Sotomayor, however, argued — correctly, in our view — that it was not the court’s business to decide how a religion prioritizes its tenets. “To confine the protection of the First Amendment to only those religious practices that are mandatory would necessarily lead us down the unnavigable road of attempting to resolve intra-faith disputes over religious law and doctrine,” she wrote.
Indeed, it is not the place of any court, nor of the Obama administration, to decide which tenets actually count. In the case of the related lawsuits by Catholic institutions against Obamacare’s mandatory contraception coverage, Obama’s defenders argue that a large majority of married Catholics (the most accurate estimate is around 70 percent) fail to observe this teaching. But this point is irrelevant to the law and the Constitution. Christianity is afforded the status of a religion under our laws, despite the routine failure of about 100 percent of its adherents to observe its strict commandment to love God and neighbor.
Sotomayor’s ruling may have temporarily imposed unjust fines on Hobby Lobby, but there is cause to hope that she and perhaps even other liberals on the court will show consistency when this or one of the many related cases is reviewed by all nine justices.
— The Washington Examiner