Thoughts on the Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius stay
Submitted by Simon on Sun, 01/05/2014 - 4:06pm
We consider the other stay being sought before Justice Sotomayor
, the Little Sisters of the Poor
I had thought that the premise of the Sisters' case was (like the other cases in motion) "we're subject to the mandate." But having read the Application and Response, I no longer understand how this case works.
The Response insists that the Sisters ARE "eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations," and that that the Sisters "need only self-certify that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, and then provide a copy of their self-certification to the third-party administrator of their self-insured group health plan."
Sure, you say, but that's the government; the Application contests that, right? Alas, it does not. To the contrary, the Application claims certification precisely as the harm that they will suffer absent relief:
"Without an emergency injunction, Mother Provincial Loraine Marie Maguire has to decide between two courses of action: (a) sign and submit a self-certification form, thereby violating her religious beliefs; or (b) refuse to sign the form and pay ruinous fines. … [T]he precise act that violates their religion … [is] 'complet[ing] a self-certification form and provid[ing] it to" the insurers.
In other words, the harm that the Sisters are claiming isn't that they will be subject to the Mandate but that they will have to certify that they aren't. That's puzzling and weak.