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Justice Sotomayor puts temporary stay on contraception mandate case.

So, what’s going on, here?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Obama administration from forcing some religious-affiliated groups to provide health insurance coverage of birth control or face penalties as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Acting at the request of an order of nuns in Colorado, Justice Sotomayor issued the stay just hours before the requirement was to go into effect on New Year’s Day. She gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court.

Well, it’s not completely complicated: just perhaps a little surprising to people who assumed that Barack Obama has managed to do what no other President has ever done and installed 120% super-loyal never-straying justices on the Supreme Court. Hot Air runs through the possible outcomes: basically, this is a temporary stay for a specific case, but the odds are good that the Supreme Court is going to look favorably on injunctions on implementing the contraception mandate until the court answers the question once and for all this year. It’s reasonable, too: fining groups for refusing to comply with a law that turns out to be unconstitutional can be… awkward.

This does not mean that Justice Sotomayor will vote for liberty of conscience in her final decision.  It does not even mean that the full court will. Again, what’s happening here is simply acknowledging that there is an immediate need for relief while test cases makes their way through the system – and, in fact, I am assuming that the courts do not lift the stay on Friday. But if the White House expected that their appointees on the Court were going to be good little Democratic soldiers… heh.  I hope that they didn’t expect that; I know that the current executive branch is not particularly overburdened with intelligence, but one would hate to think that they actually go around wearing their underpants on their heads.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: Check out this paragraph from the same NYT story.

One of the pending Supreme Court cases was filed by Hobby Lobby, a corporation owned by a family whose members have said they try to run the business on Christian principles. The company, which operates a chain of arts-and-crafts stores and has more than 15,000 full-time employees of many faiths. Hobby Lobby has said it has no problem with offering coverage for many forms of contraception, including condoms, diaphragms, sponges, several kinds of birth control pills and sterilization surgery. But drugs and devices that can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb are another matter, and make it complicit in a form of abortion, the company said.

…That’s, like, accurate. And reasonably fair. And not very judgmental.  And a whole other set of things that I do not normally associate with the New York Times.

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