National Catholic Reporter

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Sonia Sotomayor

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.

Utah asks Supreme Court for urgent intervention to halt same-sex marriage recognition

Utah asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to issue an emergency order that would prevent the state from recognizing the marriages of thousands of gay and lesbian Utahns, because the state believes it will ultimately prevail in its fight to revive a ban on such unions.

If it does, the state wrote, Utah will do "everything possible" to enforce the law. That means effectively nullifying the more than 1,000 unions gay and lesbian Utahns entered into during a 17-day window when such weddings were legal.

Courts give some last-minute relief from HHS contraceptive mandate

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In the midst of their New Year's Eve celebration with low-income elderly residents, the Baltimore-based Little Sisters of the Poor learned that the Supreme Court issued an injunction temporarily protecting them from the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate.

The order by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, issued within hours of the mandate taking effect at midnight Wednesday, applies to the Colorado-based Little Sisters of the Poor and their co-plaintiffs -- Christian Brothers Services and Christian Brothers Employee Benefits Trust -- in a lawsuit against the federal government.

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In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015

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