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NATIONAL
March 25, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court's conservative justices sharply criticized part of President Obama's healthcare law Tuesday, suggesting they will rule later this year that requiring Christian-owned corporations to offer their employees contraceptives coverage violates the freedom of religion. “Your reasoning would permit requiring profit-making corporations to pay for abortions,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who defended the contraceptives provision of the Affordable Care Act. The administration's lawyer warned that the court would be adopting a “dangerous principle” if it gave employers a right to exempt themselves from federal laws based on their religious beliefs.
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NATIONAL
March 27, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court has begun debating whether the 130,000 legally married gay couples in this country are entitled to the same benefits under federal law as heterosexual married couples. The justices seemed reluctant Tuesday to rule that gays have a right to marry, but Wednesday's oral arguments may indicate whether they are prepared to take smaller but significant steps in favor of legally married same-sex partners. At issue is the part of the  Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that says the federal government will recognize only marriages between a man and a woman. As with Tuesday's argument, the question is whether this provision denies gay and lesbian couples the “equal protection of the laws” promised by the Constitution.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
Countrywide Financial Corp., the mortgage lender acquired by Bank of America Corp., reached a preliminary settlement with employees who accused the company of withholding information about its financial health and causing the value of their retirement plan to drop. Plaintiffs' lawyers filed papers in federal court in Los Angeles indicating that an "agreement in principle" had been reached in the 2007 class-action lawsuit alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a federal law that protects employee pension plans.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2008 | From the Associated Press
A federal judge has tossed out California's challenge to a national abortion law that officials say could cost the state billions in federal funds. California sued the federal government after President Bush in 2004 authorized harsh financial penalties on states that discriminate against doctors who refuse to provide abortions. California allows doctors and hospitals to refuse to perform abortions for religious or moral reasons, but the state requires them to perform an abortion when childbirth threatens the woman's life or health.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2003 | From Bloomberg News
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to free MGM Mirage Inc. from a lawsuit by a gay former employee who says he was sexually harassed by male co-workers. The justices turned down arguments by the casino company that the suit should be thrown out because federal law doesn't protect against job discrimination based on sexual orientation. Medina Rene worked as a butler in the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas from 1993 until 1996, when he was fired.
NEWS
February 28, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
President Obama endorsed a significant change to his health reform law Monday, signing on to bipartisan legislation that would allow states to opt out of federal requirements -- including the individual mandate -- three years earlier than scheduled. The announcement came during a meeting with the nation's governors at the White House, in which Obama said he was responding to state leaders' requests for greater flexibility in meeting the requirements of the landmark 2010 legislation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
Experts said that based on Wednesday's arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court appears willing to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. Gay rights lawyer Jon W. Davidson said Wednesday that the U.S. Supreme Court was likely to permit married same-sex couples to have federal benefits. Davidson, legal director of Lamba Legal, said there appeared to be five justices willing to strike down the federal prohibition on recognizing same-sex marriages. FULL COVERAGE: Same-sex marriage ban The high court seemed likely to overturn the law either on grounds that it discriminates against lesbians and gay men without a valid reason or because it usurps the traditional state power to regulate marriage, he said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
Some members of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared concerned Wednesday that a  federal law barring recognition of same-sex marriages interfered with state rights, a law professor said. Loyola law professor Dougles NeJaime, after reading a transcript of Wednesday's hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, said it suggested the court might rule in favor of gay rights but on the grounds the federal law improperly exerted control over the states. NeJaime said Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote is considered pivotal in gay rights cases, clearly seemed skeptical of the law. The section being challenged denies federal benefits to spouses of same-sex couples.
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