Thursday, March 24, 2016

Highlights from the Zubik v. Burwell Argument

Rewire (March 24, 2016): Justices Against "Hijacking," and Other Unsettling Details from the "Zubik v. Burwell" Oral Arguments, by Greg Lipper:

There was some cause for optimism coming into Wednesday’s argument in Zubik v. Burwell. Eight of nine federal appeals courts—including the ultra-conservative Fifth Circuit—have upheld the accommodation process for religiously affiliated nonprofits wanting to opt out of providing the birth-control coverage. Might the Supreme Court finally send these Affordable Care Act challenges to the great courtroom in the sky?

Not so fast: When it comes to reproductive rights, trips to the Supreme Court are always dicey. Wednesday’s oral argument reveals, on the one hand, that the justices on the Court’s liberal wing believe that the accommodation imposes no substantial burden on religious exercise and is necessary even if it does. On the other hand, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito (and presumably Justice Clarence Thomas) clearly think that the accommodation burdens the objectors’ religious exercise and cannot otherwise be justified.

Greg Lipper summarizes Wednesday's Supreme Court argument.

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