Monday, December 23, 2013

Legatus wins injunction against HHS mandate; Priests for Life forced to appeal denial of a similar injunction

Legatus wins injunction

Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders, obtained a Preliminary Injunction against the Federal Government in its case challenging the HHS Mandate.  Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan entered the Order granting the Thomas More Law Center’s motion for a preliminary injunction on Friday afternoon, December 20, 2013.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Legatus on May 7, 2012.  “Legatus” is the Latin word for
Erin Mersino
“ambassador”, and its members are called upon to become “ambassadors for Christ” in living and sharing their Catholic Faith in their business, professional and personal lives.  It was founded in 1987 by Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business.  Legatus currently has over 4,000 members in 31 states.

Erin Mersino, who has appeared as a guest on Faith on Trial several times, is the TMLC’s lead attorney handling the Legatus case.  She has been spearheading the Law Center’s challenges to the HHS Mandate in eleven cases thus far.

In granting TMLC’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction, the Court found that even with the new rules adopted by the Government concerning religious accommodations, Legatus will likely show at trial that the HHS Mandate “substantially burdens the observance of the tenets of Catholicism.”  Further, the Court found that there were many other ways to achieve the Government’s interest to increase free contraception without restricting the religious liberty of Legatus.  Accordingly, the Court found that the government has not made a convincing argument showing the HHS Mandate is advancing a compelling government interest by the least restrictive means.

Fr. Pavone, Priests for Life forced to appeal

Last Friday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed  an emergency motion for an injunction in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asking the court to halt the enforcement of the Obamacare contraception mandate as applied against religious organizations pending appeal of a lower court ruling.  The motion was filed on behalf of Priests forLife, a Catholic pro-life organization; Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life; Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life; and Janet Morana, the Executive Director of Priests for Life.  Absent an injunction, the mandate will apply in full force against Priests for Life on January 1st.

Robert Muise
Last Thursday, Federal Judge Emmett G. Sullivan, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, upheld the government’s enforcement of the contraception mandate as applied against Priests for Life.  Within an hour, AFLC filed an immediate appeal of the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and within 24 hours, filed an emergency motion with the appellate court totaling 125 pages. The motion asks the court to issue an order enjoining the mandate while the case proceeds through the appeal process.  Judge Sullivan had previously upheld the Obamacare contraception mandate as applied against for-profit companies, only later to be reversed by the D. C. Circuit.

Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, and another Faith on Trial guest, commented: “The Supreme Court has long held that religious exercise is impermissibly burdened when government action compels religious organizations to violate a fundamental tenet of their religious beliefs.  Unless the emergency injunction is granted, on New Year’s Day the federal government will force Priests for Life to face a Hobson’s choice: it can either violate its sincerely held religious beliefs or face crippling fines of $100 per employee per day that it is not in compliance with Obama’s unconstitutional and unconscionable mandate.”

No comments:

Post a Comment