Thirteen Roman Catholic dioceses and some Catholic-related groups scattered lawsuits across a dozen federal courts last week claiming that President Obama was violating their religious freedom
by including contraceptives in basic health care coverage for female employees. It was a dramatic stunt, full of indignation but built on air.
Mr. Obama’s contraception-coverage mandate specifically exempts houses of worship. If he had ordered all other organizations affiliated with a religion to pay for their employees’ contraception coverage, that policy could probably be justified under Supreme Court precedent, including a 1990 opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia.But that argument does not have to be made in court, because Mr. Obama very publicly backed down from his original position and gave those groups a way around the contraception-coverage requirement.