Amid widening claims that religious liberty in America is under siege, the Supreme Court over the past year and and a half has reacted eight times to one of the most intense and emotionally charged conflicts within that broader controversy. Only once has the Justices’ reaction to that particular conflict led to a full-scale decision, and yet all of its actions, taken together, do stand for something.
This is the controversy over the contraceptive, or birth-control, mandate in the Affordable Care Act – a high-stakes legal feud that has been unfolding in scores of lawsuits across the country. It has been running for five years, and so is further along than the just-beginning conflict over the impact on religious belief of the Court’s same-sex marriage ruling last month.
The opposite sides in the birth-control dispute for years have been talking past