Supreme court to rule on birth control mandate, secret service immunity, bankruptcy News
Supreme court to rule on birth control mandate, secret service immunity, bankruptcy
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[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in four cases on Tuesday. First are the two cases surrounding the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder]. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] is a challenge by a closely held corporation claiming religious freedom. In addressing this question, the court will also rule on Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] questioning whether corporations themselves have religious freedom rights. Challengers to the regulation claim their business will impose a “substantial burden” on their exercise of religion. If this is the case, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [text] the government must do so in the least restrictive means possible.

Second, the court will hear Wood v. Moss [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] dealing with the question of whether secret service agents are shielded by legal immunity while performing their duties of protecting the president. The question arises out of discriminatory treatment of pro- and anti-Bush administration protesters on the part of the secret service. The court below ruled [text] that the secret service agents were not protected by qualified immunity when they established separate boundaries for the protesters [UPI report]

Third, the court decided to hear a case addressing a question surrounding a bankruptcy claim in Clark v. Rameker [SCOTUSblog backgrounder]. In this case, the question presented deals with whether an individual retirement account that is inherited by debtor is considered exempt under 11 USC § 522 [text]. The court below agreed [text] with the bankruptcy judge in ruling the inherited IRA in the hands of the current debtor does not meet the definition contained in § 522.