Source:  Matthew McDonald

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed a plan by President Donald Trump’s administration to give employers broad religious and moral exemptions from a federal mandate that health insurance they provide employees covers women’s birth control under the Affordable Care Act.

The court ruled 7-2 against the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which challenged the legality of the Trump administration’s 2018 rule that weakening the so-called “contraceptive mandate” of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare”.

The opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. Elena Kagan filed a concurring opinion in the judgment, in which Stephen Breyer joined. Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Sonia Sotomayor joined.

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“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote. “We hold that the Departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections. We accordingly reverse the Third Circuit’s judgment and remand with instructions to dissolve the nationwide preliminary injunction.”

The two consolidated cases that the SCOTUS heard were Little Sisters of the Poor v Pennsylvania and Donald J Trump v Pennsylvania.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.