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After some notable 9 to 0 decisions this year, the nation’s highest court closed out its term with two big rulings that were anything but unanimous. Today it was all about a familiar 5 to 4 split -- with a conservative majority.

Supporters of religious freedom won big. The justices ruled private companies can seek a religious exemption from providing birth control under the Affordable Care Act. Does this boost to “corporate personhood” come at the expense of women’s health?Also in the winners column: public sector workers who want to opt out of unions. We’ll check the health of organized labor.

Later, the ethics of Facebook treating users like lab rats.

Supreme Court Rules on Hobby Lobby Case 6 MIN, 30 SEC

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court sided today with employers who said the contraception mandate under Obamacare violated their religious beliefs. The courts ruled that “closely held” companies may now qualify for a religious exemption to the nation’s healthcare law. Jess Bravin is the Supreme Court correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal (@JessBravin)

Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling Ignites Debate Over Religious-Freedom Law
Supreme Court Opinion on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

The Supreme Court Wraps Up Its Term 34 MIN, 3 SEC

Two key Supreme Court decisions  were made today. One allows closely held companies to opt out of the requirement of having to provide contraception coverage for employees under Obamacare; the other allows some public employees to avoid paying dues to the union representing them.

In a 5-4 decision today the court sided with the Hobby Lobby crafts stores and Conestoga Wood, a cabinet making company, in a contraceptive case. Both companies claimed their Christian beliefs compel them not to cover certain kinds of contraception mandated under Obamacare. The court ruled that so-called “closely held” companies such as these qualify could for an exemption under the healthcare law if it violated the owners’ religious beliefs.

In the other big ruling this morning, the Court decided that unions cannot force home care workers to pay their dues. Many labor supporters and court watchers referred to Harris v. Quinn as the session’s sleeper case -- seemingly a dry challenge over the right of unions to demand dues, but lying just below the surface are implications that could affect the future of electoral politics, immigration reform, hiking the minimum wage, and other issues of vital national importance.

Dahlia Lithwick, Legal Affairs correspondent for Slate (@dahlialithwick)
Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute (@ishapiro)
David Savage, Los Angeles Times (@davidgsavage)
Harold Meyerson, Editor, The American Prospect; and Columnist (@haroldmeyerson)
Ed Whelan, Ethics and Public Policy Center (@EdWhelanEPPC)

Supreme Court Rules Disadvantaged Workers Should Be Disadvantaged Some More
Supreme Court Opinion on Harris v. Quinn
Of Course Government Can’t Violate Religious Liberty for No Good Reason

Facebook Manipulates Your Feed and Your Emotional State 9 MIN, 18 SEC

We all know that Facebook manipulates what pops up in your news feed, from baby photos to party pictures, but it turns out that the company was also using your news feeds to perform a mass science experiment. In January 2012, Facebook changed the number of positive and negative posts in the feeds of almost 700 thousand users to see if it would influence users emotional moods and status updates. Facebook was trying, it turns out, to make you sad. Michelle Meyer is Assistant Professor of bioethics at Union Graduate College and Mt. Sinai Medical School.

Michelle Meyer, Union Graduate College (@michellenmeyer)


Barbara Bogaev

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