That’s some real good puntin’ there SCOTUS, real good puntin’…
So yesterday the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) handed down their decision on the Zubik v Burwell case. While the decision of handing the case back down to the lower courts didn’t surprise most people, there were still some important takeaways from SCOTUS’ non-decision. Let’s take a look!
1) SCOTUS Really Doesn’t Want to Get Into Specifics on the “Should Companies Cover Contraceptives Under Their Insurance” Question
While on the surface Zubik v Burwell does share more than a few characteristics with Burwell v Hobby Lobby – both cases feature contraception, insurance plans, and the “religious freedom” argument – in actuality Zubik v Burwell gets into the nitty-gritty of the matter, where Hobby Lobby did not.
The Hobby Lobby case opened the doors for employers to practice religious objections on what facets they would like to provide in terms of healthcare coverage, Zubik v Burwell tries to deal with the specifics of the matter. With SCOTUS’ decision of sending the case back to the lower courts, it probably has less to do with the eight-person bench and more to do with the fact SCOTUS absolutely HATES dealing with specifics.
However, with that said…
2) It’s a Safe Assumption SCOTUS Will Be “Punting” More Cases Until They Get Back to a Full Nine-Person Bench Once Again.
Some in the media were predicting that SCOTUS would actually make a decision on the matter of contraceptives being a mandate on healthcare plans even though they currently only have eight justices currently on the bench. This was our reaction to those hottest of takes:
OF COURSE, THEY WEREN’T GOING TO GIVE A CONCRETE DECISION ON THIS!!
Or any other precedence setting court case for that matter! Since they’re currently saddled with a depleted bench, because Congress still hasn’t confirmed anyone to take the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia’s place; that means there will be many more non-decisions in the future.
Why? Because SCOTUS creating precedence with only eight justices would be like making a major life decision without having your wife or husband present. Sure, you COULD make a decision on putting a down payment on that house boat, but for the sake of your marriage, you probably should get some input from your significant other first! Along the same lines, creating precedence with a depleted bench is just something they aren’t comfortable doing.
(Photo Credit: Google Images, Pixabay.com)