Supreme Court Backs Little Sisters Of The Poor In Obamacare Contraception Ruling
Jul 11 2020
MCCAMON: Well, they see it as a win for employers who feel, in essence, that doing what Sebelius suggests - offering this coverage to employees, letting them choose whether or not to use it - that that violates their own religious beliefs. Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey Berru ended up being a blow to employment discrimination laws in favor of First Amendment religious liberty concerns. She said the administration consulted with medical experts and found that, in many cases, a lot of health services for women, including things like screenings for domestic violence as well as contraception, were not being included in many health plans. Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion of the court.
What the Catholic school teachers did was provide students with some catechetical instruction, pray with them and take them to Mass. While one of the teachers claimed age discrimination, the other, who has since died and is now represented by her husband, alleged she was sacked after informing the school she had breast cancer.
The justices claimed the schools fell into the category of "ministerial exception", which allows religious organizations to be exempt from some discrimination suits. The decision reverses a lower court decision which blocked the regulations. In a 7-2 vote, the court ruled on Wednesday that the country's civil rights laws barring discrimination on the job do not apply to most lay teachers at religious elementary schools.
If the court as a whole wasn't prepared to go that far, where and how will it draw the line?
The Trump administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who have consistently fought the contraceptive insurance requirement, defended the proposed rule. Despite the fact that all knowledgeable people concede the reality that removing contraceptive options from woman will lead to more abortions and yet these same "winners" would have us believe that this is a truly "moral" issue. "And the plain language of the statute clearly allows the Departments to create the preventive care standards as well as the religious and moral exemptions". Under McConnell's leadership, the GOP slowed down the process of confirming Obama's nominees enough to leave vacancies throughout the federal courts, vacancies that Trump and McConnell wasted no timefilling with right-wing ideologues, some of whom didn't even have the basic professional qualifications for the job. The court's other two liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, sided with five conservative judges but did not join them in the majority opinion. "I have a lifelong record of fighting to protect religious freedom".
It is clear from the face of the statute that the contraceptive mandate is capable of violating RFRA. "I would bring the Little Sisters' legal odyssey to an end". "As James Madison wrote in 1785, 'The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate'".
So what does the future hold? Critics sued, saying the administration hadn't followed the proper procedures for writing those rules.