The Supreme Court gave Barack Obama some bad news on Monday when they sent a challenge by religious-affiliated employers to ObamaCare’s contraception mandate back to the lower courts.
According to Fox News, the highest court in the land was considering whether religious-affiliated institutions like the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity of nuns, can be exempt from having to pay for birth control and other reproductive coverage in their health plans. Instead of ruling on the merits, the justices sent the cases back to the appeals courts to make new decisions based on recent statements.
“The Court expresses no view on the merits of the cases,” the court said in an unsigned, unanimous opinion. “In particular, the Court does not decide whether petitioners’ religious exercise has been substantially burdened, whether the Government has a compelling interest, or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive means of serving that interest.”
With this decision, the justices dodged a high-profile dispute at the height of an election year, effectively ensuring they won’t have to rule on it again until after the 2016 election. It implies that the court lacked a majority for a significant ruling, showing that they are still being affected by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Regardless of why the decision came down, the legal team representing Little Sisters of the Poor declared victory on Monday.
“We are very encouraged by the Court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position,” Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement. “It is crucial that the Justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn’t need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious — the Little Sisters respectfully object. There is still work to be done, but today’s decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court.”
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