Monday, March 31, 2014

SCOTUS Denies Cert. In 2 Non-Profit Contraceptive Mandate Cases Seeking Review Ahead of Circuit Court Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari (Order List) in two cases in which Catholic non-profit organizations are challenging the Affordable Care Act compromise that allows them to opt out of providing their employees contraceptive coverage only if they sign a form that results in the employees receiving coverage directly from the health insurance company or third party administrator.  The two cases in which review was denied today were both ones in which the non-profit organization took the unusual step of seeking Supreme Court review before the appeal of the district court's decision was heard and decided by the Court of Appeals. The first of today's denials was in Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sebelius, (Docket No. 13-829, cert. denied 3/31/2014) in which the D.C. federal district court upheld the challenge to the compromise as to one of the plaintiffs that offered a self-insured plan, but not for the others who offered group insurance or church plans. (See prior posting). The second denial was in Priests for Life v. Department of Health and Human Services, (Docket No. 13-891, cert. denied 3/31/2014) in which the D.C. federal district found that no substantial burden was placed on a pro-life group's free exercise by requiring it to complete the self-certification form to opt into the accommodation. (See prior posting.) Reuters reports on the denial of review.