Search  |  Login  |  Register

Substantial Burden to Religious Liberty

By David French1349209105000

Last March, I reported that my colleagues at the ACLJ filed the first lawsuit by a for-profit business challenging Obama’s HHS mandate. The suit, brought by Frank R. O’Brien and O’Brien Industrial Holdings, centered around a fundamental claim: Mr. O’Brien — a Catholic — “wishes to conduct his business in a manner that does not violate the principles of his religious faith.”

On Friday afternoon, however, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted the Obama administration’s motion to dismiss the case, holding that the mandate was not a “substantial burden” on Mr. O’Brien’s religious liberty. The court found there was no significant difference between an employer paying a salary that the employee might use to pay for objectionable items and requiring the employer to pay for those items directly.  

We believe, of course, that this reasoning is fundamentally flawed. Employees’ consciences are implicated by the items they purchase with their own money (the employer has no hold on funds once paid in salary); while employers’ consciences are implicated by the items they purchase with company funds. Further, the Obama administration has itself noted the burden on employer religious rights by carving out its own (unfortunately weak) religious exemption.

Wasting no time, O’Brien Industrial Holdings filed its appeal to the Eighth Circuit earlier this afternoon. As my colleague Frank Manion noted (paraphrasing Churchill): “This is not the end. Nor is it the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning. The case moves on. The challenge continues.”

This article is crossposted at National Review Online.

Latest in
ObamaCare

Obama Repackages Abortion-Pill Mandate

By Matthew Clark1408738939000

The Obama Administration is not one to let a mere Supreme Court decision get in the way of its radical pro-abortion agenda. After losing major abortion-pill mandate litigation at the Supreme Court and then failing in an attempt to ram a new abortion-pill mandate through Congress (where it couldn’t...

read more

Another Win in HHS Mandate Litigation

By Edward White1407812800000

Over the past few years, the ACLJ has represented numerous businesses and their owners in seven lawsuits challenging the HHS Mandate, which requires businesses to include in their health plans coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in order to avoid crippling...

read more

Massive Blow to ObamaCare

By David French1406047849000

It looks like Nancy Pelosi should have read ObamaCare before she passed it. This morning, in a 2-1 decision the D.C. Circuit struck down a lawless IRS rule that dramatically extended ObamaCare subsidies well beyond the law’s written guidelines. Put simply, the D.C. Circuit found that ObamaCare...

read more

New Abortion-Pill Mandate Voted Down

By Matthew Clark1405542977000

Senate Democrats attempt to gut religious liberty and “reverse” the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision on the abortion-pill mandate has been defeated. Pro-abortion radicals reeling from the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby quickly jumped to extreme measures to push through their failing...

read more