When the Supreme Court next year decides whether the Obama administration can force for-profit companies to insure birth control, the punditry around abortion or the “war on women” will be overshadowed by legal precedent and acts by Congress that weigh religious liberty against government mandates, legal scholars say.
How the nine justices will rule on the contraception mandate — an outgrowth of President Obama’s signature health care law — is anyone’s guess, after federal appeals courts across the country could not agree on whether the government could force larger employers to insure a range of contraceptives as part of their health care plans.
“It’s a difficult case,” said Trevor Burrus, a research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.
It also probably will not matter that three of the court’s justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — are female, even if the case involves the coverage of contraceptive services that are used by women, said Holly Lynch, a health care policy and bioethics specialist at Harvard Law School.
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