“Game-Changer”: Little Sisters’ Case Sent Back to Lower Courts

The Little Sisters of the Poor rally outside of the Supreme Court on March 23, 2016 (photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)
The Little Sisters of the Poor rally outside of the Supreme Court on March 23, 2016 (photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

In a decision that is widely being touted as a win for religious liberty and the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Supreme Court today announced it would be remanding the various cases involved in Zubik v. Burwell back to the lower courts so that the parties involved could work out a compromise with the federal government.

USA Today reports:

The justices unanimously sent the cases back to federal appeals courts in hopes that they can emerge with a way to honor the objections of religious non-profit groups, such as charities and hospitals, while still guaranteeing free birth control to their employees.

“The court expresses no view on the merits of the cases,” the opinion stated. “In particular, the court does not decide whether petitioners’ religious exercise has been substantially burdened, whether the government has a compelling interest, or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive means of serving that interest.”

Lawyers for the Little Sisters hailed the decision as an important victory:

“This is a game-changer,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in one of the seven lawsuits. “The court has accepted the government’s concession that it can get drugs to people without using the Little Sisters. The court has eliminated all of the bad decisions from the lower courts. And the court has forbidden the government from fining the Little Sisters even though they are refusing to bow to the government’s will.”

You can read The Pulse 2016’s original analysis of the case here.

Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.