Skip to comments.SCOTUS Decision Allowing Religious Exemptions On Birth Control Is A Big Win For Religious Liberty
Posted on 07/08/2020 5:37:01 PM PDT by Kaslin
In a major win for religious liberty, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on Wednesday that employers with moral or religious objections would be exempt from the federal mandate that requires company health insurance to cover birth control.
The case was a consolidation of The Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania and Trump v. Pennsylvania, both of which sought to alter the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). While the bill itself had no requirements for contraceptive access being guaranteed, this became mandatory through interim final rules (IFRs). While Churches have always been exempt from the ruling, other religious or religiously-affiliated organizations were not.
The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic religious order, who focus their ministry on charity; the sisters run homes for elderly people of low-income, and alongside the nuns, each home has an employed staff, to whom they provide health insurance. However, contraception is against the beliefs of the Catholic Church, and, as a religious order, the Little Sisters sought legal remedy to help keep them from being forced to pay for something in direct opposition to their religious convictions.
The Courts decision overturned the Third Circuit Courts conclusion that government departments (including Heath and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor) did not have the jurisdiction to allow any exceptions to the regulations forcing companies to provide birth control to their employees.
We are overjoyed that, once again, the Supreme Court has protected our right to serve the elderly without violating our faith, said Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Our lifes work and great joy is serving the elderly poor and we are so grateful that the contraceptive mandate will no longer steal our attention from our calling.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. Justice Elena Kagan wrote a concurring opinion, which was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer. Likewise, Justice Alito wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Gorsuch. The dissent was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Justice Thomass opinion takes Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as precedent, arguing that requiring the Little Sisters to fund contraceptives is in direct violation of their religious liberty, as it forces them to be complicit in something directly against their beliefs. Justice Thomas wrote:
After two decisions from this Court and multiple failed regulatory attempts, the Federal Government has arrived at a solution that exempts the Little Sisters from the source of their complicity-based concernsthe administratively imposed contraceptive mandate. We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption.
Justice Alitos concurring opinion broadly agrees with the courts opinion, but focuses more specifically on the application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He writes, I understand the Courts desire to decide no more than is strictly necessary, but under the circumstances here, I would decide one additional question: whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb2000bb4, does not compel the religious exemption granted by the current rule.
Through his legal examination of RFRA and religious exemptions, the concurring opinion ultimately declares that the administrative bureaucracies were not only allowed to create the exemption, but legally required. He writes, I would hold not only that it was appropriate for the Departments to consider RFRA, but also that the Departments were required by RFRA to create the religious exemption (or something very close to it). I would bring the Little Sisters legal odyssey to an end.
Justice Kagans concurring opinion differs substantively from those of Justices Thomas and Alito. Rather than focusing on the religious exemption, her vote was to protect the departments jurisdiction to enact exemptions as they see fit. She writes:
I would defer to the Departments view of the scope of Congresss delegation. See supra, at 3. That means the Departments (assuming they act hand-in-hand with HRSA) have wide latitude over exemptions, so long as they satisfy the requirements of reasoned decisionmaking. But that so long as is hardly nothing. Even in an area of broad statutory authoritymaybe especially thereagencies must rationally account for their judgments.
Justice Ginsburgs dissent argues that the religious and moral exemptions directly trample other peoples rights, which ought to be prioritized. She writes, In accommodating claims of religious freedom, this Court has taken a balanced approach, one that does not allow the religious beliefs of some to overwhelm the rights and interests of others who do not share those beliefs.
Justice Ginsburg prioritizes one of many ways for women to access birth control over the sisters rights to practice their Catholicism and not be forced into violating their firmly-held beliefs.
Roberts is schitzoid! no consistent viewpoint. Too worried about the “legitimacy of the court” and not enough about the ideological underpinning of the greatest nation on the planet.
I heard Thomas and another justice were contemplating retirement. If Trump wins another term, we could get three additional chances for a conservative righting of the court.
If Trump wins.
BTW Judicial review is the strongest check on the other branches of government. We need conservatives to the that check.
Simply nullifying Obamacare would have taken care of this, but our Republican betters had to try to replace it with only the good parts.
An excellent decision by an excellent justice. Justice Thomas, if he wants to retire, should wait for to see who wins the election. If Sleepy Joe wins, Thomas should stay on the Court. Having Thomas replaced by a Leftist would result in the overruling of all SCOTUS decision that protect our rights.
Maybe Roberts “got religion” after his drunken fall and injury. (”Dehydration” my ass!)
Well we had our chance to get rid of Obamacare and and we didn’t do it.
So since we didn’t get rid of Obamacare we may see more cases like this to place limits on Obamacare.
Why is it I always hear separation of church and state and yet the state keeps butting in on church matters.
Thomas debunked that rumor.
In this case the definition of “Dehydration” is “not enough water in my Scotch”!
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I think the other case was more significant.
Whelan on problem with Sisters’ win:
iHear Radio’s news item on this was something to the effect that Trump succeeds in denying people access to birth control. These people are shameless liars.
Soto-My-Whore and Ruth Bugsy Siegel Ginsburg have to go.
I never thought I would be cheering for Diabetes and Cancer, but here I am waiting for the headline that both those diabolical wymyn are wondering why everything smells of sulphur.
I’m arguing that SCOTUS never had jurisdiction in this case.
SCOTUS is a federal institution . Only state courts were given jurisdiction in religious questions in the Constitution and as stated and argued by our founders and even early SCOTUS justices and decisions.
And yes, we need to revisit Madison vs. Marbury.
I know I can dream.
Judicial review was never granted in the Constitution or supported by our founders. SCOTUS usurped that power in Madison vs. Marbury. Judicial review is not a conservative value according to our founders.
Jefferson issued that statement in a letter to a Baptist group (after he was elected pres.) which was concerned that the fed gov would interfere in the free exercise of religion. Jefferson said he would support ‘a wall of separation between church and state’ to ensure that the fed gov would not get involved in establishing a national religion or regulation of it.
See David Barton’s excellent book, Original Intent, for a discussion and review Jefferson’s complete letter.
You think? Wait until the Moslems use it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
And they, the libs, keep using his phrase in that letter but you can’t find it in the Constitution anywhere.
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