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Newsweek: At issue are the federal subsidies for individuals buying insurance in their state’s health care exchanges. The law stipulates that those subsidies should be allotted for plans purchased “through an Exchange established by the State under Section 1311” (italics added), a reference to the section of the law that establishes state-run exchanges.
Leslie C. Griffin at ACS Blog: Justice Stevens and Professor Hamilton were right. The most fundamental Establishment Clause rule is that the government may not prefer religion over irreligion or non-religion. RFRA, however, “privileges religion over all other expressions of conscience.” Unfortunately, in 1997 only Stevens and Hamilton recognized the establishment problems with RFRA, which continues to bind the federal government.
Mirror of Justice: In response to my post on the Eastern District of New York’s decision striking down the contraception mandate, and specifically my statement and questions about the third party administrator issue noted at the end of that post, reader Matt Bowman (with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Conestoga Wood) wrote me with the following helpful explanation (posted with his permission). If others have more information about the “church plan” issue, I’d welcome it, as it has been insufficiently considered.
Daily Caller: Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts wants the Obamacare exchanges to fully disclose which participating health insurance plans cover abortion.
Politico: Michigan became the 24th state to ban most abortions in its exchange plans when the state legislature passed a bill Wednesday afternoon by sizable margins.
Evan Bernick at National Review: Firms offering grandfathered plans are exempt from the HHS mandate, so Hobby Lobby should be too.
Missouri Family Policy Council: Nicolle Martin, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, says that Phillips should not be forced under threat of legal punishment to use his creative abilities to endorse activity his religion views as abhorrent. ADF is representing Phillips in the litigation. “Jack Phillips is just trying to live within a certain set of Biblical principles because he believes he answers to God for everything he does. America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their religious beliefs. If the government can take away our First Amendment freedoms, there is nothing it can’t take away.” [newsletter also covers the Dobson v. Sebelius]
Rebecca Hagelin at Washington Times: Matt Bowman, the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer who is representing Mr. Dobson and his Family Talk Ministries, points out, “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
The Hill: Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) offered the outlines of a Republican alternative to ObamaCare in the party’s weekly address. “There are common-sense, bipartisan solutions to our health care problems that don’t require ObamaCare’s wholesale government take-over of the system,” Toomey said.
Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice: A federal-district-court ruling that grants an injunction against enforcing the mandate against a number of Catholic Church-affiliated institutional employers is available here. I am still reviewing it, but it looks to be a very good result for religious-but-not-exempt employers’ bringing RFRA challenges to the mandate.
Washington Examiner: The Obama administration on Thursday announced it would take steps to push back an already-delayed deadline to help those struggling to obtain health coverage on Jan. 1 — and extend a federal insurance program for those with preexisting conditions.
Washington Blade: The document from the Department of Health & Human Services, dated Dec. 2, finds that the reasoning for the ban is “not complete and adequate” to support denying Medicare coverage for transgender people seeking the procedure.
CNSNews: The Supreme Court over the past four decades has issued some decisions that not only defied the Constitution, but imposed changes on our society that go so far as to challenge fundamental principles of our civilization.
A Response on the Hobby Lobby Posts, from Matt Bowman at the Alliance Defending Freedom | Volokh Conspiracy
Matt Bowman has this post at the Volokh Conspiracy in response to a series of posts by Eugene Volokh on the HHS mandate litigation.
Religious organizations challenge contraception mandate in federal court | Matt Bowman on Fox News (video)
Fox News (includes video, 12/10): There are now more than 80 similar lawsuits pending across the country. Just last week, the University of Notre Dame and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), both filed suit, as well. “I think the Obama administration’s attempts to take religious freedom away from anyone are bound to fail,” said Matthew Bowman, the senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing FOCUS.
Mike Norton appeared on the Zeb Bell Show to discuss this: Catholic university students sue to stop Obama’s abortion pill mandate. | MP3 audio 9:19 mins
LifeNews: “The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.” “Our ministry believes in living out the religious convictions we hold to and talk about on the air,” added Dobson, Family Talk’s founder and president.
Jeff Schapiro at Christian Post: “The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman in a press release. “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom filed the Family Talk lawsuit (Dobson v. Sebelius) Tuesday in Denver. ADF senior counsel Matt Bowman says the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Bowman, Matt (ADF)”The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising fundamental freedoms,” says the attorney. “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
NBC: “The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising fundamental freedoms,” stated Matthew Bowman, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. “Any government willing to force a family-run, Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
Dr. James Dobson and His Ministry,‘Family Talk’ Files Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Abortion Pill Mandate | Christian Post (Christian Newswire)
Christian Post (Christian Newswire): “The government has put religious employers to a cruel choice: ‘Abandon your religious beliefs or be fined out of existence,’” said ADF lead counsel Matthew Bowman. “Thankfully, the Constitution and other federal laws don’t allow that.”
Charisma News: “The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” says ADF senior legal counsel Matt Bowman. “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
AP: Michigan will join more conservative states in requiring residents who want health insurance coverage for abortions to buy an extra policy, after Republican legislators passed the law Wednesday over the objections of Democrats who pleaded for them to take the issue to voters instead.
LiveAction News: Dr. Dobson and Family Talk are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom in this matter.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration on behalf of Dr. James Dobson and his “Family Talk” radio show and ministry, a Christian non-profit organization that is currently subject to Obamacare’s abortion pill mandate.
FRC Washington Update: Dr. Dobson said through his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom. “As Americans, we should all be free to live according to our faith and honor God in our work. The Constitution protects that freedom… But the mandate ignores that and leaves us with a choice no American should have to make: comply and abandon your religious freedom, or resist and be fined for your faith.” The lawsuit, Dobson v. Sebelius, was filed with the U.S. District Court for Colorado.
Religious organizations challenge contraception mandate in federal court | Shannon Bream at gnomes national new service
Shannon Bream at gnomes national new service: “I think the Obama administration’s attempts to take religious freedom away from anyone are bound to fail,” said Matthew Bowman, the senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing FOCUS.
Erwin Chemerinsky at National Law Journal: Claiming religious freedom to avoid providing insurance for contraceptives runs afoul of the law.
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom: “Faith-based organizations should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and live. If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence because they want to uphold their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away.”- Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Mike Norton
Pat Archbold at National Catholic Register: These days, we hear so much about “the war on …” this or that, we have learned to drown it out as hyperbolic nonsense promoted by those with an agenda. The war on women is a perfect example. But I am here to tell you that the war on religion is real and religion is losing–big time.
Kathryn Jean Lopez interview at National Review with Anthony Hahn: My father founded the company on Christian principles, and our faith is expressed in the way we run our business. Our goal in everything we do is to serve our customers and employees in a way that honors God . . . More from Hahn in an Alliance Defending Freedom video here . . .
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: One common argument in favor of religious exemptions is that, if possible, people should be able to live full lives as Americans without having to violate their religious beliefs — even if that means that our legal system will change in some measure to accommodate those beliefs. In large measure, the American legal system has provided such accommodations. Indeed, at least throughout much of America’s history, it provided them far more than nearly all other countries. This willingness, I think, has been a source of American strength.
Washington Times: A new poll conducted by the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom finds that 59 percent of likely voters, and 61 percent of independents, oppose the contraception mandate, which requires that private individual and group health care plans cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives and sterilization services, without any co-pay, by 2014.
From Romer v. Evans to United States v. Windsor: Law as a Vehicle for Moral Disapproval in Amendment 2 and the Defense of Marriage Act
McClain, Linda C., From Romer v. Evans to United States v. Windsor: Law as a Vehicle for Moral Disapproval in Amendment 2 and the Defense of Marriage Act (December 4, 2013). Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, Vol. 20, p. 351 (2013); Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 13-51. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2363463
Scotus Blog: The Court has let the parties know that it has accepted their suggestion that the parties in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases not be realigned for purposes of briefing. So the petitioners and respondents will file their briefs in the ordinary course.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: We can now get to what I think should be the heart of the case: whether denying Hobby Lobby an exemption from the requirement of providing potentially implantation-preventing contraceptives is the “least restrictive means” of serving a particular “compelling governmental interest.” I don’t know what the answer to that is, because this test is so undefined; my thinking here is also quite tentative, and I’m certainly open to being persuaded. But I thought I’d post today about three possible interests — protecting health, providing for sex equality, and protecting newly created private rights — and say a few words about them.
Illinois Review: C. Steven Tucker stood face-to-face with an IRS agent this morning in his Chicago home. After months of traveling the Midwest, warning taxpayers about negative changes coming with ObamaCare, Tucker suddenly received two letters from the IRS the day before Thanksgiving 2013.
Update: Obamacare abortion mandate litigation and Texas abortion litigation | Casey Mattox on FRC Washington Watch
Casey Mattox appeared on FRC Washington Watch to discuss Gilardi v. Sebelius and other challenges to the Obamacare abortion mandate. Planned Parenthood’s pending challenges to Texas abortion regulations are also discussed. | MP3 audio 11:32 mins |
Katie Yoder at LifeNews (republished from Newsbusters): A Wilson Opinion Research poll commissioned by The Family Research Council along with the Alliance Defending Freedom and published Nov. 25 showed that 59 percent of likely voters oppose forcing employers to pay for employee insurance plans covering contraceptives and abortifacient drugs.
Tom Goldstein at SCOTUS Blog: Things get more complicated when the Court grants review in two consolidated, related cases, but the interests of the respective petitioners and respondents don’t correspond — for example, if the government is the petitioner in one case but the respondent in the other. How should the case be briefed then? That issue has come up in the two cases the Justices have agreed to hear presenting challenges to the “contraceptive insurance” Rule of the Department of Health and Human Services under Affordable Care Act: No. 13-354, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores (the government is the petitioner, the plaintiffs are the respondents); and No. 13-356, Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius (in which the roles are reversed).
NewsMax: The Affordable Care Act is “intentionally designed to screw over young people” who are being forced to pay higher premiums, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says.
ABC (AP): More than 90 percent of health insurance plans offered to lawmakers and congressional staff cover abortion, an unforeseen consequence of a Republican amendment to President Barack Obama’s health law. The disclosure Wednesday by abortion opponent Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., also highlights an emerging issue nationally: It may be hard for individual consumers to determine whether abortion is a covered benefit in plans offered through the new online insurance markets.
The righteousness in Hobby Lobby’s cause: Business people shouldn’t be required to check their faith at the door. | Rick Garnett at LA Times
Rick Garnett at LA Times: The issue is not whether groups, associations and corporations have religious freedom rights under federal law. Of course they do. After all, religious hospitals, schools, social service agencies and churches are not “individuals,” but it would be bizarre to say that they don’t exercise religion.
National Review: Obamacare’s defenders often point to states like Washington to prove that the law is succeeding. However, the Evergreen State is signing up vastly more people for Medicaid than for private insurance.
Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice: Dahlia Lithwick’s latest Slate essay is a perfect example. Lithwick likes abortion rights, and doesn’t like Citizens United, and so in the essay she works to connect Hobby Lobby’s RFRA arguments with the reasoning in Citizens United and efforts in some states to provide greater legal protection to unborn children . . . The first sentence asserts that “unborn babies” do not “possess” “humanity,” which is a strange assertion . . . It also assumes that Citizens United or the Hobby Lobby RFRA challenge involve claims that “corporations” “possess” “humanity”, which is not the claim.
CNSNews: In a speech at TheArc arts school in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said that “100 million Americans” have gained the right to free contraception thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Katie Yoder at Newsbusters: Sullivan and Clement wrote, “based on the data we have seen, the public, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem to think private companies should be exempted.” . . . A Wilson Opinion Research poll commissioned by The Family Research Council along with the Alliance Defending Freedom and published Nov. 25 showed that 59 percent of likely voters oppose forcing employers to pay for employee insurance plans covering contraceptives and abortifacient drugs.
WAMC NE Public Radio (audio 3:56 mins): Hudson Valley Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, is urging the Supreme Court to protect comprehensive coverage of women’s health services required under the law . . . She adds: Matt Bowman sees it differently. He’s an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the Hahns, a Mennonite family that owns Pennsylvania-based Conestoga Wood Specialties – one of the corporations challenging the requirement. Again, Congresswoman Lowey. Bowman dismisses that argument. (print transcript omits some of the audio)
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) Files Lawsuit Against The Unconstitutional HHS Mandate | Patheos
Patheos: This just in from the Alliance Defending Freedom . . . [Alliance Defending Freedom and FOCUS press releases republished]
One News Now: Schowengerdt says the Randy Reed Automotive v. Sebelius case is about how Obamacare forces citizens to choose between making a living and living free. “It doesn’t have any business in telling these employers that they have to violate their consciences in order to stay in business,” the attorney tells OneNewsNow. [more]
Catholic News Agency: ADF Senior Counsel Mike Norton said in that organization’s statement that groups such as FOCUS “should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and live.” Norton added that if the government can financially penalize Christian ministries out of existence for refusing to provide coverage of things they believe sinful, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away.
Eugene Volokh at Volokh Conspiracy: But for now, let me discuss the argument that granting such an exemption would violate the Establishment Clause, “[b]ecause exempting large, for-profit corporations from the contraception mandate would significantly burden female employees, along with all the wives and daughters covered by the policies of male employees.”
The Hill: In a conference call with reporters, DeGette; Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.); and Marcia Greenberger, the co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said they couldn’t see a scenario where the high court strikes down the mandate.
CNA on DFW Catholic: “Faith-based organizations should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and live,” said Mike Norton, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. “If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence because they want to uphold their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away.”
83+ lawsuits challenge the HHS mandate, two are at the Supreme Court | Matt Bowman on “A Closer Look” with Sheila Liaugminas
Matt Bowman on Relevant Radio, “A Closer Look” with Sheila Liaugminas to discuss the Conestoga case. | MP3 audio 11:07 mins | Alliance Defending Freedom information page
Is there any limit on gov’t coercion? The Obamacare abortion mandate | Jeremy Tedesco on the Zeb Bell Show
Daily Caller: “All Americans should be free to live according to their faith and to honor God in what they do,” said Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot in the press release. “Religious freedom is our God-given birthright, and this lawsuit joins more than 80 others to take a stand for that freedom, which the Constitution protects. The administration can’t sell that off for the price of an abortion pill.”
Christian-Owned Auto Dealership Granted Injunction Against Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate | Christian News Network
Christian News Network: The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, who represents Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation. “The administration has no business forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free. We trust the Supreme Court will agree. A government that forces any citizen to participate in immoral acts—like the use of abortion drugs—under threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”. . . The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman, who represents Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation. “The administration has no business forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free. We trust the Supreme Court will agree. A government that forces any citizen to participate in immoral acts—like the use of abortion drugs—under threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
Catholic University Students Sue to Stop Obama’s Abortion Pill Mandate | InsuranceNews.net (Targeted News Service)
InsuranceNews.net (Targeted News Service): The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) issued the following news release . . .
Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) sue to stop Obama”s abortion pill mandate | MedIndia
MedIndia: “Faith-based organizations should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse,” said Senior Counsel Mike Norton. “If the governmentcan fine Christian ministries out of existence for keeping their faith, there is no limit to what freedoms it can take away.”
Does Requiring Employers to Provide Insurance Covering Certain Behavior Substantially Burden Employers’ Religious Practice?
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Some people have argued that RFRA shouldn’t apply in Hobby Lobby because the employer mandate doesn’t require employers to actually do anything they see as sinful. The employers aren’t required to use the implantation-preventing contraceptives that they see as immoral. They aren’t required to administer them, or even handle them. They are just required to provide insurance policies that their employees may then choose to use to buy those contraceptives.
Religious Non-Profits Continue To File Suits Challenging Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Accommodation | Religion Clause Blog
Religion Clause Blog: The latest suits are: Fellowship of Catholic University Students v. Sebelius, (D CO, filed 12/3/2013) (full text of complaint) (ADF press release). University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, (ND IN, filed 12/3/2013) (full text of complaint) (Notre Dame press release).
CNN: Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of Obamacare’s architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law’s new exchanges.
USA Today: Perhaps more troubling for Obama, the poll showed 40% of young Americans believe Obamacare will bring worse care, 51% believe it will bring higher costs and 57% said they disapprove of the president’s signature law.
LifeNews: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Dale Schowengerdt told LifeNews: “The government has no business forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free. Today’s order means that this family will be free from that type of coercion while higher courts are considering the administration’s mandate. If the government can force family business owners and job creators like this one to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.”
Breitbart: Recent polling shows that an election wave of anti-ObamaCare sentiment is growing, and it is not only likely to hand the GOP control of the United States Senate, but might wipe out as many as 12 Democrat seats–many of which looked safe just a few months ago.
AP: The University of Notre Dame on Tuesday filed another lawsuit against the U.S. government, saying the federal health care overhaul forcing it to provide health insurance for students and employees that covers birth control contravenes the teachings of the Roman Catholic institution.
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: Much of the recent debate about Hobby Lobby and similar cases has focused on whether RFRA allows exemptions from burdens imposed on corporations. As before, let me try to consider this question by considering some hypotheticals that don’t invoke the hot political passions generated by the employer mandate, or by questions related to abortion. In all of them, assume that we are in a jurisdiction in which the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act or one of its state analogs applies.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration on behalf of the Colorado-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the administration’s mandate that religious employers provide insurance coverage for abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.
The Hill: More than a year after the Supreme Court upheld the central provision of President Obama’s health care overhaul, a fresh wave of legal challenges to the law is playing out in courtrooms as conservative critics — joined by their Republican allies on Capitol Hill — make the case that Mr. Obama has overstepped his authority in applying it.
MO Family Policy Council: “The Administration has no business forcing citizens to choose between making and living and living free,” says David Cortman, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Conestoga Woods in the case. “A government that forces any citizen to participate in immoral acts–like the use of abortion drugs–under threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
Tony Perkins at the Patriot Post: Meanwhile, if the White House is looking for allies, they’ll have a tough time persuading the public. FRC, together with Alliance Defending Freedom, commissioned new polling on the abortion-contraception mandate and found that 59% of the country sides with Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood and others. Of likely voters, WPA Opinion Research found that almost sixty percent opposed the mandate requiring coverage of these so-called “preventative care services.”
Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) sue to stop Obama’s abortion pill mandate | PR Newswire
PR Newswire: “Faith-based organizations should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse,” said Senior Counsel Mike Norton. “If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence for keeping their faith, there is no limit to what freedoms it can take away.”
Ed Whelan at National Review Bench Memos: In reading Linda Greenhouse’s reflections on the HHS mandate cases, I was surprised to run across her assertion, in passing, that the Hobby Lobby plaintiffs are incorrect to believe that some FDA-approved methods of contraception “act after fertilization to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and continuing to develop.”