The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Little Sisters of the Poor are exempt from an Obama-era mandate to provide contraception in their healthcare plans, an outcome regarded as a major victory by religious liberty advocates.
The case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, marked the Catholic religious order’s second time before the Supreme Court, after nearly 10 years of legal dispute. It arose when the New Jersey and Pennsylvania state governments sued the Trump administration for exempting the Little Sisters from the contraception mandate.
In a 7-2 decision with the majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the court held that the administration’s exemptions were issued with the proper “statutory authority” and that their implementation was “free from procedural defects.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, arguing the opposite.
The exemption, issued in the form of a 2017 executive order from President Trump, stated that the Little Sisters are protected from “undue interference from the federal government.” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recommitted to that position the following year with guidelines exempting religious non-profits from contraception requirements outlined in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. more here