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Professor Mark Rienzi in the Media about Supreme Court’s Notre Dame Decision


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As an expert on the Constitutional separation of church and state, Catholic University law school Professor Mark Rienzi was quoted by Reuters and the Baltimore Sun about the Supreme Court’s March 9 decision to send back a lower court ruling involving contraception coverage under the Obama Administration’s healthcare law.
The justices asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision against the University of Notre Dame, in light of high court’s ruling last June that allowed certain privately owned corporations to seek exemptions from the provision.
Notre Dame had lost an earlier battle for an injunction against the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s provision that requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women, including access to contraception and sterilization.
Last summer, however, the government amended its compromise plan for nonprofits with religious affiliations. The substantial change in the legal landscape since the appeals court ruled against Notre Dame reopened the door to its religious objection-based arguments, and Rienzi told Reuters that the remand to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent "a strong signal that the Supreme Court will ultimately reject the government's narrow view of religious liberty."
The Baltimore Sun article covered the same ground, but focused more on the implications of the Supreme Court’s action for The Little Sisters of the Poor, an international order of Catholic nuns with U.S. headquarters in Catonsville, Md.
As senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Little Sisters, Rienzi was quoted by the Sun, "Notre Dame is the centerpiece of the government's argument. The bottom line is the key thing the government has been arguing from has now been erased by the Supreme Court."