HHS loses injunction argument in Oklahoma mandate case

posted at 1:01 pm on June 7, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The real stage for the HHS contraception mandate will be the Supreme Court, where arguments have already been heard on the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases involving private-sector secular employers. The fight still continues in lower courts, however, and also in regard to religious employers. In Oklahoma, a federal judge issued an injunction on Wednesday blocking enforcement on more than 200 Catholic employers and thousands of parishes, thanks to a lawsuit filed in March by the Catholic Benefits Association. It is one of the few class-action suits being brought against the contraception mandate:

A government attorney declined to comment Thursday while Catholic officials praised a ruling by U.S. District Judge David Russell that granted an injunction that exempts members from any fines or penalties arising from not complying with the provision while their objections are litigated.

The association — which includes archdioceses, an insurance company and a nursing home across almost 2,000 Catholic parishes nationwide — believes in the Catholic teaching that their ministries should include health care to their employees. But members “also believe in the Catholic teaching that any artificial interference with the creation and nurture of new life is wrong,” Russell said.

“The harm posed to these plaintiffs absent relief is quite tangible — they will either face severe monetary penalties or be required to violate their religious beliefs,” he said.

CBA issued a statement shortly afterward:

The CBA’s general counsel, Martin Nussbaum, noted “this ruling is especially gratifying because this lawsuit, alone among the HHS contraceptive mandate cases, includes three groups of Catholic employers—“houses of worship” that are, by regulation, exempt; non-exempt ministries like colleges, Catholic Charities, and healthcare institutions; and Catholic-owned for profit businesses.” It is also one of only a few class action suits in this unprecedented situation in which so many religious groups have sued the federal government because its Mandate violates their religious beliefs.

Archbishop Paul Coakley, who also serves as VP to the CBA, praised the ruling in a separate statement:

“I’m heartened by today’s ruling,” Archbishop Coakley said. “Judge Russell was right to recognize that the Catholic employers of the Catholic Benefits Association have a right to allow their faith to inform not just their private beliefs, but also their public actions.

“The administration has been discriminatory to grant relief to some Catholic employers and not others based on whether they operate within the diocesan structure or at separately incorporated charitable organizations and for-profit businesses,” he explained. “Whether bishops or businessmen, Catholics cannot in good conscience provide employees with insurance that covers drugs and procedures that undermine the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life.”

“Today is a very good day for proponents of religious liberty in general and for the Catholic Benefits Association in particular,” he added.

The CBA provides health insurance and other benefits to more than 450 employers and parishes around the country. The injunction applies to all of those who get benefits through CBA, which makes it an attractive option now for employers who wish to follow their own religious values when offering benefits — at least as long as the injunction stands. The CBA does provide services for for-profit businesses as well as non-profits and church-related employers, so it may attract some significant new interest after this week’s developments.

This isn’t the end of the case, of course. But even if Hobby Lobby and Conestoga fail, there may be a better case for the Supreme Court to draw a line on interference with religious liberty with the new CBA case developing in Oklahoma. We’ll keep our eyes peeled. 

Note: Our former associate editor Tina Korbe Dzurisin works as communications director for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Update: I’ve changed the headline, which erroneously stated that HHS lost the case. They haven’t yet — they just lost the argument on a temporary injunction, which suggests that CBA will get the better of the case. But the original headline was just wrong, as one commenter noted, and this is a little more accurate. My apologies.


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Comments

Just give it a rest with the constant grievance politics.

libfreeordie on May 15, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Schadenfreude on June 7, 2014 at 1:08 PM

OT: I have Fox New on. It’s carrying some remotes from today’s Belmont Stakes. The reporter is Molly Line. She looks fabulous in the hat she’s wearing. What a classic beauty.

BuckeyeSam on June 7, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Good

rbj on June 7, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Ed, you need to get Tina on TEMS.(Bet you thought of that already.)

flackcatcher on June 7, 2014 at 1:23 PM

No worries, one of the Three Letter Agencies will show Chief Justice Roberts their blackmail material again, in case he’s forgotten why he voted for Obamacare, and The Government Wins Again!

Who shall it be?

FBI
CIA
TSA
NSA
??

So many from which to choose.

Tard on June 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM

“Rights? What rights?” – Chief Justice John ‘backstop’ Roberts

ElectricPhase on June 7, 2014 at 1:29 PM

“Rights? What rights?” – Chief Justice John ‘backstop’ Roberts

ElectricPhase on June 7, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Defining it as a tax overcomes any rights you have !
/

CW on June 7, 2014 at 1:32 PM

I wish the plaintiffs in all these cases could charge the personal wealth of Obama, Holder, Jarrett, and Sebellius for their litigation expenses and attorneys fees.

BuckeyeSam on June 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Someday, the Supreme Court will have to rule on 1st Amendment grounds that I don’t have to personally pay for something with which I disagree morally.

If they don’t want to, then I will sue some gay rights group and force them to pay for my ammo at the range. No connection whatsoever, but rights is rights, amirite? If the 14th Amendment means that all are equal under the law, and that gives gays the right to marry, then it also gives no one the right to racial, sexual or any other preference.

Be careful what precedents you set, libs; they can be used both ways.

DublOh7 on June 7, 2014 at 1:36 PM

This isn’t a freedom of religion issue, this is a freedom issue. I have the right to freedom of association and the right to contract irrespective of anything at all that I believe or you believe or anyone believes.

I am a free born man and if I want this health insurance policy or that health insurance policy or no health insurance policy at all it is my right to do as I wish for whatever freaking reason I have or no reason at all.

Are we now to have government sanctioned reasons to be allowed to enjoy Rights?

Kevin R on June 7, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Hey Federal Government? You know what you can do?

John the Libertarian on June 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Are we now to have government sanctioned reasons to be allowed to enjoy Rights?

Kevin R on June 7, 2014 at 1:42 PM

No constitutionally guaranteed right shall interfere with the government’s prerogative to tax, don’tcha know?

ElectricPhase on June 7, 2014 at 1:48 PM

U.S. District Judge David Russell

Activist Judge nominated by the evil Reagan.

Del Dolemonte on June 7, 2014 at 1:49 PM

…some hope…for the war against religion?

KOOLAID2 on June 7, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Summoning the Gip:

“Mr Obama, tear down this wall!”

abobo on June 7, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Big Time Democrat Donor Invokes Gas Chambers And Screams ’Fvck God’s Chosen People!’

She goes off on Mexicans, too.

Resist We Much on June 7, 2014 at 1:38 PM

And people say Puritan society was the sum of all fears. Sheesh.

Wonder what looney-tard hate forums online she’s a secret member of?

LawfulGood on June 7, 2014 at 1:56 PM

If any of you think that King Barky the Liar will comply with court orders I present his previous record of not complying with federal court orders.

We. Are. A. Banana. Republic.

jukin3 on June 7, 2014 at 2:01 PM

round 1. We will need to go to the supreme court where the justices will deliberate on the merit of the law or at least the lib view of the law. The supreme court is the trump card whoever controls this keeps all the marbles. I used to think these guys were gods, of supreme integrity. Now I see the lib judges and especially the obama appointees all about their political ideology. We must win the presidency back or we are screwed.

warmairfan on June 7, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Someday, the Supreme Court will have to rule on 1st Amendment grounds that I don’t have to personally pay for something with which I disagree morally.

…..
Be careful what precedents you set, libs; they can be used both ways.

DublOh7 on June 7, 2014 at 1:36 PM

The courts have generally held that people who object to wars on moral grounds still have to pay their taxes.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

It is a good day. The abortion murder mill was closed today. We still prayed….

crosshugger on June 7, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Ed,

Your headline is misleading. This appears to be a preliminary injunction and the case is still pending at the trial court. No one has won or lost this case yet.

themuppet on June 7, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Righteous!

workingclass artist on June 7, 2014 at 2:21 PM

If they don’t want to, then I will sue some gay rights group and force them to pay for my ammo at the range.

DublOh7 on June 7, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Funny thing is, considering that the 2nd Amendment is actually part of our Constitution, THAT makes more sense than requiring businesses to pay for someone’s prescription.

CW on June 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM

The courts have generally held that people who object to wars on moral grounds still have to pay their taxes.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Thanks, Einstein.

There you go again. Pompous JO you are.

CW on June 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM

The courts have generally held that people who object to wars on moral grounds still have to pay their taxes.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Say, can you tell me how paying taxes that support our defense and forcing employers to pay for someone’s drugs might be different?

Good luck!

CW on June 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Heads Up:

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram

United States Capitol, Washington, DC, US

Culpeper, VA, US
1m
US Secret Service, Capitol Police to interview pilot who entered restricted airspace on ground in Culpeper, Va. – @ChadPergram
see original on twitter.com
Partner items
===============

10m
Partner
see original on twitter.com
air travel
10m
Partner
see original on twitter.com
============================

Washington, DC, US
14m
US Capitol evacuated briefly after small plane entered airspace without proper communication; situation back to normal – @jparkABC, @ChadPergram
see original on twitter.com
=============================

Washington, DC, US
19m
Photo: Street barricades being lifted near US Capitol as police evacuate buildings and investigate an unclear disturbance – @AustinSchindel
see original on twitter.com
=============================

Washington, DC, US
24m
Editor’s note: Several people in Washington, DC, are tweeting that the US Capitol is being evacuated by Capitol Police. – Aaron

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/united-states-capitol-washington-dc-us/

canopfor on June 7, 2014 at 2:25 PM

It is a good day. The abortion murder mill was closed today. We still prayed….

crosshugger on June 7, 2014 at 2:07 PM

If it’s the one in Dallas, I’m praying for it to reopen.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:43 PM

The courts have generally held that people who object to wars on moral grounds still have to pay their taxes.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Thanks, Einstein.

There you go again. Pompous JO you are.

CW on June 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM

So sorry you don’t have the honesty and courage to spell out what “JO” means.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The courts have generally held that people who object to wars on moral grounds still have to pay their taxes.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Say, can you tell me how paying taxes that support our defense and forcing employers to pay for someone’s drugs might be different?

Good luck!

CW on June 7, 2014 at 2:24 PM

If you’re claiming you’re exempt from a law because of religious or moral reasons, they are not.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:46 PM

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:43 PM

You truly are a disgusting human being. Looking forward to you getting banned again.

njrob on June 7, 2014 at 2:47 PM

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:43 PM

You truly are a disgusting human being. Looking forward to you getting banned again.

njrob on June 7, 2014 at 2:47 PM

And I’m proud of my views.

jim56 on June 7, 2014 at 2:49 PM

If it’s the one in Dallas, I’m praying for it to reopen.

jim56

And if it does, you should show your support and volunteer to let them abort you.

xblade on June 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM


#JuckFim56

Nutstuyu on June 7, 2014 at 3:34 PM

About that whole banning thing little jimmy. You never did respond to the proof you requested. Whats up with that? You a coward?

The hyphen is just to set off what I’m responding to. People in the past have said there wasn’t enough difference between the two, so I’ve tried to do better.

Jimbo3 on June 11, 2010 at 5:28 PM

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/10/mitch-daniels-we-need-a-truce-on-social-issues-to-concentrate-on-our-fiscal-crisis/comment-page-4/#comment-3627532

–Links of calls to boycott United Airlines because of the personal actions of its CEO. You are wrong, Press1foEngrish.

jim56 on April 3, 2014 at 5:59 PM

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/03/mozilla-ceo-resigns-after-uproar-over-his-opposition-to-gay-marriage/comment-page-3/#comment-7896086

Bmore on June 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM

–Totally dude.

Murphy9 on April 3, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Are you sure who Murphy9 is? He or she also used a hyphen.

Bmore on June 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM

jim56 on June 8, 2014 at 10:45 AM

You are a lying coward. You would use a comment made by someone who is mocking you as your defense? Pathetic. Admit it, come clean, do the standup thing. Man up. You have been caught and the very proof has been and will be presented to you each and every time you attempt to comment. Coward. Cheat. Liar.

Bmore on June 8, 2014 at 6:58 PM