Sonia Sotomayor halts contraceptive rule for Denver center
By: Jennifer Haberkorn
December 31, 2013 10:34 PM EST
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor late on New Year’s Eve blocked Obamacare’s requirement that a care facility for the elderly run by Catholic nuns provide contraception coverage to its employees.
The requirement was due to go into effect on Jan. 1 for the non-profit company and other religious-affiliated institutions across the country. Several lower courts on Monday granted similar emergency petitions, but a request from the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Denver was denied, prompting its lawyers to go to the Supreme Court.
In her order, Sotomayor blocked the government from enforcing the requirement on the Denver home until further notice from the Supreme Court. The government has until Friday at 10 a.m. to respond.
The emergency order issued Tuesday night applies only to the Denver facility but any further ruling from the court could have wide ranging repercussions. Nearly 100 for-profit and non-profit institutions have filed lawsuits over the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement, arguing that it requires them to violate their religious beliefs against the use of contraception.
The court has already agreed to take up two cases brought by for-profit companies. But institutions with a religious affiliation, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, may face different circumstances. In its petition, the company said it expects fines of $1.1 million on January 1 alone.
Sotomayor is responsible for petitions stemming from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.