Washington Post’s fact-checking department is running interference for President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra, claiming he didn’t actually sue a group of nuns during his tenure as attorney general of California.
“Biden’s pick for HHS sued the Trump administration, not a group of nuns,” the “fact check” headline definitively states.
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 26, 2021
The corporate media outlet’s response follows an exchange between Becerra and Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota on Wednesday, in which the attorney claimed he “never sued the nuns, any nuns.”
“It does seem like, as attorney general, you spent an inordinate amount of time and effort suing pro-life organizations, like Little Sisters of the Poor, or trying to ease restrictions or expand abortion,” Thune said.
“I have never sued the nuns, any nuns,” Becerra replied. “I’ve never sued any affiliation of nuns, and my actions have always been directed at the federal agencies.”
Becerra, however, used his position in California to sue a religious order of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, to require their participation in Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. Although the case is literally named for the group of nuns targeted by the state’s legal team led by Becerra, State of California v. Little Sisters of the Poor, the WaPo fact-checker claims that Becerra was technically suing the Trump administration.
“It’s misleading to say Becerra sued the nuns. The California attorney general has not filed lawsuits or brought enforcement actions against the Little Sisters of the Poor, a charity run by Catholic nuns,” the fact-checker wrote, citing the defenses of both “reproductive rights” lawyers and a Biden administration transition spokesman.
The two sides are in court for a different reason. California is suing the federal government, challenging a Trump administration policy that exempts some employers from providing contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Little Sisters of the Poor voluntarily joined that case, taking the Trump administration’s position that the exemptions were legally valid.
Thune’s office, however, did not back down from their original comments noting that the technicality of the issue does not take away from the fact that the case “was filed to challenge protections for religious organizations the Little Sisters of the Poor had been instrumental in securing, and after the Little Sisters of the Poor was named in the suit, Mr. Becerra pursued the case for an additional three years.”
“So, yes, Senator Thune does believe it’s fair to say that Mr. Becerra has sued them — he has certainly been engaged in protracted litigation against them and the interests of those seeking to comply with their religious obligations,” a spokesperson told the Washington Post.
The fact-checker concluded the article by claiming that “legal complexities make it difficult to assign a Pinocchio rating.”
“Suffice it to say there’s a difference between suing nuns and suing the federal government in a case that nuns decide to join,” The Post determined.
Shortly after Becerra’s denial that he ever sued nuns, Twitter users called out the absurdity of his claim and the Post’s fact check.
Fact-check: Becerra has sued a LOT of nuns.
This is outrageous. https://t.co/a9UYGOK2xB
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) February 24, 2021
This is a truly insane article, even by the standards of the entirely corrupt “fact-checking“ genre. Could not be more obvious how badly they want to run interference for Biden https://t.co/Th7WE43wm0
— Alexandra DeSanctis Marr (@xan_desanctis) February 26, 2021
This is just embarrassing. https://t.co/SztMOeUEYe
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) February 26, 2021
🚨Xavier Becerra is now claiming he didn't sue nuns because he wants to get confirmed.
But Becerra did sue nuns. He repeatedly harassed the Little Sisters of the Poor.
That's why he should be rejected by the Senate. https://t.co/QOtHvENnLx
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 24, 2021