The high court’s action extends a temporary enforcement ban obtained on New Year’s Eve by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns that operates homes for the elderly poor.
Dozens of religiously affiliated groups have challenged the contraception mandate as a burden on their religious exercise, arguing that it makes them complicit in the government’s plan to provide and subsidize contraception.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor previously granted a temporary postponement of the contraception requirements until the Obama administration filed its argument with the high court. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli then filed an argument that said the Little Sisters didn’t need protection from the mandate because they already were eligible to claim an exemption on religious grounds.
The full Supreme Court issued a new order Friday that would further postpone enforcement of the contraception mandate while the Little Sisters press their case on appeal.