National Catholic Reporter

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Supreme Court

Supreme Court upholds religious rights of prisoners

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A Supreme Court that has extended the reach of religion into public life in recent years ruled Tuesday that spirituality can overcome even prison security concerns.

The court came down decisively on the side of a Muslim prisoner whose beard had been deemed potentially dangerous by Arkansas prison officials. Growing a beard, the justices said, was a Muslim man's religious right.

Supreme Court weighs a church's right to advertise services

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The Supreme Court on Monday considered a tiny church's curbside sign in a case that could raise the bar on government regulation of speech and make it easier for houses of worship to advertise their services.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the advocacy group that represents Pastor Clyde Reed and his Good News Community Church, bills the case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, as a religious rights case. But their attorney mostly argued it on free speech grounds.

Court rules Michigan firm exempt from providing contraceptive coverage

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A federal court has ruled that a Michigan-based medical supply company does not have to provide contraception coverage in its employee health insurance plan because of faith-based objections.

The Jan. 5 ruling by Judge Robert Jonker of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids said Autocam Medical does not have to comply with the contraceptive coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act. The decision is a reversal of the judge's ruling three years ago.

If the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage in 2015, how will evangelicals respond?

Ten years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian Americans can be wed in 35 states and the District of Columbia. (Florida will boost that number to 36 starting Tuesday.) This year, the Supreme Court may put an end to the skirmish by legalizing what progressives call "equality" and conservatives dub a "redefinition" of this cherished social institution.

Supreme Court to decide if vanity license plates are government speech

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The Supreme Court already has heard a case this fall about a busted brake light. Why not vanity license plates?

The justices agreed to decide whether Texas was right to deny a specialty license plate featuring the Confederate flag, or whether it infringed on free speech.

In doing so, the court held in abeyance another case in which North Carolina approved a "Choose Life" license plate but denied one defending a woman's right to choose.

Court blocks law that had closed most Texas abortion clinics

The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law that had meant all but seven of the state's abortion clinics were closed because they failed to meet new standards.

The block will remain in effect while the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers a legal challenge to the law itself. It will allow at least 12 clinics that were closed to reopen.

US bishops emphasize traditional marriage after Supreme Court action

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After the Supreme Court on Monday declined to review rulings overturning five states' bans on same-sex marriage, several U.S. bishops criticized the court's inaction and reiterated that according to church teaching, traditional marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley said the court's failure to review the Circuit Court decisions was "deeply disappointing."

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In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015

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