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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Sonia Sotomayor Rules in Favor of Catholic Nuns on Obamacare, Abortion

Posted by on Jan. 4, 2014 at 6:36 AM
  • 56 Replies


Justice Sonia Sotomayor has offered pro-lifers a glimmer of hope as the Obama administration urges the Supreme Court not to exempt Roman Catholic nuns from the Obamacare mandate to provide birth-control and abortion-related coverage.

The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Catholic charity of nuns based in Denver, Colorado, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Little Sisters sued over Kathleen Sebelius’s HHS Mandate, which requires employers to provide birth control, sterilization, and abortion-related drugs and services to their employees.

Becket filed suit in September 2013, requesting that the nuns be exempted from including in their healthcare package features that the Catholic Church regards as sinful and immoral. When the federal trial court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied that preliminary injunction, Becket applied to Justice Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over the Tenth Circuit.

On Dec. 31, 2013, Justice Sotomayor granted an emergency injunction. Appointed by President Obama in 2009, she ordered Obama’s Department of Justice to file any response opposing the injunction by Jan. 3, 2014. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli filed that opposition Friday morning, asking the Supreme Court to put the nuns back under the legal requirement to provide contraception, or, if the Court is unwilling to do so immediately, to take the extremely rare step of taking the case away from the lower court at this early stage and place it on the Supreme Court’s docket for briefing and oral argument.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” Prof. Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, said in reaction to the temporary injunction. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people – it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

The emergency injunction will stay in place until Justice Sotomayor issues another ruling on whether to keep the current relief in place while the case is ongoing in the lower court or refers this application to the full Court so that all nine justices can vote on it. Now that Obama’s DOJ has weighed in, a second ruling could occur at any time.

Justice Sotomayor is a liberal jurist and considered a strong supporter of abortion. However, she is also a Puerto Rican Catholic and may have personal sympathies for Catholic nuns operating such a commendable charity. Asking her for emergency relief is regarded by many as a brilliant move on the part of the Becket Fund, and her resolution of this issue may have implications for abortion-related litigation for years to come.

There are currently 91 lawsuits against the HHS Mandate. This Obamacare requirement will also be before the Supreme Court later this year for Hobby Lobby and another Christian-owned business. Arguments in those cases are expected in March or April, with a decision by July.

source

by on Jan. 4, 2014 at 6:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
romalove
by Roma on Jan. 4, 2014 at 6:39 AM
9 moms liked this

I would hope that a Catholic charity would be treated differently than a for-profit business that happens to have a Catholic owner.

There is a difference.

candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 4, 2014 at 6:49 AM
2 moms liked this

I must admit Sotomayor surprised me on this one.

Quoting romalove:

I would hope that a Catholic charity would be treated differently than a for-profit business that happens to have a Catholic owner.

There is a difference.


candlegal
by Judy on Jan. 4, 2014 at 7:07 AM


Administration to high court: Don't exempt Catholic groups from contraception mandate

The Obama administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court not to exempt Catholic groups from an ObamaCare requirement to offer contraceptive coverage, after the high court gave them a temporary reprieve earlier this week. 

The court filing comes in response to a surprise order -- issued shortly before coverage under the law went into effect -- by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The justice issued a stay late Tuesday preventing the government from enforcing the so-called contraceptive mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. 

The group of Catholic nuns argues that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates their religious beliefs. To get around the mandate, they claim they'd have to sign a "permission slip" authorizing others to provide contraceptives and "abortion drugs" -- or pay a fine. 

Lawyers for the group made one more plea for emergency relief late Friday, filing a 17-page brief with the court saying the reprieve spared the nuns from having to choose between violating their faith and facing IRS penalties. The brief claimed the government is "simply blind to the religious exercise at issue: the Little Sisters and other Applicants cannot execute the form because they cannot deputize a third party to sin on their behalf." 

But the Justice Department, responding just before the Friday morning deadline, reiterated its argument that the group has no foundation for its case. The administration says religious nonprofit groups such of this one can certify that they don't want to provide contraceptive coverage. In that case, it would be up to a third-party administrator to decide whether to provide it. 

The DOJ filing noted that the administrator in this case "says it will not provide contraceptive coverage." 

"Applicants have no legal basis to challenge the self certification requirement or to complain that it involves them in the process of providing contraceptive coverage," the administration claimed. 

The Catholic group, though, has argued that even signing the certification form would violate the nuns' beliefs. 

A lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the group, blasted the administration over the filing. 

"The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives, or pay of millions in fines. The Sisters believe that doing that violates their faith, and that they shouldn't be forced to divert funds from the poor elderly and dying people they've devoted their lives to serve," senior counsel Mark Rienzi said in a statement. 

Government lawyers say the nuns' insurance is a "church plan" that is not required to provide contraception coverage and has decided not to, so they have no legal basis to complain. 

It is not known when Sotomayor will make a decision.

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LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:26 AM
"Pay millions in fines" - is their lawyer grossly exaggerating or does the organization have that many employees?

Quoting candlegal:


Administration to high court: Don't exempt Catholic groups from contraception mandate

The Obama administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court not to
exempt Catholic groups from an ObamaCare requirement to offer
contraceptive coverage, after the high court gave them a temporary
reprieve earlier this week. 



The court filing comes in response to a surprise order -- issued
shortly before coverage under the law went into effect -- by Supreme
Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The justice issued a stay late Tuesday
preventing the government from enforcing the so-called contraceptive
mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. 



The group of Catholic nuns argues that the contraceptive coverage
requirement violates their religious beliefs. To get around the mandate,
they claim they'd have to sign a "permission slip" authorizing others
to provide contraceptives and "abortion drugs" -- or pay a fine. 



Lawyers for the group made one more plea for emergency relief late
Friday, filing a 17-page brief with the court saying the reprieve spared
the nuns from having to choose between violating their faith and facing
IRS penalties. The brief claimed the government is "simply blind to the
religious exercise at issue: the Little Sisters and other Applicants
cannot execute the form because they cannot deputize a third party to
sin on their behalf." 



But the Justice Department, responding just before the Friday morning
deadline, reiterated its argument that the group has no foundation for
its case. The administration says religious nonprofit groups such of
this one can certify that they don't want to provide contraceptive
coverage. In that case, it would be up to a third-party administrator to
decide whether to provide it. 



The DOJ filing noted that the administrator in this case "says it will not provide contraceptive coverage." 



"Applicants have no legal basis to challenge the self certification
requirement or to complain that it involves them in the process of
providing contraceptive coverage," the administration claimed. 



The Catholic group, though, has argued that even signing the certification form would violate the nuns' beliefs. 



A lawyer with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is
representing the group, blasted the administration over the filing. 



"The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a
permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives, or pay of
millions in fines. The Sisters believe that doing that violates their
faith, and that they shouldn't be forced to divert funds from the poor
elderly and dying people they've devoted their lives to serve," senior
counsel Mark Rienzi said in a statement. 



Government lawyers say the nuns' insurance is a "church plan" that is
not required to provide contraception coverage and has decided not to,
so they have no legal basis to complain. 



It is not known when Sotomayor will make a decision.

JMmama
by Bronze Member on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM
2 moms liked this
I agree.

Quoting romalove:

I would hope that a Catholic charity would be treated differently than a for-profit business that happens to have a Catholic owner.

There is a difference.

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:32 AM
2 moms liked this
This.

Quoting romalove:

I would hope that a Catholic charity would be treated differently than a for-profit business that happens to have a Catholic owner.

There is a difference.

coolmommy2x
by Silver Member on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:34 AM
4 moms liked this
I may be going out on a limb here could this show that some liberals are not evil?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
AlekD
by Gold Member on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:38 AM
Soniaaaaa <3
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:39 AM
2 moms liked this
Damn, we have a chink in the armor.

Quoting coolmommy2x: I may be going out on a limb here could this show that some liberals are not evil?
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Jan. 4, 2014 at 9:40 AM
2 moms liked this

The result will be less female employees for this organization. That is the actual goal of the christian right, to control women's reproductive rights to the point where women cannot get a foot hold in the work place. Unfortunately for them we the train of women in the workforce and women controlling their own bodies has left the station. They may cause delays, but they will not stop the train.

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