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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.
Catholic World News: Five hundred employees of Santa Clara University have signed a petition opposing the Jesuit university’s recent decision to end insurance coverage of elective abortions, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Aleteia: The current Supreme Court term is set to address freedom of speech for pro-life demonstrations, prayer in legislative settings, and religious freedom.
Christianity Today: According to Becket’s scorecard, only 1 of the 35 non-profit lawsuits filed against the mandate has been “decided on the merits,” with the rest only receiving “rulings on procedural issues such as timing.” By contrast, 30 of the 39 for-profit lawsuits filed against the mandate have “secured injunctive relief,” while only 5 have not. The Alliance Defending Freedom offered its own scorecard earlier this month.
Brian Simboli at Crisis Magazine: Examples abound of threats to religious liberty. Many lawsuits are underway about the HHS mandate’s threat to conscience rights. Extensive documentation has been submitted to Congress concerning alleged IRS targeting of pro-life groups. Alliance Defending Freedom released a tape of an IRS agent haranguing a pro-life group. The recent SCOTUS ruling about the Defense of Marriage Act unfairly ascribed negative motives to defenders of traditional marriage.
All Americans, including family business owners, have the constitutionally protected freedom to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration has been attempting to deprive Americans of this cherished liberty.
Why Obamacare is a mess: The administration has to ‘fess up and promote changes | Chicago Tribune Editorial
Chicago Tribune Editorial: The deeper problems of cost and coverage in Obamacare are going to require an admission by the administration that this government management of the health care market is extraordinarily complicated and will be very costly for many people. The law has to change.
Religion Clause Blog: The complaint (full text) in Reaching Souls International, Inc. v. Sebelius, (WD OK, filed 10/11/2013) contends that even under the final regulations that allow religious non-profits to have a third-party administrator furnish contraceptive coverage, plaintiffs’ religious exercise is burdened because they are required to facilitate coverage for contraceptives that they consider to be abortifacients.
The Hill: Planned Parenthood’s advocacy arm slammed Republicans on Tuesday over proposals to roll back ObamaCare’s contraception mandate as part of a fiscal agreement.
Religion Clause Blog: The Thomas More Society announced that a petition for certiorari (full text) was filed today in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the 6th Circuit’s decision in Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius.
LifeNews: Doctor shortages, medical-school dropouts, skyrocketing premiums, no money for pre-existing conditions, trillions more than promised, forced taxpayer funding of abortion, critical health-care rationing and a bankrupt nation — those were some of the dire predictions of those who opposed Obamacare.
Bishops’ Pro-Life Expert: Reg Would Force Parents to Pay For Daughters to Get Sterilization-Contraception-Abortifacient Counselling
CNSNews: In addition, Doerflinger said all parents need to know that the Obamacare regulation also requires health insurance plans to cover “private counseling sessions with every woman and girl that is of child-bearing capacity”–typically starting at age 12–“about this full range of sterilization, contraceptives, and abortifacient drugs,” and if parents oppose that, they need to tell the doctor that it “violates their parental rights.”
Engage Family Minute: How exactly is discrimination defined, and what constitutes discrimination? These are questions that are not merely hypothetical or conjecture anymore, these are serious questions that every person must definitively answer.
Shutdown and Default Considered Small Price to Pay for Banning Birth Control, Say Catholic Bishops and Paul Ryan | RH Reality Check
Adele M. Stan at RH Reality Check: The panel on which Doerflinger appeared—a breakout session titled “Values and Obamacare: The Threat to Religious Freedom, Life & the Family”—also featured Anna Franzonello of Americans United for Life and Casey Mattox of the Alliance Defending Freedom, both of whom are attorneys working on cases challenging the birth control provision, often referred to as the HHS contraception mandate.
CNSNews: Leaders of more than 40 pro-life groups delivered an urgent letter to House Speaker John Boehner Friday imploring him to protect Americans from being forced to subsidize abortions in any deal he makes with the White House to fund the government or raise the debt ceiling.
LA Times: Santa Clara University, a Catholic institution in the Silicon Valley area, is dropping coverage for elective abortions under health insurance for its faculty and staff members, officials said.
Wall Street Journal Video: National Review Online media editor Eliana Johnson on how the IRS helped the White House on ObamaCare policy–and released confidential taxpayer information in the process.
Making the taxpayer an accessory to the abortion trade | Rep. Christopher H. Smith at Washington Times
Christopher H. Smith at Washington Times: To overcome this highly deceptive practice, I’ve introduced the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, a bill that requires information regarding either inclusion or exclusion of abortion coverage as well as the existence of an abortion surcharge to be “prominently displayed.” (To rid Obamacare of its massive expansion of abortion-on-demand facilitation and funding, 136 bipartisan co-sponsors and I have also introduced the No Taxpayers Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 7)
Carol Platt Liebau at Townhall: It is outrageous enough that the IRS and The White House were working in tandem so that the IRS shared confidential taxpayer information with the president and/or his aides. What makes the law-breaking doubly contemptible is that the information was shared in the context of a lawsuit against the despicable, unconstitutional ObamaCare abortifacient/contraceptive mandate . . .
Washington Times: Rep. Christopher H. Smith and a bipartisan pro-life coalition in Congress say the Obama administration is obfuscating consumers about the health care law by not making it clear which exchange plans cover abortion and which don’t.
Religion Clause Blog: A lawsuit was filed this week in an Iowa state trial court by a Mennonite couple who are seeking to prevent the Iowa Civil Rights Commission from moving ahead on a complaint that the couple refused to host a same-sex wedding ceremony in their art gallery in violation of the ban on discrimination in public accommodations.
National Review: Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal dropped by National Review’s New York office on Tuesday, offering insight into his tenure as governor and his vision for the Republican party.
Mercury News (AP): Unmarried and same-sex couples will be ensured the same access to insurance coverage for fertility treatments as heterosexual couples under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Tuesday. The legislation, AB460
National Review: “If they weren’t fully ready, they should accept the advice that a lot of Republicans are giving them — delay it another year, get it ready, and make sure it works,” Blitzer said Wednesday.
Pittsburgh Tribune: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh mounted a new legal challenge to the federal health care mandate on Tuesday, arguing that the Obama administration’s promise to accommodate objections from faith-based employers turned out to be “empty words.”
Baptist Press: To address the challenges to religious rights and freedom of conscience, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is helping sponsor a panel discussion open to the public Oct. 10 in Washington. The Manhattan Declaration is co-sponsoring the event.
Weekly Standard: There is, however, an exception: “[W]e may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.” Here is the entire paragraph from the policy the includes the exception [emphasis added] . . .