Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Supreme Court Orders Stay of Sorts In Non-Profit Contraceptive Mandate Case

In Zubik v. Buwell, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama Administration's rules accommodating the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate to religious non-profits. (See prior posting.)  Plaintiffs sought a stay from the Supreme Court, and in April Justice Alito issued an order temporarily staying the mandate as to the Catholic Diocese of Erie and the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh along with affiliated charities and schools in the two dioceses (See prior posting.) He then referred the plaintiffs' motion to the full Court, and yesterday the Court issued the following Order :
The application for an order recalling and staying the issuance of the mandate of the Court of Appeals pending the filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari, having been submitted to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court, the application as presented is denied. The Court furthermore orders: If the applicants ensure that the Secretary of Health and Human Services is in possession of all information necessary to verify applicants’ eligibility under 26 CFR §54.9815-2713A(a) or 29 CFR §2590.715-2713A(a) or 45 CFR §147.131(b) (as applicable), the respondents are enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition of their petition for certiorari.
Nothing in this interim order affects the ability of the applicants’ or their organizations’ employees to obtain, without cost, the full range of FDA approved contraceptives. Nor does this order preclude the Government from relying on the information provided by the applicants, to the extent it considers it necessary, to facilitate the provision of full contraceptive coverage under the Act. See Wheaton College v. Burwell, 573 U. S. ___ (2014).
This order should not be construed as an expression of the Court’s views on the merits. Ibid.
Justice Sotomayor would deny the application.