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Alliance Defending Freedom: The Conestoga case represents a threat to everyone’s religious freedom. If corporations can’t exercise religion, even religious schools and churches might find themselves being told that they can’t practice their faith because they are incorporated.
Patheos: In ADF’s petition for certiorari, the Hahns’ lawyers ask the Supreme Court to reverse the Third Circuit. The petition states, “Petitioners, a Mennonite family and their closely-held, family-run woodworking business, object as a matter of conscience to facilitating certain contraceptives that they believe can destroy human life.” . . . “All Americans, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” ADF Vice President David Cortman—who is lead counsel in the case—told Breitbart News in a statement. “A major aspect of freedom is at stake: If the government can force the Hahns to violate their faith just to engage in their livelihood, then the government can do the same or worse to others.”
Lancaster Online: According to a report Thursday in Central Penn Business Journal, the Harrisburg-based Independence Law Center, which has been representing Conestoga Wood, said in a news release Thursday that it’s partnering with attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom on the case. “Because of disagreement among the Courts of Appeal and the important issue at stake, we believe there is a reasonable chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will grant review and take this case,” the release said
When, not if: Conflicting court rulings set up an ObamaCare decision at the Supreme Court | LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews: On Thursday, Alliance Defending Freedom asked the high court to hear arguments in the case of a Mennonite cabinetmaker who opposes the mandate on religious grounds, but whose request for religious accommodation was denied by the Third Circuit in July . . . “I think it’s likely the Supreme Court is going to end up deciding this thing,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which organized many of the more than 60 lawsuits opposing the mandate, in an interview with The Hill last month. “The question is when.”
NBC (Reuters): Separately, a Christian legal group called the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition on Thursday seeking review of a different appeals court ruling in which the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled against the employer . . .Lawyers for Alliance Defending Freedom said in the second petition that their clients, the Hahn family, “object as a matter of conscience to facilitating certain contraceptives that they believe can destroy human life.”
SCOTUS Blog: Lawyers for a family-owned woodworking business in Pennsylvania on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to bar the government from requiring the firm to provide birth-control health insurance for its workers, under the new federal health care law. This is the first of multiple cases on the issue that likely will reach the Court out of the sixty-plus cases working their way through lower courts. The new petition (a large file) is here.
Louise Radnofsky at Wall Street Journal: Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious legal-rights group, filed a petition on behalf of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a cabinet part manufacturer owned by a Mennonite Christian family . . . You can see Alliance Defending Freedom’s petition here: http://www.adfmedia.org/files/ConestogaCertPetition.pdf
NewsOK.com: The federal government will challenge a preliminary injunction that Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. won in July that has allowed the company avoid millions of dollars in fines for refusing to cover the cost of some contraceptives for its employees.
Washington Times: The Thomas More Society made its announcement one day after its client, Autocam, lost its bid before a federal appeals court to gain relief from the “contraception mandate” tied to the new health care law.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart (linked on Drudge Report and Townhall): “All Americans, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” ADF Vice President David Cortman—who is lead counsel in the case—told Breitbart News in a statement. “A major aspect of freedom is at stake: If the government can force the Hahns to violate their faith just to engage in their livelihood, then the government can do the same or worse to others.” ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman agrees. “The question is whether the government can pick and choose what faith is, who the faithful are, and when and where they can exercise that faith.” Bowman, who has argued several of ADF’s ten lawsuits nationwide against the HHS Mandate, added as another dimension of this case, “The cost of religious freedom for the Hahn family and many other job creators across the country who face this mandate is severe. The potential for massive fines and lawsuits would cripple their businesses and threaten jobs.”
The first Supreme Court challenge to a ruling on Obamacare’s abortion pill mandate | Alliance Defending Freedom
David Cortman: “If the government has the power to put families out of business and working people out of jobs to impose its agenda, there is no limit to the damage it can do to freedom.” Alliance Defending Freedom information page on the Conestoga Wood Specialties litigation.
Colorado Christian Business Granted Preliminary Injunction Against Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate | ChristianNews.Net
ChristianNews.Net: Following the decision, which grants the company an exemption from the requirement in Obamacare while its case moves forward, attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which had been representing Cherry Creek Mortgage in court, applauded the decision. “People of faith in this nation, including business owners, have the constitutionally protected freedom to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration should not be attempting to deprive Americans of this cherished liberty,” stated ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “Former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong together with the other members of his family and the May family who own Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. have long desired to honor God in all they do. Today’s court order allows them to continue to do that while this case proceeds so that they are not forced to act contrary to their religious convictions.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Pennsylvania family and its woodworking business asked the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday to hear its lawsuit against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate, which could cost the family nearly $3 million per month in fines if it doesn’t agree to live contrary to its Christian convictions.
Obamacare Anti-Conscience Mandate Loses in Another Court: Another Win for Free Exercise | Heritage Foundation
Elizabeth Slattery at Heritage Foundation: As the counsel for Cherry Creek stated, “People of faith in this nation, including business owners, have the constitutionally protected freedom to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration should not be attempting to deprive Americans of this cherished liberty.” Yesterday’s order is another blow to the anti-conscience mandate and a step in the direction of safeguarding Americans’ first freedom.
Becket Fund: Today, the United States government asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take the Hobby Lobby case to determine whether the Green family will be required to provide and pay for life-terminating drugs and devices in violation of their religious beliefs. The government’s appeal makes it highly likely that the Supreme Court will decide the issue in the upcoming term.
Ed Whelan at NRO: Whereas the Third Circuit had ruled that “a for-profit, secular corporation cannot engage in the exercise of religion” (and therefore did not address the question “whether such a corporation is a ‘person’ under the RFRA”), the Sixth Circuit ruled that “corporations primarily organized for secular, profit-seeking purposes” are not “persons” under RFRA.
Catholic Culture: The US Catholic bishops remain firmly committed to the fight against the contraceptive mandate in the Obama administration’s health-care program, Cardinal Timothy Dolan on New York has announced.
Newson6.com (includes video): Piper declined to speak with us, but an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is filing the lawsuit for OKWU, said the contraceptive mandates force the university to compromise its religious beliefs. “They believe that the government is putting enormous pressure on them to facilitate the use of these drugs that destroy human life, and thus violate the sixth commandment,” said Greg Baylor.
ABP: A federal appeals court ruled Sept. 17 that a for-profit manufacturing corporation must provide workers with health insurance that includes no-cost birth control even if it violates the religious teaching of the owners.
“People of faith in this nation, including business owners, have the constitutionally protected freedom to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration should not be attempting to deprive Americans of this cherished liberty.
Alec Torres at National Review: The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a legal organization dedicated to advocating for religious liberty, defended the co-owners of Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. Michael J. Norton, senior counsel for ADF, released this statement after the decision . . .
Weekly Standard: “‘Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage,’ he said. ‘I would much rather see another plan that really attacks costs. And I think that’s what the American public wants to see. I mean, the American public is not behind this bill.’”
CARE2.com: According to Michael Norton, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom:
PolicyMic: The most recent complaint alleges, “the Mandate illegally and unconstitutionally requires Trijicon to violate its and its owners’ religious beliefs by forcing the company to provide abortion-inducing items, such as ‘Plan B’ (the so-called ‘morning after pill’), Ella (the so-called “week after pill”), and intrauterine devices (‘IUDs’).” According to the Alliance Defending Freedom’s press release, “As part of its benefits program, Trijicon has historically offered health care insurance in a way that is consistent with its life-affirming company values.”
‘The Word Person…Includes Corporations’: Why the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Protects Both For- and Nonprofit Corporations
Christiansen, Jeremy M., ‘The Word Person…Includes Corporations’: Why the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Protects Both For- and Nonprofit Corporations (August 30, 2013). Utah Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2318499
Religion Clause Blog: In M.K. Chambers Co. v. Department of Health and Human Services, (ED MI, Sept. 13, 2013), a Michigan federal district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate against a a closely-held machinery components company and its two Catholic owners.
World Magazine: The Justice Department has 45 days to appeal the preliminary injunction order entered in Briscoe’s favor, said his attorney Michael J. Norton, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Hill: The Obama administration is firing back at Florida health officials after they reportedly barred ObamaCare’s outreach workers from county health units, where the “navigators” intended to help people sign up for health coverage.
The Hill: Forty-three House Republicans on Thursday endorsed legislation that would keep the government open while defunding ObamaCare. The sponsorship total reveals that there is a significant bloc of opposition to a plan from GOP leaders that would avoid a government shutdown by requiring that the Senate take a vote on the healthcare law.
Volokh Conspiracy: Amazingly, the legal battle over Obamacare in Arizona is still not over. Today the Goldwater Institute filed suit, asserting that the vote to expand violated the Arizona Constitution. The Arizona Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to pass a new tax increase. The suit alleges that the vote to expand medicaid included a new tax, which was not backed by a 2/3 majority. In a fitting dose of déjà vu, supporters of the expansion say it is a “fee,” not a tax. It’s unclear if any saving construction will be applied.
AP: The House passed a bill Thursday to ban new subsidies to help people buy health insurance until the Obama administration enacts a new verification system to ensure benefits go only to those who are eligible.
SCOTUS Blog Petition of the Day focuses on Big Sky Colony, Inc. v. Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
NC Register: The January 2014 deadline for compliance with the federal contraception mandate is just months away, so what will the U.S. bishops do? The New York cardinal offers a few hints.
SCOTUS Blog: The Court has not yet considered any of the sequels that have been developing in the wake of its decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, so the new petition inLiberty University v. Lew (docket 13-306) will provide the first chance. The petition was filed on September 5. The Obama administration response is now due on October 9, but that deadline could be extended.
Washington Times: Sen. Jeff Flake on Tuesday led a coalition of Republicans in filing a bill to delay by one year any provisions of Obamacare that are set to take effect Jan. 1 or later.
LiveActionNews: According to Michael Norton, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom: Every American, including business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Stephen Briscoe will be able to do just that…. The cost of freedom for this businessman could be millions of dollars per year in fines that will cripple his businesses if the Obama administration ultimately has its way. This lawsuit ensures that Washington bureaucrats cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living.
Wall Street Journal Video: Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Paul Howard on why Fortune 500 companies are shifting former employees off company health plans and onto Medicare exchanges.
The Hill: “The health insurance provisions,” the groups wrote in a letter dated Friday, “will undermine the successful, longstanding Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and increase costs for millions of federal employees, retirees and their families.”
LifeNews: “Every American, including business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Stephen Briscoe will be able to do just that,” said Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton, a former U.S. attorney. “The cost of freedom for this businessman could be millions of dollars per year in fines that will cripple his businesses if the Obama administration ultimately has its way. This lawsuit ensures that Washington bureaucrats cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living.”
A federal court issued an order Thursday that stops enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado businessman while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.
Mich. family business requests religious freedom protection from Obama mandate | Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Michigan family and its fastener supply business filed a lawsuit Thursdayagainst the Obama administration to halt enforcement of the abortion pill mandate.
Matt Bowman at Washington Times: Too many left-leaning groups attack religious freedom, and lately, it has been especially apparent in the context of Obamacare. In doing so, they are undermining the First Amendment freedoms of all Americans, including their own.
LifeNews (chart): Thirty-three percent of women who had abortions in 2008 were uninsured, 30 percent had private health insurance and 31 percent were enrolled in Medicaid, according to a 2010 Guttmacher Institute report.
Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. The court’s decision is a positive step in the right direction for the Armstrongs and for all family job creators across the country. As many other courts have found, the abortion pill mandate is an excessive burden on the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution to all Americans.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in our ObamaCare case, Liberty University v. Lew (formerly called Liberty University v. Geithner). Liberty Counsel’s challenge to ObamaCare is the most comprehensive case pending, arguing that (1) the entire Employer Mandate is unconstitutional because Congress lacks authority to force employers to buy or provide government-mandated health insurance, (2) the contraception-abortifacient mandate forcing employers to provide free abortion-inducing drugs or devices violates the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause, and (3) the Individual Mandate forcing individuals to fund abortion violates the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment Free Exercise of Religion Clause.
Volokh Conspiracy: In my previous post, I discussed how the government decided to argue that the Anti-Injunction Act was not a barrier to the Court hearing the case in 2012. The Solicitor General’s second big decision, after staying the course with the AIA, was how to frame the commerce clause issue.
Joshua Blackman at Volokh Conspiracy: Hi everyone. Many thanks to Eugene, Randy, and everyone else at VC for giving me the keys to the Conspiracy to talk about my new book, Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare.
Townhall: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka received some tough news on Labor Day: his union just lost 40,000 members over his support for Obamacare. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union officially decided to cut ties over the legislation, but it isn’t for the reasons you may think.
TX: Court Allows Westminster Seminary To Intervene In Baptist U. Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Suit
Religion Clause Blog: In East Texas Baptist University v. Sebelius, (SD TX, Aug. 30, 2013), a Texas federal district court permitted the Pennsylvania-based Westminster Theological Seminary to intervene . . .
Religion Clause Blog: Religious non-profits whose challenges to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate were dismissed on ripeness grounds before the final rules were promulgated continue to refile challenges attacking the final version of the rules on religious liberty grounds. Yesterday, Ave Maria University filed a new lawsuit
CNSNews: If defunding Obamacare isn’t worth fighting for, nothing is, says Jim DeMint, the former U.S. senator from South Carolina who now serves as president of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Obamacare poll shock: 77 per cent want the individual mandate repealed or delayed, as the House passes a bill to block IRS enforcement
Daily Mail: That includes 49 per cent who want the mandate killed. Just 11 per cent agreed with the Obama administration’s contention that fully implementing the president’s signature health care law will lower their ‘ total health care costs, such as appointment co-payments, monthly premiums, deductibles and drug co-payments.’ The Morning Consult commissioned the online poll from Survey Sampling International, Inc. Its margin of error is 2 percentage points . . .
If we start a business, we lose our religious freedom? | Matt Bowman on Freedom’s Ring with Alan Reinach
WorldNetDaily: Fed up with his refusal to consider defunding Obamacare, protesters took the fight right into the backyard of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Washington Times: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Wednesday that too many of his fellow Republicans are “scared” of his bid to defund Obamacare and are exaggerating the consequences of taking a stand during an upcoming budget showdown on Capitol Hill.
Daily Caller: A conservative watchdog group is looking for plaintiffs to sue the Obama administration for delaying Obamacare’s “employer mandate” for a year. In an email to supporters, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton explained that the organization is considering litigation “challenging President Obama’s rewriting of Obamacare.”
Times Free Press: Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson said he’s working on legislation that would likely give health insurance and benefits to city employees with same-sex spouses or domestic partners.
This past Friday, Federal District Court Judge Colleen Kollar- Kotelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, issued a preliminary injunction banning the enforcement of the HHS Mandate in a lawsuit filed by The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Hill: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday tied President Obama’s signature healthcare law to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Mark Steyn at NRO: The Obamacare monstrosity blends all the worst aspects of a private system (bureaucracy, restricted access, co-pays) with all the worst aspects of a government system (bureaucracy, restricted access, IRS agents) and sucks up twice as much GDP, ever less of which is spent on “health care” and ever more on the intervening layers of third, fourth, fifth, and sixth parties.
Alan Sears appeared on WAVA radio, the Don Kroah Show, with guest host Tim Goeglein to discuss religious liberty and the HHS litigation. | MP3 audio 21:14 mins
LifeNews quoting the Hill: Alliance Defending Freedom, the group representing Conestoga and the Hahns, has vowed to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Matt Bowman, the alliance’s legal director, said the group will file its appeal as soon as possible. “We are hopeful that the court will take this, because whether families can exercise religion in their daily lives is an extremely important issue, and it can’t be an issue that has a different answer based on what part of the country you live in,” Bowman said in an interview.
The Hill: Obama and senior administration officials are planning a teleconference with the managers of state-based insurance exchanges — new marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act where consumers can compare and purchase healthcare plans.
The Hill: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said late Wednesday that his effort to block any funding resolution that includes money for implementing ObamaCare is gaining the support of his GOP Senate colleagues.
The Hill: Alliance Defending Freedom, the group representing Conestoga and the Hahns, has vowed to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. Matt Bowman, the alliance’s legal director, said the group will file its appeal as soon as possible.
“We are hopeful that the court will take this, because whether families can exercise religion in their daily lives is an extremely important issue, and it can’t be an issue that has a different answer based on what part of the country you live in,” Bowman said in an interview.
LifeNews: The suit filed by Representative Wieland is one of the few initiated by an individual on behalf of his family. Wieland is being represented by attorneys for the Thomas More Society. “The intention of our Founding Fathers was to protect people from government imposition into their religious convictions,” says St. Louis attorney Timothy Belz, special counsel for the Thomas More Society.
Joshua Schulz at Public Discourse: As the ecumenical group Evangelicals and Catholics Together recently argued, to hold that rights protect duties makes it clear why religious freedom—which allows believers to fulfill their basic obligation to seek God in all areas of life—is prior to every other freedom: the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of press, the freedom to assemble and so discuss, and seek, and live out our convictions with others, the freedom to form and sustain distinctive institutions dedicated to these activities, and above all the freedom to worship—all of these freedoms are necessary for religious freedom. Religious freedom is not one freedom among others; rather, it is the foundation of every other freedom.
Eumenical News: Matt Bowman, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom (AFD), said in BP, “The government dismissed its appeal because it knows how ridiculous it sounds that a Bible publisher isn’t religious enough to qualify as a religious employer. “For the government to say that a Bible publisher isn’t religious is outrageous, and now the Obama administration has had to retreat in court.”
Religion Clause Blog: In Tonn & Blank Construction, LLC v. Sebelius, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116173 (ND IN, Aug. 16, 2013), an Indiana federal district court that had previously issued a preliminary injunction . . .
Federal Lawsuit Challenges New Obamacare Regulations Requiring Religious Organizations to Comply with Contraception Mandate
AFLC: Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the recently announced regulations enforcing the Obamacare contraceptive services mandate against religious organizations.
Matthew S. Bowman at Philly.com: It’s legally false to say ordinary corporations can only pursue profit, not religion. For a century, corporations have been authorized to pursue “all lawful purposes.” Families follow religion when they earn a living in a business.