He claims they don’t give out Pinocchios for lying about Supreme Court cases. In this instance they’d need a new scale to measure the outrageous lies, or as Glenn Kessler says, misspeaking. Can we just call lies what they are?
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 ruling that, as a closely held company, Hobby Lobby was not required to pay for all of the birth-control procedures mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Democrats have rushed to condemn the court. But in some cases the rhetoric has gotten way ahead of the facts.
Here’s a round-up of some of the more noteworthy claims. In some cases, lawmakers concede that they make a mistake; in others, they are argue that they are offering what amounts to opinion, even though the assertion was stated as fact.
Statements on Supreme Court cases are notoriously difficult to fact check because rulings are open to interpretation – and the full impact is often difficult to judge until lower courts begin to react to the ruling. Both Democrats and Republicans use adverse Supreme Court rulings to rally their respective bases, but lawmakers have a responsibility not to succumb to overheated and inaccurate rhetoric.
Nothing in the ruling allows a company to stop a woman from getting or filling a prescription for contraceptives, but that salient fact is often lost as lawmakers jump to conclusions that the cost will be prohibitive. That may or may not be the case depending on circumstances. Moreover, it is worth remembering that when the Affordable Care Act was passed, 28 states already had laws or regulations that promote insurance coverage for contraception. The law sought to extend that across the country — and even with this ruling, that will remain the case for the vast majority of workers.
But hey, why worry about facts when you have a largely compliant media to help spread your lies?
“Really, we should be afraid of this court. The five guys who start determining what contraceptions are legal. Let’s not even go there.”
Yes, that’s a bald-face lie and everyone knows it.
Our colleagues at PolitiFact gave Pelosi a rating of “false” for her comments, and we certainly agree, though we generally do not award Pinocchios when politicians fess up to a mistake.
Still, we note that despite her office’s admission of a mistake, the transcript of the news conference had not yet been corrected three days later. “It will be,” Hammill said. “We’re migrating to a new site in the next two weeks, so everything is a little slow.”
But not as slow as Nancy Pelosi.
“The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men. This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we are going to do something about it.”
— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), remarks to reporters, on July 8
The Hobby Lobby decision was written by Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. That’s certainly five men, but Thomas is African American.
“That was a mistake, and he knew it right away,” spokesman Adam Jentleson said. He noted that on other occasions Reid has simply said “five men.” (The four dissenters included three women.)
He knew it was a lie right away, but hasn’t corrected himself. Great job, Dingy. Kessler goes on to chrnicle even more lies from perfidious Democrats but can’t bear to call them lies.
The Fact Checker generally does not award Pinocchios for “misspeaking” or for statements of opinion. And we obviously take no position on the Supreme Court opinion. But this collection of rhetoric suggests that Democrats need to be more careful in their language about the ruling. All too often, lawmakers leap to conclusions that are not warranted by the facts at hand. Simply put, the court ruling does not outlaw contraceptives, does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control and does not take away a person’s religious freedom.