Birth control pills

Supreme Court ups pressure on Little Sisters to settle

Birth control pills

Birth control pills

To the surprise of many, the Supreme Court yesterday punted the challenge to Obamacare's contraceptive coverage accommodation for religious non-profits back to the four federal appeals courts whose decisions had been consolidated into Zubik v. Burwell.

In doing so, the justices kept the mandated coverage in place. They said they want the non-profits and the government to work out an arrangement along the lines they suggested when they asked for supplementary briefs two months ago. And they declared that the mandated contraceptive coverage had to be acquired "seamlessly" by the insured women from non-profits' insurance companies.

In other words, the non-profits were told to find a way to live with something they once said they couldn't live with. Not to beat a dead horse (here and here), but they've already made the crucial concession -- not that they've admitted doing so.

Four years ago, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund made it crystal clear that the government's proposed accommodation was unacceptable to some of the nonprofits it represents.

The instant they offer health insurance, they will be triggering an automatic right to these services. The drugs will flow from the insurer they selected to the employee they hired, and they will flow solely because of the religious objector’s decision to offer health insurance. For these people, the fact that they will be pushing a button that legally requires someone else to distribute the services is a distinction without a moral difference.

For that reason, Rienzi wrote, "the only proposal that will make the president’s religion problem go away is also the simplest one: a complete and unconditional religious exemption for anyone who objects to any type of involvement with these drugs."

This position was enshrined in the nonprofits' Zubik brief, which declared, “Petitioners object to hiring or maintaining a relationship with any insurance company that is authorized, obligated, or incentivized to deliver the objectionable coverage to Petitioners’ own employees or students in connection with Petitioners’ own health plans, regardless of how that authority, obligation, or incentive is ‘triggered.'”

But last month, in response to the Supreme Court's March 29 request for supplementary briefs, the nonprofits changed their tune, granting that the government could in fact "effectuate a scheme in which any of the petitioner’s employees who want contraceptive coverage can get it from the same insurance company with which the petitioner contracts."

In other words, the triggering was now ok. When I pointed this out, Rienzi prevaricated: "So if anybody gets contraceptives, right, that they have pretended that the goal has always been to stand in front of the pharmacy and bar the door. That's just a cartoon version of what the religious petitioners have claimed. It's never been the claim. The claim has always been, 'I need to be separate from this.'"

Ah well. Let's put it this way. Before the death of Antonin Scalia, "being separate" meant one thing. Now it means something else.

Having gotten the nonprofits to acknowledge that their religious liberty would not be burdened by having their insurance companies pay for the contraceptive coverage, the Justices in yesterday's unanimous order pushed them to work out an arrangement whereby the coverage can be provided "seamlessly" -- a position underlined in a concurring opinion written by Sonia Sotomayor and signed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That tells the nonprofits that the Court will not tolerate any scheme that prevents the employes from acquiring the coverage simply and automatically.

It's anybody's guess why the Justices didn't go ahead and decide the case on the merits -- specifically, "whether petitioners’ religious exercise has been substantially burdened, whether the government has a compelling interest, or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive means of serving that interest.”

Adam Liptak of the New York Times thinks it was a way to avoid a 4-4 tie. Over at Bloomberg opinion, Noah Feldman sees it in terms of a short-handed Court reluctant to take major stands. Something else may be going on here, however.

The Roberts Court, liberals and conservatives alike, has been notably friendly to claims of religious liberty. In this case, it may prefer to have the religious petitioners freely acknowledge (rather than be forced to accept by judicial fiat) limits to a very strong free exercise claim. That would establish a useful benchmark going forward.

Moreover, a straight-up decision for the government could well have induced religious nonprofits to stop insuring their employees altogether. The kind of negotiated settlement the Court is urging will not. From a public policy standpoint, that's a good thing.

Comments

  1. If the organizations did not offer insurance, then the employees would be free to purchase insurance on the health exchanges, is that correct? Could they simply increase the employee wages by the worth of the insurance to also let the employees purchase insurance?

  2. The little sisters decided not to have babies…but want to prevent other women from having the same option….

  3. They don’t want to give employees that option. The claim is that allowing employees the ability to chose their own insurance violates their religious beliefs. The Sisters arguments are ridiculous. They very well could do as you say, but they want to be difficult for its own sake.

    Evidently they feel a need to control how the compensation to employees is used. Much like paying in company script.

  4. It’s their money, THEY decide how it is spent — not a couple of left-wing Jews like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Elana Kagen.

  5. Not after its paid out. Then it’s the employee’s money. In your antisemitic cretinous way, you are saying those justices represent the employees here.

    You also have no clue what the facts here. The current amended law meant the employees pay for their own coverage. It’s not the employers money at all. Never was.

    There is no imposition on filling out a form and mailing it. In fact doing so means saving money which would go to the employee.

  6. That would mean allowing discrimination….so much for Christian love and charity

  7. No, it means if you don’t agree to work for and support an organization’s goals and values, you don’t get to work there without consequences.

    If I submit myself as a conservative, I am not going to write editorials for The New York Times.

  8. If it’s the nun’s insurance coverage, they are involved.

    The gals can buy their own pills or IUDs on their own dime and time.

    Better yet, you go build your own nursing homes…..then YOU can do what you want with your own healthcare benefits.

  9. Working for someone does not make you their property. It does not mean you have to believe, vote or even agree on topics your employer does. Even at will employment is bound by certain rules as to how they can treat their workers.

    “If I submit myself as a conservative, I am not going to write editorials for The New York Times.”

    Because reporting news in an accurate fashion at a 7th grade reading level is something conservatives refuse to do? OK.

  10. But it isn’t. You really don’t know the facts here but feel the need to spout off in a derisive and reductive manner. Whatever you are responding to has nothing to do with what was written by me.

    The whole point is the employees are CHOOSING NOT TO USE THE NUN’S INSURANCE. That the nuns are letting employees PAY FOR THEIR OWN INSURANCE.

    “The gals can buy their own pills or IUDs on their own dime and time.”

    Which is PRECISELY WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO DO.

    Educate yourself on the subject and then come back to us.

  11. I am educated. You are the one who is not.

    Obama is trying to co-opt the nun’s insurance coverage. How come this wasn’t a problem before 2014 ?

  12. Spoken by a guy whose party is largely ghetto hood rats with criminal records and 7th grade reading skills.

  13. You don’t even have the basic facts right here. Slinging mud will not make your posts any more intelligent or worth reading. Come back when you know what is going on.

  14. Ahh the “Pee Wee Herman Response” I know you are but what am I. Can you be a bigger baby? Probably.

    Yet you are completely wrong as to what is going on here. You are just trolling and demonstrating complete ignorance of the situation. At no point did the case involve the nuns providing their own coverage here.

    “How come this wasn’t a problem before 2014 ?”

    Because we were working under a completely free market health insurance system which was bending many insureds over a barrel and leaving over 8 million people without health coverage.

    Your trollery is tiresome and ignorant. You have nothing of value to say here.

  15. Hedley Lamarr: My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.
    Taggart: Ditto.
    Hedley Lamarr: “Ditto?” “Ditto,” you provincial putz?

  16. Now you are just speaking in wingnut. If you think you are being discriminated against because you are a white male Christian, go eff yourself. You are not a victim just a whiny little beeach.

  17. Racist and antisemitic ignorant wingnut is what we have here. Easy to ignore because he has no rationality. You nailed it Spuddie.

  18. I think I know what you’re talking about Spuddie. How apropos.

  19. this is about the nuns and their church trying to stop premarital sex, keeping woman at home, and only having sex for procreation. they made the same amount of fuss when birth control was first invented. men were afraid wives could be unfaithful at will, and leave the home to find jobs via family planning.

    they believe if you take away birth control it will make sex so risky no one will have it. stupid is as stupid does.

  20. Pro-American and Pro-Israel. Anything else, Your Stupidness ?

  21. Racial Quotas, Affirmative Action, and ‘diversity’ BS say otherwise.

  22. I know the quote, it doesn’t work.

  23. Educate yourself on this:

    (1) 30% of plans already have an exemption for Obama’s union pals. Obama’s thugs just don’t want one for religious institutions.

    (2) ZUBIK is not a nun, it’s the bishop of Pittsburgh. That’s the title of the case. There are other religious institutions here besides the nuns and THEY don’t want anything to do with abortion or birth control.

    Bishop Zubik’s Catholic schools employ Catholics and he is NOT providing them with products contrary to Catholic values.

    (3) Ditto non-Catholic Christian schools and others.

  24. LOL! Oh no, I have to share space with someone of a darker skin tone! Oh the horror!

    Thank you for confirming that bigotry and discrimination is really the last resort of the mediocre or uninspiring. Despite all of the cultural and societal advantages of being part the dominant majority voice, you can’t hack it. So you need some kind of artificial boost like discrimination and institutional bigotry.

    Lets face it you have to be pretty lacking in abilities to be threatened by affirmative action and diversity. People of talent, intelligence and skill don’t ever worry about such things. You are best off quitting while you are behind. The more you post, the less intelligent you appear and the more you are embarrasing yourself in public.

  25. 1. Untrue. The exception exists provided the nuns sign a form waiving coverage for their employees. That’s all. The nuns are not providing contraception. They are not paying for plans which cover contraception. Despite being told this several times already, you repeat the same nonsense. You are a dishonest and ignorant troll. At this point GFY

    2& 3. As for the nuns and bishops, they can object all they want but its not supposed to be their choice in the first place. We are talking about employees right to not have their bosses intrude upon personal privacy in healthcare decisions as guaranteed by HIPAA.

    If the nuns and bishops want nothing to do with contraception, they simply leave the choice to their employees. This is simply a desire to control employees far beyond what they are entitled to. Religious excuses to trespass upon the privacy and lives of others. Garbage egotistical notions of morality. No respect for others.

    Btw opposition to contraception has to be one of the most irrational and ridiculous positions out there. Only a religious fanatic could support such an idea. Without the unquestioned and arbitrary authority of religion, nobody would bother with such nonsense.

  26. And when you read the unanimous decision, the title of the article should be “Supreme Court Ups Pressure on Administration to Settle.”

  27. You work for a Catholic school, you follow their tenets. Arthur Sultzberger and Ruth Bader Ginsberg don’t get to tell a Catholic school what benefits package they have to offer their Catholic (or non-Catholic) employees.

  28. It’s a question of employment and educational apartheid being used by the Left to buy votes at the American Middle Class’s expense.

    It’s coming to an end. Sorry.

  29. THEIR plans are being used to facilitate coverage. It’s called hijacking.

  30. LOL! Yep without racism and discrimination, useless people like yourself simply can’t compete with the economically or socially disadvantaged.
    Such an admission of your own inadequacy. Tsk tsk tsk

  31. I can compete just fine. I just won’t let liberals give preferential treatment to liberal voting blocs that supply votes to the Democratic Party.

  32. I’m all for equal OPPORTUNITY as stated by the 1964 CRA.

    I am NOT in favor of quotas, proportionalism, or equal RESULTS as demanded by liberals and failed black leaders to camoflauge their own failed policies among the groups they ostensibly serve.

    If Jews or Asians occupy greater numbers in Wall Street or Silicon Valley, then tough. Complainers should study harder and stop engaging in criminal behavior if they want their numbers to increase.

  33. You just can’t compete with people who come from economic or socially disadvantaged background. You are so lacking in skills and talent that without white, male Christian privilege, you are doomed.

    We get that already.

    Unless you are independently wealthy, voting for conservatives means shooting your economic interests in the foot.

    Without racism and other bigotry to make you feel superior, you feel sunk. Oh well.

  34. Obviously not. If you feel so threatened by what are token measures at best to redress institutional bigotry.

    So why are they such big blocs? Because Republicans are so dependent on the ultra wealthy or white Christian troglodytes and nothing else. They managed to drive out everyone else.

    At this point I don’t know whether to just treat you with derision or pity.

  35. It’s racial pandering to demagogues like Sharpton, Jackson, etc. As long as blacks vote 20:1 for the Democratic Party, the welfare and entitlement gravy train has to continue. Otherwise, the Black Left has to compete on ideas and their ideas aren’t exactly appealing outside of the ghetto — and even in the ghetto, decades of failure eventually run into question marks, sort of like the old Soviet Union complaining about “bad weather” 70 years in a row to explain the sudden bad harvests in the Breadbasket of Europe.

    BTW, the ultra-wealthy vote Democratic by almost a 2:1 margin. If you read something other than The New York Times, you’d know that.

  36. Lol! I am not sure whether to classify that gibberish as just a rant in wingnutspeak or an out and out Gish Gallop where one throws as many absurdities and untruths at once and hopes one sticks.

    Was there a single conservative economic plan that didn’t exacerbate poverty and erode the middle class?

    They oppose public education, safe workplaces, public health, living wages, and civil liberties. They support pollution, discrimination, shipping your jobs to slave labor overseas, fiscal irresponsibility, massive fraud and destruction of national infrastructure.

    I will consider your “wealthy vote mostly democrat” to be one of the many untruths you can’t support factually but will repeat ad nauseum.

    It still stands that racism and other forms of bigotry are for losers. Expressions of personal inadequacy.

  37. No they aren’t. Read about the case from actual sources. I have corrected you too many times to care what you say here.

  38. 2 justices said the plans were being hijacked, not me.

  39. The Democratic Party has historically been the home of racial bigotry. First, rural white Southern Democrats…today, urban and cosmopolitan big city blacks. Did you check out the rioting footage in Ferguson and Baltimore ? Did you see their so-called ‘leaders’ ?? Good Grief…..

    The GOP doesn’t oppose any of what you cite — just that costs and benefits have to be weighed. Since so few Democrats have ever held real jobs or taken an economics course, they are clueless about reality. Witness their $15 minimum wage laws, which will result in people losing their jobs.

    Poverty and the middle-class losing jobs have increased under Obama.

    There’s this thing called GOOGLE…..use it to see how the Super Rich vote. Of course, if you knew where they LIVED — Bevery Hills, CA….Upper East/West Sides of Manhattan….Brookline MA….North Shore of Chicago…..you’d know those weren’t GOP strongholds.

  40. So you support predatory judicial and law enforcement structures and continue to keep yourself uninformed of issues you spout of about.

    The ignorance on the policy positions of the political party you support is duly noted.

    The economy recovered far greater than conservatives estimated under the current president. The economy wrecked by deregulation and banking malfeasance.

  41. The low-income housing loans were the work of liberals and Democrats. In fact, Obama is trying to strong-arm banks into doing it again — knowing that the costs will fall a few years down the road.

    See, that’s what you get when you put a ‘community activist’ in charge of the economy.

    Do liberals represent anyone other than left-wing race mongrels and government socialists ?

  42. Obviously given the facts, that is hyperbole. If true. You have a terrible problem with credibility.

  43. You obviously didn’t own property back then or know how banks ran at the time. You are spouting an obvious fiction. Read about CDOs and mortgage backed securities. Your ignorance here is too overwhelming and obvious to explain it all.

    The more you post, the less intelligent you appear. At this point I can’t even pretend you have anything worth saying.

  44. I don’t have to read about CDOs and MBS — I invested in them. My firm called the peak of the housing bubble in 2006. So did the Bush Administration. Read what Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer and the Congressional Black Caucus said about easy credit and how it was good for the economy.

    It’s obvious you consider my posts worthless: you have no understanding of modern finance or economics.

  45. So you contributed to the situation and are so dishonest as to blame its least relevant parties and victims. Wow, what scummy behavior on your part. Why are you asking me to read what others said about the banking situation, when it is obvious you didn’t? Frank and Schumer laid the blame where it belonged, on banks and investment firms which bundled toxic debt and banks who were freewheeling in writing loans to boost their stats. That makes you not only ignorant as a matter of course but a rather pernicious 1iar.

    You have no understanding of any subject you spout off on, period.

  46. So you contributed to the situation and are so dishonest as to blame its least relevant parties and victims.

    Why are you asking me to read what others said about the banking situation, when it is obvious you didn’t? Frank and Schumer laid the blame where it belonged, on banks and investment firms which bundled toxic debt and banks who were freewheeling in writing loans to boost their stats and on fraudulent ratings of those CDOs and MBS being peddled to retirement and mutual funds.

    From personal experience, the people who talk about banks being allegedly forced to write bad loans are the least knowledgeable about how the process worked. Banks didn’t care because they pawned off toxic debt to others. They were making $ hand over fist on a rising market.

    You have no understanding of any subject you spout off on, period.

  47. No, it’s you — a typical liberal who regurgitates slop from liberal blogs and The New York Times — who thinks he knows it all.

    Try watching FoxBusinessNews, FoxNews, Bloomberg TV, or CNBC and maybe you’ll learn something.

    The ratings weren’t fraudulent. They were based on 40 years of housing prices NEVER having gone down. When they collapsed down 15%, the models were junk.

    Why did prices go down ? Because too many people owned homes. Why ? Because Fannie and Freddie wrote too many crap mortgages which is why they were bankrupted (?) (TBD). Why did they write these mortgages ? Because Andy Cuomo and Bill Clinton and Franklin Pierce and Jay Johnson (both Pierce and Johnson Democratic operatives) pushed for the crap.

    And yeah, the GOP wasn’t blameless because they should have objected MORE. But they did object — Bush and Greenspan warned in 2002. I know, I was part of the group being lobbied. Fannie and Freddie bragged they could stop Bush and the Fed because they had Congress in their hip pocket.

    Those are the facts. AEI has more, if you want to learn.

    Oh yeah…..Obama and Holder and Lynch are threatening to sue banks again. Not for making crap loans. But for not making enough of them.

    Presumably, you want Hillary to win in the fall and then in 2 years when housing collapses again (the banks won’t, their capital ratios are double 2008’s level), you and she can blame “Wall Street” for obeying threats from Holder and Obama to make the crap loans that Obama himself fought for in the 1990’s — and 1/2 his clients defaulted on within 2 years.

    That’s what you get when you get moronic politicians with no business experience telling people where to invest and put their money.

    Maybe you can give them yours for those loans. How about it ? Obama and Holder insist they are safe.

  48. Your veracity impairment has gotten to the point where it would take too many posts to describe how many facts you have misrepresented.

    “Why did they write these mortgages ?”

    Because they were making a ton of money and turning around properties which fell into their possession fast. They were socializing their losses through abuse of securitization and bundling.

    Being a conservative shill rather than a well informed person, I take it you never actually tried to obtain a mortgage back then. Banks were pushing garbage loans on the middle class even when they qualified for fairer and safer ones. Urging the elderly to use home equity like an ATM. Banks were intentionally writing crap because they were able to make their money and shift risk away.

    NOBODY pays attention to underwriting, regulation or accounting when they are making money. Conservatives hate regulation which can cut into making money at the expense of the middle and working class.

    I am done pretending you have anything of value to say. Good day to you. As the Christians tell me, “I will pray for you”. 🙂

  49. Your veracity impairment has gotten to the point where it would take
    too many posts to describe how many facts you have misrepresented. So I will address one point and then tell you to —- off.

    “Why did they write these mortgages ?”

    Becaus they were making a ton of money and turning around properties which fell into their possession fast. They were socializing their losses through abuse of securitization and bundling.

    I take it you never actually tried to obtain a mortgage back then. Banks were pushing garbage loans on the middle class even when they qualified for fairer and safer ones.
    Urging the elderly to use home equity like an ATM. Banks were intentionally writing loans previously reserved for investors only because they were free to do so by deregulation (as propounded by conservatives) and were able to make their money and shift risk away.

    NOBODY pays attention to underwriting, regulation or accounting when they are making money. Conservatives hate regulation which can cut into making money at the expense of the middle
    and working class.

    I am done pretending you have anything of value to say. Good day to you. As the Christians tell me, “I will pray for you”. 🙂

  50. Yeah, the banks were making the loans — I saw it first hand. My friend’s wife went from making $50,000 a year as a secretary to making $300,000 a year working for CountryWide. She made more than my investment banking friends !!

    I know from her — and her firm was one of the biggest — exactly what was going on. I had dinner with her weekly for 3 years in the early-to–mid 2000’s when this was going on before she moved to California to be closer to “the action.”

    The loans were being pushed by the CRA and Fannie/Freddie. The standards were relaxed. If the husband breadwinner was a 550 FICO making $40,000 a year and the mother/houswife was a 750 FICO making $0 as a stay-at-home-mom, then the couple were 750 FICO with a $40,000 a year income.

    I know all the tricks — the GSEs (Fannie/Freddie) encouraged them, wanted them, pushed them, demanded them. And yeah, the bankers went along.

    The government could have put a stop to it anytime from 1999-2006. They didn’t want to.

    Ever hear the phrase “the Fed’s job is to take away the punch bowl before the party gets too wild ?”

    Well, the party was too wild for 7 years. And the government kept spiking the punch bowl.

  51. 1 Final Note: Having worked in the financial sector for 30+ years and having managed billions of dollars, I know that most people make investment decisions without full 100% fully-informed decision-making.

    I see the same thing when people try and tell us what happened economically or historically on items like the economy, the Credit Crisis, stock market crashes, etc…..they don’t have all the facts.

    So spend some time, Spud, on some sites like American Enterprise Institute, that actually have the people who know (like the chief credit officer of Freddie Mac).

    Politicians and advocacy groups who caused the problem are not likely to be objective.

    And the worst actors — the most reckless banks and mortgage lenders — suffered the ultimate punishment: they went Chapter 11. The Left now wants to punish the Good Guys, the banks who did the right thing.

    I suppose you’ll next tell us that Wall Street got ‘bailed out’ — another lie told by the Left. I can always tell when people have only down superficial research on financial issues — like Warren and Obama and Frank — by blaming Wall Street and claiming they bailed them out when the only bailout was the UAW and the AFL-CIO.

  52. “Banks who did the right thing”?!?!

    Excuse my while I treat the bump on my head from my palm.

    You have absolutely no connection to reality. You demonstrated prior reading comprehension issues and deliberate misrepresentations of facts and events. I do not have the patience to refute your entire garbage assertions.

  53. Admitting defeat is no easy thing, I commend you on recognizing when you are outgunned and outflanked.

    The the victors go the spoils….

  54. Admitting defeat? Admitting disgust for wasting time with such bad 1iar. I should have just ignored you.

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