Day In Court
It was a busy day in the nation's highest court. First, a win for Hobby Lobby:
A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that some companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.I guess they didn't read the ruling. Meanwhile, it was also a win for workers' rights:
The justices' 5-4 decision, splitting conservatives and liberals, means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under the health insurance plans of objecting companies.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion, over a dissent from the four liberal justices, that forcing companies to pay for methods of women's contraception to which they object violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said the ruling is limited and there are ways for the administration to ensure women get the birth control they want.
But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the decision creates health risks for women, and he said Congress should take action to make sure they get coverage.
"President Obama believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them," Earnest said. "Today's decision jeopardizes the health of the women who are employed by these companies."
In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.One victory at a time...
The ruling is a setback for labor unions that have bolstered their ranks and their bank accounts in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of in-home care workers. It could lead to an exodus of members who will have little incentive to pay dues if nonmembers don't have to share the burden of union costs.
But the narrow ruling was limited to "partial-public employees" and stopped short of overturning decades of practice that has generally allowed public sector unions of teachers, firefighters and other government workers to pass through their representation costs to nonmembers.