Supreme Court Keeps Slapping Down Obama Administration on Contraception Mandate

The Supreme Court on Monday dealt another blow to the Obamacare contraception mandate in what religious freedom advocates consider the latest in a string of victories.

The high court told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to reconsider its earlier decision siding with the government against the Michigan Catholic Conference, forcing the group to comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to pay for contraception even if it violates the organization’s religious beliefs.

While not an outright ruling, the high court’s order to revisit a matter is typically a warning to lower courts of how the court would rule.

Activists opposed the Affordable Care Act's employer contraceptive mandate celebrate outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's health-care law, ruling that closely held companies can claim a religious exemption from the requirement that they offer birth-control coverage in their worker health plans. (Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Activists opposed the Affordable Care Act’s employer contraceptive mandate celebrate outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2014. (Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This marks the fifth decision in favor of religious freedom advocates since December 2013, when some form of relief was given to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Colorado; Wheaton College in Illinois; Notre Dame University in Indiana; and Archbishop David A. Zubik and the Diocese of Pittsburgh, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The biggest case was of course the Hobby Lobby ruling last June, which the Supreme Court cited in the Michigan case.

“The government keeps making the same bad arguments and the Supreme Court keeps rejecting them – every single time. This is because the government can obviously come up with ways to distribute contraceptives without the forced involvement of Catholic ministries,” Becket Fund senior counsel Mark Rienzi said in a statement.

“As with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby, this is a strong signal that the Supreme Court will ultimately reject the government’s narrow view of religious liberty,” Rienzi added. “And it makes it less likely that lower courts will accept arguments the Supreme Court has rejected over and over and over again.”

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