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Federal appeals court could still overturn Obamacare birth control mandate

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A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is violating the religious freedom of private companies by obligating their insurers to cover the cost of birth control for women policyholders. According to NBC News, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that Christian-owned business The Hobby Lobby and its subsidiary, Mardel Stores are not liable for the fines they incurred by violating the birth control statute in the ACA.

The Court invoked a 1993 law called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that said that citizens are not required to follow federal laws that place an undue burden on their religious faith.

“We hold that Hobby Lobby and Mardel are entitled to bring claims under RFRA, have established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm,” read Thursday’s decision.

Several religious groups and employers have sought to be exempted from the birth control requirement in the ACA, claiming that allowing women to prevent pregnancy is a violation of “god’s law.” Hobby Lobby and Mardel say that their business practices are founded on “honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.”

The Obama administration argued in the Hobby Lobby case that private, for-profit companies cannot use the RFRA to duck their obligations under Obamacare.

“The context of RFRA makes it abundantly clear that Congress did not give for-profit corporations the right to evade federal regulation in the name of their shareholders’ religious freedom,” argued the Justice Department. “As Congress understood, extending religious exemptions to for-profit corporations would impermissibly advance religion to the detriment of the employees, who are autonomous human beings with rights and beliefs of their own.”

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The case has been sent back to the Oklahoma City Federal District Court, where currently Hobby Lobby is expected to get its way, forcing women it employs to pay out of pocket in order to control their own reproductive lives.

Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and head of Hobby Lobby’s team of lawyers in this case, called Thursday’s ruling, “a tremendous victory not only for (Hobby Lobby), but also for many other religious business owners who should not have to forfeit their faith to make a living.”

However, Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said that the decision enables “the worst kind of religious oppression” and said, “This court has taken a huge step toward handing bosses and company owners a blank check to meddle in the private medical decisions of their workers.”

[image via Fan of Retail’s Flickr Photostream, Creative Commons licensed]

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‘White woman problems’: Twitter stomps ‘lifestyle guru’ after she goes berserk over checkout glitch at Target

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A self-described "lifestyle guru" and TV host is coming under fire after she raged on Twitter about problems purchasing items at Target.

In a tweet on Saturday, Meaghan Mooney demanded Target "make good" after she was not able to immediately purchase a cart filled with goods.

"I just filled my l cart w/ hundreds of $ of merch I need TODAY, but REGISTERS ARE DOWN GLOBALLY???" Mooney wrote. "And NOW after I begging your staff to put my items on hold, I only have till EOD?? 1 inconvenience after the next. How will you be making good w us consumers?!"

Hey @Target — I just filled my l cart w/ hundreds of $ of merch I need TODAY, but REGISTERS ARE DOWN GLOBALLY??? And NOW after I begging your staff to put my items on hold, I only have till EOD?? 1 inconvenience after the next. How will you be making good w us consumers?! #Target pic.twitter.com/4KQTtdNv0M

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MSNBC guest ridicules Trump-fan Steve Cortes as possible Sarah Sanders replacement: ‘He’s a nut — have you seen him on TV?’

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Discussing the departure of Donald Trump's spokesperson Sarah Sanders from the White House, an MSNBC panel surveyed her possible replacements with one ridiculed for his appearances on TV defending the president.

Speaking with "AM Joy" fill-in host Jonathan Capehart, The Beat DC editor Tiffany Cross shot former Trump associate Stever Cortes -- a regular on CNN -- down as a possible candidate.

"There are names that are out there," Capehart suggested. "[Meliania Trump spokesperson] Stephanie Grisham and Hogan Gidley and Steve Cortes."

Pointing out that Grisham is the most likely contender, and the Trump would probably prefer a woman, Cross called out Cortes for his TV appearances.

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2020 Election

Can at least half the 2020 Democrats please quit right now?

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OK, Democrats — you’ve had your fun. You grew up being told that everybody could run for president, and then everybody did. Except that this mad anthill scramble of presidential candidates, which resembles a bunch of kindergarteners descending on not enough cookies, really hasn’t been fun so far. All you’ve managed to do is put the fear of God — or the fear of the other guy, more like — into the voters, provoking widespread PTSD flashbacks to November 2016.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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