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FROM THIS EPISODE

The US Supreme Court today heard spirited arguments on what could be this year's signature ruling. Do the religious beliefs of business owners trump Affordable Care Act requirements for covering all kinds of contraceptives? We hear about the Hobby Lobby case. Also, President Obama shrugs off Putin at the Nuclear Security Summit, and the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius: "blade runner" on TV.

Banner image: American Life League

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Evan George
Benjamin Gottlieb

Obama Shrugs Off Putin at Nuclear Security Summit 7 MIN, 49 SEC

At a press conference today in The Hague, President Obama was asked if the stand-off with Russia shows the US is a declining world power and if his 2012-election opponent Mitt Romney was right to call Russia America's biggest geo-political foe. The President downplayed Russia's actions as threat to the US. "I continue to be more worried when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan." Michael Crowley is chief foreign affairs correspondent for Time magazine.

Guests:
Michael Crowley, Time magazine (@CrowleyTIME)

Pistorius: Nation Prepares for Final Act of Blade Runner Murder Trial 7 MIN, 40 SEC

South African Oscar Pistorius became an international hero as the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, using prosthetic legs that led to the nickname "blade runner." Now his murder trial has made him a daily feature on South African TV in what one crime writer called, "The Kardashians meet OJ Simpson." The prosecution has rested, and Pistorius is scheduled to take the stand next week. He doesn't deny firing four shots through a bathroom door, killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a model who was also a graduate of law school. David Smith is covering the trial for The Guardian newspaper.

Guests:
David Smith, The Guardian (@SmithInAfrica)

Corporations, the Right to Religion and Gender Discrimination 35 MIN, 39 SEC

Corporations have long been considered "persons" under American law, to protect their shareholders from liability when things go wrong. The US Supreme court has ruled they can spend money on politics because "personhood" includes the right to free speech. Do corporations also have the right to religion? That was one of the questions before the court today in the case of a chain of craft stores. Hobby Lobby's owners want to deny female employees coverage for some kinds of contraception — as required by the Affordable Care Act -- claiming religious objections. (Conestoga Wood Specialties, a corporation owned by Mennonites is also a party.) Do corporations have religious rights?  Could other companies refuse coverage for blood transfusions, vaccinations or psychiatric care on religious grounds?  Is Hobby Lobby asking to discriminate against female employees? We hear today's arguments and what the justices wanted to know.

Guests:
Robert Barnes, Washington Post (@scotusreporter )
Justin Butterfield, Liberty Institute (@libertyinstitute)
Adam Winkler, University of California, Los Angeles (@adamwinkler)
Marcia Greenberger, National Women's Law Center (@nwlc)

More:
Barnes on a divided court hearing arguments on contraceptive coverage
National Women's Law Center' amicus briefs supporting the contraceptive coverage benefit
Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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