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
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
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.