SCOTUS: Employers Can Duck Birth Control

...if they hold religious objections

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 30, 2014 9:36 AM CDT | Updated Jun 30, 2014 10:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court today dealt a decisive victory to Hobby Lobby, ruling in a 5-4 decision that closely held companies can refuse the ObamaCare mandate to provide birth control for employees. Chief Justice John Roberts, the swing vote that upheld ObamaCare two years ago, this time crossed over to side with the court's conservative justices, notes the AP. But the justices stressed that the ruling applied only to contraceptives specifically, and only to companies under the control of just a few people. "Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer's religious beliefs," wrote Samuel Alito in the majority opinion.

"The Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield," countered Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the dissent. The justices had earlier appeared poised to rule in favor of Hobby Lobby. In a separate decision today, the court ruled that home health aides cannot be forced to pay union dues, reports the AP. That ruling was also a 5-4 split along ideological lines, and held that forcing the dues payments was a First Amendment violation.

A demonstrator holds up a sign outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014.
A demonstrator holds up a sign outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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