Today, the Supreme Court found a middle ground in the legal battle over contraception that has played out in our nation’s courts.
The compromise intends to appease concerns about religious liberty while ensuring that women receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.
This is the latest chapter in a legal saga that pitted Catholic and Evangelical groups against the Obama Administration. At a minimum, it represents a short-term victory for Christian groups that were forced to comply with the contraceptive mandate. Now, the lower courts will revisit the dispute.
Obamacare’s no-cost contraceptive coverage is a popular benefit that millions of women depend on for family planning. While contraceptives have been in use for generations, their usage goes the against the teachings of some mainstream religions — notably the Roman Catholic Church.
In the decision, the Supreme Court makes very clear that they’re not weighing on “the merits” of each side’s case. They want the parties to find an approach that accommodates each side’s concerns. In sum, concerns about religious exercise and access to contraceptives will each be weighed and form part of a mutually agreeable solution.
This decision comes amidst a divided court. Since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the balance between liberal and conservative justices has been dead even. There’s usually nine Supreme Court Justices on the nation’s high bench, but because Congress refuses to confirm any Obama Administration nominees, there are currently only eight justices. This means ties are much more likely to occur given the current makeup of Justices.
This compromise was likely crafted in order to avoid a tie. In case you were wondering, in the event of a tie, the lower court’s opinion stands and no Supreme Court precedent is made.
David is the Editor of Bold. He's especially passionate about millennial economic empowerment. A former local news reporter, David is originally from the Little Havana area in Miami, and later became a pioneer resident of the Disney-inspired town of Celebration, Florida. David holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.