Federal Court Blocks Contraception Mandate - For Now
Yesterday, a federal court blocked the ObamaCare contraception/abortion mandate -- and rejected the Obama administration's outrageous claim that for-profit corporations have no claim to religious freedom.
The case was brought be Newland family of Colorado, who co-own Hercules Industries. The Newlands are devout Catholics and they created a self-insured health plan for Hercules employees that does not cover abortifacent drugs, contraception, or sterilization. But under Obama, of course, every company must adhere to the mandate, whatever the religious scruples of the owners. Perhaps this makes sense in the Obama Bunker -- after all, the Newlands "didn't build" their company, why should they be allowed to run it as they see fit?
At this stage it's only a temporary injunction, but it is significant because a judge only grants such injunctions to the party that has the greater "likelihood of success on the merits." Thus, such injunctions are usually seen as an early indication of which way the judge is leaning.
In defense of the mandate, the Obama/Sebelius HHS hit an all-time low, arguing that burden on religious exercise of owners of family business is “not cognizable” under the First Amendment and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) if the business is a “legally separate, secular corporation." Over at NRO, Ed Whelan makes mincemeat of this proposition, pointing out that this argument would allow, for example, the federal government to order a family-owned Jewish deli to stay open on the Sabbath.
I doubt whether Obama would disagree with the government's power to do that. Obama and his cabinet have made a concerted effort to cast the First Amendment as only guaranteeing "freedom of worship," i.e., that it only protects your right to pray, not to practice. But the text is clear: "free exercise" is the right that must not be abridged -- and to "exercise" religion means more than a weekly visit to the Rev. Wright's church. The Founders knew that.