Editor's Note: The following is a modified abstract of a paper presented at a seminar held by Christ the King Law Center (CKLC) on October 5, 2013 titled Is the Constitution Catholic? Part I of this article can be found here.
As stated in part I of this article the "ultra-conservative" Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated:
- 'We [the Supreme Court] have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter…: “Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.” We first had the occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States… where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. “Laws” we said, “are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices… Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”’ 
[P]erhaps a more recent example of these “valid laws” that Justice Scalia was describing is the decision in January 2012 by the Obama administration to issue a mandate under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) that requires all employer health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections. The ministries of institutions like Catholic Schools, hospitals and charities-educating the young, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry-are not considered sufficiently religious to qualify for the mandate’s narrow “religious exemption.” Not only will such institutions be forced to provide services that directly contradict the teachings of the Church, but more alarmingly-this anti-Catholic federal government is claiming the right to decide for Catholic institutions what constitutes their ministry.
The outrage against the mandate was so great that in February 2012 President Obama offered an “accommodation” whereby insurance providers, rather than employers, would pay for the services to which religious employers have moral objections. But this did not solve the problem because at the end of the day the mandate still forces all employers to provide health plans with free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs or face crippling fines.
Numerous lawsuits  were filed across the country which, among other things, challenged the constitutionality of the mandate. While no final decision  has been issued many courts have granted injunctions preventing the mandate from being enforced while other courts have denied them. One court that denied an injunction against the mandate stated:
- “Plaintiffs’ claim based on the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment is almost sure to fail [because]… [Obamacare’s]… contraceptive coverage requirement is neutral and generally applicable. [The right to freely practice one’s religion] does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply [with a] valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).” 
As Justice Scalia’s decision in Employment Division makes clear, the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does not operate to invalidate neutral laws of general applicability. Based on this decision the courts can decide that the Obamacare contraceptive mandate does not target a particular religious group, nor are they designed to interfere with a particular religious faith and that they apply equally to non-exempt, non-grandfathered plans. 
 See Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 878-79 (1990).
 See “HHS Mandate Central”. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Web. 30 September 2013. http://www.becketfund.org/hhsinformationcentral/.
 Since October 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court has issued two rulings regarding the Obamacare contraceptive mandate which will be discussed in a subsequent blog.
 Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius, No. 12-cv-
1096, 2012 WL 6845677 (W.D. Mich. Dec. 24, 2012).