Washington D.C., Mar 29, 2016 / 15:42 pm
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for parties in the Little Sisters' case to submit alternative means, if possible, of ensuring contraceptive coverage while maintaining religious freedom.
"This is an excellent development. Clearly the Supreme Court understood the Sisters' concern that the government's current scheme forces them to violate their religion," Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters, stated on Tuesday.
The Court instructed both the plaintiffs in the case – the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, the group Priests for Life, and several Christian colleges – and the administration to submit supplemental briefs answering whether employees can receive contraceptive coverage while maintaining the religious freedom of the employers who object to providing such coverage. If a way exists, the brief should explain how it works.
At the heart of the case Zubik v. Burwell is the administration's mandate that employers provide cost-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and drugs that can cause abortions, and the so-called "accommodation" offered to objecting non-profit employers.