WASHINGTON — More than 120 members of Congress urged the Supreme Court on Thursday to recognize that pregnant workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations such as light duty, saying it’s needed to ensure that expecting mothers are not forced out of their jobs. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — It’s not easy to prevent the Supreme Court from deciding an issue once the justices have agreed to hear a case.
But over the past two years, civil rights advocates have managed to do just that by coaxing settlements in a pair of high-profile housing discrimination cases weeks before the court was set to hear oral arguments.
The advocates’ goal was to remove any chance that court conservatives might undermine a powerful legal doctrine the Obama administration and others have used increasingly to enforce the Fair Housing Act.
While those last-minute settlements pushed the issue down the road, the Supreme Court could decide as early as this month whether to take up yet another case challenging so-called “disparate impact” lawsuits.
In disparate impact cases, plaintiffs rely on statistics to show that seemingly neutral housing or lending practices can disproportionately harm racial minorities, even if there is no proof of intent to discriminate. The theory has been used for years to show bias in employment cases, but Texas officials are urging the justices to find that it doesn’t apply in housing discrimination cases. READ MORE
All FDA-approved methods of birth control are considered preventive care, and the health law requires nearly all health plans sold on the individual and group markets to cover preventive care without any out-of-pocket cost to consumers. The Supreme Court decision didn’t change that. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — How much distance from an immoral act is enough?
That’s the difficult question behind the next legal dispute over religion, birth control and the health law that is likely to be resolved by the Supreme Court.
The issue in more than four dozen lawsuits from faith-affiliated charities, colleges and hospitals that oppose some or all contraception as immoral is how far the Obama administration must go to accommodate them.
The justices on June 30 relieved businesses with religious objections of their obligation to pay for women’s contraceptives among a range of preventive services the new law calls for in their health plans. READ MORE
WASHINGTON — Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century. A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity, at the federal, state or local levels. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Thursday allowed, at least for now, an evangelical college in Illinois that objects to paying for contraceptives in its health plan to avoid filling out a government document that the college says would violate its religious beliefs. Continue reading
“Corporate personhood” is a principle has been lurking in U.S. law for more than a century, and the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, gave it more oomph this week when it ruled that certain businesses are entitled to exercise religious rights, just as do people. Continue reading
More than half the states have “contraceptive equity” laws on the books that require most employers whose health insurance covers prescription drugs to also cover FDA-approved contraceptives as part of that package. Unlike the ACA, those laws do not require that coverage to be available without deductibles or co-pays. Continue reading
There is no question that Monday’s Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision is a blow to the Obama administration and the Affordable Care Act. But while conservatives celebrate the narrow 5-4 decision striking down the law’s contraception mandate for “closely held” companies with owners who have religious objections, the ruling could ironically help Democrats fire up a key part of their base. Continue reading
The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans. Continue reading