Supreme Court’s odd reluctance to actually stand up for religious freedom

Supreme Court’s odd reluctance to truly stand up for religious freedom

Wednesday’s headline information from the Supreme Court was less than it appeared, because the justices under no circumstances should really have experienced to rule on the stage they resolved on — and they dodged the central problem for at least the next time.

The court docket simply just dominated, 7-2, that the Trump administration could add a broad spiritual-flexibility exemption to the Obama administration’s purchase that employer well being strategies have to include “free” contraceptives. That’s a no-brainer: A single president gets to make distinct selections from a different.

To be very clear, the Trump get was in no way an hard work to rewrite the ObamaCare law — which is absolutely silent on the query. The “contraceptive mandate” was the operate of then-Overall health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as she selected how to implement that law.

The true concern right here is irrespective of whether employers who are morally opposed to contraception have to pay back for it in any case, as Sebelius supposed. The Minimal Sisters of the Lousy, a Catholic nursing buy, has been combating for years to be exempt from the mandate — citing the Very first Amendment and the Religious Liberty Restoration Act, which ensures protections for sincerely held spiritual beliefs.

But the courtroom (repeating a dodge it took in a 2016 scenario) declined to rule on that simple issue, which means that New Jersey and other states will proceed litigating versus the Minor Sisters.

This is notably strange, considering that the exact same 7 justices on the exact same working day broke distinct new floor when it comes to religious protections: They held that Catholic educational institutions and equivalent companies just can’t be sued for work discrimination as very long as the (ex-)employee’s duties provided any religious role, such as teachers’ duties for students’ ethical basis. Even fits for age or racial discrimination are out — the “ministerial exception” is that broad.

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Next to that, siding evidently with the Little Sisters’ legal rights of conscience should really be easy.

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