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Yuval Levin at National Review: “And today, senators Tom Coburn, Orrin Hatch, and Richard Burr have proposed a conservative health-care reform that has enormous promise. Herewith, some quick (if not short, with apologies) thoughts on what they’ve offered.”
Priests for Life seeks contraceptive mandate accommodation review by Supreme Court before Circuit Court decision
Religion Clause: “Last week, the Catholic non-profit pro-life organization Priests for Life filed a petition for certiorari (full text) with the U.S. Supreme Court in Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (filed 1/23/2014).”
Fox News: “Insurance companies working under the Obamacare umbrella have secretly added a surcharge to cover the cost of abortions, an apparent violation of federal law that forbids the practice, congressional leaders charge.”
LifeSiteNews: “According to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, to date, in 20 decisions involving non-profit organizations, all but one have resulted in an injunction barring enforcement of the mandate. Additionally, 35 out of 41 injunctions handed down involving families and businesses have also blocked the mandate.”
Ed Whelan at National Review: “Without recorded dissent, the Supreme Court has enjoined the federal government from enforcing the HHS mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor and their co-plaintiffs during the pendency of their Tenth Circuit appeal.”
Josh Blackman: “All of these cases involve laws passed by the government that burdens religion. Here, we are talking about the actions of Hobby Lobby, a private corporation, that owes absolutely zero constitutional duty to the religious beliefs of its employees. Zip. None. They have to comply with any applicable nondiscrimination laws, and cannot discriminate against employees based on their religion, and must make reasonable accommodations for religion. But this does not translate to some sort of constitutional protection against establishing a religion in a craft store.”
The World and Everything In It: “Today’s news and a discussion of religious liberty with Alliance Defending Freedom’s David Cortman, plus: Paul Kengor talks about Reagan conservatism, an excerpt from Ronald Reagan’s final presidential address, and more.”
The New American: “ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman declared, ‘Unjust laws are not valid laws. The government shouldn’t be allowed to punish Americans for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms.’ . . . ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman added, ‘Job creators don’t give up their fundamental freedoms when they get a business license. Every American has a right to fully and freely participate in every area of public life.’”
FRC’s Tony Perkins’ Washington Update: “On March 25, both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties will plead their case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Based on the brief filed by our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom, the penalties of refusing the mandate could cost Conestoga Wood up to $95,000 a day — more than enough to sink the company long-term.”
Religion Clause: “In Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius, (ED MI, Jan. 13, 2014), a Michigan federal district court granted a preliminary injunction to five non-profit organizations, including the Thomas More Law Center, barring the government from requiring them to comply with the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate accommodation for religious non-profits.”
Matt Bowman at NRO Bench Memos: “I write to expand on Ed’s post addressing Lederman’s ‘fundamental premise’: that the government isn’t substantially burdening the action of providing health insurance if federal law doesn’t require the employer to provide health insurance in the first place.”
Politico: “The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most employers provide contraception in their health plans, even if a company’s owners have religious objections.”
Alliance Defending Freedom submits first brief to Supreme Court in abortion pill mandate case | Live Action News
Live Action News: “In preparation for oral arguments in March, Alliance Defending Freedom has submitted its opening brief in the case Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.”
OneNewsNow: “ADF senior counsel David Cortman puts the blame at the feet of the Obama administration. ‘Unjust laws are not valid laws – and the government shouldn’t be allowed to punish Americans for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms,’ he says.”
ADF to Supreme Court: Gov’t shouldn’t force Americans to choose between making a living and living free
Alliance Defending Freedom and allied attorneys representing a Pennsylvania Mennonite family and its woodworking business filed their opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Friday in one of two major legal challenges to the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate that the high court agreed in November to hear.
AP: The Republican-led House voted overwhelmingly Friday to bolt new security requirements onto President Barack Obama’s health care law, with 67 Democrats breaking ranks to join with the GOP.
LifeNews: “Unjust laws are not valid laws. The government shouldn’t be allowed to punish Americans for exercising their constitutionally protected freedoms,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The administration has no business whatsoever forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free.” “Job creators don’t give up their fundamental freedoms when they get a business license,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Every American has a right to fully and freely participate in every area of public life.”
WorldNetDaily: The House of Representatives will vote Friday on legislation to force the Obama administration to reveal Obamacare enrollment data and other key figures so lawmakers and the public can see whether the goals are being met and the right people are signing up.
Lancaster Online: Conestoga Wood’s lead counsel is David A. Cortman, an attorney with Lawrenceville, Ga.-based Alliance Defending Freedom. When the high court agreed to hear the case in November, Cortman in a news release said, “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.”
Law360.com: Hobby Lobby is represented by Paul D. Clement and Michael H. McGinley of Bancroft PLLC and by Kyle Duncan, Eric C. Rassbach, Luke W. Goodrich, Adele Auxier Keim, Mark L. Rienzi and Lori H. Windham of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Conestoga is represented by Jordan W. Lorence, Steven H. Aden, Gregory S. Baylor, Matthew S. Bowman, Kevin H. Theriot and Rory T. Gray of the Alliance Defending Freedom. The cases are Kathleen Sebelius et al. v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. et al., case number 13-354, and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius et al., case number 13-356, in the U.S. Supreme Court.
LA Times: The surprising silence coming from the Supreme Court over the last week on a challenge to Obamacare by a group of Colorado nuns suggests justices are divided over what to with the complicated dispute.
StaceyPageOnline: On Dec. 27, a federal court ruled in favor of Grace College suspending the enforcement of the abortion pill mandate against the Winona Lake based school . . . For additional information concerning the federal law suit, see the press release from Alliance Defending Freedom HERE.
Acton Institute Power Blog: Today, Professor Helen Alvaré of George Mason University, testified before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice regarding taxpayer-funded abortions under Obamacare.
Sonoran News: “Unjust laws are not valid laws. In light of all the legal victories against the mandate, the wisest course is for the administration to stop wasting taxpayer resources on these cases and end its attacks on the First Amendment,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Many people have noted the administration’s failures and scandals over the past year, particularly with regard to Obamacare and government overreach,” added Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, “but little illustrates that more concretely than the loss record on the abortion pill mandate.”
Ed Mechmann at Archdiocese of NY: The HHS Mandate continues to make news, so I thought it would be worthwhile to give a quick, plain-language overview of where things stand, and what’s at stake.
John McCormack at Weekly Standard: All of the delays have led critics of the law to ask some obvious questions: If the Obama administration can suspend the individual mandate for people who had their plans canceled, couldn’t the next president suspend the mandate for everyone? Better yet, couldn’t the next president suspend the entire law? These are simple questions, but leading Democrats don’t have any answers.
NCPA Policy Digest: Can an employer pay chronically ill workers to leave the company health plan and get insurance somewhere else? That’s a question some business owners are asking, now that no one can be turned away from individual health plans under ObamaCare, says BusinessWeek.
National Review: The more outlandish scenarios ignore the terms of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and thus state the principle behind the lawsuits too broadly. The principle isn’t “Never impose a burden on the practice of faith.” It’s “Don’t impose a substantial burden on the practice of faith unless you have to, that is, unless it’s the least restrictive way to advance a compelling governmental interest.” No neo-Aztecs can take shelter against the murder laws under that principle.
Heritage Foundation (includes video): A Conspiracy Against Obamacare details how legal bloggers at the Volokh Conspiracy engaged in a spirited, erudite, and accessible discussion of the legal issues involved in the debate over the Affordable Care Act. This debate was one of the most important and public examinations of the Constitution in our history.
LifeNews: The Supreme Court has set the date for oral arguments for Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the Obama HHS mandate. The nation’s highest court will hear debate from attorneys representing the Christian-owned business and the Obama administration on Tuesday, March 25 at 10 a.m.
James C. Capretta at National Review: The truth is that the Obama administration manufactured this confrontation and did so for entirely political reasons.
Harry Reid’s claim that under Obamacare 9 million people ‘have health care that didn’t have it before’
Washington Post: “Right now, as we speak, there are 9 million Americans who have health care that didn’t have it before.” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Jan. 5, 2014
One News Now: Theriot says that the administration probably isn’t surprised the pushback from objectors is as strong as it is. “Though I bet you they’re surprised that they’re losing,” he says. “It’s not for the government to say what violates our beliefs and what doesn’t,” Theriot argues. “And that’s what they’re essentially saying: We know this violates your beliefs but we don’t’ think it violates it very much.”
Matthew S. Bowman at LifeNews: The Obama administration told the Supreme Court that nuns running an elder-care facility should have to provide “free” abortion drugs through their health-insurance plan. Witness your tax dollars at work. There is hope, though, that your hard-earned pay won’t be wasted on absurdities like this much longer. Religious freedom is so embedded in American law that Obamacare has suffered court orders against its mandate in 53 of 60 rulings so far.
Blog of the Legal Times: Clement appeared on Capitol Hill today next to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who filed a federal lawsuit today challenging an Office of Personnel Management rule regarding health coverage for members of Congress and staff.
Drew Belsky & Dustin Siggins at American Thinker: Shortly before the new year, a number of religious organizations were given protection from the HHS abortion and contraception mandate. While social conservatives and defenders of the First Amendment cheered, numerous prominent media organizations manipulated basic scientific facts to deny that the mandate — required by federal law — forces people to fund abortion-inducing drugs.
The Hill: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Monday said he’s suing the Obama administration over the federal contributions that lawmakers and their staffs get for health insurance in an attempt to curb the president’s “abuse of executive authority.”
Ed Whelan at NRO Bench Memos: On the Balkinization blog, Georgetown law professor Marty Lederman is writing a series of very lengthy posts setting forth his grounds for believing that the private employers’ religious-liberty challenges to the HHS mandate should be rejected . . . What I’m suggesting is the modest proposition that people have religious-liberty rights under RFRA in how they carry out all the activities that they freely choose to engage in, not just in how they do the tasks that the federal government places substantial pressure on them to do.
What does the form that the government insists the Little Sisters of the Poor must sign actually do? | Kevin C. Walsh at Mirror of Justice
Kevin C. Walsh at Mirror of Justice: The government’s insistence that the Little Sisters just sign the form misses the point. Signing the form is part of the problem, not a solution. That is why the New Year’s Eve injunction was necessary to protect the Little Sisters’ religious exercise.
Noah Feldman at Bloomberg: Do corporations have a right to religious liberty? The contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act has made this abstract-sounding question into the hottest constitutional issue of the day — hotter, even, than the right to privacy from government snooping.
Little Sisters of the Poor Case: The Administration’s Position Goes from the Absurd to the Surreal | Matt Bowman at NRO
Matt Bowman at National Review: The Obama administration told the Supreme Court that nuns running an elder-care facility should have to provide “free” abortion drugs through their health-insurance plan. Witness your tax dollars at work.
The Hill: A lawyer for an order of nuns seeking an exemption from a contraception provision in ObamaCare on Sunday said the Supreme Court’s ruling on the case would be “exceptionally important.”
Texas District Court Grants Permanent Injunction In “Church Plan” Challenge To Contraceptive Mandate Compromise
Religion Clause Blog: In Catholic Diocese of Beaumont v. Sebelius, (ED TX, Jan. 2, 2014), a Texas federal district court issued a permanent injunction barring enforcement of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate compromise against the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont and Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas.
We are witnessing a modern-day version of King Darius ordering that Daniel be thrown into the lion’s den for refusing to deny his faith. Displaying deceit characteristic of our Liar-in-Chief, Obama’s DOJ have offered the Little Sisters a serpent disguised as an olive branch.
One News Now: Alliance Defending Freedom attorney David Cortman points out that the administration lost 88 percent of the court rulings. Cortman, David (ADF)”Unjust laws such as these are not valid laws,” he states. “In light of all the legal victories against the mandate, the wisest course is for the administration to stop wasting taxpayer resources on these cases and once and for all end its attacks on the First Amendment.” ADF attorney Matt Bowman adds that courts issued a flurry of orders against the mandate, even in the waning days of the last year. “Many people have seen the administration’s failures and scandals over the past year, particularly involving ObamaCare and government overreach,” says Bowman, “but not many things illustrate those failures more concretely than the administration’s record of losses on its abortion pill mandate.”
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: It seems like a bureaucratic thing to do, but gaining an understanding of what it means to sign government form EBSA 700 is the key to a historic religious controversy now before the Supreme Court in the Affordable Care Act case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius (docket 13A691). Signing that form, the federal government argues, is a simple way for a religious organization like the Little Sisters to avoid what they regard as a sin: providing contraceptives and other pregnancy-related services to their female employees. But signing, the Little Sisters counter, would be the very act of violating their faith by clearing the way for such services for those employees.
Carissa Mulder at Public Discourse: Same-sex marriage may pose a grave threat to religious liberty, but the cultural conditions and assumptions that make that threat possible are rooted in heterosexual behavior and the idea that everyone has a right to consequence-free sexual intimacy.
Charles Cooke at National Review: Of all the cases that can be wielded against the casual use of propaganda, perhaps the strongest is that, eventually, it will make us all stupid.
NY Times: Like the cases of the private employers, the suit by the nuns’ group boils down to an unjustified attempt by an employer to impose its religious views on workers.
The Obama Administration’s Deception in the Little Sisters case (Matt Bowman, David French, Filings)
But here’s the problem: The certification is not an “opt out,” it’s a document that actually empowers a third party to provide free abortion pills. In that way, it’s more like a voucher than an opt-out.
Eric Teetsel at Patheos: Kathryn Jean Lopez has a post over at NRO on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s recent decision to grant a temporary injunction in a lawsuit over the administration’s abortion and contraception pill mandate. Lopez emphasizes an amazing statistic from our friends over at Alliance Defending Freedom . . .
Philly.com: Randall Wenger, a lawyer with the Independence Law Center who is representing Conestoga, said his client was thrilled at the recent decision. “I think Sotomayor’s injunction blocking the enforcement of the mandate suggests that she thinks there is a real religious issue at stake,” Wenger said. “If it is true for nuns in Colorado, then I think it is true for Mennonite cabinetmakers in Lancaster County.”
AP: There’s another quirk in the Obama administration’s new health insurance system: It lacks a way for consumers to quickly and easily update their coverage for the birth of a baby and other common life changes.
Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor issues injunction against HHS mandate for Catholic nuns | LifeSiteNews
LifeSiteNews: According to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, to date, in 20 decisions involving non-profit organizations, all but one have resulted in an injunction barring enforcement of the mandate. Additionally, 35 out of 41 injunctions handed down involving families and businesses have also blocked the mandate. “I think that is the broad implication – is that Obamacare’s abortion pill mandate is losing overwhelmingly because it is illegal to trample upon religious freedom in America,” said Bowman. “The fact is, Obamacare violates religious freedom, and judges across the political spectrum agree that it does.”
Caffeinated Thoughts: 2013 proved to be a bad year for the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate, which finished the year with 88 percent of court decisions going against it (53-7). Alliance Defending Freedom and its allied attorneys are currently winning their cases by a wide margin, with court orders going 15-1 against the mandate.
LifeNews: “Unjust laws are not valid laws. In light of all the legal victories against the mandate, the wisest course is for the administration to stop wasting taxpayer resources on these cases and end its attacks on the First Amendment,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Many people have noted the administration’s failures and scandals over the past year, particularly with regard to Obamacare and government overreach,” added Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, “but little illustrates that more concretely than the loss record on the abortion pill mandate.”
Charisma News: 2013 proved to be a bad year for the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate, which finished the year with 88 percent of court decisions going against it (53-7). Alliance Defending Freedom and its allied attorneys are currently winning their cases by a wide margin, with court orders going 15-1 against the mandate.
LifeSiteNews: If the University fails to comply with the HHS mandate, it will face crippling fines of up to $100 per day per employee. But Notre Dame has decided to accept the Obama administration’s “accommodation,” which ensures employees the offensive coverage over the University’s objection.
The Hill: In a memo to Republican lawmakers on Thursday, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he would schedule a vote on a proposal to require the government to notify individuals if their personal information has been compromised on HealthCare.gov.
Hot Air: It didn’t take long for the Obama administration to respond publicly to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s temporary injunction against HHS for enforcement of the contraceptive-coverage mandate. Expressing confidence in their position, the White House insisted that their “compromise” for religious organizations satisfied any risk to conscience objections:
Sarah Jean Seman at Townhall: The 2013 scorecard for abortion pill mandate cases made on religious freedom claims is 53 – 7, and the Obama Administration is losing. The Obama Administration is fighting an uphill battle, according to a tally released by Alliance Defending Freedom Tuesday . . . [more, press release quoted]
Politico: The Obama administration Wednesday said the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage regulations are fair — and they don’t really hurt the Denver-based religious organization that got a temporary New Year’s Eve reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review: Alliance Defending Freedom – which is representing clients suing the Obama administration, including Conestoga Wood Specialties, run by a Pennsylvania Mennonite family, whose case will be reviewed along with Hobby Lobby’s religious-liberty claim during the spring term — points out today that the Obama administration has suffered a bit of a losing streak in the courts on its abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization Obamacare Department of Health and Human Services mandate. By ADF’s tally, 88 percent of the court decisions on the mandate in 2013 went against the administration: 53–7.
The Hill: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wrote the letter, which was signed by his counterparts in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.
Charisma News: “Unjust laws are not valid laws. In light of all the legal victories against the mandate, the wisest course is for the administration to stop wasting taxpayer resources on these cases and end its attacks on the First Amendment,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Many people have noted the administration’s failures and scandals over the past year, particularly with regard to Obamacare and government overreach,” added Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, “but little illustrates that more concretely than the loss record on the abortion pill mandate.”
Lyle Denniston at Constitution Daily: From the beginning, this Democratic program – it drew not one Republican vote in Congress – has had very energetic critics who were determined to do it in, especially in a constitutional sense. It barely survived the opening challenge: the claim, rejected by the Supreme Court in 2012, that the individual mandate was beyond Congress’s powers. But the unrelenting challenge goes on.
2013 proved to be a bad year for the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate, which finished the year with 88 percent of court decisions going against it (53-7). Alliance Defending Freedom and its allied attorneys are currently winning their cases by a wide margin, with court orders going 15-1 against the mandate.
Justice Sotomayor and 3 Circuits Rule On Injunctions Pending Appeals By Non-Profits In Contraceptive Mandate Cases
Religion Clause Blog: With the approach of the Jan. 1, 2014 effective date for the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage accommodation for religious non-profits (Final Rules in Federal Register), three circuit courts and a Supreme Court Justice yesterday ruled on motions for injunctions pending appeals by non-profits who lost at the district court level.
Bloomberg: The Obama administration was temporarily blocked by a U.S. Supreme Court justice from forcing an order of Catholic nuns to comply with a federal requirement to provide free contraceptive coverage for employees. Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s two-sentence order will last at least until Jan. 3, the deadline she gave the administration to respond to a bid by the Denver and Baltimore chapters of the Little Sisters of the Poor for an exemption to the mandate. The Supreme Court released the order last night, a half hour before the mandate took effect.
Christian Post: Even as President Obama’s now infamous claim, “[i]f you like your plan you can keep it,” is being recognized as the “Lie of the Year” by an independent media watchdog, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Co-Chair of the Congressional Pro-life Caucus, issued the following statement regarding the “Big Three Obamacare Abortion Lies of the Year.”
Newson6.com: Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor issued the following statement in reaction to the judge’s ruling. “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people–under threat of punishment–to give up their fundamental freedoms and act contrary to their beliefs. That’s no different for these Christian colleges, which simply want to abide by the very faith they espouse and teach. The court has rightfully suspended the Obamacare abortion pill mandate against these schools while their case moves forward. The government should not punish people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”
2013 Favs: The War on Girls: Sterilize Your Teen-Aged Daughter for Free (and without your consent) | Patheos
Rebecca Hamilton at Patheos (quoting CNA/EWTN News): Matt Bowman, senior counsel for the religious liberty legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said the mandate “tramples parental rights” because it requires them to “pay for and sponsor coverage of abortifacients, sterilization, contraception and education in favor of the same for their own children.” [more]