17 May 2016 - Supreme Court sidesteps major ruling on Obamacare contraception
Adam Liptak (The New York Times, 16/05/2016)
The Supreme Court, in an unsigned unanimous opinion, announced on Monday that it would not rule in a major case on access to contraception, and instructed lower courts to consider whether a compromise was possible.
The opinion is the latest indication that the Supreme Court, which currently has eight members, is exploring every avenue to avoid 4-to-4 deadlocks, even if it does not decide the question the justices have agreed to address.
The case concerned an accommodation offered to religious groups that did not want to offer insurance coverage for contraception to their female employees as ordinarily required by regulations under the Affordable Care Act. The accommodation allowed the groups not to pay for coverage and to avoid fines if they informed their insurers, plan administrators or the government that they wanted an exemption. Insurance companies or the government would then pay for the coverage.
Ariane de Vogue (CNN Politics, 16/05/2016)
The justices, in a unanimous decision, wrote that they were not deciding the case on the merits but instead sent the case back down to the lower courts for opposing parties to work out a compromise.
"The court expresses no view on the merits of the cases," the justices wrote, adding that "given the gravity of the dispute" and the fact that the parties have clarified their positions during the course of the litigation the parties should be able to "arrive at an approach."
David G. Savage (L.A. Times, 16/05/2016)
An evenly divided Supreme Court skirted the major legal questions arising from a dispute over President Obama’s healthcare program and instead announced a compromise Monday designed to clear the way for women working for religious organizations to receive the free birth control promised under the Affordable Care Act.
In a short, unanimous decision, the justices said that the Catholic charities who filed the suits and the Obama administration – at the high court’s strong urging -- had agreed in recent weeks that the female workers may "receive cost-free contraceptive coverage" without infringing on the religious rights of the church-based employers.
Based on that understanding, the justices said they saw no need to rule now on the broader legal issues, including whether the so-called contraceptives mandate violated the charities’ religious liberties or whether the government has a compelling interest in requiring contraceptives coverage for female employees.
The Editorial Board (The New York Times, 16/05/2016)
On Monday, the eight-member court avoided issuing a ruling on one of this term’s biggest cases, Zubik v. Burwell, which challenges the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers’ health care plans cover the cost of birth control for their employees. In an unsigned opinion, the court sent the lawsuits back to the lower federal courts, with instructions to try to craft a compromise that would be acceptable to everyone.
This is the second time since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February that the court has failed to reach a decision in a high-profile case; in March, the court split 4 to 4 in a labor case involving the longstanding right of public-sector unions, which represent millions of American workers, to charge collective bargaining fees to nonmembers.
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"17 May 2016 - Supreme Court sidesteps major ruling on Obamacare contraception", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mai 2016. Consulté le 29/09/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2016/17-may-2016-supreme-court-sidesteps-major-ruling-on-obamacare-contraception