BREAKING: Justice Sotomayor Blocks Enforcement Of The HHS Mandate UPDATED

BREAKING: Justice Sotomayor Blocks Enforcement Of The HHS Mandate UPDATED December 31, 2013
Bringing in the New Year, and not just at Times Square.

This just in from the Associated Press,

WASHINGTON (AP) — Only hours before the law was to take effect, a Supreme Court justice on Tuesday blocked implementation of part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes birth control.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s decision came after a different effort by Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation. Those groups had rushed to the federal courts to stop Wednesday’s start of portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Sotomayor acted on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. Its request for an emergency stay had been denied earlier in the day by a federal appeals court.

The government is “temporarily enjoined from enforcing against applicants the contraceptive coverage requirements imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” Sotomayor said in the order. She gave government officials until 10 a.m. EST Friday to respond to her order.


Sotomayor’s decision to delay the contraceptive portion of the law was joined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which also issued an emergency stay for Catholic-affiliated groups challenging the contraceptive provision.

Read more.

The fight isn’t over, but this news is a great way to ring in the New Year, eh? How about some fireworks?!


From USA Today,

The White House did not comment on the order Tuesday night. Sotomayor issued the order a few hours before leading the final 60-second countdown and pushing the ceremonial button to drop the New Year’s Eve ball in New York’s Times Square.

A spokeswoman for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the lead counsel for the Little Sisters of the Poor, said the group was delighted by Sotomayor’s order. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people,” Emily Hardman said in a statement. “It doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”



The Little Sisters of the Poor: Supreme Court issues favorable decision on HHS Mandate.

Ed Morrissey with some analysis from New Years morning.

LA TIMES: The Catholic nuns would have faced ‘draconian fines’ if they failed to provide contraceptive coverage…


National Review: Preliminary Win in D.C.for Religious Freedom.

Earlier today, Archbishop Kurtz asked for exemption from HHS Mandate fines. See more at the USSCB.

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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  • Mlbc2930

    Answered prayers!

  • Stefanie


  • gingerb4

    It’s not over until the law is squelched. This is a positive step in the right direction though. We should NOT relent.

    • jovan66102

      Amen! I’m afraid this fight will never end! We can’t afford to stop fighting!

  • HenryBowers

    What troubles me is that this is a victory in the wrong category. Contraception isn’t wrong because of divine revelation; it’s against reason itself, just like sodomy and murder. Therefore, if we deny the government permission to coerce us only because such infringes on our religiosity, we leave unchecked the notion that contraception is ‘health care’ for everyone else. We are perhaps too far gone, at present, to craft legislation that recognizes the abhorrent evil of all contraception, but judicial negotiations with Despotic Nominalism, in the name of a religion that respects the conjugal good only incidentally and not as a religious tenet per se, is both disingenuous and doomed. We cannot trust the Despotic Nominalist to respect religion or the check of the judiciary, since it has no more reason to respect those realities than it had to respect the non-transferable, man-woman good of marriage. It will redefine terms when it needs to; and the law is the place to define terms.

    • Blobee

      You make an excellent point.

  • Di Kelley

    Eh, you people trying to squealch the law entirely sorta piss me off. We are the *last country* in the world without socialized medicine, and we are also the most unhealthy. That says something to me. You know, that maybe the countries that have it are doing something right? Also, I think it’s bullshit they blocked this. Would doctors have had to provide it? Sure, but that doesn’t mean they are forcing it down the patients’ throats. I’m sorry, patients>doctors in cases of this sort. It’s better they provide the service, those who don’t want it can just not take it. Problem solved.

    • Alena

      Di, these nuns should NOT have to provide a service that violates their religious beliefs. It’s not just offensive, it’s a total violation of their freedom of conscience.
      Ordering doctors to provide contraception when they cannot conscientiously do so because of their faith is also absolutely opposed to freedom of conscience. There are plenty of ways for people to obtain cheap contraception already; there is NO reason to make Christians and Catholics get involved against their will.

    • Amanda O’Malley

      Don’t you know how hard it can be to get medical care in the countries with socialized medical care. Besides this is not blocking doctors from providing the service. It is keeping churches that don’t believe in contraception from having to pay for it.

    • Elizabeth

      You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. Have you even bothered to research how socialized medicine works before you spout out this ignorance? Do you know anything about the waiting lists for people to see doctors? Do you know about medical procedures being withheld because of costs? Perfect example: I have friends in Canada with a son that has a debilitating spinal disease. The had to wait SIX MONTHS to see a specialist. Then ANOTHER SIX MONTHS to actually get treatment approved. Is that really what you want for you children, parents, family? Not to mention the enormous cost involved as people are already seeing. Are you aware that we in America pay four times what other countries pay in medical taxes already WITHOUT the implementation of Obamacare and yet receive NOTHING for it. Wake up! Do some research before you blindly support something you obviously have no knowledge of.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        Elizabeth, I am a doctor and have worked in countries that have socialized medicine and I am impressed by how they focus on the needs of the patient. Having worked many years in the U.S., I am saddened to see that patients’ needs are replaced by the greed to make profits, since medical care has become for-profit. Obamacare is a wise way to get back to focusing care towards the needs of the patient. When I refer patients to specialists here in the U.S., it can take many months to see certain specialists here as well as in some places in Canada. Many that I know in Canada and in England are very grateful for having socialized medicine where there is no fear of going bankrupt because of medical bills that have been denied payment by ruthless health insurance companies. Please wake up, there is no sound reason for the church to deny women the right to full medical and reproductive care, except to continue to suppress women and control our lives.

    • Dee

      Why do people flock to this country for healthcare?? Wake up!! I love how liberals are always armed with mis-information lol. You want socialized medicine where the government TELLS you what tests you can get and you wait for care regardless of how dire your situation may be. You liberals really need to just go move to one of these countries you so look up to, wonder how long you would last. This healthcare law needs to be repealed period!

    • Paul

      We are the wealthiest and healthiest nation in the world. You’re information is flawed and the law is immoral and needs to be totally done away with.
      Americans today more than ever have a sense of entitlement to comfort, above and beyond the basic necessities of life, and their demand for it without working towards it (for those who can), is unjust and immoral.

    • AnneG

      Di, we are not the last country in the world without socialized medicine. By a long shot. Some of those who have it are dismantling it because of inherent problems. Government planning only works well in blowing things up. We are not the most unhealthy. We do have health problems, many self-inflicted from lack of exercise and excess calories, the effect of excessive prosperity. One of the unhealthiest “groups” in the US has taxpayer provided health care in Medicaid and they are unhealthy because lack of compliance and the rotten system that is just like ACA. This discussion is about forcing employers to provide insurance for immoral things that you can go pay for yourself.
      What will happen if this disaster is actually applied? Anybody who can afford it will buy private insurance for better care, just like they do in Europe. The Canadians come to the US on vacation to get some of their work done. I can go on, but never mind. From your comments, I wonder whether facts actually matter to you. Hope so.

    • Blobee

      Problem NOT solved. You don’t understand the issue. The Catholic Church’s doctrine states using birth control or having an abortion is a mortal sin. To force Catholic institutions that employ lay people to cover contraception in insurance plans is forcing the Church to participate in something that is against it’s doctrine, and not in a minor way. The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the FREE EXERCISE thereof;…” The contention is that this part of the law prohibits the free exercise of Catholic religious beliefs. You can say it is b.s., but there are many ways to provide for these so called “services” without forcing the Church, who denounces these practices, and always has denounced these practices, from paying for them for others with insurance premiums (and thereby supplying the service.)

      I love how liberals often just don’t want to grapple with the actual issue, and often don’t want to take time to really understand what IS at issue for the other side, and so pretend it is easy to resolve by pounding a gavel,
      saying, in effect, “I have spoken.” No respect. Just no respect for others.

    • Lee Johnson

      The law is a mess. It is neither fish nor fowl. It amounts to an insurance-and-income-redistributionist scheme, with perverse incentives, and at least partially unfunded mandates. It’s a monstrosity.

      The Democrats are not bad about diagnosing problems … but then again, so are Libertarians. Coming up with solutions, the Democrats tend to do things that largely gain power for themselves.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        In truth, the Catholic hierarchy are doing things that gain power for themselves at the expense of the real needs of women and of couples, in my view as a Catholic who is a physician.

        • AnneG

          “Gain power”? You are kidding, right. You are not supporting needs of women. The government is the power-grabber here.

        • HenryBowers

          I’m baffled by this comment. The bishops have one of the hardest, most thankless jobs in the world; could you elaborate on the type of power you see them “gaining” by teaching something unpopular?

    • op3mom

      This is no different than a Jewish or Muslim who owns a restaurant being forced by the government to serve pork. Even though their patrons have a right to eat and are paying for the pork, the Jewish or Muslim owners are being forced to provide it and that is a violation of their religious beliefs. (which are protected under the Constitution). Forcing Catholic entities to provide and indirectly or directly pay for birth control is also a violation. Hopefully religious liberty will prevail come Friday.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        This is not an issue of religious liberty but an issue of over-reach by the Catholic hierarchy to continue to suppress the rights of women, in order to keep us as the second class citizens that they want us to be. This is not from Jesus but from childless, celibate men who have no clue of the needs of women and do not care about our rights. Please women, stand up for your rights for the medical and reproductive needs of women, and do not be bullied by these men.

        • AnneG

          Rosemary, nobody needs contraception. Nobody needs abortion. The government should not be able to force these on anybody. That is the issue.

        • HenryBowers

          As if, Rosemary. We all know contraception is for the MAN’s convenience to keep being a player. Contraception enslaves women to the expectations of poorly habituated males; but that’s not even why it’s intrinsically wrong. It’s wrong because we can’t form a rational preference against the coming to be of human life itself, and I don’t mean that normatively or axiologically; it’s simply impossible to establish such a preference, and therefore nobody has such a “right.”

    • Jacob Flaherty

      I’m confused by your reaction here. If the government wanted to provide something to all people for “free” (ha ha ha), why not aspirin or some sort of pain medication? Why contraception, something not everyone needs/wants or fits a particular age group. The government’s wish to force religious organizations to bow before the secular “values” of the state is a clear attempt to undermine them and remind them who the master is.

      • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

        Jacob, It is the Catholic hierarchy who want to undermine the rights of women to get the medical and reproductive care that is their legal right under the law. Do you think it right that a business or institution should be able to dictate what medical care an employee can and cannot have?

        • Elizabeth K.

          Not providing monetary coverage for something is dictating care? Okay, doc, whatever you say. It’s not like you have a vested interest in getting women to take pharmaceuticals they don’t need, or anything like that. LOL!

        • AnneG

          You can get anything you want. Just pay for it yourself.

    • Jacob Flaherty

      Also, can’t you buy condoms in many bathrooms around the country for 50 cents? Why is the government so bent on this? Ridiculous

  • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

    I was disappointed when I first read this, because I believe that the rights of a woman to get the legally approved medical care that she needs should trump the rights of a corporation, business, or institution. On reflection, it is better that the issue rest until after the next election, so that the bishops do not try to pressure Catholics again to vote Republican, since the bishops have found that the Republicans are more likely to cover-up for them in their crimes of complicity in the clergy sexual abuse scandals, in my view.
    It is unconscionable to me as a Catholic who is a physician that the childless Catholic hierarchy would interfere with a woman’s legal right to get coverage for the medical care that she believes that she needs.
    I have taught natural methods of family planning for years. Some women and couples can use the Billings Mucus Method and/or the Sympto-thermal Method well, many other women and couples cannot use those methods for various reasons and have to turn to condoms, pills, etc.
    The hierarchy are imposing their own narrow views on women which have nothing to do with what Jesus would want.

    Just as the hierarchy have ignored for many centuries, the command of Jesus to protect the innocence of children.

    • iamlucky13

      Contraception is not medical care, and what you’re interested in is not access to contraception, which is already so widespread you can get it in many public restrooms, among more understandable locations, but to get other people to pay for your contraception.

    • AnneG

      Again, women can get anything they want. They just need to pay for it. Know what happens when government controls, mandates, then subsidizes something? The price goes up, quality goes down and individual responsibility is undermined. Your focus on the Catholic hierarchy is not oriented in reality, doctor. Why are you so paranoid? Maybe you need some counseling about that.

    • Denise Huntley

      DrRosemary it seems to me that you are so angry that you cannot enter the discussion without maligning the catholic hierarchy. The innocence of children begins in the womb. Jesus was in the womb, he was an embryo at one time just like all of us. We have the legal right to abort those in the womb but our church is the loudest voice saying it is a sin to kill those in the womb. A sin.
      It seems to me that you do not respect those who view this issue differently than you. You think we are asleep. puppets of the bishops. How can one have a discussion with you when you resort to name calling rather than acknowledging the concerns of those who disagree with you?

  • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

    I am wondering if this is a site that is open to seeking the truth, or is it a site that will only allow the narrow views of the hierarchy to be accepted? Unless there are dialogue and discussion, the truth will be suppressed.

    • AnneG

      What truth? You are just haranguing the hierarchy. Most of the opposition to ACA is from the general public. Your position seems to be, “I’m from the government, trust me.” Most of us do not.