Obamacare has been in the news a lot lately. This past Friday the Supreme Court ruled that Obama was guilty of misappropriating funds as he used his pen and phone to creatively finance an Obamacare subsidy Congress had elected not to fund.
On Monday, the high court once again reigned in the supreme leader’s abuse of power with a unanimous decision in Zubik v. Burwell; a case where a Catholic charity (The Little Sisters of the Poor) was fighting the Obamacare mandate requiring religious groups to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees, even if it violated their religious beliefs as interpreted under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
While the ruling is being viewed by many as a set back to Obama’s self-proclaimed crowning achievement, the administration is claiming victory. The reason for this apparent contradiction is because the court didn’t actually rule in favor of the Little Sisters, Priests for Life, and several Christian colleges that comprised the group seeking relief from the mandate.
Alveda King–niece to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a petitioner in the case–compares the high court’s
decision indecision to that of Pilate and Caesar when they were forced to deal with Jesus:
“Sending it back to lower courts sounds like Pilate and Caesar with Jesus. Seems like they want to wash their hands of it. The blood is on somebody’s hands. The babies are still crying.”
Jay Sekulo of the American Center for Law and Justice considers the decision “a significant victory for religious freedom” while still admitting that a solution that fully protects religious liberty is still needed:
“From the very beginning, we have been adamant that the Obama administration’s war against faith-based organizations squarely put religious liberty at great risk. It would have been ideal for the high Court to step in today and rule on the merits of the case. But its decision to instead vacate the troubling decisions in place by sending the cases back to lower courts for resolution amounts to a significant victory for religious freedom. We’re confident that, with the guidance offered by the high Court, a solution will be found to protect the religious freedom of these organizations.”
— Jay Sekulow (@JaySekulow) May 16, 2016
In the end, this uncertainty is very troubling because the Supreme Court shouldn’t have had any problem issuing a unanimous First Amendment decision in favor of The Sisters. Freedom of Religion is explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution. The government is forbidden from passing any law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
And unfortunately, the decision by the Supremes to kick this down the road to the lower courts most likely means the issue will be back. And with the makeup of the court likely to change in the near future, there are no guarantees as to what will happen when it does.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” David is also a contributor to RedState.com.
His daily commentary is nationally syndicated via Salem Radio Network.