Zubik public comment period
In May, the US Supreme Court punted Zubik v. Burwell back to the states, asking them to “arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women” continue to receive contraceptive coverage. In July, the Obama administration released a “request for information” about alternative options for providing contraceptive coverage to women, while respecting the petitioners’ religious liberty. The comment period was open for 60 days, ending September 20, according to The New York Times.
Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represented some of the plaintiffs in Zubik, told the National Catholic Register that this request suggests that the administration is doing “precisely what the Supreme Court said, which was to go work out some other way of doing this.”
Both sides offered templates for commenters to use. “Like the majority of the 70 million Catholics in the United States, I support contraceptive coverage and religious liberty for all people, no matter where they work,” read Catholics for Choice’s template. CFC was able to gather 646 comments during the 60-day period. The administration will now provide a report to the federal appeals courts that heard Zubik, and will offer a timeline for next steps, according to The New York Times.