The Supreme Court on Monday tossed a contentious case on free access to birth control within Obamacare back to a lower court, declining to issue a ruling on it. The court, shorthanded with only eight justices on the bench since Antonin Scalia’s death in February, prolonged what has been heated dispute between the Obama administration and faith-based groups, members of which argue that they shouldn’t be mandated to pay for access to birth control through health plans because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. For the time being, nothing changes in terms of women’s access to birth control. And it’s not clear whether the case will ever make it back to the Supreme Court. But by punting, the court is showing its inability to reach a majority opinion in the absence of Scalia and a successor to fill his seat on the bench. The decision to throw the case back to a lower court for a compromise was unanimous and unsigned. “The court expresses no view on the merits of the cases,” the justices wrote. “They are getting health insurance, and we are properly accommodating religious institutions who have objections,” Obama said in an interview on Monday after news of the non-ruling emerged. Some who support the faith-based groups were optimistic about the decision, arguing that it will give those groups another day in court to plead their case.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.