Obama Administration Pressuring Justice Sotomayor to Allow Contraception Mandate

Sonia Sotomayor

On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an order preventing the government from enforcing the Obamacare contraceptive mandate on the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Sotomayor’s decision to delay the contraceptive portion of the law was joined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which also issued an emergency stay for Catholic-affiliated groups challenging the contraceptive provision, including the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and Catholic University.

Separately, Lawyer Noel J. Francisco had said in appeals to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan that the mandate would “expose numerous Catholic organizations to draconian fines unless they abandon their religious convictions and take actions that facilitate access to abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization for their employees and students.”

In December of 2012, I reported that the Little Sisters of the Poor saw the very real threat of having to leave their apostolate in the United States if they could not gain an exemption from the HHS mandates on contraception and abortion coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

This morning, Matt Bowman brought to light the moral dilemma facing the Little Sisters of the Poor, and the reason why they can’t simply sign the required form designating a third party administrator to do, for lack of any other way of putting it, the dirty work for them:

Obamacare says that when an entity is in a self-insured plan, like the Little Sisters are, they must file a certification form. But it’s not like other certification forms that the rule requires.  It does not merely express their religious objections. The form also, specifically and additionally, “designates” their “third party administrator” to go get the abortifacient and birth control payments.  As I explained at Mirror of Justice, in a message posted by Prof. Marc DeGirolami:

The final regulation even points out that this added language is legally operative: the designation words themselves are what cause the TPA’s obligation to go get the coverage. Without the designation telling the TPA to go get that coverage, the TPA wouldn’t have any duty to be involved. … So it’s important to observe that for self-insured religious non-profits, there’s a “certification,” but there’s also a “designation”…. The designation is, by definition, an act of contracting and arranging for the coverage.

The government even conceded, in Cardinal Wuerl’s lawsuit, that “in the self-insured case, technically, the contraceptive coverage is part of the plan.” It’s not separate.

And yet today, the Associated Press is reporting that the Justice Department is now pressuring Justice Sotomayor to dissolve her stay. They are, it appears, using the same arguments:

The Justice Department Friday called on Justice Sonia Sotomayor to dissolve her stay on the contraceptive coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The government says religious nonprofit groups can certify that they don’t want to provide contraceptive coverage. A group of Catholic nuns who run nursing homes sued, saying even signing that form violates their beliefs.

Government lawyers say the nuns’ insurance is a “church plan” that is not required to provide contraception coverage and has decided not to, so they have no legal basis to complain.

This relentless pursuit by the administration to gain acquiescence from religious institutions which morally object to the mandate is nothing short of religious persecution. It would be remarkable that the most progressive administration in US history is also the most intolerant, if history didn’t show us where the progressive path leads those nations that choose to follow it.


Categories:Health Care Religious Liberty

  • Antonio A. Badilla

    I want the administration to pressure her, because that pressure might backfire big time. She is a Supreme Court Justice, She can tell the administration to go fly a kite, and I hope she does.

  • Mary Ellen DeBord

    Thank you Justice Sotomayor. Now take pity on those of us who share the same beliefs, but who are not members of religious organizations other than being members of the Catholic Church. We too need to ask you not to forget those of us who do not want to participate in taking lambs to slaughter when we pay our taxes. It’s like our government funding terrorists who are killing Christians. The government takes our tax dollars and uses them to kill the innocent ones directly and indirectly. I weep.

  • Liz Burns

    Madam Justice Sotomayor, thank you for the common sense rulings you made regarding the ACA. This administration might try to make things difficult for you but you are more than correct in your decisions. God bless you and thank you again.

  • Patricia BFlynn


  • Mary’s daughter

    Justice Sotomayor,

    You are right to stand up for the God given and constitutional rights of people to not be forced to go against their deepest held moral convictions. ~~ Please pray to the Holy Spirit for His guidance, wisdom and strength to do the right thing!!!

  • Tracy

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor, please stand your ground against the diabolical treasonous acts being perpetrated by the current administration against the American people who must not be denied their Constitutional rights!

    • Charlie

      Do I have a right to withhold my taxes to pay for wars I object to?

      • Jim

        Charlie, do I get to withhold my taxes that go to Planned Parenthood each year to conduct abortions? You are not a tax exempt non-profit religious institution. Apples and oranges. War is not a commodity readily available at your local drug store that you are being forced to pay for against your conscience or pay outrageous fines. No comparison.

      • Kevin

        Charlie – one of the stated purposes of the U.S. government from the beginning was to raise a military to protect the nation. It was not, however, to force health care provisions on the public. You can protest wars and decide not to fight in them. The government does not want to give religious groups the same option.



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