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Justice Department asks Supreme Court not to extend injunction against Obama Mandate

by | Jan 3, 2014

 

By Dave Andrusko

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a last-minute temporary injunction against enforcement of a component of ObamaCare that forces employers, including religious groups, to provide health coverage for drugs and procedures to which they have moral or religious objections, she gave the Obama administration until 10:00 this morning to respond.

Not surprisingly the Obama Justice Department easily beat the deadline and even less surprisingly insisted that the injunction should not be extended.

The stay, handed down New Year’s Eve, prevents Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, a Colorado-based order of nuns, from facing fines until the legal issues surrounding the lawsuit are resolved. Sotomayor’s order also applies to other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups that use the same health plan, the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust.

“We hope and pray that we will receive a favorable outcome in order to continue to serve the elderly of all faiths with the same community support and religious freedom that we have always appreciated, “ the Little Sisters said in a statement.

“The administration and supporters of the law contend that the mandate is both constitutional and needed for women’s health,” according to Ben Goad of The Hill newspaper. They say “changes made to the original language shift the responsibility of providing the coverage from the faith-based institutions to their insurance companies or a third-party administrator.”

In a statement issued this morning, Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and Lead Counsel for the Little Sisters, responded that the government is demanding that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip or pay of millions in fines. “The Sisters believe that doing that violates their faith, and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds from the elderly poor they serve to the IRS,” Rienzi said.

“The government now asks the Supreme Court to believe that the very thing it is forcing the nuns to do–signing the permission slip–is a meaningless act,” Rienzi continued. “But why on earth would the government be fighting the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court if it did not think its own form had any effect? The government’s brief offers no explanation for its surprising insistence on making the Little Sisters sign a form the government now says is meaningless.”

He added, “And now the government is asking the Supreme Court to look the other way while it coerces the Little Sisters.”

There is no deadline for what happens next now that both parties have made their case. Sotomayor herself—or all nine justices, if she chooses to refer it to the whole court– will decide whether the injunction should be extended while the case continues in lower courts.

The same day Sotomayor issued her temporary injunction, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an emergency stay for the Catholic-affiliated groups challenging the provision.

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Categories: ObamaCare