As a general rule, one is typically on the wrong side of the issue if they are fighting against a group of nuns providing care for the elderly and poor. “One,” in this case, is unsurprisingly the Obama Administration.
The pending U.S. Supreme Court case Zubik v. Burwell involves the Catholic charity the Little Sister of the Poor and other religious organizations’ desire to not provide services in their health plans that violate their religious beliefs. Namely, this includes free access to contraceptive drugs, including some that may cause abortions.
The Obama Administration claims that they include a workaround that should satisfy objectors, but the religious groups are not buying it. New evidence makes it appear that the administration has little interest in finding a solution that satisfies the religious organizations.
The Washington Post details some of Professor Michael McConnell’s thoughts about new developments in the case. After oral arguments, in a rare move, the Supreme Court ordered both sides to submit supplemental briefs to entertain potentially less restrictive alternatives to Obama’s current contraception mandate.
The government’s response to the court request was long-winded, unclear and unhelpful. In sharp contrast, the petitioners for the religious groups said in response to whether a possible solution exists, “The answer to that question is clear and simple: Yes.”
McConnell says in his case against the government’s position: “I continue to think that the best accommodation is to allow petitioners’ employees to do what the millions of other Americans without access to employer plans covering contraceptive do: buy a plan from an Obamacare exchange, with the same subsidies everyone else gets. The government has never explained why this is not a sensible solution to this problem.”
The government exempted a number of big companies from the mandate, but it refuses to provide exemptions or special accommodations for these religious groups.
Yuval Levin writes in National Review, “It’s important to see that the Obama Administration picked this fight.” He argues that Obama deliberately did this to stir up a cultural fight over a problem that is not an actual problem.
It says something unfortunate that the administration chose to pursue a case so weak, all in the effort to prevent religious organizations from helping the vulnerable.