Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Supreme Court and Religious Freedom

The Supreme Court recently heard a major case on the the Affordable Care Act and women's access to birth control. This case Zubik v. Burwell is challenging the Supreme Court for the fourth time in four years regarding access to birth control and religious freedom. In these other cases brought to the Supreme Court, the case could split 4-4, a tie vote, meaning the federal law could affect people differently depending on where they live. Since Justice Scalia has recently passed away and his chair has not been filled, one side of the court would win the case. The question of the court case was, do religious figures get to disobey the laws they don’t believe in and burden others in the process? Here are three different news outlets, The Catholic Online, New York Times and Vox.

The Catholic Online is obviously for the court case, as they outrightly say that the religious figures who speak before the court and who brought this case up are heros defending religious freedom. The article goes in depth on the freedoms that the first amendment stands for and the freedom of exercise that is protected in this country. The language is very strong and precise and at no point does it look at the other side of the issue. The article quotes religious personnel and the constitution and at at a few cases emphasizes words in all caps and bold. There are pictures of the Pope and the Supreme Court.

The New York Times offers their readers background on the case and why it has been brought up to the highest level of court in the nation. It gives history on both sides of the court case why the Catholic church is suing the government and not carrying out the law. The language is very neutral but clear on the issues at stand. It talks about how the Zubik case is not about questioning anyone’s religious belief but about how these beliefs coexist in a society with a diverse religions and politics.
The Vox article. Like most Vox articles, summarizes the issue at hand. There is a lot of background on the court case and why it was brought to the Supreme Court and talks about what is at stake. It also goes into the significance of the case because of only 8 judges. It is an easy read that does not take a side but instead gives background and significance on the case and potential ruling.

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