The U.S. Supreme Court ordered an Obamacare case concerning Notre Dame University in Indiana to be reconsidered by a lower court this week, a move that is being hailed as a victory for religious rights advocates.
Notre Dame is one of several religious organizations in the U.S. to challenge the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, which was amended to allow religious groups to opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees by signing a form and having the employees receive contraceptive care through a third party.
A lower 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the University of Notre Dame back in 2014, determining the Affordable Care Act's rules on contraceptive coverage do not violate religious freedom.
The highest court has now asked the lower appeals court to review its ruling, as in 2014 it also ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby to determine that corporations may be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage based on their religious beliefs.
Lawyers for Notre Dame University have argued that despite being allowed a third party to handle contraceptives for employees, they are still having to authorize the use of a third party, and are therefore authorizing coverage for birth control and sterilization.
Religious liberty advocates have hailed Monday's Supreme Court decision as a victory, with Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the group defending Notre Dame in the lawsuit, applauding the Supreme Court's decision.
"This is a major blow to the federal government's contraception mandate. For the past year, the Notre Dame decision has been the centerpiece of the government's effort to force religious ministries to violate their beliefs or pay fines to the IRS. As with the Supreme Court's decisions in Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby, this is a strong signal that the Supreme Court will ultimately reject the government's narrow view of religious liberty," Rienzi said in a statement to LifeNews.