Posted on December 27, 2012
Hobby Lobby, a Christian-run arts and crafts chain, filed for an emergency injunction on December 21, 2012 with the Supreme Court to block President Obama’s birth control coverage rules. Hobby Lobby’s complaint surrounds the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that most employers cover contraception without copay.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court today denied Hobby Lobby’s request, which was joined by the Christian book company, Mardel. The U.S. Supreme Court said it will not decide the case before lower courts have ruled. Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that the petitioners did not meet the standards requisite for a preliminary injunction. The court also denied the request that the court take up the entire case, in which they argue that the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement forces them to violate their religious beliefs.
The case will return to the district court for a ruling on the merits of whether the Obama administration can require employers who have religious objections to contraceptive coverage to provide said insurance coverage in their employer plan.
Posted on November 26, 2012
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to examine the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) employer requirement to cover contraceptives without a co-pay. This move could put the ACA in front of the Supreme Court again as early as next year. The order was in response to a request from Liberty University, one of the groups that sued over the mandate in 2010. After the June ruling, the Supreme Court dismissed Liberty’s entire lawsuit. Over this past summer, Liberty asked the Supreme Court to reopen the arguments pertaining to the employer mandate and the contraceptive coverage mandate. The court agreed to the request and today’s order instructs the Fourth Circuit to review both pieces of the argument.
Posted on November 1, 2012
Judge Robert H. Cleland of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan granted a preliminary injunction exempting Weingartz Supply Company from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) contraception coverage requirement. Thomas More Law Center is representing Weingartz. The injunction marks the second time that a judge has issued an injunction for a private company on this provision. However, the Michigan judge did deny a preliminary injunction to Legatus, a nonprofit conservative Catholic business organization that filed suit alongside Weingartz. Because the business is a religious organization, as opposed to a private business owned by a religious individual, Legatus qualifies for the ACA “safe harbor,” and thus is not mandated to cover contraception while the Obama administration finalizes the exemption policy.
Posted on November 1, 2012
The Department of Justice (DOJ) told the Supreme Court yesterday that they would not attempt to block requests to reopen a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Such a lawsuit could potentially place the ACA in front of the Supreme Court again as early as next year.
In 2010, Liberty University sued over the minimum coverage provision and other aspects of the ACA, but the case was set aside when the 26 states and NFIB case went before the Supreme Court. Because the court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in its June 28th decision, it essentially tossed out Liberty’s lawsuit. Liberty now wants the Supreme Court to review its other challenges to the ACA.
Specifically, Liberty claims that the law’s employer coverage requirements are unconstitutional, as the mandate’s contraception coverage requirement violates the right to freely exercise religion. Over 30 such claims have been filed against the Obama administration. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s letter to the court states that although the DOJ believes that the Liberty claims “lack merit,” the DOJ does not oppose the courts reviewing the suit.
Posted on October 25, 2012
One of a number of lawsuits filed in opposition to the ACA was Liberty University, Inc., et al. v. Geithner et al. Under this lawsuit in 2010, a private Christian university and a number of individual petitioners sued the government to block enforcement of the ACA’s employer requirement to provide health insurance coverage to employees, as well as the individual requirement to maintain health insurance coverage. The district court in the Western District of Virginia rejected all the plaintiffs’ claims, which included challenges based on the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, the Tenth Amendment, the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). On appeal, the Fourth Circuit held that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) barred federal courts…
Posted on October 23, 2012
In Arizona, the preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake bars the state from applying a new state anti-abortion law to Planned Parenthood Arizona. The state already prohibits public funding for most abortions. The new law, passed earlier this year but not yet implemented, would go so far as to bar public funding for general health care services provided by entities that also provide abortions. Supporters of the new law said that public funding for agencies like Planned Parenthood indirectly subsidizes abortions. Judge Wake ruled that the subsidies could in no way fund abortions because Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood Arizona cover only about half of the costs and thus, the Judge ruled that, ”there is no excess funding that could be used to subsidize abortions.” The Judge found that it is in the best interest of Arizona to block the law’s implementation to prevent some 3,000 patients from being denied health care delivery from their chosen health care providers.
In Indiana, a federal appeals court similarly ruled that the state cannot cut off funding for Planned Parenthood just because they provide abortions, amongst many other health care services. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a lower court decision that found that Indiana cannot enforce a state law that barred abortion providers from collecting Medicaid reimbursements for any health care services provided.
Posted on October 8, 2012
A private company in Delaware that publishes Bibles, Tyndale House Publishers, has filed suit against the Obama administration, arguing that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that employers cover contraception as a preventive service is unconstitutional. Tyndale filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the company.
Posted on October 2, 2012
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled on September 28, 2012 that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) requirement that employer-sponsored health care plans cover women’s preventive services, including contraception, does not violate the Religion Freedom Restoration Act or Fire Amendment Free Exercise, Establishment, or Freedom of Speech clauses in the O’Brien v. HHS case. The court’s ruling granted the Obama administration’s motion to dismiss the complaint. Judge Carol E. Jackson argued that the aforementioned regulations imposed no substantial burden on the plaintiff’s exercise of religious beliefs, and thus dismissed the complaint on its merits.
The plaintiff in the case is…
Posted on October 1, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the United States Solicitor General to file a response within 30 days to Liberty University’s request for a re-hearing in federal appellate court of its claims in the case of Liberty Univ. v. Geithner. In that case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) barred it from entertaining Liberty University’s pre-enforcement challenges against the Affordable Care Act. Because the Supreme Court subsequently ruled in National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Sebelius that the AIA did not apply in the context of the ACA, Liberty University has…
Posted on September 20, 2012
Yesterday, Oklahoma’s attorney general Scott Pruitt filed suit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The challenge focuses on the penalties that large employers would pay if they do not offer affordable health care coverage for employees, as mandated under the ACA. Oklahoma had previously joined 25 other states in arguing that ACA was unconstitutional due to the minimum coverage provision. However, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in its landmark June 28th decision.
The new complaint focuses on…