SCOTUS Non-Decision in Contraceptive Case Highlights Court’s Vacancy

The Supreme Court issued a non-decision Monday in a case about contraception, the Affordable Care Act and religious freedom. At issue was whether Obamacare’s mandate to provide free birth control is a substantial burden on a religious organization. The eight justices asked the two sides to work out a compromise in the lower courts. The unanimous decision to send the case back to the appellate level is an attempt to avoid a 4-4 deadlock. And it highlights how the court’s empty ninth seat has become an issue as the term winds down and Congress continues to refuse to hold a hearing on the nomination of Merrick Garland.