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AMU and Ave Maria Law Encouraged by Supreme Court Obamacare Decision

Religiously-affiliated organizations that opposed the Obamacare birth control mandate are breathing a bit more easily following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday that sent the issue back to appeals courts to resolve.

The court, acting on a lawsuit brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor but affecting legal actions by a number of other organizations including Ave Maria University and the Ave Maria School of Law, made no ruling on the merits of the case. But it provided significant relief – at least temporarily -- to the various plaintiffs. The justices, in a unanimous decision, vacated all appeals court decisions – all but one of which had been in favor of the government – and absolved objectors from having to pay taxes or penalties in the meantime.

Although the matter appears unlikely to be completely resolved until after presidential elections, both Ave Maria University and the Ave Maria School of Law issued statements that expressed optimism that the relief from complying with the contraceptive mandate will be permanent.

"This is very good news," said Kevin Cieply, President and Dean of Ave Maria School of Law. "The Little Sisters, and eventually all Catholic religious organizations such as Ave Maria School of Law, will not be required to take part in the government's plan to provide contraception and abortifacients. If the government desires to do so, it must do so on its own, without requiring Catholic organizations to violate their religious beliefs."

Ave Maria University called the Supreme Court's action "an important win for the Little Sisters and the cause of religious freedom." A statement issued by the university quoted Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented both the Little Sister of the Poor and AMU: "We are very encouraged by the Court's decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position...There is still work to be done, but today's decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court."

For more on the decision:
click here from a story from The Associated Press 
click here for a story from USA Today

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