Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Podcast: Obamacare, Kim Davis, and religious exemptions

September 10, 2015 by NCC Staff

 

churchWhen religious belief conflicts with state or federal law, or with another constitutional right, which claim wins out?

 

The news has been dominated by the story of Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis, who was imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was released on September 8 with the order not to interfere with her deputy clerks who are now issuing those licenses.

 

On August 31, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in March for Life v. Burwell, one of several challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “contraceptive mandate.”

 

And on September 3, five judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a sharp dissent to the court’s decision not to rehear a separate challenge brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The judges said the ruling upholding the mandate is “contrary to all precedent concerning the free exercise of religion.”

 

Michael Gerhardt—professor of constitutional law at the University of North Carolina School of Law and the National Constitution Center’s scholar-in-residence, sitting in as host for president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen—led our conversation.

 

Matt Bowman is senior legal counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, where he works primarily on sanctity-of-life cases. Matt is also lead attorney in the March for Life case.

 

Ian Millhiser is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focuses on the Constitution and the judiciary.

 

Download this episode (right click and save)

 


This show was engineered by Jason Gregory and produced by Nicandro Iannacci. Research was provided by Nicandro Iannacci and Danieli Evans.

 

Get the latest constitutional news, and continue the conversation, on our Facebook page, facebook.com/constitutionctr, and on our Twitter feed, @ConstitutionCtr. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions about the show to [email protected].

 

Please subscribe to We the People. While you’re in the iTunes Store, leave us a review—it helps other people discover what we do.

 

Please also subscribe to Live at America’s Town Hall, a new podcast featuring lectures and debates presented live at the Center, seated across from Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The most recent episode features a lecture on “democracy in the digital age” by Harvard law professor and former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein.

 

We the People is a member of the Panoply network. Check out all of our sibling podcasts at iTunes.com/Panoply.

 

Despite our congressional charter, the National Constitution Center is a private nonprofit—we receive little government support, and we rely entirely on the generosity of people around the country who are inspired by our nonpartisan mission of constitutional debate and education. Please consider becoming a member to support our work, including this great podcast. Visit constitutioncenter.org to learn more.

 

Recent Stories on Constitution Daily

 

Constitution Check: Did the Kentucky county clerk win her religious exemption, after all?

 

Video: Cass Sunstein on Democracy in the Digital Age

 

It was 239 years ago today: The name “United States of America” becomes official

 

Sign up for our email newsletter