The HHS Mandate Isn’t a ‘Substantial Burden’ to Religious Liberty? | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

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

Seven Steps to Dismantle Obamacare

By Harry G. Hutchison1479228324786

The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was enacted with great fanfare and unrivaled deception in 2010 as part of a duplicitous plan to destroy America’s private health care system as we know it. The Speaker of the House at the time, Nancy Pelosi, infamously said in March 2010 that, “we have to pass...

read more

The Obamacare Deception Threatens America

By Harry G. Hutchison1477500715632

Promising to bring costs down and increase access on the one hand, and enacted with enormous fanfare and unequaled deception on the other, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) became law in 2010. This law was perhaps the most ambitious social legislation in...

read more

“Pure Applesauce”

By Matthew Clark1456416575920

One of Justice Scalia’s most memorable moments came in a compelling dissent to one of the recent ObamaCare cases. He cut through the majority opinion’s ambiguous, contorted, and complex legal justification for upholding the “SCOTUScare” exchanges in just two words: “ Pure applesauce. ” Pondering...

read more

HHS Mandate Challenges Move Forward

By Geoffrey Surtees1442515755574

Thanks to two decisions of a federal court of appeals handed down today ( here and here ), it is now almost certain that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide next term whether the Obama administration can force religious entities, institutions, and groups -- under pain of severe financial penalties...

read more