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SCOTUS takes ACA ‘contraception mandate’ cases

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear two cases that could determine whether companies that provide health insurance to employees can be required under the new health care law to provide coverage for birth control.

Justices conferenced over several related cases and granted a writ of certiorari in Kathleen Sebelius, et al. v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., et al., 13-354, and in Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, 13-356. The cases will be heard in the spring.

Federal Circuit courts have split on the question of whether the mandate violates the religious liberties of company owners whose faith proscribes birth control.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals added to the division nationwide recently, when it ruled in favor of an Indiana company, Grote Industries of Madison, whose Roman Catholic owners objected to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employer-sponsored health insurance plans cover birth control.

Indiana University law professors said in a statement the cases will have far-reaching implications beyond the health care law commonly referred to as Obamacare.

“Nearly three dozen lawsuits have been filed by various businesses whose owners challenge the contraception mandate on religious grounds,” said Daniel Conkle, a law professor at the IU Maurer School of Law. “These cases raise fundamental questions about the scope of religious liberty, including the right of religious objectors to special legal accommodation, even in the commercial sphere.”

“There’s a dramatic split among the U.S. circuit courts regarding the contraceptive coverage provisions, represented by these two cases,” said IU Maurer School of Law professor Dawn Johnsen. “The Supreme Court has to resolve this split. I would expect that the court will be closely divided, and it’s very difficult to predict precisely how the justices will rule.”

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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