Supreme Court to parties in “Little Sisters of the Poor” — work it out yourselves

The Supreme Court has issued a unanimous per curiam opinion in the Little Sisters of the Poor case. Rather than deciding the legal issues before it, the Court vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals, which was adverse to the Little Sisters, and sent the case back to that court so the parties can be given “sufficient time to resolve any outstanding issues between them.”

Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor wrote separately to emphasize that the Court hasn’t decided anything.

Ed Whelan calls the decision a punt, which clearly it is. However, Ed notes that a punt isn’t always a bad thing.

I agree, and punting may be a sensible outcome in this case. In any event, as Ed points out, it beats a 5-3 victory for the government or a 4-4 affirmance, which would have left in place the rulings below.