Fifteen Republican members of Congress are lobbying the Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare’s contraception mandate on grounds that it violates a law signed by Bill Clinton.
The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act aims to hold the federal government responsible for protecting religious freedoms when lawmaking and to strengthen individuals’ First Amendment rights to religious liberty.
“Religious freedom should not be a political issue,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah in a press release. “It is one of our country’s founding principles, and I’m hopeful that the Supreme Court will reconfirm that our country will not stand for forcing one’s beliefs onto others who may morally object to them.”
The congressional coalition led by Hatch, the act’s primary Republican sponsor, filed the brief ahead of the Supreme Court’s consideration of two cases brought by private, for-profit companies with religious objections to offering contraceptive coverage to employees. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are scheduled to present their arguments to the Court on March 25.
The administration did not respond to a request for comment.
But shortly after the Republicans’ announcement, 91 Democratic members of Congress filed a counter brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that contraceptive coverage among other preventive care measures are “the least restrictive means of accomplishing Congress’ goal of ensuring the necessary healthcare coverage for women.”
In the brief, the Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, said the contraception mandate does not require corporations to abandon their beliefs, and rather, requires them to allow employees to make their own decisions about their health.
This post was updated at 12:45 p.m. to include the subsequent brief filed by the Democratic Congressional caucus.
What We're Following See More »
According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally disliked. The poll, conducted between July 18 and July 25, shows both major party candidates for president are viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 58 percent of respondents. This poll is bad news for Clinton, who has received better favorable and unfavorable ratings in nearly every poll over the last year.
The same day that Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack the State Department and "find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee for vice president took a more serious approach. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences," Pence said in a statement. Trump's comments at a press conference this morning were rebuked by individuals across the political spectrum, while some on Trump's team, including prominent surrogate Newt Gingrich, have called his comments a "joke."
The Federal Open Market Committee today voted to leave interest rates alone, but "upgraded its assessment of the economy’s recent performance and said near-term risks to the outlook have diminished, effectively leaving the door open to raise rates later this year, possibly as early as September."
"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.
Donald Trump essentially encouraged more Russian espionage against Democrats in a press conference this morning. "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” That prompted Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan to say: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”