The ACA birth-control controversy, made simple

Commentary
Amid widening claims that religious liberty in America is under siege, the Supreme Court over the past year and and a half has reacted eight times to one of the most intense and emotionally charged conflicts within that broader controversy.  Only once has the Justices’ reaction to that particular conflict led to a full-scale decision, and yet all of its actions, taken together, do stand for something.
This is the controversy over the contraceptive, or birth-control, mandate in the Affordable Care Act – a high-stakes legal feud that has been unfolding in scores of lawsuits across the country.  It has been running for five years, and so is further along than the just-beginning conflict over the impact on religious belief of the Court’s same-sex marriage ruling last month.
The opposite sides in the birth-control dispute for years have been talking past

Original SCOTUS article

Independent redistricting commission survives challenge: In Plain English

Fifteen years ago, Arizona voters took a drastic step to deal with partisanship in drawing the lines for federal congressional districts: they passed an amendment to the state constitution that transferred the redistricting power from the state legislature, which had previously controlled it, to an independent commission. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the legislature objected to being cut out of the process and filed a lawsuit, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The legislature alleged that tasking the commission with redistricting violates the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause, which provides that the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for . . . Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof” – because the phrase “the Legislature” can only refer to the official body that makes laws for the

Original SCOTUS article

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