DAVID A. ZUBIK, ET AL., PETITIONERS
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.; PRIESTS FOR LIFE, ET AL., PETITIONERS
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.; ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON, ET AL., PETITIONERS
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.; EAST TEXAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY, ET AL., PETITIONERS
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.; LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR HOME FOR THE AGED, DENVER, COLORADO, ET AL., PETITIONERS
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.; SOUTHERN NAZARENE UNIVERSITY, ET AL., PETITIONERS
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.; AND GENEVA COLLEGE, PETITIONER
SYLVIA BURWELL, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL
WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE THIRD CIRCUIT
Francisco argued the cause for petitioners (Nos. 14-1418,
14-1453, & 14-150).
Clement argued the cause for petitioners (Nos. 15-35, 15-105,
15-119 & 15-191).
B. Verrilli, Jr. argued the cause for respondent.
Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan.
L.Ed.2d 697] PER CURIAM.
are primarily nonprofit organizations that provide health
insurance to their employees. Federal regulations require
petitioners to cover certain contraceptives as part of [194
L.Ed.2d 698] their health plans, unless petitioners submit a
form either to their insurer or to the Federal Government,
stating that they object on religious grounds to providing
contraceptive coverage. Petitioners allege that submitting
this notice substantially burdens the exercise of their
religion, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act of 1993, 107 Stat. 1488, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb et
oral argument, the Court requested supplemental briefing from
the parties addressing " whether contraceptive coverage
could be provided to petitioners' employees, through
petitioners' insurance companies, without any such notice
from petitioners." Post, p. ___, 194 L.Ed.2d
599. Both petitioners and the Government now confirm that
such an option is feasible. Petitioners have clarified that
their religious exercise is not infringed where they "
need to do nothing more than contract for a plan that does
not include coverage for some or all forms of
contraception," even if their employees receive
cost-free contraceptive coverage from the same insurance
company. Supplemental Brief for Petitioners 4. The Government
has confirmed that the challenged procedures " for
employers with insured plans could be modified to operate in
the manner posited in the Court's order while still
ensuring that the affected women receive contraceptive
coverage seamlessly, together with the rest of their health
coverage." Supplemental Brief for Respondents 14-15.
light of the positions asserted by the parties in their
supplemental briefs, the Court vacates the judgments below
and remands to the respective United States Courts of Appeals
for the Third, Fifth, Tenth, and D. C. Circuits. Given the
gravity of the dispute and the substantial clarification and
refinement in the positions of the parties, the parties on
remand should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an
approach going forward that accommodates petitioners'
religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women
covered by petitioners' health plans " receive full
and equal health coverage, including contraceptive
coverage." Id., at 1. We anticipate that the
Courts of Appeals will allow the parties sufficient time to
resolve any outstanding issues between them.
Court finds the foregoing approach more suitable than
addressing the significantly clarified views of the parties
in the first instance. Although there may still be areas of
disagreement between the parties on issues of implementation,
the importance of those areas of potential concern is
uncertain, as is the necessity of this Court's
involvement at this point to resolve them. This Court has
taken similar action in other cases in the past. See,
e.g., Madison County v. Oneida Indian
Nation of N.Y., 562 U.S. 42, 43, 131 S.Ct. 704, 178
L.Ed.2d 587 (2011) ( per curiam ) (vacating and
remanding for the Second Circuit to " address, in the
first instance, whether to revisit its ruling on sovereign
immunity in light of [a] new factual development, and--if
necessary--proceed to address other questions in the case
consistent with its sovereign immunity ruling" );
Kiyemba v. Obama, 559 U.S. 131, 132, 130
S.Ct. 1235, 175 L.Ed.2d 1070 (2010) ( per curiam )
(vacating and remanding for the D. C. Circuit to "
determine, in the first instance, what further proceedings in
that court or in the District Court are necessary and [194
L.Ed.2d 699] appropriate for the full and prompt disposition
of the case in light of the new developments" );
Villarreal v. United States, 572 U.S. ___,
134 S.Ct. 1939, 188 L.Ed.2d 957 (2014) (vacating and
remanding to the Fifth Circuit " for further
consideration in light of the position asserted by the
Solicitor General in his brief for the United States" ).
Court expresses no view on the merits of the cases. In
particular, the Court does not decide whether
petitioners' religious exercise has been substantially
burdened, whether the Government has a compelling interest,
or whether the current regulations are the least restrictive
means of serving that interest.
in this opinion, or in the opinions or orders of the courts
below, is to affect the ability of the Government to ensure
that women covered by petitioners' health plans "
obtain, without cost, the full range of FDA approved
contraceptives." Wheaton College v.
Burwell, 573 U.S. ___, ___, 134 S.Ct. 2806, 2807,
189 L.Ed.2d 856 (2014). Through this litigation, petitioners
have made the Government aware of their view that they meet
" the requirements for exemption from the contraceptive
coverage requirement on religious grounds."
Id., at ___, 134 S.Ct. 2806, 2807, 189 L.Ed.2d 856.
Nothing in this opinion, or in the opinions or orders of the
courts below, " precludes the Government from relying on
this notice, to the extent it considers it necessary, to
facilitate the provision of full contraceptive coverage"
going forward. Ibid. Because the Government may rely
on this notice, the Government may not impose taxes or
penalties on petitioners for failure to provide the relevant
judgments of the Courts of Appeals are vacated, and the cases
are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this