as you don’t exercise it: Sacred.

    You’ll think what they tell you to think – or you’ll be pushed to the edges of society and prevented from making a living.

    • #28
  29. Irregardless Member
    Irregardless
    @

    Lily Bart:

    Irregardless:

    Mike LaRoche:Republican leaders could put a stop to this, had they any courage.

    How? And these are the same Republican leaders who couldn’t even manage to get a Republican as the party nominee for President. I’m not sure it’s courage that they’re short of.

    You’re talking about people who thought Jeb! was a good idea.

    My point.  Between the lot of them they’re a few cards shy of a full deck.

    • #29
  30. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Just a reminder: however stinky the choice may seem, it will be either Trump or Clinton making SCOTUS appointments, executive branch appointments, overseeing national security, etc. Who do you prefer?

    • #30
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