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ACLJ Files Briefs Supporting Two HHS Mandate Appeals

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the Families USA's 16th annual Health Action Conference at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington

The American Center for Law & Justice (“ACLJ”) has filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs in support of HHS Mandate challenges filed by the plaintiffs in the following two appeals: Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius (United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit) and Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius (United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit).

In both of those cases, the plaintiffs were denied injunctive relief to prevent them from having to comply with the Mandate, which requires employees, despite any religious objection, to arrange and pay for employee health insurance coverage for contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization procedures, and related education and counseling.

In the Sixth Circuit appeal, the plaintiffs are Autocam Corporation and Autocam Medical and their owners. Autocam and Autocam Medical are manufacturing companies that employ 661 full-time employees. The Autocam plaintiffs have a religious objection to the Mandate’s requirement that they pay for and provide coverage for all contraceptive methods, including abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization procedures.

In the Tenth Circuit appeal, the plaintiffs are Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel and their owners. Hobby Lobby Stores is an arts and crafts chain operating over 500 stores with over 13,000 full-time employees. Mardel is a bookstore and educational supply company that specializes in Christian materials. It has 35 stores and 372 full-time employees. The Hobby Lobby plaintiffs have a religious objection to the Mandate’s requirement that they pay for and provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

If the plaintiffs in these two cases do not comply with the Mandate, they face significant penalties. The Autocam plaintiffs would incur about $19 million per year in penalties, and the Hobby Lobby plaintiffs would incur almost $500 million per year in penalties for non-compliance.

In the ACLJ’s briefs, we explain to the respective courts that the plaintiffs are deserving of injunctive relief and that they should be able to exercise their religious beliefs without interference from the federal government.

We explain that the Mandate violates the religious rights of the plaintiffs because it forces them to (1) comply with the Mandate in violation of their religious beliefs or (2) pay significant annual penalties to stay true to their religious beliefs. These are choices the federal government may not legally force anyone to make.

You may read the ACLJ’s brief filed in the Autocam appeal here and the brief filed in the Hobby Lobby appeal here.

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