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Will the Little Sisters of the Poor be dragged back to court again?

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An administrative law challenge could still apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

According to Justices Kagan and Alito, the Little Sisters of the Poor could be back in court despite the favorable ruling this week. The justices feel an administrative challenge is likely in the lower courts. 

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - On Wednesday the  Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, declaring they were exempt from the Obamacare mandate that required them to provide contraceptives to employees. 

Catholic teaching forbids the use of contraceptives, but Obamacare requires all employers to provide such care as part of employee insurance plans. The Sisters argued that requiring them to pay to provide contraceptives violated their sincerely held religious beliefs. The court agreed. 

Now, religious non-profits are free to carry out their missions without violating their beliefs. 

But Justices Kagan and Alito agreed in their opinions that the Little Sisters could be back in court again soon. Justices Gorsuch and Breyer also joined these opinions. 

The justices agreed the Trump administration has the power to exempt the Little Sisters from the mandate. But the decisions could be challenged because it does not seem to meet the standard for "reasoned decisionmaking," Kagan wrote. 

In plain English, the justices are concerned the rules allow arbitrary decisionmaking. 

The case is not entirely resolved, and it appears it will be taken up again by lower courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to resolve other questions now opened up by the Supreme Court ruling. 

It should be noted that no employee of the Little Sisters of the Poor has come forward with an objection to their refusal to pay for contraceptive coverage. 

Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act was an (arguably) well-intentioned law that has become riddled with problems and befuddled by special interests. While the Church generally supports the idea of universal healthcare for all persons, it is not always best to place such power in the hands of government, especially when that government, in an Orwellian nightmare, mistakes abortion for healthcare. 

So far, there are no better proposals to replace the ACA, and the act remains subject to legal challenges. As for the Little Sisters, their saga will continue as they fight the good fight for religious freedom. 

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