SCOTUS will almost certainly take up the case of whether government can force people to act against their moral and religious beliefs. Two cases have gone to Appeals Courts, with one win for the companies and one for the government. At stake is whether companies can be forced to pay for contraception and abortions for their employees. And if the government can force people to provide abortions and contraceptives to their employees, can they also force Christian doctors to perform abortions?
Over 60 lawsuits have been filed against the ACA as a violation of free speech and freedom of religion. The two cases, already litigated are that of Hobby Lobby, who received a favorable ruling from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second case was unfavorable to the employer, a wood working company owned by a Mennonite family. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that Conestoga Wood Specialties was not protected by the first amendment.
The Conestoga Wood Specialties is the first case eligible to go to the Supreme Court. The Obama administration could have appealed the Hobby lobby decision, but decided not to. This administration prefers to wait it out, while draining time and financial resources from its opponents.
Their petition is for certiorari, a Latin phrase that means to make certain. It is used whenever someone loses a case and they want the Supreme Court to decide. A petition for certiorari is not automatic. SCOTUS would review the brief and make a decision, based on the likelihood that the petitioner would prevail. In this case, there are diametrically opposed decisions and in cases such as this, SCOTUS will normally take the case to create precedent.
The Obama administration now has thirty days to file a brief with the court, explaining why the case should not be taken up.
Steven Ahle is the Editor of Red Statements and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.