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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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.”

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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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The Trump depression: Experts see a serious psychological depression taking hold in America

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Reviewing “Trump’s Wacky, Angry, and Extreme August” on Twitter, the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser said the experience “was exhausting, a dark journey to a nasty and contentious place.” But that’s hardly news: it’s a place we live in every day. We try to turn the volume down and ignore it, and that may work for a while. But it won’t last. It can’t. It’s getting worse, and we can all see where we’re headed.
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Julian Castro nails McConnell and GOP to the wall for putting ‘sexual predator’ Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court

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Calling into MSNBC's "AM Joy" on Sunday morning, Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro ripped into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a serial sexual predator and said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP are to blame for his being on the court.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Castro renewed a call he made late Saturday night for Kavanaugh to be impeached over fresh allegations of sexual assault  before getting down to the heart of the matter.

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Kamala Harris blisters Kavanaugh for lying to her during his hearings and calls for him to be impeached

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Following a New York Times report outlining credible allegations against Kavanaugh, with a witness accusing him of assaulting a fellow college student, Harris said the evidence presented should disqualify him from being on the bench.

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