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Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

President Barack Obama appears to have options to act alone to fill the birth control coverage gap for thousands of women created by the Supreme Court's ruling against Obamacare's contraceptive mandate, legal experts say.

The Supreme Court said religious business owners like Hobby Lobby may opt out of providing cost-free insurance coverage for emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill and intrauterine devices (IUDs), which means their female employees would have no option other than to pay for birth control out-of-pocket.

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The Supreme Court said in a landmark ruling on Monday that "closely held" corporations with religious owners may opt out of Obamacare's birth control mandate, a definition that sounds narrow in scope but actually comprises a vast majority of American businesses.

The most immediate impact will be felt by the female employees of Hobby Lobby (which employs 13,000 people total) and Conestoga Wood (which employs 1,000 people), who will no longer have cost-free access to emergency contraceptives like the morning-after pill. Beyond that, health care experts and pro-choice advocates say it's close to impossible to know precisely how many women will be affected because it depends on which employers opt out.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Monday tore into Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for refusing to act on immigration reform, conceding that there is now "no prospect for reform in the Republican-led House."

He backed President Barack Obama's decision to act administratively where he can.

"Speaker Boehner has made it absolutely clear that he won't lift a finger to fix our broken immigration system so President Obama is right to protect families from being torn apart," Reid said in a statement.

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A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled that "closely held" for-profit corporations cannot be forced to abide by Obamacare's mandate to cover contraception for female employees in their insurance plans at no extra cost.

The decision is a major victory for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, two businesses with Christian owners which sued for relief from having to cover emergency contraceptives like Ella and Plan B due to their religious beliefs. The ruling is narrower than it could have been: publicly held businesses may not be allowed to opt out of the mandate. (Religious nonprofits were given an accommodation; houses of worship are exempt.)

The vote was 5 to 4. The Republican-appointed justices sided with Hobby Lobby while the Democratic-appointed justices sided with the Obama administration.

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