U.S. SC vacates another ruling over Obamacare’s contraception mandate

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court last week returned another federal appeals court’s decision backing the contraception requirement of President Barack Obama’s federal health care law.


It is the second time in recent months the nation’s high court has thrown out a lower courts decision on the matter.


The justices, in their one-paragraph order April 27, granted a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Catholic groups in Michigan and Tennessee in December.

The court ordered that the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit be vacated and that the case be remanded for “further consideration in light of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.”


The June 2014 Supreme Court ruling allowed closely-held, for-profit corporations to be exempt from a law its owners religiously object to if there is a less restrictive means of furthering the law’s interest.


The contraception coverage mandate, which was imposed under Obama’s health care law, requires employers to offer insurance -- including contraception coverage -- or they may be fined.


Family-owned companies and religious-affiliated nonprofits argue that the mandate requires them to provide contraceptives, procedures and drugs that are contrary to their teachings.


“This is a positive step in the right direction and a welcome ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court,” the Michigan Catholic Conference, one of the petitioners in the case, said in a Twitter post last week.


The conference, based in Lansing, is the self-described “official public policy voice” of the Catholic Church in Michigan.


In March, the Supreme Court issued a nearly identical ruling in University of Notre Dame’s case against the contraception mandate.


In its March 9 order, it granted the university’s petition for a writ of certiorari that the school filed in October, denying an injunction by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.


The case also has been remanded for further consideration in light of the Hobby Lobby ruling.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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