BREAKING! SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor BLOCKS Pres. Obama’s HHS Mandate

Hmmm…. Maybe I should name Justice Sonia Sotomayor Fr. Z’s Person of the Year.

From Politico:

Justice [Sotomayor] delays health law’s birth control mandate

Justice delays health law’s birth control mandate
By: Associated Press
December 31, 2013 10:34 PM EST

WASHINGTON — 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.  [“AFFORDABLE”.. right.  When was your insurance cancelled?]

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.  [Little Sisters of the Poor v. Nuns on the Bus, LCWR, CHA….the Magisterium of Nuns!]

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.

The law requires employers to provide insurance that covers a range of preventive care, free of charge, including contraception. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of contraceptives. That was not acceptable, said their lawyer, Mark L. Rienzi.

Little Sisters with Benedict XVI

“The Little Sisters are an order of Catholic nuns whose religious faith leads them to devote their lives to caring for the elderly poor. Not surprisingly, they have sincere and undisputed religious objections to complying with this Mandate,” Rienzi said.

The Obama administration crafted a compromise, or accommodation, [NO!  It WASN’T!] that attempted to create a buffer for religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and social service groups that oppose birth control. The law requires insurers or the health plan’s outside administrator to pay for birth control coverage and creates a way to reimburse them.

But for that to work, [See above!] the nuns would have to sign a form authorizing their insurance company to provide contraceptive coverage, which would still violate their beliefs, he said.

“Without an emergency injunction, Mother Provincial Loraine Marie Maguire has to decide between two courses of action: (a) sign and submit a self-certification form, thereby violating her religious beliefs; or (b) refuse to sign the form and pay ruinous fines,” he said.

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. But one judge on the three-judge panel that made the decision, Judge David S. Tatel, said he would have denied their motion. [Boo!  Appointed by Clinton, preceded by Bader-Ginsburg.]

“Because I believe that appellants are unlikely to prevail on their claim that the challenged provision imposes a ‘substantial burden’ under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, I would deny their application for an injunction pending appeal,” Tatel said. [Thus denying our 1st Amendment rights.]

Here is something interesting.  A few months ago liberal CNN ignored the story the Little Sisters of the Poor in their battle for their religious freedom against the HHS Mandate.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liberals, Magisterium of Nuns, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gail F says:

    Clarification: According to the New York Times, this applies only to the members of the class-action lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor. That’s a lot of plaintiffs but still only a small fraction. Justice Sotomayor did not issue a stay for everyone who has applied to the Supreme Court for relief.

  2. torch621 says:

    Reason #134859 why a Catholic monarchy needs to be established.

  3. torch621 says:

    For the record, I was referring to the last paragraph where the judge said he would deny the injunction.

  4. Priam1184 says:

    So this is a temporary injunction then right? Just until the case is heard by the full court? Good for the nuns for the moment but this is only a technicality and I wouldn’t put Sotomayor on the cover of any magazines until the Supreme Court renders its final verdict on this.

  5. Facta Non Verba says:

    President Obama will grant waivers and delay mandates for all kinds of groups, but the one where he refuses to budge is this HHS mandate. It does make one wonder about the man we have in the White House.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    And there are still Catholics who support this president and this health care act. I am surrounded by them here in Iowa.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    @Facta Non Verba You’re just now starting to wonder…

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    torch621 —

    Then I guess King Philip Augustus, King Henry VIII, and King Saul were all good ideas.

    Look, I got nothing against a Catholic monarchy, per se; but the Lord Himself said that Israel was better off in the days when the Lord was their only king, and He arranged all of history (including salvation history) to make that true again. The US was founded so that the same thing would be true here. King Obama is bad enough. Imagine how much worse he’d be if he were pretending to be Catholic, too.

  9. jhayes says:

    As Gail and Priam1184 have pointed out, Justice Sotomayor did not decide the merits of the case. She just put everything on hold until the government submits a response on Friday and she (or, more likely, the whole Court) decides after that whether to extend the injunction.

    Her order said:

    IT IS ORDERED that respondents are temporarily enjoined from enforcing against applicants the contraceptive coverage requirements imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 42 U. S. C. § 300gg-13(a)(4), and related regulations pending the receipt of a response and further order of the undersigned or of the Court. The response to the application is due Friday, January 3, 2014, by 10 a.m.

    See original order

  10. Geoffrey says:

    Reason #134859 why a Catholic monarchy needs to be established.


    “If therefore, kingship, which is the best form of government, seems to be worthy of avoidance mainly because of the danger of tyranny, and if tyranny tends to arise not less but more often under the government of several, the straightforward conclusion remains that it is more advantageous to live under one king than under the rule of several persons” (St Thomas Aquinas, De Regimine Principum, chapter VI).

  11. jhayes says:

    These are the people who can take advantage of the injunction:


    See source

  12. mamajen says:

    Maybe only a small victory, but she didn’t have to do it. So, good.

  13. BigCath22 says:

    A lawyer said of the ruling: “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people. It doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

    My question: Why does the government need to be in the business of delivering contraceptives at all?

  14. SKAY says:

    A Catholic monarchy? The media keeps telling us our “royal family” is the pro abortion, pro ssm “catholic” family–the Kennedy’s. They also are pro women priests. That comes under the saying–be careful what you wish for.
    Pelosi and Biden would be in there somewhere.
    It would have to be a completely different country.
    If the whole court takes it up–how will the Catholics on the Court vote?

  15. Supertradmum says:

    Queen Elizabeth II broke her coronation oath in signing the British same sex marriage bill into an act.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury said to her in 1953: “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?”
    The Queen: “All this I promise to do. The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.”

    Her own children are not exactly followers of the Gospel and Prince Charles wants to change the title when he becomes king to “Defender of the Faiths” plural, to reflect the pluralism of religions in Great Britain. Monarchy? Only saints make good monarchs, and even some of those saints only became saints by not being one’s usual monarch.

  16. Unwilling says:

    SKAY (although I guess your qu was rhetorical) the secular power needs to destroy the cohesion of (divide and conquer) the family; each person must be a political atom, so as to prevent even the inception of any joint action contrary to the government. Promotion of contraception has the purpose of separating family (procreation) from what may be the strongest passion (sex). Contraception is a way to focus the understanding of human sexual desire on the sex act and away from its more important finality, creation of family.

    My first instinct, less charitable than Fr Z, would not be to trust Sotomayor to be doing good or following reason. Rather I see this SCOTUS-level action as an attempt to set the ring in the bathtub at an extreme level. “OF COURSE, an order of nuns, whose whole existence is defined by their religion, should be exempt; but not a hospital or a university or even a diocese.”

  17. Imrahil says:

    Only saints make good monarchs.

    There are many good monarchs who were not (in the usual sense of the word; they may well be in Heaven by now) saints. Louis I of Bavaria or Henry IV of France come to mind.

    Even in the occasion you related, we have a monarch who failed to fulfil his job, in the words of Emperor Francis Joseph, to “prevent his people from the mistakes of their elected politicians”, but still it was their mistake in the first place.

  18. torch621 says:


    Does this mean you prefer a secular republic over a state that submits to Christ the King? We are not a Christian nation and we never were. Let’s not forget that some of our “founding fathers” supported the French Revolution, and we all know what happened with that.

  19. Sword40 says:

    Its time for open defiance to the dictator. I would never have guessed that Sotomayor would be the one to step in. Where is Roberts?

  20. Supertradmum says:

    torch621, the same secular and decadent societies which are producing democracies would today produce horrible kings. And, to think we are going to see a country dedicated to God with a ruler honoring Christ the King is sheer fantasy. I am not into fantasies unless I am writing fairy tales.

    As to our own history, of course, one can take either side on the debate as to whether the democratic experiment was worthy. I have taught de Tocqueville many times.

    I do not romanticize about governance.

  21. torch621 says:

    Supertradmum, so the Popes were teaching fantasy when they taught that states as well as individuals must submit to Christ the King? I don’t see how any state can do that outside of making Catholicism it’s official religion. Why aren’t we striving for this?

  22. Northern Ox says:

    Sword40 –

    My recollection is that for this kind of thing, each Supreme Court justice is responsible for cases coming from one or two of the Circuits. My guess is that Justice Sotomayor is the justice responsible for cases from the 10th Circuit (which includes Colorado).

  23. pvmkmyer says:

    Sword40 and Northern Ox –

    Sword40, you are correct. Justice Sotomayor is the justice assigned to hear petitions for the 10th Circuit, which includes Colorado.

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