COMMENTARY | Even a cupcake can be a weapon of war. In Kansas, smug Republican Arlen Siegfreid, Committee Chairman for one of the most ridiculous bills to be committed to writing, confirms that, in addition to defining life at conception and a myriad of other things the Supreme Court has already declared improper, House Bill 2253 would even “prohibit an abortion clinic secretary from ‘bringing cupcakes’ to school for his or her child’s birthday party,” reports the Topeka Capital-Journal .
That’s right. HB 2253 would protect the children of Kansas from cupcakes delivered by someone in any way related to an abortion clinic. I’m guessing because they assume they’ll have birth control centers, but that’s simply speculation.
The bill has just left committee, which means it still has a way to go in becoming law. And here’s the most irksome part about it: There is absolutely no way this law can stand.
Aside from possibly all of the law violating the very clear precedent of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent cases affirming it, this one aspect, which I will, thanks to the unwitting words of Seigfreid, dub the “Cupcake Clause,” can’t possibly meet the minimum standard for constitutionality.
Every single law in the United States, whether passed by a township, a city, a county, a state, or the federal government, must have a “rational basis.” In other words, the law must be rationally related to a legitimate government goal. Both the “reasonably related” part and “legitimate government goal” are necessary for a law to survive scrutiny.
A law may be rationally related to the government goal of stopping people from eating orange foods, but stopping people from eating orange foods is not a legitimate government goal. Banning broccoli wouldn’t be rationally related to preventing people from killing each other. Though the goal is legitimate, the means are not.
Here we have neither the rational relationship nor the legitimate government goal, whatever the supporters of this bill might claim that to be. Ending abortion, which is a constitutionally protected right, isn’t legitimate, though you have to be pretty generous to get to the conclusion that that is the purpose of the Cupcake Clause.
Rather it seems like more of a method of shaming. A scarlet cupcake, if you will. We haven’t had those since the days of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and it was historical fiction when he wrote it.
There is also no rational, governmental reason that a person who works at an abortion clinic could not bring cupcakes to her child’s class. There is no risk to health or safety, nothing that would merit such workers from being singled out in this way.
Siegfreid is, in essence, bragging about poor draftsmanship with his cupcake comment. This law is drawn so broadly, the Cupcake Clause can even ban those cupcakes. To be found constitutional, a law must be narrowly tailored to serve the interests of the state.
Vagueness isn’t a bragging right. It’s a reason to strike the law.
In case anyone has forgotten, these legislators are writing, debating and then passing these asinine, unconstitutional tirades on the public dime. Nothing more than publicly funded diatribes, these blatantly unconstitutional laws only suck up yet more time and more money when they are challenged, often without ever being implemented.
Meanwhile, the real business of the state goes undone, all for the sake of Cupcake Clauses.