Justice Sonia Sotomayor took an unusual step on New Year's Eve, putting a hold on a portion of Obamacare that would require religious-based organizations to pay for coverage for contraceptives, which runs against their beliefs.
Unlike the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants, ever-shifting deadlines and regulations set forth by the president and the administration, the temporary injunction comes from a Supreme Court justice, underscored by the fact that she was a choice of the Obama administration and widely considered to be very liberal.
Her move was joined by the influential federal appellate court for the District of Columbia, which issued an emergency stay for Catholic-affiliated groups. Sotomayor's ruling came in the case of an order of nuns in Denver. The provision of Obamacare that runs against the religious beliefs of Catholics and others was to take effect Wednesday.
The White House's response was that the ruling has little effect because the administration already said the mandate doesn't apply to religious organizations. In its request to Sotomayor to drop the injunction, the government said Friday the nuns' insurance is from a church organization and thus is already exempt from the requirement.
The administration's compromise with religious organizations is to say that while churches are exempt, affiliated organizations, such as colleges or hospitals, are not. The organization doesn't have to offer coverage directly. But their insurance plan administrators can, and workers can be reimbursed for birth control. To the administration, that apparently wouldn't constitute a violation of beliefs for the church organizations. It makes it obvious the administration is out of touch with religious beliefs.
The administration hasn't caught on yet that the president's word, valid or otherwise, is not the same as the force of law, and Obamacare dives deeper and deeper into dark Constitutional waters with every adjustment made by presidential fiat to appease wary Americans. Far worse, the administration doesn't seem to grasp belief and the freedom to hold belief in the United States.
The law is the law, and it is not up to the word of the administration to make adjustments.
Even its own appointee to the Supreme Court seems to see that.
More than 90 lawsuits relating to the contraceptive mandate have been filed, including one that had involved a number of Catholic colleges, including the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Catholic organizations that don't comply face fines of up to $2,000 per full-time employee annually after the first 30 employees if they drop their health care coverage, as well as fines of $100 per day per affected beneficiary if they choose not to comply with the coverage mandate.
In other words, religious organizations are being forced to face fines for standing up for their beliefs.
That's the clearest unconstitutional issue to Obamacare, though we worry about what the court will do when a full ruling is made. After all, the justices found a way to support making Americans buy a product from private companies in an earlier Obamacare ruling.