Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump Justice Department Wants Further Extension In Remanded Contraceptive Mandate Cases

Last May the U.S. Supreme Court remanded to the Third, Fifth, Tenth, and D. C. Circuits a group of cases brought by religious non-profit institutions challenging the contraceptive mandate coverage accommodation worked out by the Obama administration.  The Supreme Court, apparently split evenly on the case, urged the parties to work out a compromise. (See prior posting.)  In a letter (full text) sent to the Catholic Leadership Conference by the Trump Campaign last October, Trump said that, if elected: "I will make absolutely certain religious orders like The Little Sisters of Poor are not bullied by the federal government because of their religious beliefs." However on Monday in a Status Report (full text) filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department asked for the cases to be held in abeyance for another 60 days, arguing:
the new Administration has been in place for only a few months. The regulations at issue here are jointly administered by three Departments—the Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury—and are the subject of numerous other lawsuits being handled by the Department of Justice. The nominee to be Secretary of Labor has not yet been confirmed, and numerous subcabinet positions at the Departments have not yet been filled. The issues presented by the Supreme Court’s remand order are complex; for example, the original accommodation took more than a year to develop with input from interested parties.
NBC News reports on developments.