On Monday, the Supreme Court sent back to the lower courts seven cases that that august body had consolidated into one big ol’ hairy birth control case. This says the court punted on the case, brought by various religious groups who fear the birth control portion of the American Care Act (Obamacare) violates their religious freedom.
You can read more here, at the SCOTUS blog.
This means a decision will come only after the 2016 Presidential elections.
Was it a punt? Or a field goal to tie the game moments before the end of regulation time?
With his star player out of the lineup, Coach Roberts realizes gambling on a long shot is more risky than sudden death. So he opts for overtime.
Now all we have to figure out is who won the coin toss?
I didn’t see it as a punt. Maybe it should be the lower courts’ ball. (See what I did there?)
I did. Smooth.
But a majority of the lower courts already ruled. SCOTUS agreed to hear the combined cases, then, agreed not to hear the combined cases on the merits addressing the core issue: whether “sign here” creates a burden so onerous upon Religious Freedom™ Inc. that potential harm to third parties, (female employees in need of access to reproductive healthcare), should be discounted…less worthy of consideration.
Roberts is playing for time. (Likely swing-vote Breyer as well.) And he’s counting on the government screwing the pooch in its ongoing desperate attempts to accommodate completely unreasonable demands from Religious Freedom™ Inc.. Because if anybody can screw up bad law even more, it’s the Obama Administration in Lame Duck Mode.
(Missed a switch again. And me with my cool new specs and all. Well hell.)
I think Roberts convinced Breyer and Kennedy that any other action, this election cycle, on such a highly politicalized issue that could uphold the lower courts’ rulings, (that favor the government’s position), would further damage the High Court’s image with Religious Freedom™ Inc.. A risk Roberts, and probably Breyer and Kennedy, are not willing to risk without the genius of Scalia at their disposal.
How to reconcile that with the demands of corporate religious practice is going to require some serious perversions of reason that only a Scalia could imagine.
Meanwhile, the status quo, women suffering a harm recognized in existing law, remains in effect. A victory for the Religious Freedom Inc. position that those women should not be given equal consideration under such law. A victory, in fact, for the injustice ObamaCare® alleges it is designed to abate. Something the (in)Justices seem willing to accept.
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