As noted in the previous post, a majority of justices on the Supreme Court granted Wheaton College a temporary reprieve from having to fill out and distribute EBSA Form 700. That’s the form that’s supposed to be used by non-profit religious organizations to say they don’t want their employees’ health insurance to cover some or any forms of contraception.
Wheaton told the Supreme Court that Form 700 constituted a significant burden on their religious beliefs. They preferred writing their own letter to the government instead. Understandably, the three women on the Supreme Court thought that was crazy (I’m guessing that the other Democrat on the Court, Justice Breyer, agreed with Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Kagan, but this isn’t the kind of issue that requires the whole Court to express an opinion. Maybe he was out of town or so fed up with some of his colleagues that he’s thinking of giving up the law.)
As government forms go, Form 700 is simplicity itself. Here are its key features:
This form is to be used to certify that the health coverage established or maintained or arranged by the organization listed below qualifies for an accommodation with respect to the federal requirement to cover certain contraceptive services without cost sharing…
[Enter name of objecting organization, individual authorized to make this certification, name and address, etc.]
I certify that, on account of religious objections, the organization opposes providing coverage for some or all of any contraceptive services that would otherwise be required to be covered; the organization is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity; and the organization holds itself out as a religious organization.
[Signature and date.]
The organization or its plan must provide a copy of this certification to the plan’s health insurance issuer (for insured health plans) or a third party administrator (for self-insured health plans) in order for the plan to be accommodated with respect to the contraceptive coverage requirement.
That’s basically it. The form doesn’t even ask for the name and address of the health insurance issuer/administrator, something I certainly would have included if I were the senior bureaucrat responsible for EBSA Form 700.
I think Wheaton objected to this form because they didn’t want to send a copy to their health insurance issuer or third party administrator. Apparently, they thought that doing so would amount to being too cooperative with the government in its anti-Christian effort to make sure health insurance covers contraception. Justice Sotomayor argued in her dissent that forcing the government to identify the issuer/administrator and then send them a copy would be wasting the government’s time, especially if such religious exemptions become common.
Her main point, however, was that it’s the Court’s job to determine whether a law is too burdensome on somebody, not simply take their word for it, as the majority on the Court did here. But the activist Republican judges on the Supreme Court are clearly making this stuff up as they go along.
The burdensome (?) and anti-Christian (?) EBSA Form 700 is available here.
The Court’s brief ruling and Justice Sotomayor’s lengthy dissent is here.