Legal Roundtable | St. Louis Public Radio

Legal Roundtable

Sep 17, 2012

Some legal rulings leave us scratching our head but for widely different reasons.  Don Marsh hosts our monthly legal roundtable.  We wonder what a judge was thinking when she left important court decisions to her clerks, why a judge approved a sex change operation for a convicted murderer serving a life sentence, and other legal issues. 

Our guests include:

  • William Freivogel, Director of the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Associate Professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
  • William Ray Price, Jr., former Missouri Supreme Court Justice and Partner at Armstrong and Teasdale LLP
  • Mark Smith, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of the Career Center at Washington University

[Show Highlight: Contraceptive Coverage]

The Missouri legislature recently overturned Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill allowing employers to refuse to pay for insurance covering contraception and abortions.  The legislature’s move puts the state at direct odds with the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover contraception coverage. 

Bill Freivogel said, “It would seem that under the supremacy clause that federal law trumps state law.” The key question is whether the First Amendment religious freedom permits religious institutions the right to refuse providing contraceptive care.  “Most of the first amendment scholars I’ve talked with have said (requiring contraception coverage) quite likely would not be seen as a violation of religious freedom.”