The U.S. Supreme Court won’t issue a ruling in a controversy over whether Christian employers like a college in Ventura County should have to supply female employees with medical insurance which coverers contraceptives, as called for by the federal government’s Affordable Care Act.
The court threw out some lower court rulings in the case, and told the lower courts to reconsider that matter. Some non-profit Christian employers, including Thomas Aquinas College near Santa Paula, had objected to the requirement which was part of the 2010 legislation. Thomas Aquinas is one of the institutions taking part in the legal challenge.
Federal officials asserted there were ways for employers to opt out of the plan, but those who sued claimed the requirement was an infringement on religious freedoms. The decision to send the issue back to a lower court averts a possible 4-4 vote by the high court, which would have automatically afforded lower court rulings favoring the federal government’s position. It opens the door for a negotiated settlement, and at least temporarily removes the federal government’s threat of penalties for those who don’t comply.