Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

High Court Decisions May Hurt Obama

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

High Court Decisions May Hurt Obama

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court heads into the last two weeks of its annual term Monday seemingly poised to hand down a series of decisions that will come as defeats to President Barack Obama and victories for foes of abortion. Already this year, the court has bolstered the rights of big campaign donors and upheld Christian prayers at public meetings.

The themes of free speech and religious freedom are likely to be heard, and two other cases involve adapting the law to fast- developing technology. Another case could deal a major blow to public employees unions.

The justices try to finish their work by the end of June. Currently, 16 cases remain unresolved.

Here are the highlights


Do the owners of private companies, citing their religious faith, have a right to refuse to provide their workers with the full range of contraceptives promised under President Obama's health insurance law?

A ruling for the business owners, which seems likely, could open the door for new claims of legal exemptions based on religion.

(Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores)


Did Obama's environmental regulators stretch the law by requiring permits for new power plants include measures to reduce carbon emissions?

Industry groups are likely to win this case, but a key issue will be whether the ruling sweeps broadly enough to affect the Environmental Protection Agency's recently announced climate change rules for existing power plants.

(Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA)


Can Massachusetts enforce a 35-foot quiet zone near the doors of abortion clinics, or does that violate the First Amendment rights of "sidewalk counselors" who hope to persuade patients not to end their pregnancies?

The justices could rule the quiet zone law was too broad, but they might go further and outlaw any buffer zone. (McCullen v. Coakley)


Did Illinois violate the rights of home health care workers when it authorized them to be unionized and allowed their union to require workers to either join or pay a fee to cover the cost of collective bargaining? …

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