HHS Mandate: A Happy New Year Indeed

By Richard Nelson


January 1, 2014

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In an eleventh hour action, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor issued a stay against the Obama administration's HHS Mandate, the odious provision of Obamacare that requires all employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. Hundreds or organizations have sought relief from the bill, believing that is infringes on religious practice, a right guaranteed and secured by the first amendment.

The timing of Sotomayor's ruling came in the nick of time as the plaintiffs sought relief from the bill's implementation, which was to happen on January 1. 

The other significant aspect of Sotomayor's ruling is that Sotomayor issued it herself. A justice who traditionally lines up with the Court's liberal justices, Sotomayor's ruling does not bode well for the HHS Mandate when its fate is determined in June. For a liberal justice to step in and block a provision of the president's law (the same president who appointed her to the bench) is a potential harbinger of things to come.


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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center