The Supreme Court ruled today [PDF] that employers with religious objections to birth control are not required to cover contraception in health insurance plans for women under the Affordable Care Act. The court ruled 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores owned by evangelical Christians who oppose birth control. The Obama administration had made a variety of concessions for religious employers like churches and religious non-profits, but this ruling affects for-profit businesses. (According to Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog, this ruling will not apply to publicly held corporations, just family-owned businesses when the owners in question are clearly religious.)
Update: Keep reading »
Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-abortion protesters in a case regarding the First Amendment as it pertains to buffer zones around abortion clinics.
The state of Massachusetts had a 2007 law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a 35-foot radius around the entrances of clinics, marked in yellow around the sidewalks. The law is meant to contain the intimidation, harassment and threats lobbed against staff, patients and escorts at the clinics. McCullen vs. Coakley challenged the law, arguing that it was a violation of protesters’ free speech because the speech of those allowed inside the buffer zone was being privileged over that of those allowed outside the buffer zone.
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed, stating that in previous rulings they have not curbed speech on public sidewalks. Keep reading »
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to begin hearing arguments on the subject of abortion. But it’s not reproductive rights, per se, that the Court will be hearing about: this time it’s a matter of clinic safety.
McCullen vs. Coakley is a lawsuit against a 2007 Massachusetts law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a buffer zone of 35 feet in front of the entrances and exits of clinics. Under the law, anti-abortion protesters — known for their intimidating and harassing behavior — must do all their prosthelytizing and praying from outside of a yellow line painted on the side walk, allowing clinic patients and their escorts to pass freely into and out of the facility. Protesters say this is a violation of the First Amendment.
Find out more about what the Supreme Court will be determining in McCullen vs. Coakley, after the jump: Keep reading »
On Wednesday morning the Supreme Court ruled to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s anti-gay marriage Prop 8. After months of waiting for a decision, gay marriage supporters can breathe a sigh of relief.
Photos from around the Supreme Court and in San Francisco’s City Hall capture the ebullient mood of gay rights supporters on hearing the decision. Click through to see how gay marriage advocates are celebrating the win.
In a huge victory for gay marriage supporters, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 on Wednesday that the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 are both unconstitutional.
According to the SCOTUS blog the judges ruled in the following fashion:
Roberts dissents. Scalia dissents. DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
According to the ruling, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, were all in the minority.
The statute was ruled invalid, according to the Supreme Court’s blog, because:
“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”;
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