Something weird is going on with the state of birth control post-Hobby Lobby.
When they ruled on Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court strongly implied that an accommodation for for-profit employers who object to birth control would be legally permissible. Under this accommodation, the same given to non-profit employers, companies have to tell the government that they have a religious objection to birth control, and the government arranges coverage directly with the insurance company, leaving the objecting employer out of it while making sure employees still have full coverage.
The Obama administration pretty immediately put this accommodation into effect for for-profit companies, and it’s since been upheld by several federal appeals courts, including by one of the most conservative judges in the country.
So far so good, right?
Not quite. Despite widespread legal agreement by the lower courts and apparently the Supreme Court itself about the acceptability of this accommodation, the Supreme Court keeps issuing stays to let companies that find the accommodation unacceptable continue to not provide birth control coverage.
That’s frankly pretty weird. Normally, the Supreme Court issues stays when the appeals courts are in disagreement, pending them taking up the case themselves. But here, the lower courts aren’t in disagreement at all, and as far as I know the Supreme Court hasn’t moved to take up a case – it’s just leaving them hanging.
I don’t have a satisfying conclusion to this blog post because I literally have no idea why they would be doing that. Any ideas, anyone?