8-Member SCOTUS Won't Rule on Obamacare (Again)By Carlos Gamino

The Supreme Court won’t rule on yet another Obamacare case regarding the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate.

In a unanimous decision, all eight justices note that they would not be able to decide the case on its merits. Instead, they sent the case back to the lower courts for opposing parties to work out a compromise, according to CNN.

The highly politicized court seems to be at a standstill. Because Congress refuses to hold hearings or vote on the president’s nomination for Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, and because there are four justices nominated by conservative presidents and four nominated by liberal presidents, many pundits are wondering whether the court will be able to decide anything in the coming months.

This is the fourth time the SCOTUS has heard a challenge on the Affordable Care Act. In this instance, several religiously affiliated nonprofit groups object to having to provide contraceptives to their employees. Despite the Obamacare administration’s offer for accommodations to respect their religious liberty, the groups claim the accommodations aren’t good enough, and that by following the mandate, they will be “complicit in committing a sin.”

However, because the court kicked the decision back to lower courts, they aren’t going to decide whether the religious exercise of the groups challenging the mandate has been substantially “burdened.”

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Today’s opinion does only what it says it does: ‘affords an opportunity’ for the parties and Courts of Appeals to reconsider the parties’ arguments.”

What Do You Think?

We ate member court isn’t likely to gain another justice – at least until November – so it appears this issue will be resolved by the SCOTUS. However, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this decision (or non-decision, as it were) and what you think about the ACA mandate. Feel free to share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino