The Supreme Court's 4-4 ruling yesterday that will allow unions to continue to force people who don't agree with or belong to them has rightfully gotten a lot of attention.

The Court's decision to ask for more information and put off deciding in the religious liberty case with the Little Sisters of the Poor as plaintiffs is also highly significant.

The Becket Fund, which is representing the Little Sisters, characterized what happened this way:

Less than a week after it heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, the U.S. Supreme Court took the unusual step of asking for additional information, telling both sides to discuss alternative ways to avoid forcing religious women to provide services against their faith.

“This is an excellent development. Clearly the Supreme Court understood the Sisters’ concern that the government’s current scheme forces them to violate their religion,” said Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “We look forward to offering alternatives that protect the Little Sisters’ religious liberty while allowing the government to meet its stated goals.”

Likewise, David French of National Review calls the court's request for more information "a promising development for the Little Sisters:"

The Court’s order acknowledges that the current Obama administration regulation requires the Sisters’ “involvement” in providing contraceptive coverage and seems to be asking for alternatives that would accomplish the government’s goals without infringing on the Sisters’ religious liberty. It’s unwise to read too much into orders like this, but I agree with Becket – it’s a far better development for the Sisters than for the government.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a 175-year-old religious order that serves the indigent elderly, has said that it violates their religious consciences and the teachings of the Catholic Church for them to buy employee health insurance that covers contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. The government has given them what it considers an out, but the nuns say that it still makes them complicit. These services could easily be offered through the government exchanges that would not require the nuns signing off on them.

Richard Epstein of the Hoover Institution explained the case shortly after it was argued last week:

The government concedes that the religious organizations in question believe that they are “complicit” in the commission of a religious wrong by supplying that information. At this point, the case should be over. Forcing people to choose between fidelity to their religious beliefs and serious fines and penalties has to count as a serious burden under RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act]. Nor is there any compelling reason to force them to supply services that are freely available elsewhere. Against this backdrop, Zubik should be an easy case.

Epstein does a great job of dissecting the comments made by justices during oral arguments.