Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Court: Obama must rewrite contraception mandate to accommodate religious liberty

 As many are aware, there is a serious ongoing dispute between the Obama administration and employers - particularly religious employers such as churches, hospitals and schools - over the issue of mandated coverage of contraceptives in medical insurance plans.  These employers have filed many lawsuits based on the First Amendment.

Within the past 2 weeks, the Obama administration has suffered two separate defeats in court.

Yesterday, December 18, in Wheaton College v. Sebelius, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered that the Obama administration must rewrite its regulation:

"Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cannot enforce the Obamacare contraception mandate as it is written, but must follow through on a promise to rewrite the rule to accommodate religious liberty".

This order was reported in the Washington Examiner here.

The Examiner also reported on this previous decision on December 7th.  In this decision, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York dismissed a DOJ challenge to Archdiocese of New York v. Sebelius.  The dismissal thus allows that lawsuit to proceed.  The Archdiocese of New York is contesting the same contraceptive mandate. 

In the earlier decision the trial judge noted that the president promised to accommodate the concerns of religiously-affiliated institutions - even while HHS went ahead and finalized the proposed regulation without change. The judge mocked the administration in his opinion, stating "“There is no, ‘Trust us, changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.”
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