Roman Catholic Archdiocese Wins Significant Ruling Against HHS Mandate


Source: Barbara Samuells [correction made to original introduction]

The Obama administration’s HHS Mandate met a significant defeat December 5, 2012, in a case brought by the NY Archdiocese.

The Obama administration’s HHS mandate requires all employers with over 50 employees to provide contraception and abortion inducing drugs as part of the health coverage for their employees.  Many religious institutions, schools, hospitals, and charities are suing the government because the mandate dictates that they violate their deeply held religious beliefs in direct denial of first amendment protection of religious freedom.

The government has given religious institutions one year delay so they must implement the mandate by Aug.1, 2013.

Those lawsuits were being denied hearing because the government claimed that the organizations had not yet been harmed by the mandate and, besides, the government, definitely, positively and absolutely promised to change the regulations before Aug. 1, 2013, when these organizations could possibly be harmed.

That’s equivalent to a man being executed on August 1st, 2013 but not being able to appeal until August 1st, 2013 because he’s not facing imminent injury. That man better hope the execution is scheduled for late in the day and not nine in the morning

A New York federal judge, Brian Cogan, is having none of the administration’s long winded assurances. Judge Cogan has ruled that the case by the NY Archdiocese could go forward because there is every certain expectation that the harm could happen since the rule is final and the HHS over many months has made none of the changes it has promised.

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2012
Media Contact: Emily Hardman, 202.349.7224

Washington, D.C. — In a landmark ruling against the HHS Mandate, yesterday a federal judge ruled against the government holding that the government’s supposed “safe harbor” was inadequate to protect religious organizations from suffering imminent harm.

“We are pleased the court recognized the significant harm that the mandate is causing right now,” said Eric Baxter, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. ”Religious organizations that object to the mandate are subject to private lawsuits, as well as being faced with critical budgeting, and health insurance decisions in the face of millions of dollars in fines. Truly the ‘safe harbor’ is neither a harbor nor safe.”

The judge concluded that “There is no ‘Trust us changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.” The court further stated that “ignoring the speeding train that is coming toward plaintiffs in the hope that it will stop might well be inconsistent with the fiduciary duties that plaintiffs’ directors or officers owe to their members.”

There are now 40 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, which is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). The Becket Fund led the charge against the unconstitutional HHS mandate, and currently represents: Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, and Ave Maria University.*

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions—from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. For 18 years its attorneys have been recognized as experts in the field of church-state law. The Becket Fund recently won a 9-0 victory in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Emily Hardman, Communications Director, at or call 202.349.7224.

*The government in their wisdom has decided that it is they who get to decide who and what organizations are religious. Their definition has been defined as too narrow by their opponents. The government deciding who fits under their definition appears to be beyond their pay grade.


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