Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Supreme Court justice stays enforcement of HHS mandate

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a temporary stay of enforcement of the HHS mandate, granting a request with Catholic plaintiffs. 

Taking action just before the HHS mandate was due to take effect on January 1, Justice Sotomayor gave the Obama administration a deadline of January 2 for showing why the provision of the new health-care law, requiring coverage for contraception, should apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor in a Colorado case. 

The stay is temporary, and applies only to the Colorado plaintiffs. 

But the ruling from a Supreme Court justice represents another court victory for Catholic groups challenging the mandate. 

In a related development, however, the University of Notre Dame announced that it would comply with the mandate, pending a final resolution of the school’s own lawsuit. 

The university said that employees would receive coverage for contraceptives, but that coverage “may be terminated once the university's lawsuit on religious liberty grounds against the HHS mandate has worked its way through the courts." 

 Notre Dame’s decision to comply with the law could also be a harbinger of how Catholic institutions might react if they are unsuccessful in court challenges. 

With dozens of legal challenges still pending, and lower courts mixed in their rulings, a final judgment on the HHS mandate will almost certainly come from the US Supreme Court.

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