The most striking thing about the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key part of the Affordable Care Act was the way it seemed to take an unprecedented, sweeping step to end an entire aspect of American life.
It was also a dramatic shift for the way in which the courts, as a whole, viewed gender inequality in the workplace.
“I think it’s very important to remember that this decision was about discrimination, it was about a lot of different things,” said Susan G. Komen President Joanne Chesimard, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“The Supreme Court is not a rubber stamp.”
As the justices read the mandate to women, they looked to their history.
The court’s predecessor, the conservative majority, said it was meant to make it harder for women to enter the workforce and that it had nothing to do with race or gender.
But many other cases in recent years, including ones challenging health care costs, have been about sex discrimination.
For years, a handful of high-profile cases in which women sued men who discriminated against them have been settled in favor of the men.
In 2015, the Supreme Courts ruled in favor, saying that sex discrimination was not a ground for the discrimination to apply.
The cases have been widely cited as a warning to businesses to treat women with respect.
And, for women who want to work, the ruling could help them take control of their lives.
But as the women’s rights movement has taken off, the courts have been turning to other issues as a way to challenge gender discrimination.
One of the most important legal precedents came in 2014, when the court ruled that the federal government cannot discriminate against people because of their race.
In doing so, it essentially gave businesses a free pass on enforcing gender stereotypes.
But the court’s interpretation of the law has been challenged by business groups, and some have suggested that it could open the door to discrimination against women, especially minorities, who make up the majority of the workforce.
“It is the first time the court has ruled on a case that is about gender and race and that has implications for women’s lives and livelihoods,” said Sara L. Satterfield, president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, an advocacy group that advocates for women.
“There’s an increasing recognition that there’s a lot more at stake in women than just a paycheck.”
In 2015 alone, a federal judge struck down part of President Barack Obama’s health care law, and other courts have ruled that women can’t be fired for being pregnant.
But with the court ruling on the mandate, the impact of the mandate’s passage could be far-reaching.
For women who don’t have a job yet, the mandate could mean the difference between having access to paid maternity leave and not.
It could mean a better pay gap for women than a gap of 10% that existed before the mandate.
For people who already have a paid job but want to take one, it could mean paying the difference.
For a mother who is a stay-at-home mother who might want to give birth at home, it might mean the choice of being home at least four days a week or taking the extra day off.
In the case of a stay at home mom, it would mean a new option.
But for many women who are pregnant and have already decided on a paid work schedule, the outcome is unclear.
The ruling could be an important moment in their lives, said Elizabeth M. Schlesinger, a professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
“A lot of people are looking at this as a very significant milestone,” she said.
“But I think we’re going to see a lot less change in terms of what women’s options are in the coming months and years.”
Some have argued that the ruling will open the floodgates to other women’s discrimination.
The decision also could have wider implications for the courts.
Many of the same conservative justices who sided with the mandate in 2014 could now be on the fence.
For example, in a case in 2018, the court decided that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 did not apply to women.
The issue came up again in a dispute over pay discrimination in the wake of the decision, but this time, the justices seemed to rule against the plaintiff, who is now appealing.
“You are now looking at women’s cases that were not before the court in 2014 that were now on appeal,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a conservative who voted with the majority on the Supreme Justices’ ruling.
“This has implications on women’s employment and compensation that are pretty significant.”
In a case last year, the majority opinion was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who also voted to strike out the mandate but was not on the court when the decision was announced.
That decision sparked a firestorm of criticism and backlash, including a lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court.
The case involved a female employee at a small,