By Robert A. Vella
The death of Justice Antonin Scalia this year, as well as congressional Republican obstructionism on refilling his seat, has turned the U.S. Supreme Court into a deadlocked, virtually impotent judicial body. Their latest dysfunctional action came today when it refused to rule on religious conservative challenges to the Affordable Care Act‘s contraception mandate which requires employer healthcare insurers to cover birth control services.
Yes, politics does matter to America’s judicial system. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t.
From Reuters via Business Insider – The supreme just dealt a minor victory to challengers of Obamacare:
The court’s unanimous action represented at least a short-term victory for the nonprofit employers, primarily Roman Catholic organizations, because it tossed out rulings in seven different cases that had endorsed the contraception mandate. The decision forces the lower courts to reconsider the dispute.
“The court expresses no view on the merits of the cases. In particular, the court does not decide whether petitioners’ religious exercise has been substantially burdened,” the unsigned ruling stated.
In a separate order, the court also sent six other cases on the same issue back to lower courts.
The compromise decision indicated that the court, which is evenly divided with four conservative justices and four liberals following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February, wanted to avoid a 4-4 split in the case. Such a decision would have affirmed the lower-court rulings that favored the administration but would not have provided a decision to be applied nationwide.