Friday, September 14, 2018

Uncomfortable Truth

At his confirmation hearing, in response to a question from Repub senator Ted Cruz, Brett Kavanaugh stated

That was a group that was being, uh, forced to provide certain kinds of health coverage, uh, over their religious objection to their employees and, uh, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The question was, first, whether there was a substantial burden on religious exercise and it seemed to me quite clearly it was. It was a technical matter of filling out a form. In that way, they said, filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the, uh, abortion-inducing drugs, that they were as a religious matter objected (sic) to.

Anna North of Vox explained

Priests for Life argued in Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that they should not be forced to abide by the contraceptive mandate because their “sincerely held beliefs prohibit them from providing, paying for, or impermissibly facilitating access to abortion-inducing products, contraceptives, and sterilization.”

They said that the religious accommodation offered by the Obama administration, which allowed religious groups to opt out of providing coverage for birth control by notifying either their insurers or the federal government, was not sufficient because it forced them to “contract with third parties that will provide payments for the objectionable products and services” and “submit documentation that, in their religious judgment, makes them complicit in the delivery of such payments.”

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their argument in 2015, but Kavanaugh supported their claim in a dissenting opinion.

"In context," North maintains,' it’s not totally clear whether Kavanaugh is endorsing Priests for Life’s claim that birth control causes abortion, or merely repeating it."

And after Judiciary Committee member and California Democrat Kamala Harris charged "this is a dog-whistle for going after birth control," Politifact maintained

In Harris’ tweet, Kavanaugh appears to believe birth control is an abortion-inducing drug. Does he? We’re not sure what he believes. He hasn't said so in the confirmation hearings. Harris’ tweet takes Kavanaugh’s statement out of context. Harris cut an important second out of the clip — the attribution. Kavanaugh said, "They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objecting to."

Politifact is "not sure what he believes" and North is "not totally clear whether Kavanaugh is endorsing Priests for Life's claim that birth control causes abortion..."

Someone, however, is certain that the Judge believes birth control causes abortion. The plaintiff believes. Executive Director Janet Morana of Priests for Life writes

Abortion enthusiasts are in a huff because Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh referred to contraception as “abortion-inducing drugs” when asked about his dissent in Priests for Life’s case against the Health and Human Services mandate.

Morana's science is very poor but her reading comprehension is very good. Brett Kavanaugh graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, Yale University, and Yale University Law School.  He has written a lot of briefs and opinions while serving as a Supreme Court law clerk, in the Office of the Independent Counsel under Kenneth Starr, White House counsel's office under Albert Gonzalez, in private practice, and as a judge.

Most significantly, Kavanaugh knows how to fudge an answer. He appeared before the Judiciary the Judiciary Committee before approval to become a US District Judge and was coached very  thoroughly for the recent hearing once President Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court.

He knows the difference between "in that way, they said, filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the, uh, abortion-inducing drugs" and "in that way, they said, filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of what they believe are abortion-inducing drugs."  Alternatively, he could have stated "... in the provision of what are quote abortion-inducing drugs unquote."

If the nominee wanted to make that distinction, he could have and would have.

But he didn't want to.  He wanted to reassure forced-birth advocates that he is as staunchly opposed to reproductive freedom as they are. Yet, senators Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska would need something they could grab hold of, something which would allow them to claim that the nominee is not committed to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Kavanaugh gave it to them. Further, he worded his response as not to alarm that portion of the media which finds it incomprehensible or inconceivable that a Supreme Court justice would be philosophically opposed to contraception.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was tapped for the US Supreme Court by arguably the greatest con-man in the recent history of American politics. Perhaps Donald Trump saw a little bit of himself in the guy.

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