Supreme Court sends Obamacare 'contraception mandate' cases back to lower courts
United States Supreme Court Building at night in Washington, DC (Shutterstock)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ducked a major ruling on a challenge by Christian nonprofit employers to an Obamacare mandate to provide female workers health insurance covering birth control by sending the cases back to lower courts for further proceedings.

The justices, who in previous decisions since 2012 fended off other conservative challenges to the law, ruled unanimously to ask lower courts to take another look at the issue. It did not rule on the merits of whether an accommodation crafted by the Obama administration in 2013 to ensure that the employees receive contraception coverage violates their employer's religious rights.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)