Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: In the broadest ruling so far by a federal appeals court barring enforcement of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law, a divided Seventh Circuit Court panel decided on Friday that two profit-making companies and their Roman Catholic owners are likely to win their constitutional challenges.
National Review: A grand total of five people have completed enrollment in Obamacare thus far in Washington, D.C., according to information compiled by Republican senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).
Breitbart: A new Gallup poll brings more terrible news for President Obama and his signature health plan, showing that only 22% of uninsured Americans intend to buy insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges.
NCPA Policy Digest: Just as there are penalties in the tax code for couples who get married, financial penalties in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) also discourage couples from “tying the knot,” says Devon M. Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.
View the post here.
PBS: Lawmakers confronted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with skepticism over fixes yet to be made on HealthCare.gov and concerns over cancelled policies. However, Sebelius maintained her stance to not delay the heath care law.
The Hill: Delaware has seen only a handful enrollments in its new ObamaCare insurance exchange, which is served by HealthCare.gov, according to an informal survey of community groups. The Associated Press reported that four patients had signed up for coverage as of Wednesday.
The Atlantic: The first time I heard Nona Willis Aronowitz talk about getting divorced to save money on health insurance I thought she couldn’t really be serious. We were at Monte’s, an old Italian place in South Brooklyn, having dinner with a group of New York women writers in late July.
Politicohttp://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/kathleen-sebelius-obamacare-hearing-takeaway-more-bad-news-99479.html: Kathleen Sebelius got through the latest Obamacare hearing Wednesday, but her message to Senate Democrats was a bit of a downer: Expect more bad news.
USCCB: Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged members of Congress to support the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).
Religion Clause Blog: In M&N Plastics, Inc. v. Sebelius, (D DC, Nov. 5, 2013), the federal district court for the District of Columbia granted the government’s motion to transfer a suit by a Michigan small business and its owners challenging the contraceptive coverage mandate to federal court in the plaintiff’s home district– the Eastern District of Michigan.
Kevin C. Walsh at Mirror of Justice Blog: A split panel of the D.C. Circuit held last week in Gilardi v. HHS that the HHS contraceptives mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This post is not about the merits of that holding (with which I agree), but about the court’s determination that “secular corporations” may not assert a RFRA claim. I think that the court’s analysis was flawed and that it reached a wrong decision on this issue.
Mennonite Cabinet Makers Tell Supreme Court: Don’t Let Obama Force Us to Obey HHS Mandate | LifeNews
LifeNews: “All Americans, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “As our brief argues, this case provides the cleanest opportunity for the Supreme Court to uphold that long-held American principle.”
MLive.com: Right to Life of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit over provisions of “Obamacare” that require insurance companies to provide sterilization, contraceptives and “morning-after” pills.
AP: Little more than a week after millions of consumers received health care cancellation notices, lawmakers in both parties are pushing legislation to redeem President Barack Obama’s long-ago pledge that anyone liking their coverage will be allowed to keep it under the nation’s controversial new law.
Yahoo Finance: Insurers say the early buyers of health coverage on the nation’s troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: With lawyers in different cases arguing that theirs is the best one for the Supreme Court to use in deciding the legality of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law, the Court on Monday indicated that it will examine all four pending cases together later this month. The Court’s electronic docket said the four will be considered on November 26. If any are granted then or soon afterward, the Court probably would hear and decide them in the current Term.
ACLU sides with government on abortion pill mandate, says religions have attempted to justify discrimination
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “We of course have a longstanding commitment to religious liberty and free speech under the First Amendment, but we also defend women’s rights and reproductive freedom,” the ACLU’s state legal director, Witold Walczak, said. “Historically, religions have attempted to justify discrimination in ways that have been rejected by the courts.”
Townhall: Vermont, the first U.S. state to pass a law to implement single-payer, taxpayer-funded health insurance, has paid $170 million for its healthcare exchange website that does not work—and it only had to enroll 40,000 people.
Pa. Mennonite cabinetmakers answer Obama admin. in brief at Supreme Court | Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to answer federal government arguments that downplayed the need for the court to fully hear a Pa. family business’s lawsuit against the Obamacare abortion pill mandate.
KPLU 88.5 (NPR): “The Obama administration and a Christian legal group called the Alliance Defending Freedom already have Supreme Court petitions pending in two different cases concerning the same issue,” Reuters reports.
Jenna Greene at National Law Journal: Christian public interest law groups the Thomas More Law Center and the Alliance Defending Freedom have brought about two dozen suits, arguing that the law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment. In addition, the American Center for Law and Justice, led by Supreme Court advocate Jay Sekulow, has filed least seven suits.
Burlington Free Press: Vermont’s new insurance marketplace, like its federal counterpart, had a rocky launch Oct. 1 and remains plagued with glitches.
Ed Whalen at National Review: A divided panel of the D.C. Circuit ruled this morning, in Gilardi v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, that two brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, who own and operate a food-supply company are entitled under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to a preliminary injunction against imposition of the HHS mandate on contraception and abortifacients. Based only on a very quick skim, I provide this high-level summary:
Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review: A divided D.C. circuit court panel found: “We must determine whether the contraceptive mandate imposed by the Act trammels the right of free exercise—a right that lies at the core of our constitutional liberties—as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” The case was brought byFrank and Phil Gilardi, two Catholic brothers who own Freshway Foods in Ohio. Ed Whelan’s instant legal analysis is here.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed a Reply Petition at the United States Supreme Court to consider Liberty v. Lew, because it is the only case before the Court which presents the full array of constitutional issues left unanswered. After Liberty Counsel filed the Petition, the Department of Justice filed its Response, and today Liberty Counsel filed its Reply.
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom: The opening of another session of the U.S. Supreme Court brings to the forefront several key cases being litigated or funded by Alliance Defending Freedom – cases with profound implications for the future of your life and your religious freedom. I want to give you a glimpse of what’s coming . . .
Chicago Tribune: The latest ruling brings to four the number of appeals courts to rule for employers, including preliminary decisions, while two others have ruled that the regulation must be complied with, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Obama administration and a Christian legal group called the Alliance Defending Freedom already have Supreme Court petitions pending in two different cases concerning the same issue.
Transparency: Sebelius ‘Doesn’t’ Know’ if Obamacare Will Force us to Fund Abortions | Cortney O’Brien at Townhall
Cortney O’Brien at Townhall: In reality, the abortion fee is a dollar or more a month. Doesn’t seem like much, right? Well, those pennies add up. Alliance Defending Freedom does the math. “Say just half of American workers are forced to pay only a dollar each month. That’s $924,000,000 – all funneled into an abortion-on-demand fund each year. That translates to more than 2,000,000 elective abortions that you have been forced to help fund.”
LifeSiteNews: The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing the Hahn family, which faces $35 million in annual fines if it does not acquiesce to the mandate’s contraception coverage requirement. The case has been petitioned to the Supreme Court, but has not yet been accepted in the Court’s new term.
he last straw, he says, was Georgetown’s invitation of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to be a commencement speaker in May of last year. Sebelius has a record of supporting abortion rights, and abortion is the issue that really sets Blatty’s nerves on fire. He describes, his voice trembling, a particular abortion procedure in graphic detail. He pauses. His voice is nearly a whisper. “That’s demonic.”
CMS Spent More Than $1T in Less Than 1 Yr; More Than Entire Gov’t Spent When Medicaid-Medicare Enacted
CNSNews: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs the federal government’s major health-care programs, and which was responsible for developing the Obamacare health-insurance exchange website, spent more than $1 trillion in just the first eleven months of fiscal 2013, according to the Treasury.
LifeNews: As a pro-life American and resident of Washington, D.C., I wanted to make sure that there was a plan available under the exchange that did not cover elective abortion. After making quite a few calls to insurance companies and D.C. health exchange representatives, it appears that there is no way to avoid buying a plan that covers elective abortion in D.C. This, despite the fact that the ACA stipulates at least one Multi-State Plan (MSP) offered in each state must not cover elective abortion (PPACA §1334(a)(6)).
SCOTUS Blog has listed Conestoga as the Petition of the Day. Issue: Whether the religious owners of a family business, or their closely-held, for-profit corporation, have free exercise rights that are violated by the application of the contraceptive-coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Baptist Press: The Southern Baptist Convention’s religious freedom entity has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower rulings on the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate for the purpose of striking down the controversial rule.
CNSNews: Louisiana is one of 25 states that has not expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults under Obamacare, even though the state has a relatively high percentage of uninsured people.
NC Register: Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced that the state would join EWTN as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, which asks the court both to halt the government from imposing the HHS mandate and to find that the law is unconstitutional. | Becket Fund press release
Targeted News Service: The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) issued the following news release . . .
Corporate Free Exercise: A Survey of Supreme Court Cases Applied to a Novel Question | Regent J. L. & Pub. Pol’y
Kartchner, Andrew B., Corporate Free Exercise: A Survey of Supreme Court Cases Applied to a Novel Question (May 1, 2013). Regent J. L. & Pub. Pol’y, Volume 6, Issue 2 (2014), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2338538
Still in the wake of the Citizens United decision, the next question of corporate rights is heading to the Supreme Court soon: corporate free exercise of religion. A survey of Supreme Court cases reveals that affording constitutional rights to corporations is actually remarkably common. The rationale in such cases can illuminate the discussion brewing in the lower courts — and sure to find its way to the Supreme Court soon — as to whether corporations have First Amendment religious rights.
Religion Clause: In Weiland v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (ED MO, Oct. 16, 2013), a Missouri federal district court denied a temporary restraining order to a Missouri state employee and his wife who claim that the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate forces them to violate their religious opposition to contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients by mandating that their group health insurance policy make these services available to their daughters who are covered by the policy.
Rasmussen: But for the second month in a row, 30% of voters think the health care system is likely to get better as a result of Obamacare. That’s up eight points from August and the most positive view to date. But most voters (52%) still believe the system will get worse under the new law, while six percent (6%) expect it to stay about the same. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided.
LifeSiteNews: A new provision under Obamacare will fine tax-exempt hospitals via the Internal Revenue Service . . .
Breitbart: In an extensive roundup of the numbers, Forbes’ Josh Archambault reveals that, upon close inspection, the number of people losing their insurance coverage in merely three states towers over that of people newly insured in all 50. He notes that over half a million Americans have received notices that they will lose their coverage in Florida, California, Philadelphia, in addition to numbers coming in from several other states. Comparatively, “only 476,000 applications have been ‘filed’ in an exchange.”
CadillacNews (AP)http://www.cadillacnews.com/ap_story/?story_id=167840&issue=20131024&in_paper=1: The lawsuit names Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius as one of the defendants. Both schools are represented at no cost by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law group. Dordt has more than 1,400 students. The 3,000-student Cornerstone calls itself a “religious higher education institution” and believes it should be exempt from the law.
LifeNews (includes video): “All Americans, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The 18 states and other groups that filed briefs in support of this case all understand that 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.” “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,” added Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “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.”
Both schools are represented at no cost by Alliance Defending Freedom.
WoodTV.com: “This filing is first and foremost an effort to preserve and protect our religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Given our conviction that life begins at conception and our commitment to the sanctity of life, we find the mandate to provide our faculty, staff, and students with insurance that provides access to abortion-inducing pills unacceptable. The government should not be able to force us to buy or provide insurance that gives access to morally objectionable drugs, devices, and services that violate our biblical convictions.” “If the government can force Christian colleges like these to act contrary to their own deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything,” says Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “The government should not coerce any American in this manner.”
The Hill: Administration officials are vowing to have ObamaCare’s enrollment site fully repaired by Nov. 30, which would be two months after the site’s disastrous debut.
LifeNews: According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the Obama HHS mandate is currently losing 32-5 in federal courts from all of the lawsuits ADF and other pro-life legal groups have brought. . . . . Below is a rundown of some of the victories, click the links for more details about the particular case. [more]
Religion Clause Blog: In Eden Foods, Inc. v. Sebelius, (6th Cir., Oct. 24, 2013), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a preliminary injunction to a for-profit natural foods corporation and its Catholic owners who claim that the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act violates their free exercise rights as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Watchlist News: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration Wednesday on behalf of two Christian colleges: Dordt College in Iowa and Cornerstone University in Michigan. The case was filed in the Northern District of Iowa Western Division.
Rep. Andrea LaFontaine at Detroit News: In preparation for the Affordable Care Act invading our personal lives and our wallets, last year the state Legislature approved a bill that would disallow health insurance companies that participate in the taxpayer funded exchange from offering elective abortion coverage as part of their subsidized plans. Unfortunately, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bill that contained this language. To remedy this, a citizen-led initiative began and more than 315,000 Michiganians from all 83 of our counties signed a petition in support of the abortion insurance opt-out, giving the Legislature another opportunity to ensure taxpayers are not on the hook for elective abortions.
18 states encourage Supreme Court to hear Pa. abortion pill mandate case | Alliance Defending Freedom
Eighteen states are among the parties that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court this week that encourage the high court to accept a Pa. family business’s lawsuit and declare the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate unconstitutional.
Cornerstone University suing federal government over birth control mandate in Affordable Care Act | Michigan Live
MLive.com: Cornerstone is represented in the lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian legal-advocacy group. The university says Alliance “will bear all of the legal costs related to this litigation.” “If the government can force Christian colleges like these to act contrary to their own deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything,” Gregory Baylor, senior counsel at Alliance, said in Cornerstone’s letter announcing the lawsuit. “The government should not coerce any American in this manner.”
Washington Post: More than half the nation’s attorneys general want the Supreme Court to revisit the Affordable Care Act in the coming months. Attorneys general in 29 states urged the court in filings this week to review lower-court decisions on the landmark health care law’s contraception mandate, but they were split over which of two cases the court should focus on.
The Hill: The White House is delaying the deadline to buy health insurance by six weeks amid growing House Democratic concerns that the ObamaCare enrollment site’s botched rollout will prevent them from winning the House in 2014.
Matt Bowman at Bell Towers: The most common retort to these cases by Obamacare supporters is to allege that they represent corporate personhood on steroids. They fling non-sequitors like “corporations don’t go to heaven, so they can’t practice religion.” Mr. Schvey suggested that corporations can’t exercise religion because they can’t do things like ingest sacramental wine. Opponents of religious freedom are missing the simple fact that the First Amendment and RFRA don’t speak of “heaven,” but protect the “exercise” of religion. Exercise is an activity, not a theology. Corporations, and the families and religious that run them, engage all kinds of activities—that’s what corporations do.
Breitbart: Defenders of President Obama’s signature health reform legislation claim the states that put effort into establishing their own exchanges, mostly Democrat-led, are signing people up successfully for ObamaCare. A new report, however, indicates that most of the individuals signing up in these state-run exchanges are enrolling into Medicaid.
In Forum: The Obama administration asked North Dakota’s largest health insurer not to publicize how many people have signed up for health insurance through a new online exchange, a company official says . . . Still, a spokeswoman from Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 14 North Dakotans have signed up for coverage since the federal exchange went live Oct. 1. That brings total statewide enrollment to 20 – less than one a day.
Penn. Mennonite family’s challenge to the abortion pill mandate | Matt Bowman on Koinonia with Tom Brown
Research on Religion, Baylor Institute for Studies on Religion: Can a public high school choir group choose to sing Christmas songs at a concert? Is it legal to pray to Jesus before a city council meeting? And does the federal government have the ability to mandate certain actions from businesses that might go against the owner’s rights of conscience? We explore these, and a few other, cases with David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of litigation with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). | MP3 audio 55:26 mins
AP: The Obama administration is appealing to its allies in Congress, on Wall Street and across the country to stick with President Barack Obama’s health care law even as embarrassing problems with the flagship website continue to mount.
Washington Times: The House’s top investigators want to know if the Obama administration made a political decision to get rid of an online tool that would have allowed uninsured Americans to comparison-shop among private health plans on the federal Obamacare website before registering for an account.
Volokh Conspiracy: This morning, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss inHalbig v. Sebelius, a suit challenging the legality of an IRS rule authorizing tax credits for the purchase of health insurance on federally run exchanges.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog reports: The Obama administration on Monday evening filed three documents in the Supreme Court responding to Affordable Care Act petitions.
SCOTUS Blog: The family-owned Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores told the Supreme Court on Monday that it supports Supreme Court review of a government case on the constitutionality of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law.
Lawsuit: Gov’t Engaged in ‘Conscious Political Strategy to Marginalize and Delegitimize’ Catholic ‘Religious Views’
CNSNews: The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is arguing in a new lawsuit that the Obama administration is engaged in a “conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize” Catholic “religious views on contraception by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage.”
Can a man who thinks he’s a woman get a mammogram at Planned Parenthood? | Casey Mattox at American Thinker
Casey Mattox at American Thinker: See if you can spot the odd part of this story: Jennifer Blair, a 62-year-old man, now identifying as a woman, walks into a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic and asks for a mammogram. Planned Parenthood denies the mammogram because Blair is “transsexual.”
National Review: The administration estimates that it needs 2.7 million young healthy people on the exchange, out of the 7 million total expected to apply in the first year. If the pool is too skewed — if it’s mostly old and sick people on the exchanges — then insurers will lose money, and next year, they’ll sharply increase premiums.
CNSNews: That language said that until then the administration could not force employers, insurers or individuals to buy or provide insurance coverage for an item or service if they had “moral or religious objections” to it. However, the Republican House leadership only stood by that position for one day.
The Catholic Key: Presentations included an update on the HHS contraception mandate by Kevin Ther[io]t of the Alliance Defending Freedom; ‘Is there a future for conscience rights in health care’ by Catholic Medical Association Executive Director John Brehany, Ph.D., STL; an historical review of religious liberty by Thomas More Society President Tom Brejcha; the interaction of privacy and religious liberty rights by attorney Eddie Greim; and a consideration of strategies for the future by National Lawyers Association President John Farnan.
The Hill: Officials from the Health and Human Services Department have “rebuffed” requests to testify before Congress about ObamaCare’s troubled rollout, a House committee said Thursday.
Jim DeMint at the Wall Street Journal: Now that the government shutdown has ended and the president has preserved ObamaCare for the time being, it’s worth explaining why my organization, the Heritage Foundation, and other conservatives chose this moment to fight—and why we will continue to fight. The reason is simple: to protect the American people from the harmful effects of this law.