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D.C. Cir. Cancels Obamacare Subsidies Arguments Thanks to SCOTUS

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By William Peacock, Esq. on November 17, 2014 11:16 AM

Big shocker: A lower court decided not to hear a case because a higher court is going to decide the issue for them! Yeah, we saw this coming too once the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Fourth Circuit's Obamacare subsidies case: The D.C. Circuit pressed pause on its own en banc consideration of the issue.

Meantime, also in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel upheld the Obama administration's newest workaround for religious exemption to the birth control mandate.

Obamacare litigation never ends, does it?

D.C. Circuit Circumvented

When the D.C. Circuit and the Fourth Circuit dropped their Obamacare subsidies decisions on the same day, we knew we were in for some fun court-watching. First, there was the circuit split:

Then the D.C. Circuit granted an en banc rehearing. And then SCOTUS granted certiorari in the Fourth Circuit case, which is why the D.C. Circuit canceled its en banc arguments last week, reports The Washington Times.

New Religious Exemption Paperwork Approved

Do the newest religious exemption procedures accommodate nonprofit religious groups enough?

The Obama administration was forced to revamp its procedures in light of several court decisions holding that the existing procedures "require[d] participation in an activity prohibited by religion" because they required these organizations to facilitate the procurement of contraceptive coverage by locating a third-party administrator.

Now, the requirement is either a letter objecting to providing coverage, or a short form. Is that too much to ask? Apparently not, per a D.C. Circuit ruling released Friday.

"That bit of paperwork is more straight-forward and minimal than many that are staples of nonprofit organizations' compliance with law in the modern administrative state," wrote appeals judge Cornelia Pillard. Pillard, a recent Obama appointee, was joined by Robert Wilkins, a fellow Obama appointee and Judith Rogers, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, reports The Associated Press.

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