You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • What if high court rejects gay marriage cases?
     WASHINGTON – The fastest and surest path to marriage for same-sex couples in some parts of the United States would be for the Supreme Court to surprise everyone and decline to get involved in the issue right now.
  • Details of presidential security breaches evolve
     WASHINGTON – The embarrassing disclosures about lapses in presidential security just keep coming for the Secret Service.
  • Obama seeks traction on economy amid foreign tests
     WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s escalating military campaign in Iraq and Syria has drowned out the economic pitch he hoped would help salvage a midterm election that has been favoring Republicans.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Margot Riphagen of New Orleans wears a birth control pills costume as she protests in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday in Washington.

Birth control to high court

Justices weigh contraceptive coverage battle

– A divided Supreme Court seemed inclined to agree Tuesday that the religious objections of business owners may protect them from a requirement in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act that health insurance plans cover all types of contraceptives.

The conservative wing of the court seemed to agree that the challengers in the two cases – closely held corporations owned by families whose religious beliefs the government does not question – could be covered by a federal law that provides great protection for the exercise of religion.

As is often the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy – who voted two years ago to find Obama’s health care law unconstitutional – seemed to hold the deciding vote.

Some of his remarks and questions favored the government. He was concerned about workers being denied coverage to which they were entitled by law. But Kennedy also raised the worry that the government’s reasoning would mean there was little employers could object to funding.

Kennedy told Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. that under Verrilli’s view, a corporation “could be forced in principle to pay for abortions.” Verrilli said there are laws against that.

“But your reasoning would permit that,” Kennedy responded.

The three liberal and female justices were skeptical and aggressive questioners of Paul Clement, the Washington lawyer representing two companies that object to providing coverage for emergency contraception and intrauterine devices.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan continually pressed Clement on whether his argument could be extended to other issues.

“So another employer comes in, and that employer says, ‘I have a religious objection to sex discrimination laws.’ And then another employer comes in, ‘I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws.’ And then another, family leave. And then another, child labor laws,” Kagan said.

Clement said that there is no reason to believe that would happen and that courts could decide whether such claims had merit.

Advertisement