The Constitutional Lawyer In The Oval Office Disagrees

In today's press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest faced several questions about the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. One question dwarfed them all in terms of softball water-carrying for President Obama.

"Does the constitutional lawyer who sits in the Oval Office agree with the Supreme Court’s premise that companies have freedom of speech and companies have freedom of religion?" asked Jim Avila of ABC News. Earnest embraced the phrasing, of course, and made this stark statement:

There is a problem that has been exposed, which is that there are now a group of women of an indeterminate size who no longer have access to free contraceptive coverage simply because of some religious views that are held, not by them necessarily, but by their bosses. We disagree and the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees with that conclusion from the Supreme Court.

A few months ago it was argued endlessly that this was not about "free" contraception. Now the left and the White House openly embrace that phrasing. Apparently the constitutional lawyer in the White House has determined that there is a constitutional right to free contraceptives and abortion, and that employers must pony up the dough to make it free, no matter what religious objection they may have. Obviously the Justices of the Supreme Court disagree. Transcript of full clip is below.

As the constitutional lawyer that sits in the Oval Office would tell you: He would read the entire decision before he passed judgment, in terms of his own legal analysis. What we have been able to assess so far, based on the preliminary reading of that decision, is that there is a problem that has been exposed, which is that there are now a group of women of an indeterminate size who no longer have access to free contraceptive coverage simply because of some religious views that are held, not by them necessarily, but by their bosses. We disagree and the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees with that conclusion from the Supreme Court. Primarily, because there is concern about the impact it could have on the health of those women.

Ultimately, the goal of the Affordable Care Act, remember, was to provide greater freedom to Americans to allow them to make more decisions and have access to more options as they seek health care coverage. And that’s the source of the concern that we have. And that’s the problem that we want Congress to fix. In terms of the broader legal analysis that's something that we'll get to.

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