UPDATE 4:28 p.m. The Obama administration has taken its own case to the Supreme Court on the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law. The petition and appendix, a large file, are here; they were filed Thursday afternoon. The government petition raises only an issue under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, not under the First Amendment. The Tenth Circuit Court had struck down the mandate as applied to the arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby, based on RFRA and not on the Constitution. The government petition is docketed as No. 13-354. No number has been assigned yet to the petition described in the post below. (FURTHER UPDATE 6:28 p.m.: The Conestoga petition has now been docketed as 13-356.)
Lawyers for a family-owned woodworking business in Pennsylvania on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to bar the government from requiring the firm to provide birth-control health insurance for its workers, under the new federal health care law. This is the first of multiple cases on the issue that likely will reach the Court out of the sixty-plus cases working their way through lower courts. The new petition (a large file) is here.
The chances are strong that the Court will agree to rule on one or more of the challenges, since federal appeals courts are now split on the question. Moreover, the Obama administration is expected to file its own appeal on the issue, as early as next week.