This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. The U.S Supreme Court has wrapped up its latest term, issuing two important decisions. One is a setback for the Affordable Care Act and a victory for some for-profit companies.
GREENE: The other decision is a major defeat for public employee unions. We'll hear reaction to both decisions in a few minutes. We begin our coverage with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.
The U.S. Supreme court ruled yesterday that the owners of closely held for-profit corporations, like Hobby Lobby, the chain of stores that brought the case, do not have to cover FDA-approved contraceptives in their employee health insurance.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
In this decision, the words closely held stood out. What does closely held actually mean? While the IRS offers a long technical definition, we wanted a simpler one.
Now we get your reaction to both the Supreme Court decisions - first, to the ruling that some businesses can cite religion to opt out of covering contraceptives under the new health care law. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.
JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: In Chicago, a few dozen abortion rights opponents gathered to celebrate the decision as a victory for religious liberty. Emily Zender is with Illinois Rights Alive.
Representatives for the French bank BNP Paribas pleaded guilty on Monday and agreed to pay $8.83 billion over allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions laws by facilitating transactions involving Sudan, Cuba and Iran.
Banking giant BNP Paribas has agreed to pay American regulators nearly $9 billion dollars to settle charges of economic sanctions violations. It's the largest such fine ever imposed by the U.S. The bank will plead guilty to two criminal charges. It was accused of helping clients in Sudan, Cuba and Iran conduct business in the United States. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
A fund established by GM to pay claims related to defective ignition switches won't limit claim amounts and will include people who have already settled a case with the carmaker. Those and other details about the long-awaited compensation plan were announced by plan administrator Kenneth Feinberg on Monday.
"GM basically has said, whatever it costs to pay all eligible claims under the protocol, they will pay it," Feinberg said.
Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 12:54 pm
The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.
The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.
The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.
Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 10:40 am
Updated at 10:48 a.m. ET
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some public employees cannot be required to contribute to unions.
In a 5-4 ruling split along ideological lines, the court recognized a category of "partial public employees" who cannot be required to contribute union bargaining fees. The court said the current practice, which permits automatic deductions, violates the First Amendment rights of those nonmembers who disagree with the union's positions.