The saga of the Little Sisters of the Poor will continue in the Federal Circuit, following a Monday morning ruling by the Supreme Court which sends them back to the lower courts for judgement.
“In light of the positions asserted by the parties in their supplemental briefs, the Court vacates the judgments below and remands to the respective United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fifth, Tenth, and D. C. Circuits,” reads the Per Curiam opinion. “Given the gravity of the dispute and the substantial clarification and refinement in the positions of the parties, the parties on remand should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans ‘receive full and equal health coverage, including contraceptive coverage.’
“We anticipate that the Courts of Appeals will allow the parties sufficient time to resolve any outstanding issues between them.”
The ruling comes weeks after the court issued the unusual order that the parties in question file subsequent briefs to determine whether or not there could be any arrangement in which the Obamacare contraception mandate would not violate the religious liberty of the faith-based nonprofits involved in the case, who argued that a supposed “opt out” clause in the rule was nothing of the sort.
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