Obama Admin. Urges Enforcing Mandate on Nuns

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The Obama administration is opposing a ruling from the nation's highest court that temporarily exempts some religious-based groups from the new contraception mandate.

Many organizations say the mandate in the president's health care law violates their faith.

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Friday not to exempt Catholic groups from offering birth control coverage under Obamacare.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a surprise order Tuesday that temporarily stopped the government from enforcing the contraception mandate on a group of nuns at the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged.

The nuns say the coverage requirement violates their religious belief. Several different groups, including colleges and businesses, have made the same arugument against the mandate since it was introduced.

"To my knowledge, this is the largest number of lawsuits filed against the federal government on a religious liberty issue in the history of our country," Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said.

"To help all Americans see that there's a fundamental issue at stake here that affects all of us and cuts across a lot of our religious differences," Ryken added.

The administration has made exemptions for religious non-profit groups. When they certify they don't want to provide contraceptive coverage, the cost is then picked up by insurers.

But the nuns from Little Sisters for the Poor say even signing that exemption violates their beliefs.

The Becket Fund is representing the group.

"The principle that will be laid down in these cases we hope will protect people from having their religious beliefs violated and coerced by heavy-handed government regulation," Kyle Duncan, with Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said.

"Our federal government is massive and powerful. It can obviously find ways to distribute contraceptives and abortion pills without forcing nuns to be involved," the Becket Fund said in a statement Friday.

They also called the brief from the Justice Department unnesssary.

It's not yet known when Justice Sotomayor will make her final decision on the matter.

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George Thomas and Shoshannah Nunez

George Thomas and Shoshannah Nunez

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