Federal court delivers another blow to religious freedom

A federal court has ruled that the administration's accommodation to excuse religious non-profits from complying with the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare does not interfere with their religious convictions.

Last year, the Supreme Court granted an injunction to the Little Sisters of the Poor that allowed them to refuse giving contraceptive coverage under Obamacare. The decision sent the suit back to federal court for a final determination. Yesterday, the court refused to recognize that making someone else pay for the contraception coverage violated the nun's First Amendment rights of freedom of religion.

Washington Examiner:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled Tuesday that two nonprofits — the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor and Reaching Souls International — must comply with the accommodation provided to religious charities, hospitals and schools.

While businesses must cover all types of birth control in their employee health plans under the Affordable Care Act, some employers with religious objections can get around the requirement by delegating that responsibility to a third party. But many groups, including Little Sisters and Reaching Souls, say they're still complicit in providing birth control coverage even with the accommodation.

But the Denver-based 10th Circuit disagreed, ruling that the Obama administration has sufficiently accommodated such groups' religious beliefs.

"Although we recognize and respect the sincerity of plaintiffs' beliefs and arguments, we conclude the accommodation scheme relieves plaintiffs of their obligations under the mandate and does not substantially burden their religious exercise under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or infringe upon their First Amendment rights," wrote Judge Scott Matheson, an Obama appointee.

Two other justices, one a Reagan appointee and the other a Carter appointee, agreed with the decision.

Little Sisters of the Poor Director Loraine Marie Maguire said the birth control requirement constitutes "government intrusion"

"As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith," she said. "And we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation's commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God's calling in their lives."

Elizabeth Price Foley explains how the court reached its decision:

The Tenth Circuit’s contortions to reach this result are remarkable. The court seems to have no recognition of the fact that the Obama Administration’s regulatory “accommodation” is a sleight of hand, allowing the insurer/third party administrator to move the contraceptive coverage “off the books” and “pay” for it themselves. But of course burdening the insurer/administrator in this fashion is merely a shell game, and the cost of contraceptive coverage is ultimately borne by the employer and individual beneficiaries. The coverage is not magically free, no matter how hard the Obama Administration tries to make it “look” free via regulation.

So now we have Catholic nuns who religiously object to paying for certain types of contraception being forced to do so anyway (despite the smoke and mirrors), in contradiction to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The founders would be rolling over in their graves. But hey, what a bunch of dead, old white guys who wrote and ratified the Constitution thought or wanted isn’t relevant anymore anyway, right? We shall see. The Supreme Court may grant review to hear the Little Sisters case again.

The decision is typical liberal obfuscation of the Constitution. They believe everyone should accept this "work around" of the contraceptive mandate by pretending that just because someone else is paying for it, it doesn't mean the nuns are participating in what to them, is a "scheme" (as the decision calls it) to violate their First Amendment religious protections.

The judges just don't get it. And given recent Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare, the justices probably won't get it either.

  

A federal court has ruled that the administration's accommodation to excuse religious non-profits from complying with the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare does not interfere with their religious convictions.

Last year, the Supreme Court granted an injunction to the Little Sisters of the Poor that allowed them to refuse giving contraceptive coverage under Obamacare. The decision sent the suit back to federal court for a final determination. Yesterday, the court refused to recognize that making someone else pay for the contraception coverage violated the nun's First Amendment rights of freedom of religion.

Washington Examiner:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled Tuesday that two nonprofits — the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor and Reaching Souls International — must comply with the accommodation provided to religious charities, hospitals and schools.

While businesses must cover all types of birth control in their employee health plans under the Affordable Care Act, some employers with religious objections can get around the requirement by delegating that responsibility to a third party. But many groups, including Little Sisters and Reaching Souls, say they're still complicit in providing birth control coverage even with the accommodation.

But the Denver-based 10th Circuit disagreed, ruling that the Obama administration has sufficiently accommodated such groups' religious beliefs.

"Although we recognize and respect the sincerity of plaintiffs' beliefs and arguments, we conclude the accommodation scheme relieves plaintiffs of their obligations under the mandate and does not substantially burden their religious exercise under [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] or infringe upon their First Amendment rights," wrote Judge Scott Matheson, an Obama appointee.

Two other justices, one a Reagan appointee and the other a Carter appointee, agreed with the decision.

Little Sisters of the Poor Director Loraine Marie Maguire said the birth control requirement constitutes "government intrusion"

"As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith," she said. "And we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation's commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God's calling in their lives."

Elizabeth Price Foley explains how the court reached its decision:

The Tenth Circuit’s contortions to reach this result are remarkable. The court seems to have no recognition of the fact that the Obama Administration’s regulatory “accommodation” is a sleight of hand, allowing the insurer/third party administrator to move the contraceptive coverage “off the books” and “pay” for it themselves. But of course burdening the insurer/administrator in this fashion is merely a shell game, and the cost of contraceptive coverage is ultimately borne by the employer and individual beneficiaries. The coverage is not magically free, no matter how hard the Obama Administration tries to make it “look” free via regulation.

So now we have Catholic nuns who religiously object to paying for certain types of contraception being forced to do so anyway (despite the smoke and mirrors), in contradiction to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The founders would be rolling over in their graves. But hey, what a bunch of dead, old white guys who wrote and ratified the Constitution thought or wanted isn’t relevant anymore anyway, right? We shall see. The Supreme Court may grant review to hear the Little Sisters case again.

The decision is typical liberal obfuscation of the Constitution. They believe everyone should accept this "work around" of the contraceptive mandate by pretending that just because someone else is paying for it, it doesn't mean the nuns are participating in what to them, is a "scheme" (as the decision calls it) to violate their First Amendment religious protections.

The judges just don't get it. And given recent Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare, the justices probably won't get it either.