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Supreme Court Justices Elana Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor
They're not smiling today.

The U.S. Supreme Court men have done it again, temporarily barring the government from enforcing the contraception mandate in Obamacare, granting an injunction for Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois. Specifically, this college and other religious organizations have filed suit saying that having to complete federal forms that they have to send to insurers and plan administrators is a religious burden because doing so makes them complicit in providing the evil birth control. In granting the injunction, the majority said that Wheaton College merely has to inform the government in writing that it qualifies for the exemption.

In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor takes the majority of the Supreme Court to task for contradicting the position it took just a few days ago in the Hobby Lobby decision, when its decision rested on the premise that the exemption that the administration had carved out for religious organizations was an adequate accommodation and that it still achieved the government's aims. Now, they've just undermined that very argument. She writes:

Even assuming that the accommodation somehow burdens Wheaton’s religious exercise, the accommodation is permissible under RFRA because it is the least restrictive means of furthering the Government’s compelling interests in public health and women’s well-being. Indeed, just earlier this week in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.[…] the Court described the accommodation as “a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of religious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the employees of these entities have precisely the same access to all [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)]-approved contraceptives as employees of companies whose owners have no religious objections to providing such coverage.” […] And the Court concluded that the accommodation “constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government’s aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty.” […] Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word. Not so today. After expressly relying on the availability of the religious-nonprofit accommodation to hold that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates RFRA as applied to closely held for-profit corporations, the Court now, as the dissent in Hobby Lobby feared it might, see ante, at 29–30 (GINSBURG, J., dissenting), retreats from that position. That action evinces disregard for even the newest of this Court’s precedents and undermines confidence in this institution.
Sorry to break it to you, Justice Sotomayor, but that ship has already sailed, through no fault of your own.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 03:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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