WSJ: Joe Donnelly oddly silent about the Notre Dame lawsuit against the HHS mandate

posted at 12:41 pm on May 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The media seems awfully uninterested in a series of lawsuits against the Obama administration filed by Catholic institutions, but they may have no choice but to cover it — at least in Indiana.  Richard Mourdock, the newly-minted Republican nominee for the US Senate in the state, last week announced his full-throated support for the University of Notre Dame’s action against the Department of Health and Human Services, but noted the irony in having a Ball State alum defend the Golden Dome while a two-time graduate of Notre Dame refuses to take a position.  That would be Mourdock’s opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, and the Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn wonders when Donnelly will climb off the fence:

It’s a simple question: Does the Indiana Democrat running for the U.S. Senate support Notre Dame’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate?

After all, the Democrat in question, Joe Donnelly, is a double Domer, boasting both undergraduate and law degrees from Notre Dame. He represents South Bend in Congress. Last week his Republican opponent, Richard Mourdock, used a visit to that city to declare his own support for the university’s effort. …

When asked by this reporter for a follow-up, his spokesman emailed a statement in which Mr. Donnelly repeated his call for a solution that would exempt religious organizations, and he said that his alma mater has the “right” to go to court.

It’s an indirect statement, and beyond its complaints that Mr. Mourdock is “picking a partisan fight,” it goes to considerable lengths to avoid saying simply: I support Notre Dame in its suit and hope the school prevails.

McGurn has more to say on the impact that Barack Obama’s attempts to redefine religious practice in order to impose his will will have on this election, so be sure to read it all.  The fight in Indiana might force other news organizations to cover the lawsuits, though, which would at least be an improvement over the last week.  Fox News Sunday interviewed Donald Cardinal Wuerl, who found the silence rather curious — especially since the news media seemed fascinated by the fate of a butler in the Vatican over a probe into leaks:


“It is puzzling, particularly since they’re focusing so much attention right now on the pope’s butler,” Wuerl said, in reference the scandal in which the pope’s butler Paolo Gabriele was charged with stealing sensitive documents and is suspected of leaking them.

“It seems to me that somehow they’ve missed the boat. They’ve missed the story,” Wuerl said.

The story, the archbishop said, is “religious liberty.”

Wuerl adamantly defended the lawsuits, which were filed by dozens of Catholic-affiliated institutions including schools, charities and the Archdiocese of Washington.

Wuerl explained exactly what’s at stake in the lawsuits:

He explained, “Embedded in the mandate is a radically new definition of what constitutes a religious community, what constitutes religious ministry. Brand new, never before applied at the federal level. That’s what we’re arguing about. The lawsuit says we have every right to serve in this community as we have served for decades and decades. The new definition says you’re not really religious if you serve people other than your own and if you hire people other than your own.”

That, at least to me, sounds like news.  Too bad more of the American media doesn’t seem to agree.  Donnelly’s not the only one doing a Domer dodge this past week.

Update: “Disinterested” in the first sentence should have been “uninterested.” I’ve corrected it.


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…have JugEars speak at ND again! NOW!

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM

…how can we effect a total boycott against the MSM?

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM

…when the MSM doesn’t make money at their affiliates…they stay in business…how do they do that?

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM

…angry mike… are you up yet?

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Hello!…I’m not even trying!

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM

…did Homeland Security close down Hot Air?

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Once again – they invited the vampire into their house. I argued this with a buddy of mine that is a Domer at the time, and he told me how wonderful it was to have Obama speaking there and what a bigot I am for wanting him shut out. Trying REAL ard to feel sorry for the Domers and the other RCC institutions that were all about Jugears until he bit them in the arse.

CycloneCDB on May 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

….it’s them dam birthers!

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

It simply cannot be spinned to be neutral or benefit the One. Therefore, it’s embargoed by the press.

It’s becoming the same thing witht he WI recalls – bad for Democrats, silence.

JeffWeimer on May 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM

….it’s them dam birthers!

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

What do beavers have to do with this? We also giving them free contraceoption under the HHS mandate?

Happy Nomad on May 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Good for Mourdock. Donnelly is no different than DWS. He will just repeat what the Democratic party tells him he should believe and say. Embarassingly, the press once again chooses to protect the Obama Administration rather than actually do their jobs as reporters and investigators of truth.

HoosierStateofMind on May 29, 2012 at 12:54 PM

When asked by this reporter for a follow-up, his spokesman emailed a statement in which Mr. Donnelly repeated his call for a solution that would exempt religious organizations, and he said that his alma mater has the “right” to go to court.

Joe Donnelly—Profile in courage.

dirtseller on May 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

When asked by this reporter for a follow-up, his spokesman emailed a statement in which Mr. Donnelly repeated his call for a solution that would exempt religious organizations, and he said that his alma mater has the “right” to go to court.

Must suck being such a pu$$y you cower at expressing your core beliefs. Man up, boy.

MNHawk on May 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

It’s a simple question: Does the Indiana Democrat running for the U.S. Senate support Notre Dame’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate?

Oh no……tie myself to li’l bammy’s losing socialist agenda, or stand up for a more popular viewpoint that I don’t beleive in in order to get elected.

What’s a confused, lib-tard hack to do?

Tim_CA on May 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

he said that his alma mater has the “right” to go to court.

Means nothing!

Paul-Cincy on May 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM

What do beavers have to do with this? We also giving them free contraceoption under the HHS mandate?

Happy Nomad on May 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM

His previous post was a joke about DHS shutting down HA because no one commented for like 8 minutes. He was suggesting HA got shut down because of the damn birthers, haha.

thirtyandseven on May 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM

i believe it should be “uninterested, not “disinterested.” No?

Donald Draper on May 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Excellent piece…
cynicism & humor marinated in reality

“If God was gay… singing hymns would be mandatory”

deedtrader on May 29, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Not a Catholic but I do attend Catholic services when I visit my son who married into a very large and active Catholic family. If what I heard this Sunday is any indication they are informing their congregations!

DanMan on May 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I am a bit surprised that other faiths haven’t joined the lawsuits.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Going on NOW

Schadenfreude on May 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

The MSM here in Indiana has already annointed this guy as my senator in Indiana. They like to repeat every chance they get that Murdouch is an extremist.

None seem to ever note that this guy voted in lock step with pelosi and obama on everything. Silly of me to think thats less extreme than actually wanting to balance a state budget or even run a surplus.

Most hoosiers have little in common with pelosi and obama. This clown is just a puppet for them.

acyl72 on May 29, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I am a bit surprised that other faiths haven’t joined the lawsuits.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I really wish my church body had. Our Synodical President has taken a strong stand…

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Schadenfreude on May 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Holy cow!

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I am truly ignorant of the ways of lawsuits, maybe they don’t have “standing”. Someone will fill us in eventually.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Wait, Catholic institutions are suing the federal government?

Who would have known?

War on religion is moving along nicely and under the radar. Almost like it was planned out.

ButterflyDragon on May 29, 2012 at 1:23 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

If I understand this correctly, Obama says that churches are exempt from the mandate but goes on to define churches as being only able to hire and serve members of their own denomination. That puts a real damper on the churches who serve all in need. I’m pretty sure Obama doesn’t get the whole Christian thing.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Still laughing that the lawsuit was announced on the morning AFTER Notre Dame’s graduation.

Jaibones on May 29, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I’m pretty sure Obama doesn’t get the whole Christian thing.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Man, Ain’t that the truth!!!

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I am confused I agree with Archishop Wuerl who said the suits are about “religious liberty.” Yet I thought I had read the Muslim faith is totally exempt from health insurance isn’t that religious liberty. Again if this is true about the Muslims how will they pay for medical expenses, since you need something to prove you can pay your bills.

Release on May 29, 2012 at 1:38 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Good on him. Glad he’s joining his voice in with ours.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I love it….Donnelly says that he is a “conservative” Democrat…..which means he is conservative until it comes time to vote. He is a liberal piece of crap that is afraid to actually articulate those statist positions he supports for us little people.

search4truth on May 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM

It’s very important for FoxNews to go out of their way to mention that the 3 major networks are ignoring this story, and how much that contrasts with the amount of coverage they gave to Sandra Fluke.

There are plenty of Indie voters who watch FoxNews, and they need to be constantly told, in no uncertain terms, “we’re covering this story, ABC, NBC, and CBS are ignoring it”.

ardenenoch on May 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I wonder if people are hearing about this from the pulpit at their churches for the first time?

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Not only doesn’t he get the whole Christian thing, but Obama cannot dictate to the Catholic Church by “defining” what one is.

The hubris behind that thought is beyond breathtaking. But then, we already know that.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Good on him. Glad he’s joining his voice in with ours.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Our church body traditionally stays out of the political fray unless it threatens our doctrine…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_the_two_kingdoms

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 1:49 PM

We’ve been hearing about it in our parish and diocese since it first became known. I keep in touch with a priest friend of mine in another parish and I know he’s had several paragraphs in his bulletins about it.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

In the aftermath of Waco, some on the right took up the question: “Is your church government-approved?” Obama and the Democrats have breathed new life into that old catchphrase.

Socratease on May 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM

And yet there is media silence. I guess the MSM hasn’t figured out that they aren’t the only game in town. Although sometimes it’s hard for even me to remember that.

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Too bad more of the American media doesn’t seem to agree.

The MSM isn’t covering this for one reason. “We don’t report it, it didn’t happen!”

As liberal as the MSM is, as fawning as they’ve been over The Chosen One, as much as they pushed his “historic” election; even those dim bulbs realize that Barry has really stepped into the crap on this one.

GarandFan on May 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Generally, our parish and diocese have as well. I don’t think the Catholic Church in the U.S. has seen such a threat against religious liberty since the Know Nothings of the 1850s and before.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:05 PM

As a non-catholic I fully support this fight. However, there is great irony in them being hoisted on their own petard. Inviting government to help push and fund their social justice beliefs have been a threat to all of our religious liberties for decades. I am glad they are waking up to that threat now but will they change their social justice doctrines as a result?

chemman on May 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Cindy Munford on May 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM

I think the MSM is secretly hoping that the bishops will cave. And they likely won’t realize they are not the only game in town any more until their offices are closed and they are all unemployed.

The newspapers, especially, have been having to scramble to stay relevant – and profitable – for at least a decade in light of the Internet. It is and has been changing the way news is delivered so rapidly that they cannot keep up, and obviously more importantly, find a way to make money when their advertisers are departing print in droves.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:15 PM

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:05 PM

The Bennett Law brought the Lutherans and Catholics together in WI…

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

since Notre Dame isn’t a Catholic university, what difference does it make? Notre Dame hasn’t been Catholic for many many years!

Pragmatic on May 29, 2012 at 2:17 PM

What does Mittens have to say about the lawsuits?

Pragmatic on May 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Didn’t know about the Bennett Law. The meddling by some politicians in parochial schools and with what and how they teach seems to have a long history as well.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

The newspapers, especially, have been having to scramble to stay relevant – and profitable – for at least a decade in light of the Internet.

I would gladly subscribe to a newspaper that covers the spectrum politically and provides facts and truth in the story being reported. Ultimately I felt as though I were paying my political enemy when I quit taking the Houston Chronicle. Nobody is going to pay to be insulted and that is what is giving the alternate media the upper hand.

DanMan on May 29, 2012 at 2:43 PM

DanMan on May 29, 2012 at 2:43 PM

The mainly Left-leaning newspapers might wake up one morning to the fact that they are turning into print versions of Air America, where they blather on in their little echo chamber to their followers but manage to insult and alienate virtually everyone else, only to disappear without a whimper.

I sometimes can’t believe that they are really that stupid not to see it, but hey, let ‘em find out the hard way.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 2:27 PM

The Lutheran-Church Missouri Synod operates the second largest parochial school system, second only to the RCC…

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Didn’t know that either, but it’s a great thing to know. I’m sure the graduates of their schools are far and away well prepared for whatever comes next in their lives.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

I haven’t subscribed to a hard-copy newspaper in years…

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 3:06 PM

since Notre Dame isn’t a Catholic university, what difference does it make? Notre Dame hasn’t been Catholic for many many years!

Pragmatic on May 29, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Amen to that.
If Dipsh*t Donnelly were to come out in support of the lawsuit, the immediate question would be: “then, why did you vote for Obamacare in the first place?” I am disgusted that Donnelly has the support of our former pastor and his close friend, the bishop of the diocese of Ft. Wayne/South Bend.

Extrafishy on May 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

My parish is oddly silent about the lawsuit and the whole issue. Most priests in my town have nothing to say about it.

We are facing the greatest threat to religious liberty in our lifetimes and I bet most parishioners have heard nearly nothing about it.

It becomes more and more obvious that many (most?) church leaders are democrats first and supporters of religious liberty second.

Sad, but seems to be true.

shinty on May 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 3:06 PM

As that trend keeps up, expect to see more papers do what the New Orleans Times-Picayune just did and go to publishing only three days per week.

I don’t know anything about that paper beyond this development, where they fall on the ideological spectrum and whether that is the main factor or something else, but I’ll venture a guess that their owners and management were caught flatfooted and ignored the signs for too long.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 5:10 PM

I told the circulation department at the San Diego Union-Tribune exactly why I was cancelling my subscription. Before the morning Union and afternoon Tribune merged, the Union was somewhat tolerable, but with the merge it went too leftist for my taste. By the time I moved back to Omaha in 2005 I was weaned from the newspaper and saw no reason to subscribe to the Omaha World-Herald. The internet has been a definite game changer…

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 5:57 PM

OmahaConservative on May 29, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I hear you. I was a long-time subscriber to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, first daily, then just Sundays, and now … I cancelled even that. I’ve known of their history of being Left-leaning (and sometimes their not-so-subtle anti-Catholicism), but over the past decade or so, they just went off the deep end into full Leftist incoherence. The plain fact of the matter is that I just stopped reading it. Even online. My hubby jokingly asks me why I don’t want to find out what the Left is focusing on and I tell him if there’s really some egregiously bad thing they say or write, I’m sure I’ll hear about it from the conservative blogosphere.

I figure the major media shakeout is going to occur not necessarily with Internet vs. print, although that’s happening, but with balanced vs. a particular viewpoint (ahem … agenda). There’s always going to be a market for balanced viewpoints presented well, regardless of the medium. The truth sells, and that’s the fundamental thing the Left doesn’t get.

PatriotGal2257 on May 29, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Donelly, not only a graduate, but a Catholic (according to Wikipedia).

mockmook on May 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Donelly, not only a graduate, but a Catholic (according to Wikipedia).

mockmook on May 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM

I have seen him at mass, but not in awhile. It was all I could do to not spit in his face. A good Catholic would be more forgiving, but I’ve never made any such claim to goodness.

SKYFOX on May 30, 2012 at 7:18 AM

….it’s them dam birthers!

KOOLAID2 on May 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM

What do beavers have to do with this? We also giving them free contraceoption under the HHS mandate?

Happy Nomad on May 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM

We don’t need to buy contraception for the beavers. It is already in the lakes and rivers in copious amounts. Makes for very confused beavers.

elm on May 30, 2012 at 9:27 AM