Legal Question for SCOTUS Scholars

I parked on the “wrong” side of the street last night in an area that has alternate side of the street parking, and received a ticket. Though it may surprise some of you to hear this, I do have some strong religious beliefs, mainly about parking regulations. My deeply held convictions are far too sophisticated to fully explain here, of course, but suffice it to say that I hold that any effort to regulate the free exercise of my parking rights is of the devil. I also believe–and I’ll honestly doubt the sanity of anyone who quibbles with this–that Satan himself dictates those regulations to his agents here on Earth.

So, as a person, which the Hobby Lobby decision tells us is an entity that has almost as many rights as a closely-held corporation, I think Fat Tony and his apostles have given me a possible cause of action. But, in order to fight the parking citation/Satanic talisman that was placed on my windshield last night, I need some help from the lawyers in the crowd.

If I’m reading the Hobby Lobby decision correctly, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act only allows Restoration of my Religious Freedom in cases where a uterus and insemination are somehow involved. I’m no mechanic, and cars have become complicated over the years, but I’m pretty sure Honda does not put wombs into cars, even as an extra-cost option. And, unless excess consumption of martinis causes spontaneous generation of child bearing parts, I don’t have a uterus, either. So, here’s my legal question: If I tell the parking cops/agents of Satan that I placed my car on the right side of the street because I was informed that fucking my wife in the back seat of a car on the right side of the street was the key to effective insemination, will that get me off the hook? Or do you slick lawyers have any other ideas?

Open thread for the rest of you.

159 replies
  1. 1

    You don’t have standing, you’re not a right wingnut republican.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    What are the deeply held religious beliefs of your car? I’m going to guess that parking on that side of the street at that time was one of them.

  3. 3
    D58826 says:

    And of course if Jesus was a loyal Honda buyer then your covered,

  4. 4
    shortstop says:

    Also, if anyone has ever had unmarried sex in the back seat of that car, you’re not only out of legal luck, you’re a slut who wants us all to pay for your “sexy romps,” as a very creepy Republican acquaintance termed it in a Facebook comment thread last night.

    OT, I LOVE SKEDADDLING OUT OF WORK EARLY ON SUMMER HOLIDAY WEEKENDS! On our way to the beautiful Uplands, picking up Madison pals on the way. YAY!

  5. 5

    You may have to prove the sincerity of your beliefs by fornicating yr wife in front of the authorities.

  6. 6
    burnspbesq says:

    I have the same answer for you that you think (incorrectly) that the Supreme Court had for femle employees of Hobby Lobby.

    Sucks being you.

  7. 7
    catclub says:

    I hope Jon Cole is getting huge amounts of money for having D’inesh D’Souza punchworthy face in the ads by the side of the page.

    Also, I think the explanation will be sufficiently amusing to get him off ( of the parking ticket).

  8. 8
    burnspbesq says:

    If I’m reading the Hobby Lobby decision correctly,

    Stop it! Yer killin’ me!

  9. 9
    shortstop says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Can it be fornication if the couple is married? Let’s put on some Toots and the Maytals and discuss.

  10. 10
    shortstop says:

    Now, DINESH knows how to fornicate. Damn.

  11. 11
    Violet says:


    I have the same answer for you that you think (incorrectly) that the Supreme Court had for femle employees of Hobby Lobby women.

    Sucks being you.

    Fixed for accuracy.

  12. 12

    Alternate side of the street parking is an unvarnished effort to generate revenue through arbitrary fines. It would serve as a fine basis for a religion.

  13. 13

    @shortstop: yer right (you frequently are). for some reason I didn’t want to say fuck but I should get over that.

    Excellent idea re: Toots & the Maytalls.

  14. 14
    shortstop says:

    @ranchandsyrup: I’ve already started without you. Tootsing, I mean, not fucking.

  15. 15

    @shortstop: LOL. I have a few songs on my phone and I’m Tootsing as well.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    You can define your own religious beliefs if you are in the top one percent. If not, pay the ticket. .

  17. 17
    Karen in GA says:

    Because we don’t have enough cutesy pet blogs on the planet, and I have this weird compulsion to make up conversations with my dog, and because WordPress blogs are free: The Iggy Dialogues.

    And because if I think about this fucked-up two-bit Taliban bullshit any more my head will explode.

  18. 18
    constitutional mistermix says:

    @burnspbesq: I must refer you to the august words of O. Carter Snead of Notre Dame:

    First, the Court made clear that faithful individuals do not lose the protections of RFRA simply because they seek to practice their faith with others through a closely held, for-profit business.

    If running a big box retail chain that sells scrapbooking supplies and glitter is a practice of faith, then I think that parking on my chosen side of the street is a practice of faith, too.

  19. 19
    srv says:

    I could see this working if you were parked in front of Hobby Lobby and you were in the missionary position only.

  20. 20
    rea says:

    Traffic and parking regulations are state, not federal. The Supreme Court has held that RFRA is unconstitutional to the extent that it purports to limit state powers. Alito explained in Hobby Lobby:

    As enacted in 1993, RFRA applied to both the Federal Government and the States, but the constitutional authority invoked for regulating federal and state agencies differed. As applied to a federal agency, RFRA is based on the enumerated power that supports the particular agency’s work, but in attempting to regulate the States and their subdivisions, Congress relied on its power under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce the First Amendment. 521 U. S., at 516–517. In City of Boerne, however, we held that Congress had overstepped its Section 5 authority because “[t]he stringent test RFRA demands” “far exceed[ed] any pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct under the Free Exercise Clause as interpreted in Smith .”

  21. 21
    srv says:

    Also, too, could I have a faith-based, closely held prostitution ring LLC?

  22. 22
    shortstop says:

    @constitutional mistermix:

    O. Carter Snead

    I wonder how bad his first name was that he chose this route.

    I once knew an A. Scruggs Love. You better believe I tried to find out what the A stood for.

  23. 23
    Cacti says:

    You’re out of luck mistermix.

    While the Patriarchal wing of the court has decided that corporations are capable of exercising religious beliefs, only ones that are based on papal encyclicals are good enough to trump laws of general applicability.

    By mentioning blood transfusions in the same decision, the Opus Dei five told unorthodox and heathen religions such as yours that they can go pound sand if they expect a similar level of judicial deference for their sincerely held beliefs.

  24. 24
    shortstop says:

    @srv: Some people find parallel parking tough, but I’ve always found getting into a missionary space more tricky.

  25. 25
    shortstop says:

    @Cacti: Serious question, and I’m not remotely defending these guys: Are any of them really demonstrably Opus Dei, or is that speculation?

  26. 26
    Scotty says:

    I’ve been pondering, does the Hobby Lobby decision give a Muslim business owner the right to deny employees lunch breaks during Ramadan and require female employees to wear burkas? Did the Supreme Court just open up our lands to creeping Sharia?

  27. 27
    Immanentize says:

    This is not as crazy as it seems on its face. OK, it is as crazy as it seems on its face, but it is a crazy shared by thousands of fellow citizens. Fellow citizens with guns. When I lived in San Antonio, I was doing a good deal of public defender type work and we had a separate breed of client that we referred to as “the traffic militia.” They firmly believed (religiously, I might add) that the Declaration of Independence recognized their God-given (read “religious”) right to be free to drive their cars however (and sometimes wherever) they wanted. Several of these fellows carried around a post-civil war case from Alabama which held that the State could not force the registration of a buggy because it was property and not a common carrier (property rights are all religiously granted). Of course all these yahoos had to pay their fines like every non-yahoo who just messed up…. Until now.

    And remember, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over because he didn’t have any license plates on his getaway car. because the State had no authority over his property. Praise Jesus!

  28. 28
    StringOnAStick says:

    @catclub: If you click on Dinette De’Slousa’s ad, money goes to Cole, and best of all, that money comes out of Dinette’s funds. I try to click on it at least once daily.

    Yes, that’s right; I hate-click just to increase the advertising costs for ads/ideas/things I don’t like.

  29. 29
    catclub says:

    @⚽️ Martin: Parking is too cheap, not too expensive. Subsidizing parking encourages too many cars.

    On the Federal Highway Fund, I heard a report that Obama would oppose an increase in the gas tax to pay for it, because he wants an increase in taxes for the wealthy/ business loopholes.

    But then they said he might waver. Is this debating with himself because we know that the GOP would refuse either tax? or is a tax on gasoline one that mostly affects poorer people the most so that the GOP would prefer it to taxes on the wealthy?

    I suspect the latter, and that Obama is looking to NOT be the one who raise gas taxes, because that will be noticed excessively, just like the price of gasoline is noticed excessively in comparison to say, insurance and college and healthcare costs.

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    If you can somehow prove that parking on the other side of the street would have prevented your wife’s already-fertilized egg from implanting itself in her uterus, you’ve got it made. Remember, not all religious beliefs were upheld by the court, just Catholic and fundie Evangelical ones regarding uteri.

  31. 31
    Immanentize says:

    PS Although not strictly speaking mentioned in the bible, both possessing guns and watching porn — even grizzly kid stuff — are also God-given rights along with not having to have license plates.

  32. 32
    SatanicPanic says:

    @catclub: Is he in jail yet? Anyone know?

  33. 33
    FoxinSocks says:

    @Karen in GA:

    I love it! Iggy is so cute. Jumping on the bandwagon with my foster cat T-Bird’s twitter feed –

    He’s a toothless cat with kidney issues. His girlfriend, who he’s bonded to, has a heart murmur. I figure they’re going to need a lot of help getting adopted (and if they don’t, they’ll stay with me, they’re awesome).

  34. 34
    scav says:

    But the future Economic Benefits of Sexual Intercourse between “right side rightly recognized” individuals must be weighed into the legal equation according to the respected lawyers opining in support of the state of Kentucky. And certain forms of fucking actually stabilize a state, clearly there must be mitigating circumstances. So sayeth lawyers who invariably know best.

  35. 35
    Cacti says:


    Serious question, and I’m not remotely defending these guys: Are any of them really demonstrably Opus Dei, or is that speculation?

    OD is fairly tight lipped about its lay membership, so it’s mostly based on association.

    John Roberts’ kids attended an Opus Dei school in Maryland. Scalia attends his weekly mass at St. Catherine of Siena in Falls Church, VA, which has strong ties to OD. His son, Father Paul Scalia is an OD affiliated priest. Thomas’s return to Roman Catholicism was facilitated by Paul Scalia and Father John McCloskey, also OD.

    Alito and Kennedy do not have any demonstrable links to the group.

  36. 36
    D58826 says:

    @constitutional mistermix: And O Snead is hoping that Scotus will also absolve religious non-profits from filling out the odious form asking for the exception to the contraceptive mandate. It seems that 2 degrees of separation is not enough. I wonder if Pharmacy chains like CVS and Riteaid will have to stop selling contraceptives because nuns and priest shop there for aspirin. Surely their pure souls will be hopeless comprised simply by breathing the same air.

  37. 37
    catclub says:

    @SatanicPanic: The last news is he pleaded guilty on May 20.
    a google search on ‘Dinesh D’Souza sentencing’ returned just the may 20 results.

  38. 38
    Karen in GA says:

    @FoxinSocks: Oooh, Marcel deserves whatever T-Bird decides to dish out.

  39. 39
    StringOnAStick says:

    @shortstop: I did some Googling about Opus Dei and the Supremes; seems to be a lot of rumor though there are hard cases of people like Santorum being what Opus Dei calls a “cooperator”, meaning helpful to the cause though not technically a member. Looks like Scalia’s son is an OD priest, and there seems to be some evidence that Alito is OD. Thomas’s conversion to Catholicism was handled by an OD priest. Fun fact: Robert Hansen, serious spy/traitor is most definitely OD.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    SatanicPanic says:

    @catclub: yeah, I couldn’t find anything either. I wonder if he’ll come out a martyr

  42. 42
    Cacti says:


    Santorum at least does everyone the service of being up front in his belief that contraception is wrong and he’s opposed to it for religious reasons, rather than trying to couch his theocratic views in constitutional language.

  43. 43
    Fred Fnord says:

    @⚽️ Martin: So now street sweeping is a vast conspiracy to raise money? Really?

  44. 44
    catclub says:

    Charlie Pierce is great.

    (Yeah, I, too, think it’s funny that the story about how America is Yearning For Willard runs below a headline about the “booming” Dow and the jobs numbers that have begun to “skyrocket.” Oops.)

  45. 45
    Belafon says:

    Maybe you can claim that you parked on the wrong side of the road because your faith told you to make it harder on the woman across the street to get birth control. If she couldn’t park where she was supposed to, she would have to park across the street, and turn her car around. You believe that extra walking she would have to do to get to her car would be enough to make her think twice about getting contraceptives.

  46. 46
    ChrisH says:

    @srv: New Job Listing
    Looking for young, energetic female applicants in the field of Enhanced Innovation Consultancy. The job will involve independent consultation services with various clients for variable lengths of time. Income is based on commission of consultancy fees. Note: This closely held corporation ascribes to the Solar Purity faith which emphasizes free love and acquiescence to intercourse whenever requested. Employees are expected to abide by these deeply personal beliefs during client consultation.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    scav says:

    @ChrisH: The former CEO of American Apparel is presumably getting the faith big time as we type.

  49. 49
    Fred Fnord says:

    @StringOnAStick: Please do not do this, and do not say it either. The bigger ad groups have webcrawlers looking for comments like that, and other discussions of gaming the ad system, on the blogs they advertise on. (Of course, they also have other fraud-prevention techniques to catch that kind of behavior even if it isn’t being discussed.) Some of them (coughGooglecough) will simply lock someone’s account if the crawler returns a positive result, without any human intervention. And then it’s impossible to unlock.

    This is true even if it is a RANDOM COMMENTER, who has no association with the blog owner whatsoever. It has happened to someone I know personally, and I have also read an account of someone else it happened to. The only way the former was able to get his account unlocked was because he happened to have a friend who worked at google. The second one is, so far as I know, still screwed.

  50. 50
    M31 says:


    And of course if Jesus was a loyal Honda buyer then your covered,

    Everyone knows Jesus drove a Honda, though he never talked about it. It’s right there in John 12:49— “For I did not speak of my own Accord.”



  51. 51
    shortstop says:

    @scav: I heard he has prayer meetings with Justin Mateen.

  52. 52
    Francis says:

    @rea: Well, here in sunny Southern California, parking regulations that allow for street sweeping are actually driven by the Clean Water Act.

    [geeky bits about NPDES regs deleted] So I can easily attach a federal handle and invoke RFRA.

    That said, I think you probably lose on the less restrictive alternative analysis.

  53. 53
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:


    You might have to convert to the Church of Satan, where fornication is a necessary part of their religious rituals. But, once you do that, you should be good to go.

  54. 54
    SatanicPanic says:

    @M31: I know it’s early to be giving out internets, but I suspect I won’t see a better comment than yours today

  55. 55
    scav says:

    This really could be the job-creating moment as all the faiths rush out to hire various consultants and PR execs to carefully craft tailor and hone their prospectuses outlining the financial, tax and other benefits of adopting the faith at the corporate level. There might even be tithing offsets and indulgences granted as the bidding war escalates for the prestige multi-national allegiance accounts.

  56. 56
    PGE says:

    @Ash Can:

    If you can somehow prove that parking on the other side of the street would have prevented your wife’s already-fertilized egg from implanting itself in her uterus…

    No need to prove it… just claim it’s a sincerely held belief. SCOTUS pretty explicitly held that facts are irrelevant.

  57. 57
    maurinsky says:

    Do women need to get together to sue the Supreme Court for codifying discrimination against women into law?

  58. 58
    NonyNony says:


    Do women need to get together to sue the Supreme Court for codifying discrimination against women into law?

    Nope – private citizens can’t sue the Court. What needs to be done is to get a Democratic majority in the Senate and the House and a Democratic president and get them to repeal and re-write the relevant portions of the RFRA that the Justices have been abusing.

    That’s the only way forward – make sure that no more conservatives end up on the court, the conservatives that are there get replaced by people far less conservative than they are, and the legislature gets controlled by people who actually care somewhat about people who work for a living.

    That’s about the only way forward.

  59. 59
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Let’s not forget that Hobby Lobby’s ownership has strong views about _contraception_, but that what they sought to avoid was not the _direct_ provision of contraception but, rather, the _indirect_ and _potential_ provision of contraception, via insurance. If no employee on their health plan ever used the plan to purchase contraception, they would still have qualms because it theoretically could happen. Come the fuck on. That’s a stupid complaint that deserves no respect. It’s not at all the same as a kosher deli being ordered to serve shellfish. Hobby Lobby wasn’t told they had to stock their stores with contraceptives the owners abhor.

  60. 60
    D58826 says:

    @M31: oh fsm that is aweful

  61. 61
    Roger Moore says:


    What are the deeply held religious beliefs of your car?

    Whatever its god (i.e. driver) commands, it does without question.

  62. 62
    NonyNony says:


    Let’s not forget that Hobby Lobby’s ownership has strong views about _contraception_, but that what they sought to avoid was not the _direct_ provision of contraception but, rather, the _indirect_ and _potential_ provision of contraception, via insurance.

    No. This is still wrong and missing the point entirely.

    What they sought to gain was the tax credit that they receive from offering legally compliant health insurance for their employees WITHOUT actually offering health insurance that complied with the minimum standards for health insurance to qualify for the tax credit.

    That’s what this is about. And why Alito’s ruling a piece of garbage no matter how you slice it.

  63. 63
    Jay C says:

    To be honest, at least here in NYC, alternate-side-of-the-street parking, and its attendant rules, if not technically a “religion” does inspire a level of ritualistic observance from the populace many more-conventional denominations might envy. For as it saith in chapter-and-verse of the Book of Holy Traffic:

    1. These are THE RULES, and the Rules are THE LAW, and THE LAW is Supreme.

    2. THE RULES must be displayed in the Street, so that all may see them and know them, that The Street may be cleansed.

    3. All must clear the Street at the appointed hour, and the appointed hour must be displayed so that all may know and obey THE RULES.

    4. At the appointed hour, thou must go to thy vehicle, and move thy vehicle so that the Street may be cleansed. And thou must abide in thy vehicle for the appointed time, and there contemplate upon THE RULES, until such time as THE RULES command, and thou mayest return thy vehicle to the cleansed Street thereby.

    5. And thou must practice this ritual diligently each week, for then shall THE LAW smile on thee, and punish thee not for thy contumely. Amen.

    Makes about as much sense as some “religious” doctrines I’ve read about….

  64. 64
    D58826 says:

    @Cacti: He is also opposed to all abortions, no exception. Oh wait there was one exception – when his wife was 20 weeks along and was told end the pregnancy or die. They opted for the abortion.

  65. 65
    Trollhattan says:

    When JFK was running for office he had to declare that he didn’t take orders from the pope and could run the office without Catholic interference. I don’t recall any of the Sups being asked about their church allegiances during confirmation hearings (heh, “balls and strikes”) but given the majority alignment wonder whether the Catholic boys club shouldn’t have recused themselves on this case?

  66. 66
    Trollhattan says:

    Repressed vile memory–was that the not-born sibling they brought home and had the Santorum kids pass around like a new kitten?

  67. 67
    scav says:

    If a corporate person sincerely believes its nostrum does xy or zed, who are the FDA to interfere with its constitutionally granted and from GOD right to preach same gospel to believers, to Evangelize and spread the Good News to the heathern? Tiny bit of tepid Scotus boilerplate won’t hold out against a true Freedom of Religious Speech push, could it?

  68. 68
  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NonyNony: It’s garbage for many reasons. But the one I’m fixated on is how their claim to having been bullied into complicity with something to which they object on religious grounds completely skips a step: providing insurance isn’t something to which they object on religious grounds. What their employees do with the insurance may involve acts to which the ownership objects, but, too fucking bad. So they haven’t been asked to do anything immoral in the first place! And that’s the center of their case: “their” (for some values of “they”) “religious freedom” (for some values of “religion”) was abridged by this mandate-within-a-mandate. It’s very weird moral reasoning about fault and culpability, of a sort that we typically laugh off.

    ETA: IOW, I’m sure that what they sought to gain is as you said, but the grounds of their claim under RFRA are also absurd in their own right.

  70. 70
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @shortstop: Somebody in the wingnutosphere is pushing the line “you want me to foot the bill for your slutting around” really, really hard. I guess they figure it worked so well when Rush Limbaugh was picking on Sandra Fluke. I just had an exchange on G+ with someone who was putting it literally in those terms: “slutting around”.

    The idea that a health-care bill including contraceptives might be part of one’s compensation for work, he characterized as “insane”. Employers are evidently being forced to give out health insurance as a charity.

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Matt McIrvin: It’s also a barking mad statement because EVERYONE WITH INSURANCE _already_ is constantly paying for things other people do. No one gets all up in arms because they have to “foot the bill” for idiots who burn themselves on illegal fireworks or shoot themselves in the pen1s.

  72. 72
    AnonPhenom says:

    @ constitutional mixmaster

    Good news/ bad news.
    Good news:
    As per Alito, Hobby Lobby’s belief that the 4 items they didn’t want covered were abortifacients, despite ‘medical science’, ‘facts’ and ‘reality’ saying “WTF are you idiots babbling about”, allows them to be treated as such cause, FAITH n’shit.
    Bad news:
    You’re obviously not a Christian. Phuck off and die in the fires of hell, heathen.

    Oh yeah, Jesus loves you.

  73. 73
    Tone In DC says:

    Good luck with that parking ticket. We have that not-on-this-side-of-the-street shit here, and it’s $35 that could be put to much better use. Like buying little bicycles for catfish. Or history books for Tea Party candidates. Or something.

    As for the actual ticket…

    I was sick and tired, fed up with this
    Decided to take a drive downtown
    So very quiet and peaceful
    There was nobody, not a soul around
    I laid myself down, I was so tired,
    And I started to dream
    In the morning, there’s a parking ticket
    With this black flag, stuck on my windscreen

    I said
    Get off of my cloud
    Don’t hang around, baby
    Two’s a crowd

  74. 74
    MikeJ says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The idea that a health-care bill including contraceptives might be part of one’s compensation for work, he characterized as “insane”. Employers are evidently being forced to give out health insurance as a charity.

    Tell him to explain this point of view to the IRS who most certainly count benefits as income.

  75. 75
    Emily68 says:

    @catclub: If I click on the ad, does Jon get more money and does the money come from D’Souza?

  76. 76
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Actually, I’m pretty sure a certain hard core of these folks literally are opposed to the entire idea of insurance. That came up during the debates over the ACA. They’re a minority, though.

  77. 77
    b says:


    But, that doesn’t mean women can’t sue Hobby Lobby or any other business that denies mandated insurance coverage of reproductive health based on discrimination. It’s a totally different cause of action and would change the balancing test against their alleged “religious” objections.

  78. 78
    shelley says:

    Sweet Jesus, I cannot believe there are people seriously pushing for a third Romney presidential run. Perhaps they think it might succeed this time if they prevent him from answering any actual questions and away from contact with actual humans.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:


    What needs to be done is to get a Democratic majority in the Senate and the House and a Democratic president and get them to repeal and re-write the relevant portions of the RFRA that the Justices have been abusing.

    While they’re at it, they could replace Obamacare with single payer. And pass a revised Voting Rights Act. And give me a pony.

  80. 80
    catclub says:


    No one gets all up in arms because they have to “foot the bill” for idiots

    No, actually there are lots of tea-partiers who are exactly up in arms over the whole concept of insurance. Never mind they live in flood zones.

    Higher flood insurance rates are coming, just don’t know when.

  81. 81
    The Dangerman says:


    I cannot believe there are people seriously pushing for a third Romney presidential run.

    It’s silly season before the Big Game (November); the signal to noise ratio is completely whacked. As an example, Krauthammer said that a fence at the border because a fence at the White House seems to work. My response to him: “No, you stupid fuck, it’s not the fence that works, it’s the armed guards all around the perimeter.” I wonder how many more border patrol agents we would have to hire to have the same surveillance “density” as the White House. Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Of course, that would cost money (*shudder*) and they would probably be Union jobs (*SHUDDER*).

  82. 82
    Glocksman says:


    Most of the ads appear to be driven by either recent page views, words in a post, or searches you’ve done on Google.
    As an example, I just switched to Consumer Cellular and almost every ad here I see is a CC ad.

  83. 83

    The JFK thing was many years ago. Overt religion was so dominant in the US that the Fundies and the Catholics could freely pick fights. Now the country gets more secular by the day, and those who want religion to be the law of the land have to band together against the rest of us who don’t applaud when you say God told you to run for president.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Actually, I’m pretty sure a certain hard core of these folks literally are opposed to the entire idea of insurance.

    When are they going to sue?

  85. 85
    Roger Moore says:


    Sweet Jesus, I cannot believe there are people seriously pushing for a third Romney presidential run.

    I can; I just have to look at the other potential Republican candidates and try to find one better. When I can’t find one, I can understand why somebody might go for Romney.

  86. 86
    pluege says:

    no need for SCOTUS legal scholars anymore. the oh-so-wise supremo justice alito has declared that it doesn’t matter what is true and factual, the individual only has to meet the standard that they believed something in order for it to be true and enforceable. So if one believes parking tickets are against one’s religion as an act of the devil, alito says its so and must be honored.

  87. 87
    Belafon says:

    @The Dangerman: 1.3Million according to a pretty good estimate in a LTE to the Dallas Morning News (DK link has Editorial and responses).

  88. 88
    cbear says:

    Dear Mr. Mistermix,
    I definitely believe you have a cause of action against the government agents/Satan’s spawn that have so cruelly deprived you of your legal and natural rights as a United States citizen and a god-fearing white man.

    My firm, Dewey, Cheatam & Howe, specializes in cases like yours and, for a nominal fee, we will press your case in every legal venue available.

    Please contact me at your earliest convenience so that we may embark on this important crusade together.

    Yours in God,

    cbear, Esq.

  89. 89
    Mike in NC says:

    @The Dangerman: Actually, a year or two back our geniuses in Congress were contemplating doubling the size of the Border Patrol. Because what could possibly go wrong with trying to quickly hire and train thousands of additional law enforcement officers? They didn’t even bother to ask the head of the Border Patrol what he thought of their brilliant idea.

  90. 90
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Romney has stated several times that he won’t run in 2016. Still, a recent Boston Herald/Suffolk University Poll in New Hampshire found that Romney was favored by 24% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Christie came in second with 9% (Christie? WTF?) and Rand Paul was third with 8%. There is that White Horse Prophecy thing though so I’ll believe that he isn’t running when he doesn’t run.

  91. 91
    Morzer says:

    A reverend in Illinois organized a demonstration to hand out condoms outside of a local Hobby Lobby store in order to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling on contraception, the Daily Herald reported.

    Rev. Mark Winters of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Naperville, Ill., said it started out as a joke in a Facebook, but after he got a great response, he decided to organize a protest.

    The group of demonstrators stood outside the store to hand out condoms donated by Planned Parenthood.

    Winters told the Daily Herald that he wanted the protest to show that not all Christians oppose birth control. He also said he hoped to get people to question whether the Supreme Court’s decision was fair to Hobby Lobby employees’ religious freedom.

    The FSM has informed me that the five supreme court criminals in black robes who are oppressing his people will be as Chiellini before the jaws of Suarez the Devourer.

  92. 92
    Tommy says:

    LOL. When I lived on Capital Hill in DC, and of course I paid for a parking permit for my zone, you needed like a PhD in parking to figure out what you could or couldn’t do. I don’t generally break the law. Heck I am that dude that drives the exact speed limit. Before living in DC and afterwards not a single ticket. I got dozens of them in DC. So many I started to pay for a parking spot on a lot next to Union Station. So I totally, I mean totally feel your pain.

  93. 93
    Mike in NC says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Romney has stated several times that he won’t run in 2016.

    OK, then. Given that the guy is incapable of speaking the truth about anything, we can take that as a “Yes, I’m running”. Rmoney does have the advantage of being much richer than the 23 other candidates — combined — who will enter the 2016 GOP primaries.

  94. 94
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Slutting around? Wow. There are a lot of wives who’d be surprised to hear that if they don’t want a child right now, sex with their husbands is slutting around.

  95. 95
    Tommy says:

    On one of The Young Turks channels (via Hulu) they had a story today. You can still get a penis pump and a penis implant on the Hobby Lobby health plan. Now clearly I’ve never gotten one of these things. Honestly never even pondered it. But it would seem to me an IUD or a birth control pill might be more vital for a women by like a factor of ten thousand then a penis implant for me :). But what do I know.

  96. 96
    Trollhattan says:

    @Roger Moore:
    My 737 is running low on fuel and I’m looking for a convenient set of shoulders.

  97. 97
    scav says:

    @Morzer: also

    Rev. Mark Winters of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Naperville, Ill.

    “You can make the religious freedom argument, you can make the argument about contraception, but ultimately, for me, this is about power,” he said. “Jesus had a lot of issue with powerful people using power over the powerless.”

    There’s a handy little reminder that appeared quickly. Corporate Holier than thous might wish those portions of the book were written more generally in that invisible ink. sparking more inter-denominal infighting (they’re already getting more pushback over gay marriage), especially explicitly involving issues of power might not be the best backdrop for the oppressed piety tapdance.

  98. 98
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    Republicans just can’t stand the idea that anyone is having a better time than they are.

  99. 99
    Jay C says:

    And its corollary:

    Republicans just can’t stand the idea that anyone is having a better time than they are sex..

  100. 100
    Tommy says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Wow. My brother is nine years younger then me. I wasn’t around for a lot of his teen years and we honestly are not that close. His wife is close to my age. I am closer with her. We have pretty frank conversations because she is as blunt and straightforward as me.

    Since they had their wonderful little girl I often ask her how things are going. The biggest change they didn’t see coming. She mentioned sex. Well sex was second to just time alone. Nobody would ever accuse Sarah of being remotely a liberal. But clearly she still would value some sex or just being intimate with her husband. You know the person she loves!

  101. 101
    Roger Moore says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    There are a lot of wives who’d be surprised to hear that if they don’t want a child right now, sex with their husbands is slutting around.

    They shouldn’t be. The Catholic Church has been quite clear that birth control is wrong, and the kind of people who take that seriously don’t care a lot about fine details. Wanting to have consequence (i.e. pregnancy) free sex makes a woman a slut, whether she’s married or not.

  102. 102
    Morzer says:

    @Jay C:

    Liberals have sex, conservatives have grudges.

  103. 103
    Tommy says:

    @Morzer: As somebody that has dated more then 1 or 2 Catholics and Republicans I can assure you that IS NOT THE CASE.

  104. 104
    Morzer says:


    No, really?

    (Note to self, put I WAS JOKING after any and all posts that contain humor *le sigh*).

  105. 105
    Tommy says:

    @Morzer: This one women, and I am trying not to give TMI. But after dating and having sex for awhile she bite me. I don’t mean a nibble. I mean blood and teeth marks. I was like WTF. I feel like I am pretty open sexually but that was so over-the-top. Pain isn’t sexy to me i the least. Hardcore Republican and devote Catholic. Pretty sure she went to church the next day. I went home right afterwards and we didn’t go out again.

  106. 106
    Roger Moore says:

    Are you sure it wasn’t Luis Suarez in drag?

  107. 107
    Morzer says:

    Kevin Drum has a very interesting piece about just how much of a disaster the Sharia Supremes may have unwittingly unleashed in the area of corporate law:

    Basically, what you need to know is that if you and some friends start a company that makes a lot of money, you’ll be rich, but if it incurs a lot of debt and fails, you won’t be left to pay its bills. The Supreme Court affirmed this arrangement in a 2001 case, Cedric Kushner Promotions vs. Don King:

    linguistically speaking, the employee and the corporation are different “persons,” even where the employee is the corporation’s sole owner. After all, incorporation’s basic purpose is to create a distinct legal entity, with legal rights, obligations, powers, and privileges different from those of the natural individuals who created it, who own it, or whom it employs.

    That separation is what legal and business scholars call the “corporate veil,” and it’s fundamental to the entire operation. Now, thanks to the Hobby Lobby case, it’s in question. By letting Hobby Lobby’s owners assert their personal religious rights over an entire corporation, the Supreme Court has poked a major hole in the veil. In other words, if a company is not truly separate from its owners, the owners could be made responsible for its debts and other burdens.

    I’d like to know what the professional legal eagles on here think.

    (Note, this is a SERIOUS post not a JOKE post).

  108. 108
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Morzer: Be nice.

  109. 109
    Morzer says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Thank you kindly, officer Dibble.

  110. 110
    shelley says:

    As I’ve said (and my mother has said) if men could get pregnant, abortion and contraception would be written into the Constitution.

  111. 111
    BGinCHI says:

    This the GREATEST headline of the year if you stop reading it right before the word “Serious.”

  112. 112
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Interesting, isn’t it? And revealing.

  113. 113
    Tommy says:

    @Morzer: I am NOT an expert here. But isn’t that the point of an LLC (limited liability company). That legally the owners are shielded from the liabilities the company incurs? They might be successful for years and buy houses, cars, a yacht. But then they rack up debt nobody can go after any asset that isn’t a LLC asset. This never made sense to me.

  114. 114
    Morzer says:


    It doesn’t make sense in the real world* – but it’s basically what made Mitt Romney and his ilk extremely rich. All you have to do is get your newly acquired company to take out huge loans, which go into your personal coffers, then dispose of the debt-ridden company. Although, if corporations are people, one assumes that this is an act of murder.. and…

    * In effect, it is a rogue’s charter.

  115. 115
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    So if a member of the Christian Science Church owns a business does he or she even have to provide health coverage? What about the people who don’t believe in blood transfusions? Will they be allowed to deny their employees coverage for them?

    SCOTUS made a dumabass decision based on the religious biases of five of the justices. They apparently don’t know how whack some of the other denominations are.


  116. 116
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:


    Can it be fornication if the couple is married? Let’s put on some Toots and the Maytals and discuss.

    Depends. Are they doing it for procreation or for recreation?

  117. 117
    Morzer says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I really do wonder just how much damage the Sharia Five have done to the basic underpinnings of American law. I suspect this is going to take decades to fix, if it can indeed be fixed.

  118. 118
    Morzer says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    And does porn count as pro-recreation?

    At this rate we shall need a National Sex Commissioner to adjudicate such questions.

  119. 119
    Morzer says:


    Just be grateful she didn’t try and chew off any parts of you as a trophy!

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Morzer: @Tommy: As I understand it, that protection — the so-called corporate veil — is an incentive to set up a corporation, by allaying some fears about entrepreneurial risk.

  121. 121
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @shortstop: Sure it can. Take contraceptive-hating Daniel Defoe’s word for it: Conjugal Lewdness or, Matrimonial Whoredom (1727).

  122. 122
    Tommy says:

    @Morzer: The last ad agency I worked at took on one client. My client. They defaulted on $8M in an ad buy. Our owner said her name was on those POs for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. I pay my bills.

    Now our CFO was an idiot, our terms was he should have gotten payment up front. He didn’t. Hid it from both myself as the account manager and of course the owner. The company went bankrupt. The owner is living in a million dollar houses. Tooling around in a Bentley. But all we could do was go and see what the court offered for an auction of their assets. Pennies on the dollar. The owner had to sell the firm. I then left.

    The ad agency had been around for 30 years. 60 employees and more then $60M in revenue. We were a very, very successful women owned company. Almost overnight they destroyed us. So this is a topic I could rant about for hours.

  123. 123
    Morzer says:


    That’s the theory, yes. But you know as well as I do that sharp practice slices woolly theory to ribbons eight days a week.

  124. 124
    Roger Moore says:

    I think this is a question that has been on a lot of people’s minds. My layman’s understanding is that the piercing the corporate veil is a balancing test, where the judge tries to look at the company’s actions to tell if it’s been acting like an independent entity or the owner’s alter-ego. The corporate veil is pierced if and only if the judge decides that the company hasn’t been acting like an independent entity. My gut feeling is that demanding an exemption on the grounds that it would go against the owner’s religious views should serve as a giant flashing sign saying that the company is not acting like an independent entity. So the ruling in Hobby Lobby should only risk piercing the corporate veil for companies that choose to avail themselves of it; companies that don’t take advantage even when the owners do have strong religious views might actually be able to use that as evidence that the company really is its own entity.

  125. 125


    In other words, if a company is not truly separate from its owners, the owners could be made responsible for its debts and other burdens.

    Not under this court. That precedent might be relevant once the Ginsburg wing is in the majority, but Roberts and the other 4 are going to side with the corporation at every turn.

  126. 126
    Roger Moore says:

    The idea behind piercing the corporate veil has generally been to go after people who treat the company as their personal piggy bank. If a debtor can show that the owner wasn’t being careful to keep personal and corporate finances strictly separate, they can go after the owner’s assets.

  127. 127
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    This court has managed to magick corporations into persons. That’s pretty amazing considering that neither the word “corporation” nor the word “company” are to be found in the Constitution or its Amendments. A quick count shows the word “person” appearing approximately 49 times. How they managed to confer the rights of persons on entities that aren’t even mentioned in the Constitution (Those these entities did exist when the Constitution was drafted) is a feat of legerdemain that would make David Copperfield green with envy.

  128. 128
    scav says:

    Imagery for the Dance of the Seven Corporate Veils is extremely disturbing as it inevitably stars Scalia as lead. And, as much as I do want Roberts head on a platter, I can’t quite read him as the Baptist.

    There’s also this to play with

    And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

  129. 129
    Tommy says:

    @Roger Moore: I have not heard that. The CFO of the firm I mentioned, we knew we were FUBAR, was he went AWOL. Found him weeks later and he was in a rehab facility. Not for drugs or anything. Stress. That they had over extended their spending so much he didn’t know how to deal with it. He didn’t know how to tell people they couldn’t pay their bills.

  130. 130
    J R in WV says:

    Well, if we manage to elet even a slim majority in the House and the necessary super-majority in the Semate, I think first order of business is to impeach the Opus Dei members of the Supreme Court. Then they can be tried for working to forcibly implement foreign religious beliefs upon innocent American citizens.

    While that wends its slow way through the judicial system, the two b0dies of legislative work can be repaired to such an extent that no judge can make a mockery of it going forward.

    But the impeachment and smearing of their reputations via internet coverage of government action is at least as important. These FSM-dammed god botherers need to learn that there are things in the democracy that they cannot fuck around with. Then they shold get their choice of being burnt at the stake, pressed to death while rolled into the center of a huge persian rug, or just shot for network fc.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore: Seems to me like it wouldn’t be THAT hard to craft a test for what counts as a “religious corporation.” Because, and I think I wrote this somewhere else and not here, I can see how “religious liberty” would apply to a kosher deli or halal butcher: businesses organized to provide services that directly support the observances and practices of faith communities. But I cannot see how a craft supply store has religious liberty. It’s not a religious business. If you let Hobby Lobby define itself as a Christian corporate person, you’d have to let any bunch of co-religionists doing anything for profit declare themselves similarly, whether it’s Buddhist drywallers or Zoroastrian accountants. And that can’t possibly make good public policy.

  132. 132
    jimmiraybob says:

    “…is of the devil.”

    For the paperwork:

    AKA: Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Dark Lord, Father of Lies, 666, Antichrist, Behemoth, Leviathan, Baphomet, Moloch, el Diablo, Old Scratch, Old Hob, Prince of Darkness, Prince of Air, the Other Guy at the Crossroads, the Dark One, Darth Cheney

  133. 133
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: IMHO if not for Citizens United this case would not have come down this way. That was the necessary precursor: corporate persons with First Amendment rights. I say we quarter some soldiers inside a corporation until we adjudicate whether they have Third Amendment rights too.

  134. 134
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: I laughed a long time at that one!

  135. 135
    BGinCHI says:

    @WaterGirl: Did you have any luck getting my book through iBooks? It was there and available after I saw your post….

  136. 136
    Betty Cracker says:

    @BGinCHI: Tee hee!

  137. 137
    WereBear says:

    @FoxinSocks: He’s a toothless cat with kidney issues. His girlfriend, who he’s bonded to, has a heart murmur. I figure they’re going to need a lot of help getting adopted (and if they don’t, they’ll stay with me, they’re awesome).

    You are far more decent a human being than any Republican I know. And that’s not damning with faint praise!

  138. 138
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I say we make corporations serve in the military and and pay the same marginal tax rates as the rest of us.

  139. 139
    WereBear says:

    Just my luck my little business just went LLC.

    GD Republicans.

  140. 140
    WaterGirl says:

    Yes, I did!

    I got the free sample that day (it was at the end of the month and I was out of money) and it pulled me in right away. I loved your second sentence!

    My plan is to read the whole sample on my iPad and then decide whether to get the iBook for me or get a paper book that I could give to my sister when I am done.

    Looking forward to the weekend so I can do some reading!

  141. 141
    BGinCHI says:

    @WaterGirl: Many thanks for your interest. Don’t hesitate to tell me what you honestly think about it.

  142. 142
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: “Hmm, ‘personal income tax.’ Your business is a ‘person’ now, isn’t it?”

  143. 143
    PIGL says:

    @burnspbesq: cue burnsie to defend the indefensible.

  144. 144
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: Will do! thanks

  145. 145
    ET says:

    I am interested in whether these religious exemptions not related to the uterus are more than fodder for talking our will they go anywhere in practice.

  146. 146
    Morzer says:


    In other news: the sun rose today.

  147. 147
    patroclus says:

    I think this post is making fun of religion, satirizing people with deeply-held religious beliefs, skewering self-important lawyers and self-appointed SCOTUS scholars, ridiculing the Hobby Lobby majority opinion, skewering Mitt Romney, trivializing parking regulation, backhanding Justice Scalia and the RFPA and making a substantive constitutional point all rolled into one.

  148. 148
    Trollhattan says:

    Who sez we can’t multitask? Who!?!

  149. 149
    Steeplejack says:


    I once had a sodomy charge reduced to following too close. (TMI? Yes.)

  150. 150
    Morzer says:

    A divided Supreme Court on Thursday allowed, at least for now, an evangelical college in Illinois that objects to paying for contraceptives in its health plan to avoid filling out a government document that the college says would violate its religious beliefs.

    The justices said that Wheaton College does not have to fill out the contested form while its case is on appeal but can instead write the Department of Health and Human Services declaring that it is a religious nonprofit organization and making its objection to emergency contraception. The college does provide coverage for other birth control.

    Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied Wheaton’s request and made the college fill out a form that enables their insurers or third-party administrators to take on the responsibility of paying for the birth control.

  151. 151
    FoxinSocks says:


    Thank you! I actually didn’t know they had all those issues when I got them. They were dumped at the shelter and the shelter said they were super-nice and begged us to pull them out.

    They are amazing cats and I adore them, especially when they snuggle together at night.

  152. 152
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I once knew an A. Scruggs Love.

    Handtogod, I once knew an FBI agent named Gay Walter Valentine.

    The Third.

  153. 153
    Hal says:

    I thought this was a good post on the subject I saw earlier. For me one of the more frustrating responses I’ve seen for months are things like; “Pay for your own birthcontrol” or how a business owner shouldn’t have to pay for things they object to.

    You WORK for your employer. Your health insurance package is PART OF YOUR COMPENSATION FOR YOUR WORK. It is not FREE. You are, explicitly, WORKING FOR IT.

    Your employer does not discuss, with your doctor, what treatments you are given for any medical condition or circumstance you might encounter. Your employer has no right to your medical records. Your employer is NOT your health care provider.

    Part of your compensation for work is actual money. Your employer has no rights over what you choose to do with your money. The same applies to the health insurance which you have WORKED in order to EARN. It is not free. It is not a gift. It is compensation for work. I’m saying that more than once because it seems to be a super difficult thing for some of the geniuses to understand


  154. 154
    vhh says:

    @The Dangerman: About 10 years ago, I went to Mexico from San Diego. At the border crossing, there were agents all over on foot and in SUVs continuously intercepting people were trying to cross all up and down the fence, it was chaos. I reckon that to seal the entire Southern border you would need no less than one armed soldier every 100 feet along the 2000 mile length of border in the Southwest. That works out to 100K soldiers, multiply by 2-3 to cover 24 hours/day. We know from Iraq that it costs $500K-1M per year to deploy each front line soldier (because of support and overhead costs), so this kind of coverage would cost $100-200B per year, pretty much like the direct costs of the war in Iraq. The present US Immigration Enforcement budget is about $5B. In all reality, the Pentagon would have to take over border control. Some will say that we just need to build higher fences with lots of electronics. That sort of approach was tried in Vietnam, but it failed to halt the movements of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops in and out of South Vietnam. To be sure, we could probably build a more advanced automated system now, but to be effective, it would need to be a sort of Robo Border Cop that would shoot to kill pretty much anything that moved. This would cause major international political problems, and we would end up putting lots of humans in direct control anyway—we might as well just use the army. Paying hundreds of billions per year would cost something like $500 per US citizen in taxes, since half the population is too poor to pay Federal income taxes, the other half would see its tax bill go up by $1K per year on average, something on the order of a 10% tax increase. I leave the calculation of the probability of all this happening as an exercise for the reader.

  155. 155
    Roger Moore says:


    We know from Iraq that it costs $500K-1M per year to deploy each front line soldier (because of support and overhead costs), so this kind of coverage would cost $100-200B per year, pretty much like the direct costs of the war in Iraq.

    I don’t think you can extrapolate from Iraq to the US Southwest. The logistical tail is much shorter here, the quality of the opposition would be lower, and so would the general level of violence. For example, the Border Patrol can get fuel by going to the local gas station, rather than shipping it along routes where it may be attacked by heavily armed insurgents equipped with IEDs. That would bring costs down quite a bit.

  156. 156
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @burnspbesq: So, Burnsie, are you ready to tell us all how SCROTUS correctly decided Hobby Lobby, and why we hoi polloi are just too fucking ignorant to appreciate the flawless reasoning of the Catholic Conservative wing of the Court? Cause I’ve been waiting a couple of days now, man.

  157. 157
    Sad_Dem says:

    @Morzer: I’m not an attorney, but yes, in theory, the Hobby Lobby decision tears a hole in the corporate veil. In reality, however, it doesn’t, because the hacks on the court will be happy to be inconsistent should the need arise, say when some living breathing nonperson dare to try to pierce the corporate veil of a true person corporation and wound the rich Romney-entity behind it.

  158. 158
    Sondra says:


    Doesn’t suck being me, menopause paused my reproductive rights for all time…might be pretty bad for the daughters of “sucks being you” though.

    Babies are very expensive. Especially if you don’t want 9 of them.
    The upside is that after the gazillion dollars you spend on their College and grad-schools, perhaps they can replace the entire Supreme Court.

  159. 159
    Sondra says:

    Also too therefore………I can’t wait for the Church of the “Flying Spaghetti Monsters” to refuse to file an exempt form and claim the new special Hobby Lobby right.

Comments are closed.