SCOTUS: No Free Exercise of Religion Allowed in Washington State

 

shutterstock_171501734There was a lot of noise this week about how the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a Texas law that imposed regulations on abortion clinics, but there was little notice of a more important ruling. In Stormans v. Weisman, the Supreme Court declined (5 – 3) to hear a petition on a Ninth Circuit case out of Washington State that affirmed a state law requiring all pharmacies to stock and dispense the “Plan B” pill, which can act either as an emergency contraceptive or an abortifacient.

The Stormans own Ralph’s Thriftway, a grocery store/pharmacy with two locations a couple of miles apart in Olympia, Washington. Despite the Ralph’s employees’ willingness to refer customers to any of the 30 other nearby pharmacies that stock the drug, Washington State is determined that traditionalist Christians must not be allowed to run a pharmacy that does not stock the pill. That is unfortunate, because the Washington State law is a clear violation of the Stormans’ First Amendment right to the free exercise of their religion. Writing for the dissenters (and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas), Justice Samuel Alito writes:

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 prescrip- tion 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 wor- thy 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.

Indeed.

Members have made 53 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    Here is cogent media criticism that links to the best coverage, but saves you the trouble by giving you all the essential information:

    http://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2016/6/30/the-supreme-court-and-pharmacists-cnn-shines-while-washington-state-newspapers-punt

    • #1
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:06 pm
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  2. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    Here is a column by Rod Dreher:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/christians-can-no-longer-be-pharmacists/

    What has happened today to the Stormans is only the beginning. They fought the good fight, all the way to the Supreme Court — but they lost. You need to get over the idea that if we only fight hard enough and pray hard enough, that we will certainly win. Don’t misunderstand: we have to fight with everything we have. But we have to recognize that as the darkness grows and thickens, we are going to be losing these cases. We live in what Pope St. John Paul II called the Culture of Death. We need what I call the Benedict Option for a moment such as this for the Stormans, and for every Christian pharmacist who lives in a state that compels them to sell poison to expectant mothers who wish to exterminate the lives in their wombs. The Stormans will need help. They will need the spiritual and moral support of their community, both locally and beyond, and they will need financial help, because their family business has just been destroyed by the government. All because they would not sell a baby-killing pill that is widely available in pharmacists all over the state.

    Dreher asked if the Court will make a similar ruling when a red state passes a law to force pharmaceutical manufacturers to resume supplying the drugs used for executions.

    • #2
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:08 pm
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  3. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    It seems odd that a pharmacy can choose to stock or not stock any of the tens of thousands of products that are available to them, with one exception. They must stock and dispense the abortion drugs.

    Abortion truly has become a sacrament in the Church of Progressive Politics. Culture of Death, indeed.

    • #3
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm
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  4. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    There was some chatter on the left about how the Plan B drugs do not cause abortions. That is because the American Medical Association conveniently re-defined the term “abortion.” The result is the same: a human life gets extinguished.

    • #4
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:12 pm
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  5. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    This affects traditionalist Jews as well as traditionalist Christians. What is going on is the establishment of religion. The Left is building a society in which the only acceptable religions are the ones that do not establish any moral absolutes.

    • #5
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:17 pm
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  6. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    I’m sorry, MJ. This is a lousy ruling, for many, many reasons. (The Left is going steadily nuts, isn’t it?)

    • #6
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:23 pm
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  7. Profile photo of Mate De Coolidge

    Kate Braestrup:I’m sorry, MJ. This is a lousy ruling, for many, many reasons. (The Left is going steadily nuts, isn’t it?)

    Yes they are aren’t they. I was just saying this to my mom today, I think the left sees their time in power slipping away and want to cement their changes now and try to make them permenent so that any conservative administration can’t Change it back. It’s actually quite diabolical

    • #7
    • June 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm
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  8. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    Mate De:

    Kate Braestrup:I’m sorry, MJ. This is a lousy ruling, for many, many reasons. (The Left is going steadily nuts, isn’t it?)

    Yes they are aren’t they. I was just saying this to my mom today, I think the left sees their time in power slipping away and want to cement their changes now and try to make them permenent so that any conservative administration can’t Change it back. It’s actually quite diabolical

    They are not seeing their power slip away. They are seeing their power slipping away in red states. That is why they are busy arrogating power into Washington, where they are on the rise.

    The Supreme Court positions are now the crux of the battle. If Hillary gets to seat new leftists on the Court, then we will be on the path to disintegration of the Union.

    • #8
    • June 30, 2016 at 9:20 pm
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  9. Profile photo of Larry Koler Member

    Kate Braestrup:I’m sorry, MJ. This is a lousy ruling, for many, many reasons. (The Left is going steadily nuts, isn’t it?)

    Not at all. Mark Steyn points out that tyrannies like to do in your face stuff to show who’s in power and to put a shot across the bow of those who would oppose them.

    He gives an example of the boy who competed in a girls track and field event (I think it’s this one) and won the all-state honors. This boy identified as a girl. No operations on his body — he was physically a boy in all ways but he got to compete in a girls event. No one is allowed to complain. The left is in control of what will happen if you do.

    Steyn says that tyrants like extreme examples that are obvious lies and they like to put it in your face. This is an exercise in power — plain and simple. We are quite literally a banana republic where people are terrified of going against the bullies who will ruin your life if you complain.

    And these are the people who teach us all about how to deal with bullies.

    • #9
    • June 30, 2016 at 9:43 pm
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  10. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    If a pharmacy refuses to stock guns or sell them to me, I’m going to sue.

    • #10
    • June 30, 2016 at 9:55 pm
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  11. Profile photo of The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator:If a pharmacy refuses to stock guns or sell them to me, I’m going to sue.

    And incidentally, I am not the one who made guns a health care item. Doctors now ask patients about them.

    • #11
    • June 30, 2016 at 9:59 pm
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  12. Profile photo of MJBubba Member
    MJBubba Post author

    Larry Koler:

    Kate Braestrup:I’m sorry, MJ. This is a lousy ruling, for many, many reasons. (The Left is going steadily nuts, isn’t it?)

    Not at all. Mark Steyn points out that tyrannies like to do in your face stuff to show who’s in power and to put a shot across the bow of those who would oppose them.

    He gives an example of the boy who competed in a girls track and field event (I think it’s this one) and won the all-state honors.

    Steyn says that tyrants like extreme examples that are obvious lies and they like to put it in your face. This is an exercise in power — plain in simple. We are quite literally a banana republic where people are terrified of going against the bullies who will ruin your life if you complain.

    And these are the people who teach us all about how to deal with bullies.

    The Left is talented at ruining lives in order to make examples that serve to cow the population.

    Consider the children of gay parents who spoke against the narrative. Consider the Sweet Cakes Bakery. Also the Oregon florist, New Mexico photographer, Indiana pizza shop. Bankruptcy is a powerful lesson to any Christian small business owner.

    • #12
    • July 1, 2016 at 5:02 am
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  13. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    This is why I love Milo Yiannopoulous: I think of him (hopefully) as an example of the American immune system kicking in.

    • #13
    • July 1, 2016 at 5:16 am
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  14. Profile photo of Kate Braestrup Member

    And BDB’s avatar (Rainbow flag with “Shoot Back” on it) makes me happy, too. I am delighted when the leftist narrative gets confused and starts tripping over itself.

    I do keep asking myself—no longer just about college campuses—“where are the grown-ups?” Why can’t a leftist grasp the idea that, for instance, if you expand the power of the president, one of these days (possibly a mere six months from now) that power will be wielded by a president you don’t approve of, or are frightened by? Even the prospect of a Trump presidency doesn’t seem to be waking them up to the need to protect the systems and processes.

    I have a saying I trot out when talking to my kids about some chronic error they’re making: “right now, God is tapping you on the shoulder with a chopstick. Are you going to pay attention to the chopstick, or are you going to wait for the two-by-four?”

    • #14
    • July 1, 2016 at 5:26 am
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  15. Profile photo of Mate De Coolidge

    Kate Braestrup:This is why I love Milo Yiannopoulous: I think of him (hopefully) as an example of the American immune system kicking in.

    I think there is a looming backlash from not just the right anymore but the left. There are liberals who are not on board with much of this push towards authoritarian leftism. The main issues of commonality is freedom of speech and the fight against radical Islam. There is a movement against this stuff, even on college campus’.

    • #15
    • July 1, 2016 at 5:41 am
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  16. Profile photo of Lily Bart Inactive

    Kate Braestrup:I’m sorry, MJ. This is a lousy ruling, for many, many reasons. (The Left is going steadily nuts, isn’t it?)

    I don’t think they’re ‘going nuts’. This is who they’ve always been, they’re just getting bolder, and they’re winning.

    • #16
    • July 1, 2016 at 6:17 am
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  17. Profile photo of Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    MJBubba:

    There was some chatter on the left about how the Plan B drugs do not cause abortions. That is because the American Medical Association conveniently re-defined the term “abortion.” The result is the same: a human life gets extinguished.

    My understanding is that it depends on the circumstances of use. If taken shortly after sex, it’s best described as an emergency contraceptive, as it prevents fertilization. Taken somewhat later, it can prevent implementation of a fertilized egg, which should count as an abortion.

    • #17
    • July 1, 2016 at 6:18 am
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  18. Profile photo of Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    I think it’s worth noting also that the Chief Justice — who comes in for a lot of criticism for his ObamaCare rulings — was right on this, as he often is.

    • #18
    • July 1, 2016 at 6:20 am
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  19. Profile photo of Brian McMenomy Inactive

    Somewhere, Ronald Reagan has his head in his hands, wondering “what was I thinking?” Never mind how terrible a thing it is that (normally) 9 people have this much power, to essentially gut the 1st Amendment.

    • #19
    • July 1, 2016 at 6:35 am
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  20. Profile photo of Lily Bart Inactive

    Brian McMenomy:Somewhere, Ronald Reagan has his head in his hands, wondering “what was I thinking?” Never mind how terrible a thing it is that (normally) 9 people have this much power, to essentially gut the 1st Amendment.

    The left doesn’t care much for the Constitution – they would like to be free of it (most of it) to make their own rules for our country. – am I just stating the obvious here?

    Someone said recently that we need to view the Bill of Rights as a restraining order against the Government – they are required to keep their paws off these things. Of course the government would like to break this down. And people are so used to freedom, I fear that they’re not fully aware of what life would be like without them – that government would be unrestrained from pushing us around at will. They are breaking these rights down brick by brick, first telling us there should be ‘common sense’ restrictions – that no right is absolute. And they’ll carry on like this until our constitutionally protected rights have become meaningless.

    • #20
    • July 1, 2016 at 6:52 am
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  21. Profile photo of Saint Augustine Member

    Well . . . I think many on the Left do care for the Constitution. They just believe there’s an unwritten Constitution that amends the written one.

    Others believe in only the written one, and care for it; but they think it changes all the time, even when the actual writing hasn’t had so much as a comma disappear.

    “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall remain in the written Constitution, till all be fulfilled.”

    • #21
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:01 am
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  22. Profile photo of Lily Bart Inactive

    Is the government now going to be in the business of publishing lists of what is mandated for pharmacies to carry in their stores?

    Will it be an offense against the people, and constitute an ‘undue burden’ if they don’t order enough of these little pills and have a period of time when its ‘out of stock’?

    • #22
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:06 am
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  23. Profile photo of Merina Smith Inactive

    I think it is time to take to the streets in protest. People in the Storman’s town should start this, but here in CA we need to protest the state’s new law against private Christian universities that adhere to the Christian sexual code. We’ve got to make a very big fuss about this, and we have to do it now.

    • #23
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:21 am
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  24. Profile photo of Bob Wainwright Member

    Are there any other drugs that are required to be stocked? Or only this one? It would be interesting to know the answer to that. It’s not a life saving drug and plenty others are.

    • #24
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:29 am
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  25. Profile photo of Vance Richards Inactive

    MJBubba: Despite the Ralph’s employees’ willingness to refer customers to any of the 30 other nearby pharmacies that stock the drug, Washington State is determined that traditionalist Christians must not be allowed to run a pharmacy that does not stock the pill

    So, no one is being denied access to the pills. This is just a case of the state exerting control and saying, “You believe what we tell you to believe.”

    Let me take a wild guess, Planned Parenthood made significant contributions to the governor’s campaign?

    And the ACLU supports the state. Kind of makes you wonder what the “CL” stands for.

    • #25
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:30 am
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  26. Profile photo of Bob Wainwright Member

    And it’s not just Christians. Plenty of others might have objections as well. It’s not even an exclusively religious objection. But it’s pretty clear that the motivation of the regulators are aimed at religious people.

    • #26
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:33 am
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  27. Profile photo of Front Seat Cat Member

    It will continue to get dicier for people of faith and the government is not on the side of faith. Political correctness took the bite out of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech – now it is all relative – it is what you think it means and anything can be debated and changed. Now it is affecting people’s livelihoods. Not just abiding by whether to stock this pill, but a statement can get you fired or your business banned, as in the case of Chic Filet in NY. It’s all or nothing.

    It seems it comes down to who has the better lawyers. Celebrating freedom in 3 days becomes more important than ever every year.

    • #27
    • July 1, 2016 at 7:47 am
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  28. Profile photo of KC Mulville Inactive

    Do we, in this country, have a single religion that everyone must follow – not to mention devote our tax dollars to?

    (That hellish wailing you might be hearing is from all of the people who cherish the separation of church and state.)

    So let’s change one word … Do we, in this country, have a single [religionmorality that everyone must follow – not to mention devote our tax dollars to?

    Abortion is a moral issue in which a governor – through the “health” agency – has intervened. Were this a religion, the ACLU would be lighting bonfires on the steps of the state capitol. Instead, the Supreme Court just ignored it.

    • #28
    • July 1, 2016 at 8:07 am
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  29. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    MJBubba

    “Dreher asked if the Court will make a similar ruling when a red state passes a law to force pharmaceutical manufacturers to resume supplying the drugs used for executions.”

    Nice. Crunchy conservative Dreher plays Debate Club games instead of exhorting his readers to elect the one man who can change the makeup of the very Supreme Court that is abridging his own conservative principles.

    • #29
    • July 1, 2016 at 8:20 am
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  30. Profile photo of Hoyacon Member

    Freesmith:MJBubba

    “Dreher asked if the Court will make a similar ruling when a red state passes a law to force pharmaceutical manufacturers to resume supplying the drugs used for executions.”

    Nice. Crunchy conservative Dreher plays Debate Club games instead of exhorting his readers to elect the one man who can change the makeup of the very Supreme Court that is abridging his own conservative principles.

    Or maybe his conservative principles prevent him from doing just that.

    • #30
    • July 1, 2016 at 8:35 am
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