The nation, as it were, held its breath for a while as the Supreme Court pondered and today issued its ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court has a special role to play in our system of government. The Constitution gives it the power to check, if necessary, the actions of the president and Congress. It can tell a president that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violates the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws violates the Constitution.
The Supreme Court is the final judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all, the Constitution. The highest court in the land, whose job it is to determine and review the constitutionality of laws, has ruled that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional; thus bringing to closure the controversy concerning its existence as the law of the land becoming fully operational in 2014. The Court, of course, does not necessarily rule on the popular merits of the law – simply its legality.
The decision of the Supreme Court, furthermore, does not affect the constitutionality of the Health and Human Services mandate that will force Catholic institutions to pay for contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and other abortifacient procedures in their insurance plans. The HHS mandate was issued after the Affordable Care Act was made law and the case challenging it was submitted to the High Court. In other words, our lawsuit grinds on in the courts and our efforts to challenge it are now more significant than ever.
The HHS mandate still poses a threat to the cherished First Amendment of all Americans, not just Catholics, although it is particularly odious to us. Our work in awakening the consciousness of Catholics and other men and women of good will is not over and we have not been overcome by the ruling of the Supreme Court in favor of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. To lose our energy in the struggle at this point is to simply give up – capitulate – suggesting that this is a political matter only. We have never held that to be the case.
While political issues boil around us, and certainly blatant language abounds, ours is a struggle that continues. Ours is a struggle beyond political boundaries that maintains the value and integrity of personal religious liberty and the power of the Constitution; we have yet to hear the end of the story concerning the assault on the First Amendment. We must remain vigilant in our hope for a legal victory. We need to stay strong in our spiritual belief of the correctness of our position; keep our hearts steadfast in prayer remaining constant in seeking divine guidance and support, for our cause is just.