The Trump administration had expanded rules allowing employers to opt out of being required to provide birth control coverage to their employees at no cost to the employees, so long as the opting out was convincingly based on religious or moral grounds. Federal District Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California has issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the expansion while an underlying lawsuit against the expansion is underway.
Ordinarily, blocking an enforcement while the underlying case proceeds is no big deal, but this one is just plain wrong. Gilliam based his ruling in significant part on the premise that
the [expansion] would result in a “substantial number” of women losing birth control coverage, which would be a “massive policy shift.”
For one thing, given how cheap birth control drugs and devices are and how easily obtained prescriptions for them are, it’s not at all clear that a “substantial number” of women would be unable to obtain birth control drugs or devices.
But the larger, vastly more important matter is this. As Gilliam himself noted, the expansion would be a policy shift (massive or not, that’s irrelevant here). Policy matters are political matters, and so they clearly are outside the purview of the courts. Policy—political—matters are the exclusive province of the political arms of our government and of We the People. A judge who intrudes, from his bench, into political matters clearly violates his oath to uphold the law. Making policy has no place in his oath.