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McCarthy Komedy Klassics

[ 92 ] February 14, 2012 |

Stop it, you’re killing me:

The federal courts are being reshaped by the Obama presidency, thanks to the disinclination of senate Republicans to block appointees.

If by “disinclination” you mean “more willing to block appointees than any Congress in history,” then yes.

Compounding the comedy, I also enjoyed McCarthy’s evidence for what radical judicial activists Obama’s appointees are: “I’m confident that the vast majority of Obama judges, maybe even all of them, would have no trouble holding that the HHS mandate (a) does not establish the Church of Obama as the state religion, and (b) being a neutral law of general application (i.e., it does not explicitly target religion in the text and applies to everyone equally), does not violate the First Amendment’s free-exercise clause.” Indeed they wouldn’t! Of course, at this point it seems worth noting that exactly the same thing would be true of judges that Republican Presidents would appoint. Oregon v. Smith, under which a free exercise claim against the regulation would be not merely certain to fail but frivolous, was written by known Trotskyite Antonin Scalia and joined by his comrade Chairman William Rehnquist. Although this is also beside the point — I think Smith was right, but I also think that the new regulation would easily satisfy the Sherbert test, not least because no individual’s rights are actually being burdened. Not only in the sense that very few Catholics adhere to the church’s doctrine on contraception, but because the mandate doesn’t actually require anybody to use contraception contrary to their religious beliefs. (If the argument is based an alleged subsidy, well, I’ll take that seriously as soon as Quakers are exempt from federal income tax because their tax dollars partially go to fund the military.)

It also seems worth noting that under McCarthy’s novel theory that neutral laws cannot in any way burden religious belief, Reynolds v. United States was clearly wrong. Jeez, and I thought it was same-sex marriage that was leading us on the slippery slope to legalized bigamy…


Comments (92)

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  1. efgoldman says:

    What a maroon![/Bugs]

  2. Rick Massimo says:

    They really have to twist themselves into pretzels now that they can’t just say “[email protected]” anymore.

  3. Woodrowfan says:

    Isn’t McCarthy also a Birther??

  4. Malaclypse says:

    the Church of Obama as the state religion

    Because Secret Muslimism was not an insane enough theory.

  5. It’s also the case that, y’know, Reynolds v United States was wrong. Indeed, the statute at issue there would almost certainly fail Scalia’s Smith-Hialeah test of actual neutrality; it was passed expressly to target Mormonism.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Right — unlike with the mandate, IIRC there was good evidence that the law in question was specifically targeted at Mormons, and would be unconstitutional under Church of Lukumi. Somehow, I don’t think this is the direction McCarthy wants to go…

  6. actor212 says:

    I sort of see McCarthy standing in his ROTC uniform outside the general store, waving his hands, shouting, “Calm down! All is well!”

  7. david mizner says:

    And haven’t Obama picks been largely moderate?

    • c u n d gulag says:

      That’s the problem.

      They like their judges to be reich-wing activists, ready to follow the Constitution literally, and as written, with only the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 10 Amendments (only for THEM, of course). and before those pesky black and women folk started to have some say in the way things were being run in this country.

      You know, back when you had to own some Nigra’s, a wife, and some land, in order to vote.
      Good times, good times…

  8. Karate Bearfighter says:

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t get past this sentence:

    I’m confident that the vast majority of Obama judges, maybe even all of them, would have no trouble holding that the HHS mandate (a) does not establish the Church of Obama as the state religion ….

    For those of us that refuse to get out of the boat, WTF is he going on about with the “Church of Obama”? Is he arguing that any burden on religious practice establishes a diametrically opposed religion whose central tenet is oppressing the burdened religion? Seriously?

    • Murc says:

      I can’t help but wonder if that’s wingnut code we’re just not hip to.

      I’m pretty fluent in code, or at least I think I am, but this is a new one on me.

      • mark f says:

        It’s an old trope going back to the 2008 campaign. Obama stood in front of Greek columns and quoted Gandhi saying that we’re the ones who can make differences, ergo Obama and his followers think he’s Jesus Christ Jr. See also, “Age of Obama,” “The Anointed One,” “The One” (sometimes “The Won” because he’s such an egoist that he once mentioned winning the election), references to messianic pretensions, etc.

        • Karate Bearfighter says:

          One question answered; and yet, so many more questions raised.

        • Murc says:

          Oh shit, I remember “The Won.” Wow, it’s been awhile.

          • JohnR says:

            Speaking of slippery slopes, is it just me or is it really the case that the farther these folks get away from reality, the steeper and more slippery the slope seems to get? I mean we’re waaaaay past the point at which an observer from even 5 years ago would say “these guys need some serious medication and a long stretch in a nice, quiet institution with very calm doctors.” I like to talk with the Mall nutcases when I go in to DC; they’re usually very interesting conversationalists. These guys, though, disturb me on a deep, visceral level.

          • Do you remember the “Obama salute?”

            That was so awesome. Those people were ready to believe anything.

            • mark f says:

              My favorite was when Obama slipped something to a soldier/pilot at the base of the steps to Air Force One, and the wingers freaked out about our right to know the contents of “the note,” because if it had been a note (it was actually some sort of commemorative coin and it’s common practice, although not being military or on the president’s detail I’d never heard of it before) it was very likely to be less “don’t forget the dog” and more “kill whitey.”

              • Tyrone Green says:

                It was a traditional exchange of challenge coins and the nuts tried to turn it into something out of Seven Days in May.

                When that did not work they went off on the supposed hypocrisy of an ‘anti-military’ President participating in the tradition.

                If you look at the official presidential portrait of Bill Clinton, you can see one of his racks of challenge coins in the background.

    • Craig says:

      There seems to be some sort of directed attempt at NRO to make this a thing:

      (Have you ever tried to equate modern dentistry with slavery? Probably not, because you’re not a crazy person. Mark Steyn has.)

    • mingo says:

      He’s arguing with voices in his head, which do not have nearly the vocabulary or the capability for complex thought that you have.

    • Linnaeus says:

      Must be wingnut Hegelianism.

    • Rick Massimo says:

      It’s code for “Uppity [email protected] wins one little election and he thinks he’s, like, in charge or something.”

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        Race has tons to do with irrational wingnut reactions to the Obama presidency. But the rich history of irrational wingnut reactions to the Clinton presidency (and, for that matter, to candidates Al Gore and John Kerry) strongly suggests that it’s not entirely about race.

        • Murc says:

          It goes back to FDR, honestly.

          Spending that long locked out from the Presidency, combined with the New Deal, combined with Ike calling a large part of his party idiots, severely mentally damaged conservatism in this country in a way we’re still coping with. It’s been an unending cycle starting with Truman; when a Democrat is in the White House, he’s not regarded as legitimate, and all kinds of batshit crazy theories about him get bandied about and taken seriously, only to vanish when a Republican is elected.

          • Rick Massimo says:

            Yeah, but this “Church of Obama” business is a step beyond.

          • Warren Terra says:

            Oh, it’s probably older than that. Time was, a Democrat in the Pesidency really might be considered illegitimate: the Republicans had been the party of Union, and the Democrats were the party of Rebellion (and in the North the party of Appeasement). This hadn’t really faded until at least Wilson (and arguably wasn’t really gone until the Dixiecrats decamped and took the legacy with them), and Wilson had his own issues: a Foreign War, the League Of Nations, incapacitation by stroke, etcetera (not counting issues the Republicans liked, such as the anti-immigrant and anti-Bolshie actions). And after Wilson the Democrats became increasingly the party of the Other: that notorious papist Al Smith, for example.

            Basically, for a long time now the Republican narrative has their party as the Genuine American Values Folks (upholding what others might see a Babbitry) fighting against the Democratic Other that has no right to hold power because they aren’t real Americans.

        • Genuinely Evil DrDick says:

          I would agree with this. They would have gone batshit, whoever the Democrat was. Him being black just cranks it up to 11 (from the normal 8-9).

  9. Davis says:

    I see that someone named Eric in the comments brought up the Smith case. Was that LGM’s own Eric Loomis?

  10. mark f says:

    And yet that’s barely the craziest thing on the topic at NRO:

    It will soon be impossible, because it would be illegal, to be a faithful Catholic in America running a health-insurance company.

    [. . .]

    Maybe market forces have made it all but impossible to be a major player in the health-insurance industry while holding to these views. But the outcry during the past three weeks about the HHS mandate shows that there are plenty of potential consumers for just such a health-insurance plan.

    Someone in comments actually argues that the insurance company should be able to perform blood tests and deny all coverage to any woman who has used any form of BC.

    • Malaclypse says:

      It will soon be impossible, because it would be illegal, to be a faithful Catholic in America running a health-insurance company.

      And it is impossible for me, as a Quaker, to join the military. I look forward to the campaign at NRO to get me one of those sweet, sweet military pensions. Alternatively, I look forward to the US military committing to “utterly deny[ing] all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever” so that I can then join.

      I’m glad that this is now a reasonable position.

    • L2P says:

      You know what else the Catholic church opposes vehemently? Like, massively and without exception?

      The death penalty. I don’t see any of these guys saying that capitol punishment should be banned because it makes it impossible for a faithful Catholic policeman because you might arrest somebody who gets the death penalty. Or work on death row. Or anything like that.

      What delicate consciences these conservative Christians have; just the mention of birth control is enough to trigger a stampede. As a liberal Christian, I have to spend my days worrying about so many other things.

  11. DrDick says:

    Andy McCarthy proves once again that the conservatives are still creating their own reality. They obviously have not been taking their meds and we may want to consider a trip to a nice, secure lockdown ward.

  12. SpaceSquid says:

    I actually think McCarthy is entirely on the money here, and would like to add that the only reason global warming isn’t far more advanced than it is at present is due to the disinclination of senate Republicans to engage in aerobic respiration.

  13. I used to read the Corner on a daily basis, just to keep track of those people. I remember when Goldberg did his first bleg for connections between Nazis and liberals.

    There seems to be an unspoken social contract at National Review: they all wear jackets with patches on the sleeves and indulge in other pretensions of middlebrow intellectual flavor, so that each of them can pretend to be working in a serious, academic environment with accomplished intellects.

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