The Republican Party is still refusing to fill the Supreme Court seat that was left empty when the Devil incarnate, Antonin Scalia, died earlier this year. Their shenanigans has left the court split 4:4 and made it impossible for the issues they have before the court to be settled. On Monday, a ruling by the justices in the Zubik v. Burwell case demonstrated again just how much they are hurting themselves.
Saying they now have new information that significantly changes the case before them, the Supreme Court justices sidestepped a constitutional decision on the latest Obamacare challenge and sent the government and the religious organizations back to the drawing board.
In a unanimous decision, the court said it was not deciding the central question in the case — whether Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens some organizations’ right to exercise their religion.
The Affordable Healthcare does not require these organizations to provide birth control to women if doing so goes against their religious beliefs. The law does, however, require that they fill our a piece of paper explaining why they are denying coverage to their employees and they must tell the government who their insurance provider is. The insurance company is then supposed to offer these employees the coverage that the religious organization refuses to. The lawsuit argues that by filling out the paperwork that then ensures women get coverage for contraceptives makes them “complicit in sin.”
The Supreme Court decided that they were not going to issue a ruling in the case and kicked it back down to the lower courts to decide.
It is entirely possible that the court decided no to rule on the case because they a short a justice. The Supreme Court was not meant to function with eight justices and this presents a big problem as the justices are only left with two options: refuse to rule and let the lower courts work it out or set the case aside to hear at a later date. The Republican Party insists that their refusal to fill the empty seat is in our best interest because they want us to have a voice in the process. They are completely ignorant to the fact that we already did when we elected and reelected President Obama.
What’s hilarious about this, though, is how the GOP is screwing themselves over. In March, a split decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was a huge loss for anti-union Republicans. In February, the court declined to get involved in an election fight in North Carolina, leaving Republicans scrambling to meet a deadline issued by a lower court.
With Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president, it is looking more and more likely that the White House will stay blue in November and all of this fighting over the court will have been a huge waste of time. What are they going to say to their base when they are forced to confirm a justice who is even more liberal than Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland? I can’t wait to find out.
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