Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Why dropping health insurance is no solution for Hobby Lobby

Featured image Long-time Power Line reader Michael McConnell, a (if not the) leading scholar of the Constitution’s Religion Clauses, analyzes the four serious legal issues presented in the Hobby Lobby case. The issues are: (1) Could Hobby Lobby avoid a substantial burden on its religious exercise by dropping health insurance and paying fines of $2,000 per employee? (2) Does the government have a compelling interest in protecting the statutory rights of Hobby »

The Iowa Senate race becomes fully competitive

Featured image When Nate Silver found that the Republicans have a 60 percent chance of capturing the Senate in this year’s election, he rated the GOP’s chances of winning the Iowa race at 25 percent. But that was before the Democratic candidate, Rep. Bruce Braley, dismissed popular Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley as a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Braley made that comment during a fund raising talk to »

As Obama retreats, America recoils

Featured image A CBS News poll finds that only 36 percent of Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing on foreign policy. 49 percent disapprove. Obama actually polls better when it comes to his handling of the economy and of health care than he does on foreign policy. Robert Kagan points out, however, that Obama has been giving Americans the detached, non-interventionist foreign policy they want after the Bush years. »

Law and order governance, Democrat style

Featured image Minnesota is the beat of John and Scott, but I can’t resist noting this story by Andrew Johnson at NRO. It seems that Governor Mark Dayton has advised parents of children with disabilities to buy marijuana in the street, given that medical marijuana has not been legalized in Minnesota. Jessica Hauser, whose son suffers from a form of epilepsy, reports that Dayton gave her this advice during a private meeting. »

More deep thoughts by Barack Obama

Featured image President Obama, fresh from dodging Jonathan Karl’s question about whether Mitt Romney was right in deeming Russia our number one geopolitical (Obama said “the number one national security threat to the United States” is a terrorist attack in this country, but that’s not a geopolitical threat), unloaded more fuzzy thinking on a group of students in Belgium. Obama declared: This is not another Cold War that we’re entering into. After »

Imperial trappings for an empty suit

Featured image When President Obama visited Russia in 2009, his hosts, as I reported at the time, found Obama laughably naive. Indeed, they were astonished to find an American president looking for things to give away to Russia in exchange for “good will.” The Russian leadership concluded, in the prophetic words of my source, that they could “steal Obama’s pants.” The Russians also had a good laugh at Obama’s imperial trappings. These »

Support Alex Mooney for Congress

Featured image We have written several times about Alex Mooney’s campaign for Congress. Alex, a friend and partner in the Dartmouth College battles, is running in West Virginia’s Second Congressional District for the seat being vacated by Shirley Moore Capito, who is likely to be elected Senator. As I explained here, Alex is easily the most conservative of the serious contenders in the Republican primary, and he appears to be electable in »

Obamacare’s hard enrollment deadline melts

Featured image The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration will give extra time to Americans who say they are unable to enroll in health-care plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline. According to the Post, consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension. To take advantage of »

D.C. Circuit panel seems to think Obamacare means what it says

Featured image The second big Obamacare case of the day, Halbig v. Sebelius, was argued before the D.C. Circuit. As Scott has explained, the issue there is the legality of a crucial IRS rule authorizing tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of health insurance on federally run health care exchanges. The Obamacare statute only authorizes tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of insurance in an exchange “established by a state” »

As usual, Justice Kennedy likely will determine the outcome in Hobby Lobby

Featured image Oral argument took place today in Hobby Lobby and a companion case. Lyle Denniston of Scotusblog provides a recap. You don’t really need to read Denniston’s post (though I recommend you do) to figure out where things stand. Four Justices seem ready to strike down the offending Obamacare rule; four seem ready to uphold it; and Justice Kennedy will decide the case. You will be equally unsurprised to learn that »

A dangerous technical argument against Hobby Lobby

Featured image It’s bad enough when a court decision deprives of us liberty or fails to remedy a deprivation wrought by the State. But it’s particularly galling when a court takes away liberty through a technicality. Unfortunately, that route often tempts a judiciary too sheepish to base indefensible outcomes on substantive grounds. In the Hobby Lobby case discussed by Scott earlier this morning, the substantive issue before the Supreme Court is the »

Nature abhorred power vacuum in the 19th century, apparently still does

Featured image The New York Times reports that Afghanistan has become the third nation to publicly back Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The other two are Syria and Venezuela. Irony abounds. Afghans, including President Karzai, fought a ten-year war against Soviet invaders and their unpopular puppets. The U.S. assisted the Afghans in that struggle. Later, of course, the U.S. liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban and installed Karzai as president. Yet now, when the »

Nate Silver: Republicans slight favorites to win Senate

Featured image Nate Silver, the political forecasting guru, rates Republican chances of capturing the Senate at around 60 percent. Last summer, he rated the battle for control of the Senate as a toss-up. Silver attributes the downturn in Democratic fortunes to the decline of President Obama’s approval rating and to the successful recruiting, “with some exceptions,” of good Republican candidates. Republicans need to pick up six Senate seats. Silver sees only four »

Obama shows his foreign policy resolve against a has-been African warlord

Featured image President Obama is unwilling to engage militarily in Syria. Assad’s butchery has not moved him, nor have the 150,000 deaths produced thus far by the civil war. When Assad and his Hezbollah/Iran backers crossed the “red line” by using chemical weapons, Obama punted. He has even been unwilling to provide meaningful assistance to Assad’s non-radical opponents. In Iraq, Obama opted for a total U.S. pullout. He appears poised for a »

The weaker Ukraine is, the better for Obama

Featured image Russian troops are amassing on the Ukrainian border. Ukraine’s foreign minister warns that the chances for a war with Russia are “growing.” But still, the Obama administration has not provided weapons, ammunition, or any other kind of military aid to Ukraine despite that government’s request for such assistance, and won’t commit to providing it. Why? In my view, the answer is that President Obama wants Ukraine to be as militarily »

Why Paul Ryan must be denounced

Featured image George Will shows that Paul Ryan was right to contend that a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities” plays a huge role in the persistence of poverty. Will finds the liberal outrage at Ryan’s unexceptionable remarks to be the product of “malice, ignorance, and intellectual sloth.” I find them to be the product of ideological necessity. Ryan’s analysis is inconsistent with both the left’s narrative and its prescriptions. Therefore »

Obama’s bogus political science lesson

Featured image Barack Obama famously declared, “I’ll tell you right now that I’m. . .a better political director than my political director.” He may be right, but you couldn’t tell from his recent analysis of the upcoming midterm election. Obama claimed that Americans agree with Democrats on every issue, but that Washington politics have “become so toxic” that they aren’t voting. “That’s especially true during the midterms,” Obama added: During presidential elections, »