Supreme Court and Obamacare – Round 2

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/supreme-court-sides-with-employers-over-birth-control-mandate/2014/06/30/852e5c84-fc61-11e3-b1f4-8e77c632c07b_story.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

The Supreme Court made history by ruling in favour of Obamacare by a narrow margin of 5-4. However, Chief Justice John Roberts made it clear that while he felt the new law was not a tax, there was plenty about it that may be considered unconstitutional. This essentially opens the floodgates for further cases (and for a 45 mark question, this is a good example of how the Supreme Court, while not being able to initiate cases, can make moves towards hearing cases that they want to).

Following this, the Supreme Court have now ruled that employers do not have to provide contraceptive cover to employees where this conflicts with the employers religious beliefs (the Hobby Lobby case). A fantastic demonstration of the differing ideologies of the Court was the result of this decision:

Alito: Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs

Ginsburg: a decision of startling breadth. Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage or according women equal pay for substantially similar work?

Fantastic evidence here for the liberal/conservative split on the Court and this article makes reference to that. However it is also useful as an exmaple to demonstrate the limitations of these labels we place on Justices. While Alito’s conservatism was clear in the ruling, he also argued that the White House could ensure cover for women in this matter by paying for it themselves – essentially advocating big government which is unusual for a conservative.

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