A Christian legal expert believes that the Obama Administration is continuing its legal battle against an order of nuns opposed to the federal government's birth control mandate because of an agenda to coerce religious groups.
The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Little Sisters of the Poor's lawsuit to be exempted from the government's preventive services mandate will return to the lower court with an increased possibility that the nuns will get their exemption.
Kim Colby, director at the Center for Law & Religious Freedom of the Christian Legal Society, told The Christian Post that the Obama Administration has maintained this legal battle with the Little Sisters to benefit its "pro-abortion" allies.
"The Obama Administration rewarded its political supporters in the pro-abortion organizations by adopting the HHS Mandate to force employers, including religious employers, to include contraceptives coverage," said Colby.
"It is very important to recall that the HHS Mandate is not something that Congress passed as part of the Affordable Care Act. The HHS Mandate is purely an administrative requirement imposed by the executive branch. Congress would never have passed the HHS Mandate."
Colby also told CP that in its effort to have the Little Sisters and other religious entities provide insurance coverage for services that are opposed to their religious beliefs the Obama administration was ignoring the Civil Rights Act Title VII definition of a "religious employer."
"The Administration ignored the Title VII definition of religious employer which is a fifty-year-old, tried and tested, appropriately broad definition of 'religious employer,'" continued Colby.
"It has never been clear why it ignored Title VII's definition, but the reason is obviously that Title VII's definition of 'religious employer' would not advance the Obama Administration's agenda of forcing as many religious entities as possible into providing drugs to which they had religious objections."
In September of 2013, the Little Sisters filed a lawsuit against the Health and Humans Services Department over the birth control mandate.
While the mandate exempted houses of worship automatically under the "religious employers" category, the nuns did not receive an automatic exemption, but instead received an "accommodation."
Under the accommodation, the Little Sisters do not need to cover birth control in their insurance, but they must certify that they seek the accommodation, allowing employees to get birth control coverage indirectly.
The Little Sisters argue that certification makes them complicit in sinful actions and that they should receive the same exemption given to churches.
In July of 2015 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the nuns, who then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.
In November, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Several amicus briefs were filed in favor of the Little Sisters, including one by the Christian Legal Society.
In March the high court heard oral arguments on the case. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty aided in the Little Sisters' legal representation.
Daniel Blomberg, a Becket Fund attorney who helped represent the nuns, told CP that "since day one" the Little Sisters have put forth alternatives to them being compelled to provide services contrary to their beliefs.
"More recently, in response to the Supreme Court's nearly unprecedented order instructing the parties to consider another alternative, the Little Sisters explained that the government could also directly contract with insurers to provide free separate contraceptive-only coverage for any women who want it," said Blomberg.
"And the government likewise admitted that an option along those lines was feasible. That's a win-win: the government can deliver its services, and the Sisters don't have to choose between abandoning their faith or paying massive fines."
With the high court's unanimous ruling, Blomberg told CP that he was optimistic about the course of the litigation as it returns to the Tenth Circuit.
"The next step is a very good one for the Little Sisters because the unanimous Supreme Court removed the government's threat of fines, erased the bad lower court decisions against the Sisters, and instructed lower courts to arrive at a solution that will actually 'accommodate the [Little Sisters'] religious exercise'," continued Blomberg.
"The Sisters will take that huge win back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver, Colorado. How things proceed from there isn't set yet, but it's possible that another round of briefing and oral arguments will be called for. At this point, though, it's likely only a matter of time until the lower courts make the Little Sisters' victory permanent."