Friday, January 24, 2014

Priests for Life's challenge to the Obamacare HHS Mandate heads to Supreme Court

Yesterday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a “Petition for Writ of Certiorari” in the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to grant review of its case challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate on behalf of Priests for Life, a nonprofit, Catholic organization; Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life; Dr. Alveda King, the niece of
Fr. Frank Pavone
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. 

The HHS Mandate requires employers, such as Priests for Life, to provide free contraception and abortion producing drugs to its employees. The petition specifically asks the Court to decide whether the challenged mandate as applied against non-exempt, nonprofit religious employers violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
On December 19, Federal Judge Emmett G. Sullivan, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, upheld the government’s enforcement of the mandate as applied against Priests for Life.  Within an hour, AFLC filed an immediate appeal of the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and within 24 hours, filed an emergency motion asking the court to halt the mandate pending appeal.  On December 31, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit granted the injunction.

Robert Muise
AFLC is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case pursuant to a special Supreme Court rule, which allows review of a case pending in a U.S. appellate court before judgment is entered in that court if “the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this Court.”
Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, and a former guest on Faith on Trial, commented: “There is little doubt that the question of whether Obama’s unconscionable mandate violates the free exercise rights of religious organizations is not only important to Priests for Life, but to all freedom-loving Americans.  Consequently, it is imperative and of great public importance that the Court grant review of this case and promptly resolve this question, which ultimately affects the religious freedom of all private citizens.”

David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “It is evident that the Obama administration has little regard for the religious beliefs of Catholic organizations like Priests for Life and even less regard for our Constitution and the rule of law.  Consequently, it is imperative that the Supreme Court grant review of this case and immediately halt this administration’s assault on our Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees all American citizens.”

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