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Supreme Court justice stays enforcement of HHS mandate

January 02, 2014

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a temporary stay of enforcement of the HHS mandate, granting a request with Catholic plaintiffs.

Taking action just before the HHS mandate was due to take effect on January 1, Justice Sotomayor gave the Obama administration a deadline of January 2 for showing why the provision of the new health-care law, requiring coverage for contraception, should apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor in a Colorado case. The stay is temporary, and applies only to the Colorado plaintiffs. But the ruling from a Supreme Court justice represents another court victory for Catholic groups challenging the mandate.

In a related development, however, the University of Notre Dame announced that it would comply with the mandate, pending a final resolution of the school’s own lawsuit. The university said that employees would receive coverage for contraceptives, but that coverage “may be terminated once the university's lawsuit on religious liberty grounds against the HHS mandate has worked its way through the courts." Notre Dame’s decision to comply with the law could also be a harbinger of how Catholic institutions might react if they are unsuccessful in court challenges.

With dozens of legal challenges still pending, and lower courts mixed in their rulings, a final judgment on the HHS mandate will almost certainly come from the US Supreme Court.


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  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Jan. 03, 2014 7:58 AM ET USA

    I am surprised to see Justice Sotomayor issuing this stay. It does bode well for some aspects of abortion and birth control. I do not think it will get us far in getting the government out of the health care business. It is not a place where the founders would have had the Federal government be. They saw that it would lead to the concentration of power which is the real problem here.

  • Posted by: JimK01 - Jan. 02, 2014 8:34 PM ET USA

    Catholic shopkeepers "must" sell porn, Catholic theatre owners "must" show "filth" and now our Catholic colleges "must" cooperate in birth control, sterilation and abortion! All because an outside force is "making them do it." Sounds like the oldest excuse in the world -- you know, the one used by Adam and Eve I.e. " "she made me do it" "the serpent made me do it -- and now, Norte Dame says, "Obama made me do it!" There is nothing new under the sun.

  • Posted by: FredC - Jan. 02, 2014 6:56 PM ET USA

    The courts will see Notre Dame's willingness to violate moral law as justification for calling those unwilling as extremist and not in keeping with "mainstream" Catholicism.