U.S. asks top court not to extend Catholics' contraception exemption

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 3, 2014 10:16am EST

WASHINGTON Jan 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. government asked the Supreme Court on Friday not to allow Roman Catholic-affiliated groups a temporary exemption from a part of the Obamacare healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception.

On Tuesday night, Justice Sonia Sotomayor had granted Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order of nuns that runs nursing homes across the country, and Christian Brothers Services, a group that administers healthcare plans for Catholic organizations, a temporary injunction preventing enforcement of the so-called "contraception mandate" against them while litigation continues.

Now that the court has received the government's filing, Sotomayor - or the nine justices if she chooses to refer it to the whole court - will decide whether the injunction should be extended while the case continues in lower courts. There is no deadline by which the court has to act. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller)