Dershowitz: 'Brilliant' Case Led to Obamacare Contraception Delay

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 05:44 PM

By Todd Beamon

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The case brought before the Supreme Court that led Justice Sonia Sotomayor to delay the Obamacare contraception mandate for religious groups was "brilliant," Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said on Thursday.

"The lawyers picked a brilliant, brilliant case to bring in front of Justice Sotomayor ... What could be more sympathetic to anybody, whether you're Catholic or not Catholic?" Dershowitz asked on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Justice Sotomayor grew up basically in the shadow of that kind of teaching — and these are nuns, who say they can't violate their own religious principles," he said.

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Justice Sotomayor issued the delay late Tuesday at the request of the Little Sisters of the Poor's Mullen Home for the Aged, a nursing home in Denver operated by the Baltimore-based order of Catholic nuns. The home serves about 100 low-income seniors.

Sotomayor, 59, who is Catholic, began serving on the high court in August 2009.

The order is part of a larger effort by Catholic-affiliated groups nationwide to halt provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require companies, regardless of religious beliefs, to provide contraceptives to their employees.

The Obamacare mandate was scheduled to take effect Wednesday.

The court is scheduled to hear a challenge this spring by Hobby Lobby Inc., the Oklahoma City-based and crafts chain with 13,000 full-time employees.

The company, which won in the lower courts, contends that the contraception mandate violates their religious liberties.

"There are two principles that are clear in American law," Dershowitz said. "Number one is that you don't make people violate their religious principles unless it's a very, very, very, very strong and compelling reason for it. Number two: You don't give people a free ride and there's room for compromise."

Despite Sotomayor's decision, however, Dershowitz does not believe that Obamacare will be overturned by the court in the Hobby Lobby case.

"This is a relatively small part, and the health bill would have done fine if it didn't cover this kind of thing and required people to insure for it themselves," he told Malzberg. "But they decided to go all the way — and inevitably there's going to be religious conflict, and the Supreme Court is there to resolve these religious conflicts."

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"There's not a single Protestant on the Supreme Court," said Dershowitz, referring to a court comprising six Roman Catholics and three Jews. "There are going to be a lot of people on that court who are sympathetic to religious views, and so it's not easy to predict how the case will come out — but it's an important case."

The law professor also attacked an editorial in The New York Times calling for clemency or reduced punishment for former National Security Agency subcontractor Edward Snowden for leaking classified information about the agency's broad surveillance programs last year.

"It would be an outrage to give him an outright pardon. He committed a crime," Dershowitz said. "He committed a crime knowingly and he had alternatives."

See "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

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