Constitution Daily

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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.


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