Follows the links embedded in the headlines to read the full columns involving two fascinating court cases.

California judges trample rights of Little Sisters of the Poor (Oct. 24). 

Federal judges again have decided they know better than the Little Sisters of the Poor whether the Sisters’ own beliefs are being violated. Their decision is both legally and morally appalling.

The latest judicial usurpation of the Sisters’ religious liberty came in an Oct. 22 decision by two of three judges of a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It involves the long-running dispute about whether, and how, the federal government can require that health insurance plans offered by faith-affiliated groups (such as the Sisters) include coverage for contraceptives or abortifacients that the groups believe violate their faiths.

The Supreme Court twice ruled largely in favor of the Little Sisters, although the justices left it to federal agencies and lower courts to decide the precise parameters of the Sisters’ victories. That redelegation of authority spurred numerous new court challenges nationwide….

Taylor Energy should own  stop fighting cleanup of its long running oil leak (Oct. 30). It is long past time for a Louisiana oil company to stop court fights over one of the longest-lasting oil spills in history, and instead reach a settlement expediting efforts to combat the spill.

As the pace of subpoenas and depositions heats up — one key deposition is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 1 — it might be a good time for all sides to reconsider, rather than push further towards a lawsuit Armageddon.

Taylor Energy is an independent oil producer whose late founder, Patrick Taylor and his widow Phyllis have been much-appreciated philanthropists in and around New Orleans for decades. Seafloor upheavals caused by powerful Hurricane Ivan in 2004 toppled one of their production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform and its 28 wells were buried beneath some 150 feet of mud and sediment, and some of the wells began leaking.

That much, everyone agrees on. Beyond that, much has been in dispute. For years, Taylor and a government task force believed the spill, although continuing, was tiny, amounting to just a few gallons actually reaching the surface per day, and Taylor cooperated in efforts to contain it. Last fall, however, amid several reports that the continuing spill was exponentially larger than had previously been thought, Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator Captain Kristi Luttrell suddenly ordered Taylor to institute a much bigger containment system, almost immediately…..


Tags: , , ,