National Catholic Reporter

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U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court considers place of same-sex marriage in states that bar it

The questions raised by Supreme Court justices as they considered Tuesday whether they should rule that same-sex marriage should be made legal nationwide covered a gamut of rights concerns -- religious, equal protection, states' ability to enact their own laws.

In two and a half hours of oral arguments, the line of questions and the answers by attorneys representing both sides made clear that all concerned recognize the potential for the court's ruling to be history-making.

Faith leaders call for religious protections ahead of gay marriage hearing

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As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments Tuesday that could wind up legalizing gay marriage nationwide, dozens of Christian leaders have issued a call to civil authorities to preserve "the unique meaning of marriage in the law" -- but also to "protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage."

Flurry of briefs seeks to shape court's look at same-sex marriage

When it takes up same-sex marriage cases from four states April 28, the Supreme Court will officially be considering just two constitutional questions.

But judging from the outpouring of friend-of-the-court or "amicus" briefs, the court is expected to affect the very definition of marriage in American society.

Life and death justice issues face court, draw faith leaders' voices

In separate cases, the Supreme Court will consider persistently unsettled angles on criminal sentencing, including death sentences for people with mental disabilities and life sentences for juveniles.

The court heard oral arguments Monday in a Louisiana case that challenges the death sentence of Kevan Brumfield, who his attorneys say should be exempt from capital punishment because he is intellectually disabled. The case asks the court to allow evidence of disability to be considered in a reconsideration of his death sentence.

New York City to change rules to allow churches to rent schools

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Congregations in New York City that rent space in public schools will be able to hold Easter services this Sunday despite a ruling on Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting an appeal from an evangelical church in the Bronx that sought to overturn a ban on after-hours worship services at public schools.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio also said the mayor would work to ensure that houses of worship could continue to rent space like any other group.

Bishop says contraception ruling means church not free 'to practice what we preach'

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A three-judge panel's Feb. 11 ruling on a court challenge to the contraceptive mandate "says that the church is no longer free to practice what we preach," Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said.

The panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a federal judge in November to grant the Pittsburgh and Erie dioceses a temporary injunction against enforcement of the mandate.

Executions are down and abolition may not be far behind

It looks like the death penalty may be on life support.

January was set to be the deadliest month for U.S. executions in 2015, but nine of the 15 executions were stopped. In an unprecedented wave, three of the deadliest states -- Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri -- stopped executions planned for last month. February has just begun, but nine of its 12 scheduled executions have been halted.

Last year was not a good year for the death penalty, either, as death sentences hit a 40-year low and executions were at a 20-year low.

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In This Issue

May 22-June 4, 2015

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