iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the U.S. government can’t make certain employers cover contraception.

The ruling says businesses with religious objections can opt out of the requirement to cover birth control for women that’s in President Obama’s health care law.

Several high-profile conservatives possibly eyeing a presidential bid in 2016 praised the Supreme Court’s decision as a victory for religious liberty, while also sharply attacking the Obama administration for executive overreach through his signature legislative achievement.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is believed to be seriously considering launching a campaign, said the decision affirms the religious freedom of American families.

“What this decision affirms is that the American belief in freedom of religion still protects the rights of all Americans to live in accordance with their religion, and that these deeply held religious beliefs are more important than the whims and demands of government,” Jindal wrote in a statement.

“The Court has made clear today that the Obama administration’s assault on religious freedom in this case went too far — but this assault will not stop, in our courts, in our schools, and in the halls of power. It will take believers who are willing to risk their fortunes and public ridicule and the modern slings and arrows to stand up for what’s right,” he continued.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another Republican often mentioned as a possible contender for the GOP nomination, said the decision is a “landmark victory for religious liberty,” also taking aim at the White House.

“The decision affirms that Americans, contrary to what the Obama Administration attempted to impose, have a right to live and work in accordance to their conscience and can’t be forced to surrender their religious freedom once they open a business,” he said. “This ruling is a repudiation of the Obama Administration’s untenable position that people with sincerely held religious beliefs should be forced to comply with an unconstitutional mandate while a parade of waivers, exemptions, and delays are granted for purely commercial and political interests.”

Cruz’s statement struck a similar tone to Sen. Rand Paul, another Republican considered by pundits as a likely contender.

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious freedom by taking a stand with Hobby Lobby. Religious liberty will remain intact and all Americans can stay true to their faith without fear of big government intervention or punishment,” Paul, R-Ky., wrote in a statement. “Our nation was founded on the principle of freedom, and with this decision, America will continue to serve as a safe haven for those looking to exercise religious liberty.”

House Speaker John Boehner, who is not considering a presidential run, trumpeted the ruling as “another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives” and said his objective continues to be repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“The president’s health care law remains an unworkable mess and a drag on our economy,” Boehner, R-Ohio, noted. “We must repeal it and enact better solutions that start with lowering Americans’ health care costs.”

Democrats, meanwhile, are sharply criticizing the Supreme Court for its decision.

Sen. Patty Murray, who joined 18 other Senate Democrats in filing an amicus brief in support of the government’s position in the case, pledged to find a legislative remedy to counter the court’s decision.

“Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health care, I will. In the coming days I will work with my colleagues and the Administration to protect this access, regardless of who signs your paycheck,” Murray, D-Wash., wrote in a statement. “Every American deserves to have access to high quality health care coverage and each of us should have the right to make our own medical and religious decisions without being dictated to or limited by our employers.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the decision “an outrageous step against the rights of America’s women,” which she believes could set a precedent to allow for-profit corporations “to pick and choose which laws to obey.”

“This deeply misguided and destructive decision is a serious blow to Americans’ ability to make their own health decisions,” Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote. “One of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act is ending the decades of inequality endured by America’s women forced to settle for less health care at a higher price. Addressing this gender disparity means comprehensive coverage of the full array of women’s health services, period.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, credited the Affordable Care Act with opening access to preventive services to “millions of Americans” but warned the ruling could create an economic burden on women.

“This decision takes money out of the pockets of women and their families and allows for-profit employers to deny access to certain health care benefits based on their personal beliefs. Nearly sixty percent of women who use birth control do so for more than just family planning,” Wasserman Shultz, D-Fla., wrote. “It is no surprise that Republicans have sided against women on this issue as they have consistently opposed a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton appears to have combined answers to tough questions with subtle marketing since the publication of her new memoir Hard Choices.

She manages to work the words “hard choices” into questions that range from Iraq to Benghazi to the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange.

During a Council on Foreign Relations event earlier this month, Clinton was asked for her assessment of the merger between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.

Her response?

“There are a lot of hard choices, to coin a phrase,” she began.

“Coin a phrase, yeah,” the event’s moderator, Council president Richard Haas, interjected to laughter.

She also deployed the line while discussing gun control earlier this month.

“We make hard choices and we balance competing values all the time,” Clinton said in a CNN interview. “And I was disappointed that the Congress did not pass universal background checks after the horrors of the shootings at Sandy Hook.”

It’s a two-word refrain that’s been heard frequently in Clinton’s recent interviews.

May 14 — Speech to the American Jewish Committee:

“I can tell you that hard choices are exactly what it will take to achieve a just and lasting peace, a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

June 9 — Interview with ABC News on Bowe Bergdahl Deal:

“I think this was a very hard choice, which is why I think my book is aptly named. You look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values.”

June 17 — Town Hall with CNN on Whether the U.S. Should Cooperate with Iran on Iraq Crisis:

“It’s a very hard choice. And sitting here, I can’t answer it, except to tell you this, unless you get conditions met and assurances made by [Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki].

On Arming Syrian Rebels:

“Well, I said we should have done it, you know, two plus years ago. But I want to be very clear, these are difficult, hard choices.”

June 17 — Interview with FOX News on Benghazi Attack:

“That is, you know, one of the challenges, why I write about hard choices because information is coming at you from all directions…My responsibility is to do the best job that I can leading a diverse group, relying on security professionals, so that we can be in the hard places to help make the hard choices.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Will too much news about Hillary Clinton’s financial situation derail her chances of becoming president in 2016?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus suggested as much on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, saying that all the reporting about Clinton denying that she and former President Bill Clinton are particularly wealthy could prove to be her undoing.

Priebus added, “People are kind of tired of this show quite frankly. There’s Hillary fatigue out there. It’s setting in. This early run for the White House is going to come back and bite them, and it already is.”

Clinton has been promoting a new book, Hard Choices, but the only thing her critics and political pundits are taking about is her comments about the family’s supposed financial woes.

This is something that annoys Bill Clinton, who told Meet the Press that what people should be debating is his wife’s plans to help the economy, not the family bank account.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Congressman Peter King says that the upheaval in Iraq has renewed President Obama’s fears about a possible terrorist strike against the homeland.

The New York Republican, who appeared on ABC’s This Week Sunday, said that the president should take an aggressive stance against the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, not just to keep Iraq stable but to also prevent their fighters from threatening U.S. interests.

King noted that many ISIS militants have passports they can use to come to America and Europe, telling This Week, “All we have to do is miss one or two of them, and we can have a very, very lethal attack here in the U.S.”

According to King, there are “a hundred plus Americans over there in Syria right now. So any of these people can go back to the United States and they can carry out the type of attack that they’re being trained in in Syria.”

Meanwhile, the lawmaker also expressed concern about security procedures at airports overseas, saying that Washington has to push its allies to tighten things up in order to lessen the risk of a terrorist boarding a U.S.-bound plane.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — With tens of thousands of children from Central America having illegally crossed into the U.S. this year, President Obama will ask Congress Monday for $2 billion in emergency funding to tighten border security and hasten deportations, according to The New York Times.

Since the influx began earlier this year, numerous agencies have coordinated efforts to house these migrants in temporary shelters while attempting to unite some with family members who live in the U.S.

Many of those who arrived in the U.S. don’t qualify for legal status.

Efforts to fast track children from Mexico back home have already begun, but the U.S. has yet to set up the same procedures with the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Meanwhile, the administration wants to also toughen penalties against smugglers and smuggler networks that transport immigrants, often under unsafe conditions.

Last week, in an interview with ABC News, the president delivered a message to parents in Central America, saying, “Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On Monday, President Obama will nominate former Procter & Gamble executive Robert McDonald as the next head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House confirms to ABC News.

McDonald, a West Point graduate, served five years before joining Proctor & Gamble, where he eventually rose to become CEO of the company.

According the White House, McDonald has dedicated time and resources to serving veterans. He’s significant supporter of the U.S. Military Academy and is a life member of the U.S. Army Rangers Association.

McDonald would take over the department following an investigation that found widespread problems, including delayed care at VA hospitals across the country.

Upon confirmation, McDonald would replace interim Secretary Sloan Gibson, who had stepped in after Secretary Eric Shinseki stepped down.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Although President Obama called the influx of undocumented minors on the U.S.-Mexico border a “humanitarian crisis” this week, Mayor Jim Darling of the U.S. border town of McAllen, Texas told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he disagrees with that label.

“We don’t think it’s a crisis,” Darling said Sunday on This Week. “We’re doing everything — efforts here at the border to make sure it doesn’t turn into a crisis.”

Darling described how McAllen’s border bus station serves as “point zero” for the undocumented immigrants as they are processed by border patrol. In order to alleviate the situation from reaching what he would consider to be a crisis, Darling said many of McAllen’s community organizations have stepped up to offer services to help the incoming arrivals.

“They come — they only have the clothes that they have on their back. They haven’t had proper hygiene for the last couple of weeks. They’re hungry. They’re a lot of little kids,” Darling said. “And so what happened to us is a Catholic church at the city of McAllen, [in addition to] other community entities got together and decided that we’re not going to send them from our city in those conditions. And they’re providing for all those needed services.”

Despite the town’s best efforts, McAllen’s local newspaper The Monitor ran a front page headline Friday stating that costs were mounting for immigrant care for towns on the border.

“We’ve spent $70,000 so far. We expect to spend over half a million before the end of the year,” Darling said. “The Catholic charities and other charitable organizations are spending about $150,000. They expect to spend almost a million dollars before the end of the year. So it’s not fair to our taxpayers. It’s not fair to the charities to have to front those monies when really this is a federal situation.”

In addition to the financial burden, Darling said that McAllen may not have the human resources to continue to aid more undocumented immigrants in the future.

“We’re really worried about sustainability, both from the standpoint of dollars, but also from community participation,” Mayor Darling told Stephanopoulos. “We have doctors that volunteer to see the kids and the moms, and that’s way, way too much to expect them to do that on any kind of sustainable basis.”

On Monday, President Obama is expected to ask Congress for $2 billion in emergency funding to help send some of these children home.

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When a group of mostly white college students traveled to the heart of the Jim Crow South to help African American citizens register to vote in June of 1964, they had no idea just how difficult the task would be, nor of the lasting impact it would have.

“I think it’s really important that we understand the struggle that we had to go through to get people the right to vote and that probably that struggle isn’t over,” said Stanley Nelson, who wrote and directed the new PBS film Freedom Summer.

Nelson’s film, which premiered on PBS this week, recounts the stories of men and women — both black and white — who fought for right of African Americans to vote in Mississippi, a state where white supremacy and segregation were violently enforced.

“You’d be fired from your job if you even tried to go down and register to vote,” Nelson told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in an interview for This Week. “If you had a loan, any kind of loan, they would cut your loan… they would publish your name in the paper… Then there was something called the registrar who would then make you take a test and inevitably if you’re African American, you fail.”

For 10 weeks in the summer of 1964, volunteers from northern states traveled to Mississippi to join local community activists helping African American citizens with voter registration. They were strongly opposed by white supremacists, who resorted to intimidation, violence, and even murder to stop their efforts.

“One of the terms that people always use for what was happening in Mississippi was terrorism. And you know, they were being terrorized,” Nelson said.

Three young Freedom Summer activists — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner — disappeared on June 21, 1964, on the first day of the Freedom Summer movement. Their bodies were not discovered for six months, their murders later dramatized in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.

“The people who understood Mississippi knew that they were never going to be found alive,” Nelson said. “It put this kind of shadow over the whole summer.”

Still, this tragic event did not deter the other organizers. The Freedom Summer movement caught the nation’s attention, and played a role in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act the following year, banning voter discrimination.

The act remained intact until last year, when a sharply divided Supreme Court struck down a key part, citing racial progress in the last 50 years.

Nelson’s film, filled with interviews with former Freedom Summer activists and their first-hand perspective of the events of 1964, is available in full on the PBS website.

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Andy Cross / The Denver Post(WASHINGTON) — President Barack Obama doesn’t believe comments made by his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about how she and former President Bill Clinton were “not only dead broke but in debt” when they exited the White House will matter too much if she chooses to run for president.

“As soon as you jump back into the spotlight in a more explicitly political way, you’re going to be fly-spec like this,” Obama told ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview. “She’s accustomed to it. Anybody who gets involved in public life is accustomed to it. Over time I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference.”

Obama asserted that his onetime political rival has a record that speaks for itself.

“I think that Hillary has been to this rodeo a bunch of times,” he said. “She is in public service [be]cause she cares about the same folks that I talked to here today. Her track record on that speaks for itself.”

The president said Clinton’s potential re-entry into the political sphere invites more scrutiny, but said she has experience dealing with harsh criticism and the “dead broke” comment would not likely dog her long-term.

Clinton, widely seen as the strongest contender for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, is currently promoting her new book Hard Choices. It was during her first television interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer in which she said, “We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt.”

The former secretary of state has also drawn criticism for collecting large speaking fees.

While some political analysts have speculated that the backlash over Clinton’s wealth comments could divide the Democratic Party, Obama said Democrats were “surprisingly unified” on economic priorities.

“This whole notion of you got the centrist Democrats and the liberal Democrats, if you look at Democrats generally, their agenda is grounded in the things that middle-class families are concerned about generally,” Obama said. “Wages, incomes, fairness, opportunity, college costs, and so you don’t have some of the same old ideological divisions. In fact, the big challenge we have right now is frankly finding a Republican Party that is even close to the center so that we can actually do some work with them.”

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STR/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) — A man suspected in the attacks two years ago on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans entered a not guilty plea during a 10-minute hearing at federal court in Washington, D.C. Saturday.

Ahmed Abu Khattala listened through an interpreter and raised his right hand, speaking only briefly and softly, his eyes watching the judge and nearly a dozen lawyers and government officials in Federal court on a rare Saturday session.

He was represented by a federal public defender and is scheduled to appear in court again next week.

Khattala was captured in Libya earlier this month.

A law enforcement source told ABC News that Khattalah was flown by helicopter from a Navy ship early this morning to a location near Navy Yard in Washington, and he was then driven to the federal courthouse.

A criminal complaint filed against Khattala earlier this year was unsealed after his arrest and accused the militant of “killing a person in the course of an action on a federal facility,” providing and conspiring to provide “material support to terrorists resulting in death” and using a firearm in relation to a violent crime.

“It’s important for us to send as a message to the world that when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice,” President Obama said after Khattala’s capture.

After Khattala’s capture, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral Jack Kirby told reporters that the Libyan government was notified of the operation, but declined to say exactly when. A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said it was a “unilateral U.S. operation.”

Kirby spoke to the amount of time it took the U.S. to grab Khattala.

“Terrorists go to great lengths to avoid capture and it can be a complicated process at getting them,” Kirby told reporters. “You don’t want to launch a complicated mission like this without all the proper information and resources in place. So what matters is not that it took a matter of time to get him, but that we got him.”

U.S. officials questioned Khattala aboard a U.S. Navy ship before he arrived in Washington D.C.

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