The legal battle over Obamacare’s contraception mandate is essentially tied as it heads into Tuesday’s Supreme Court arguments. Both sides have suffered some bad losses in lower courts, and the weaknesses that hurt them before could spell trouble again on Tuesday.
The Court has combined two cases on the birth-control mandate—one the government won, and one it lost. Both challenges were filed by for-profit companies that say the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners.
Five federal appeals courts have heard such challenges, and their rulings are a mess of conflicts. The courts not only disagree with each other, they’re also divided internally. As judges agreed on one question but disagreed on another, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals cobbled together four different majorities in one ruling against the mandate. (That case, filed by Hobby Lobby, is one of the challenges before the Supreme Court this week.)
In other words, there are good reasons why each side might lose at the Supreme Court.
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