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Implications of ruling on teacher’s firing; Some praise it as a religious liberty decision, others urge caution.
WASHINGTON ? The direction the courts will take with other cases related to religious employment is far from clear, but the Supreme Court’s Jan. 11 ruling opens a whole track of possibilities. The decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC held that fired teacher Cheryl Perich could not sue under federal disability discrimination laws, because the Michigan Lutheran school where she worked considered her a “called” minister. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government cannot require a church to retain an unwanted minister because doing so “intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs.”

Banks, States Close To Deal On Mortgages; $25 Bil For Foreclosure Flap
A $25 billion settlement by major banks and U.S. states over questionable foreclosure practices in the housing crisis is nearing completion.

N. Jersey Democrat wants to raise minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, among nation’s highest
While Gov. Christie is pitching tax cuts for all in 2012, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D., Essex) wants to give a boost to the 40,000 New Jerseyans who make the $7.25 hourly minimum wage. Oliver wants to bump the minimum rate to $8.50 and tie it to the consumer price index, which measures the cost of living. “At a time when some presidential candidates are saying poor people should be demanding jobs and not welfare, this proposal is about livable wages for the lowest-income earners,” she said during the Assembly’s reorganization in Trenton this week. “Quite simply, we should all support economic stimulus, increased consumer spending.”

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