Supreme Court to rule on ObamaCare contraception mandate

The Supreme Court announced Friday it will take up a challenge to ObamaCare’s birth control mandate, a sequel to last year’s landmark Hobby Lobby case.

The justices will take up seven cases involving the mandate, including one from a group of Catholic nuns known as Little Sisters of the Poor.

The court was widely expected to take up one or more of the cases because of a lower-court split. 

Their ruling could deliver a second major blow to the health law’s contentious provision in two years. It will be the fourth time that ObamaCare is before the Supreme Court.

The birth control coverage requirement has drawn intense legal scrutiny, from both religious charities and colleges such as Notre Dame and Wheaton, since the early days of ObamaCare.

The Obama administration tweaked its mandate this summer after the Hobby Lobby case, expanding the definition of which businesses can seek exemptions from the controversial ObamaCare mandate.

But the administration’s attempt to appease religious groups fell flat, and multiple groups, including Little Sisters of the Poor, filed suit arguing that the new rules were still a burden on their rights guaranteed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment.

The cases, which come out of the Third, Fifth, 10th and D.C. Circuit appellate courts, include a case known as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Burwell, which the Department of Justice urged the court to take in a September brief.

Under the government’s workaround, groups such as the Little Sisters of the Poor would notify their insurance plans of their religious objections, shifting the obligation to offer contraceptive coverage from the nuns to the managers of the plan. But the Little Sisters contend they would still be facilitating a practice they oppose.