The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected two cases from Catholic nonprofits objecting to the contraceptive mandate, but their legal challenges will continue.
In its orders issued Monday morning, the court denied certiorari to Priests for Life, a Catholic pro-life group, and a coalition of Catholic groups in Washington D.C., including the Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities. These were the first two nonprofit cases against the mandate that court observers thought would win a hearing at the high court. The court last week heard arguments from two for-profits challenging the mandate, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties.
The Catholic groups in these cases already have gained preliminary injunctions against the mandate from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that court will hear arguments on the merits of their cases soon. But the groups sought expedited review at the Supreme Court. “While a very difficult standard to meet, we believe that it was worth trying in light of the importance of this issue,” said Robert Muise, the lawyer with the American Freedom Law Center who is handling Priests for Life’s case. The Supreme Court’s denial of a hearing for the groups only means that it wants the cases to take the normal route through the appellate courts. It could still grant a hearing after the D.C. Circuit Court makes its ruling.
In other Supreme Court news, the court again postponed a decision on whether to hear the Elane Photography case, which concerns a New Mexico couple with a wedding photography business who refused to photograph a gay couple’s commitment ceremony. For the second week in a row, the court was supposed to consider the case at its Friday conference, but did not take any action in its orders on Monday.