In the News 2016
Religious groups try to sway Supreme Court in birth control case
One of the most anticipated cases of this Supreme Court season revolves around nuns and birth control.
Zubik v. Burwell, which comes before the justices Wednesday (March 23), addresses one of the most contentious parts of the Affordable Care Act: the requirement that employers offer certain types of birth control to their employees — the so-called contraceptive mandate. A case decided by the court in 2014 exempted the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, and other “closely held” for-profit companies with religious objections, from the provision. The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of nuns, is suing on similar grounds.
The sisters and other religious plaintiffs assert that the birth control provision violates the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which made it tougher for the federal government to restrict a person’s free exercise of religion. The plaintiffs in Zubik v. Burwell also object to the way in which they must claim an exemption: by informing their insurer or the government that they want one. Doing so, they argue, would make them complicit by triggering a process that would provide their employees with birth control through another avenue.
On the other side of the case is the Obama administration, which holds that the contraceptive mandate does not impinge on the religious rights of the nuns and the other parties suing the government.
Below is a list of religious organizations and others that have submitted “friend of the court” briefs on the case, in hopes of influencing the court’s eight justices. They are expected to rule on the case in late spring or early summer.
Siding with the nuns
Orthodox Jewish Rabbis
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, et al.
CNS International Ministries Inc. and Heartland Christian College
Breast Cancer Prevention Institute
Residents and Families of Residents at Homes of the Little Sisters of the Poor
The School of the Ozarks Inc.
Justice and Freedom Fund
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Texas, et al. filed.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, et al.
Christian Legal Society, et al.
Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye Inc., et al.
Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation Inc.
207 Members of Congress
National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs
Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund Inc.
Former Justice Department Officials
Cato Institute and Independent Women’s Forum
National Association of Evangelicals, et al.
50 Catholic Theologians and Ethicists
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, et al.
Constitutional Law Scholars
Women Speak for Themselves
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
The Knights of Columbus
Bart Stupak, et al.
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, et al.
Thomas More Law Center
ACNA Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy, et al.
Eternal Word Television Network
Thirteen Law Professors
International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers
Concerned Women for America
Michael J. New, Ph.D., Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute
American Center for Law and Justice
U.S. Justice Foundation, et al.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, et al.
The Catholic Benefits Association, et al.
Siding with the Obama administration
American Humanist Association
Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, et al.
American Civil Liberties Union, et al.
The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, et al.
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Compassion & Choices
National Women’s Law Center and 68 Other Organizations
Norman Dorsen, et al.
American Jewish Committee, et al.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, et al.
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, et al.
Catholics for Choice, et al.
Former State Attorneys General, et al.
Foreign and International Law Experts Lawrence O. Gostin, et al.
240 Students, Faculty and Staff at Religiously Affiliated Universities
American Academy of Pediatrics
Scholars of Religious Liberty Sarah Barringer Gordon, et al.
Health Policy Experts
Anti-Defamation League, et al.
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Guttmacher Institute, and Professor Sara Rosenbaum
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc., et al.
123 Members of the United States Congress
The National Health Law Program, et al.
California, et al.
Honorable Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
The Center for Inquiry, and American Atheists
(List courtesy of SCOTUSblog)
This article originally appeared in Religion News Service.