Some of the most influential Catholic institutions in the country filed suit against the Obama administration Monday over the so-called contraception mandate, in one of the biggest coordinated legal challenges to the rule to date.The key plaintiff here, at least symbolically, is Notre Dame, which as an institution gave President Obama a lot of credibility early on in his presidency, making him its commencement speaker in 2009. Having Notre Dame jump off the bandwagon is substantial.
Claiming their "fundamental rights hang in the balance," a total of 43 plaintiffs filed a dozen separate federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the requirement. Among the organizations filing were the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and The Catholic University of America.
The timing of these lawsuits is interesting, since the Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare later this summer. It's entirely possible that these lawsuits are going to be moot.
I suspect there's a message in that, especially to the Catholic justices on the Court, of which there are several, including Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Scalia, Alito, Sotomayor and Kennedy.
There is another message, though -- the Church, through its health care ministry, is a huge player in health care in this country. There are a lot of Catholic hospitals. If Obamacare survives the Court and the president survives the election, the Church may be getting out of the health care business. If the Church starts shuttering its hospitals, there are going to be a lot of communities that will be in big trouble.