Courts

Supreme Court Upholds Religious and Moral Exemptions for ACA Birth Control Coverage

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a Trump Administration rule which expands the types of organizations that can claim religious or moral exemptions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rule allows these organizations to refuse to cover birth control under their health insurance plans. Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion, and was...

Latest Iowa Abortion Restriction Blocked by Judge

Iowa’s latest abortion law, requiring an unnecessary waiting period before having an abortion, has been temporarily blocked by an Iowa judge. The law was set to go into effect on Wednesday. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law on Monday. It states that a patient must endure a 24-hour waiting period after an...

Supreme Court Ruling Ends Religious Schools’ Exclusion From School Choice Programs

In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting religious schools from receiving state funding in school choice programs violates the First Amendment right to freely exercise religion. The court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue was split along ideological lines, with Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Alito...

Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Administration’s Strict Asylum Policy

On Tuesday night a federal judge ruled that the strictest asylum policy that the Trump administration created is illegal. This decision comes at the heels of the new Supreme Court decision, made on June 18, to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The “third-country asylum rule,” instituted in 2019, “prohibited immigrants from claiming...

Supreme Court Upholds Conditional Funding for Overseas Organizations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that allows the federal government to distribute AIDS funding to foreign affiliates of U.S. groups on the condition they explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking. The 5-3 decision split along ideological lines with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing for the majority. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case because...

Women in Viral Video Sue Indianapolis Police for Excessive Use of Force

Two women have filed an excessive force lawsuit against four Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers who were captured on video using batons and pepper balls to subdue them at a protest against police violence on May 31. The federal lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana on behalf of Ivoré Westfield...

Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana TRAP Law

The Supreme Court voted Monday 5-4 to reject a restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The law would have required abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts was the deciding vote, joining Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg in an act of precedent protection....

Judge Orders Release of Migrant Children from Family Detention Centers 

This Friday, Judge Dolly M. Gee, a federal judge of the Central District of California, ordered the release of migrant children from family detention centers, primarily citing the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic as her reasoning. This order demands that the children must be released by July 17. The ruling applies to children who have...

After Legal Dispute, Missouri’s Only Abortion Clinic Gets License

On Thursday, Missouri’s only abortion clinic was issued a license to operate for another year. The license ensures that Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region can continue safely providing abortions until it must be renewed again in June 2021. The license comes after a year-long dispute with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior...

Trump Administration Urges the Supreme Court to Scrap the Affordable Care Act

On Thursday evening, in a filing to the Supreme Court, the Trump administration asked the court to terminate the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. Asserting that the ACA is illegal, the filing states that “the entire ACA must fall.” This filing was met with immediate criticism from prominent Democrats, as well as the...

Missouri Court Rules Against Johnson & Johnson in Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit

An appeals court in Missouri ruled against Johnson & Johnson in a civil suit, ordering them to pay billions in damages. The plaintiffs are women who say they have contracted ovarian cancer from the use of the company’s famous baby powder. The women believe the talcum Johnson & Johnson baby powder contains asbestos and is...

ACLU Secures the Release of 25 ICE Detainees in Rhode Island

The Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island has released 25 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees since a class-action lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Last month, the ACLU filed a federal class-action lawsuit asserting that it was not safe to keep detainees there amid the spread of COVID-19....

Pro-Choice Groups File Lawsuit Against Iowa’s 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit asserting that an amendment passed by the Iowa legislature requiring a 24-hour abortion waiting period violates due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution. The amendment requires that all those seeking an abortion wait at least 24-hours after their initial appointment with an abortion provider...

Three National Organizations Challenge Tennessee Heartbeat Bill

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed an emergency lawsuit Friday afternoon against Tennessee’s heartbeat bill. The lawsuit aims to block the legislation from being enacted and ultimately declared unconstitutional. If enforced, the bill would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This can occur as...

Supreme Court Rules Trump Administration Cannot End DACA

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration could not immediately end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and deport nearly 700,000 immigrants who arrived as children. The decision allows the Trump administration to end DACA in another attempt if it appropriately follows administrative law. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four...

Anti-Choice Group Files Lawsuit Against Illinois Reproductive Health Act

On June 10, the Thomas More Society (TMS) filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Insurance claiming that the Illinois Reproductive Health Act is unconstitutional and violates the religious liberties of its clients. TMS argues that the law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers abortions violates the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act and...

SCOTUS Ruling Could Upend Trump Administration’s Attacks on the Trans Community

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in the workplace could derail the Trump administration’s latest restrictions on transgender rights in healthcare. In the Trump administration’s most recent attack on the LGBTQ+ community, the anti-discrimination policies that protect transgender people in healthcare settings have been reversed. Under the Affordable Care Act, healthcare...

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Sanctuary Law Case

The Supreme Court announced Monday it will not hear a challenge to California’s sanctuary laws, therefore allowing the laws to stay in place. The court, following tradition, did not give a reason for rejecting to hear the case. Two conservative members of the court, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, said the court should have...

Supreme Court Rules Federal Civil Rights Law Protects LGBTQ+ Workers

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that existing federal civil rights protections forbids job discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers. The decision said that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate based on a person’s sex, also covers sexual orientation. Twenty-two states plus the District of Columbia...

Federal Judge Dismisses a Challenge to the Trump Administration’s Title X Rules

On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed a challenge to the reformed Title X rules, also known as the Trump administration’s “gag rule”, that puts limits on what federally funded health care providers can tell patients about accessing abortion services.  Title X is a “federal grant program created in 1970 to provide comprehensive and confidential family...