Justices Weigh Key Religious Rights, Freedoms Cases

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Both the Obama administration and those who oppose the president's health care law are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on its constitutionality.

Walter Weber, senior litigation counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said the court could rule on the entire health care law or go after parts, like the individual mandate that would require all Americans to purchase health care insurance.

"I'd like to see the court strike it down," Weber said. "It seems to me that if the Congress can tell you that you have to buy insurance, then they can tell you that you have to eat vegetables, you have to...well, just about anything."

"There's almost no area of life that they could not control," he added.

Wednesday, the high court will also hear Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The lawsuit is considered one of the biggest religious rights cases in decades and involves a church school firing a teacher with a sleeping disorder.

"The question there is whether or not the government, state or federal, can interfere with the selection of ministers. Now, there's a subsidiary question [of] who's a minister?" Weber explained.

Webber told CBN News he thinks some teachers should be considered ministers.

"The idea when you send your child to a religious school is that all the subjects are going to be infused with, to some extent, a religious perspective," he said.

The case also involves the issue of how much authority the state has to tell the church what to do and who to hire.

Another top case is FCC v. Fox, which will address whether rules to keep profanity and indecency off the airwaves are constitutional.

"The TV stations are saying the policies are vague. 'You say sometimes we can use profanities, like in "Saving Private Ryan," sometimes we can't. We don't know what the rule is; that's unconstitutional,'" Weber said. "The Supreme Court gets to answer the question."

The court will also consider whether authorities can put GPS devices on cars to track what individuals are doing, without violating the right to privacy. That case is U.S. v. Jones.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.