As his 2012 reelection campaign was heating up, Obama secured his good standing with feminists and Planned Parenthood by adding free contraception coverage to Obamacare. Under the mandate, health plans were required to to fully cover ANY and EVERY form of contraception, including abortifacient drugs.
Obama allegedly made “accommodations” for religious employers that allowed them to claim an exemption from the requirement, but he structured the regulations in such a way as to essentially void religious liberty. This became glaringly obvious when the Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor was forced to go to court to fight the mandate.
After losing their fight in the lower courts, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in their favor in 2016, but stopped short of defending the First Amendment. Instead, they sent the case back to the lower courts to figure out the religious liberty issue.
Of course, that failed. As a result, Little Sisters of the Poor would find itself in court once again. Just as before, their fight would bring them before the Supreme Court, which brings us to their recent so-called “victory.”
Other than being non-unanimous, yesterday’s 7-2 ruling was no different than the 2016 decision. While they again ruled in favor of Little Sisters of the Poor, the rationale used by the high court was nearly identical to the reasoning they used four years ago.
In his opinion written for the Court, Justice Clarence Thomas concluded that Obamacare allowed religious exemptions to be granted, and that allowed the Little Sisters case to be decided using the language found in the Affordable Care Act instead of the First Amendment.
Avoiding the religious liberty question likely means this ordeal isn’t over, as was pointed out by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. In their concurring opinion, they said the Court should have considered the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that actually “compels an exemption for the Little Sisters and any other employer with a similar objection to what has been called the accommodation to the contraceptive mandate.”
The two justices also warned that the Court’s failure to include RFRA in the Little Sisters case meant future litigation was inevitable. “We now send these cases back to the lower courts, where the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey are all but certain to pursue their argument that the current rule is flawed on yet another ground.”
In his letter to William Charles Jarvis (September 28, 1820), Thomas Jefferson had something to say about judges being the final arbiters on constitutional matters:
“You seem … to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.
“Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is “boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem,” (it is the duty of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction) and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.”
In the end, the Little Sisters of the Poor decision serves as the latest example of how we’ve allowed judicial tyrants to destroy the Constitution and take away our God-given right to liberty. And their tyrannical reign will continue as long as conservatives continue to put their hope in the courts instead of fighting for the America given to us by the Founders.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.