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An Eleventh Hour New Year’s Eve Victory for Religious Liberty

January 1st, 2014 - 6:23 am

Congratulations and thanks to my friends Rob Muise and Dave Yerushalmi at the American Freedom Law Center (on whose advisory board I am proud to sit, along with several distinguished Americans). They worked tirelessly and down to the 2013 wire to persuade the DC Circuit to issue a preliminary injunction last night that prevents the Obamacare mandate from going into effect.

The ruling holds that, at least for now, the government may not coerce religious believers, against the tenets of their faiths, to provide coverage for abortifacients and contraceptives. (The religious liberty position would not prevent those who want abortifacients and contraceptives – which are very affordable and easily accessible – from obtaining them; it would just prevent the government from forcing religious believers violate their beliefs by providing them.) Of course, as we’ve seen before, President Obama often does not deem himself bound by such trifles as judicial rulings and congressional statutes, so we’ll have to see how the administration reacts.

Here, meanwhile, is the press statement AFLC released:

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the American Freedom Law Center’s (AFLC) emergency motion for an injunction, thereby halting the enforcement of the Obamacare contraception mandate as applied against religious organizations pending appeal of a lower court ruling.

AFLC filed the emergency motion on behalf of Priests for Life, a Catholic pro-life organization; Father Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life; Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life; and Janet Morana, the Executive Director of Priests for Life.

Absent the injunction, the mandate would have applied in full force against Priests for Life on January 1st.

On December 19, Federal Judge Emmett G. Sullivan, sitting in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, upheld the government’s enforcement of the contraception mandate as applied against Priests for Life. AFLC filed an immediate appeal of the ruling to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and within 24 hours, filed an emergency motion with the appellate court, asking the court to enjoin the mandate while the case proceeded through the appeal process.

Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “The circuit court’s order was nothing short of a Christmas blessing, coming literally at the 11th hour. Without this injunction, beginning on New Year’s Day the federal government would have forced Priests for Life to either violate its sincerely held religious beliefs or face crippling fines of $100 per employee per day that it is not in compliance with Obama’s unconstitutional and unconscionable mandate.”

David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, commented: “We won this battle for religious freedom, but the war—and it is a fiercely fought war at every step along the way between the culture of life and the culture of death—continues. No doubt that this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

AFLC’s lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius; the U.S. Department of the Treasury and its Secretary, Jacob Lew; and the U.S. Department of Labor and its Secretary, Thomas Perez. Each department has a role in enforcing the challenged mandate.

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All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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While I don't agree with everything he's done or is reputed to have said, I'm proud that one of my co-religionists (David Yesrushalmi is a religious Jew, a Chasid in fact) has stood up when Christians had their religious liberty threatened.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is PJM a religious organization or an advocate of freedom?

By casting this a religious issue, it distracts from the fact that *nobody* should be forced to provide particular features in an insurance plan. It's an individual rights issue, not a religious issue.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Freedom of Religion is an individual right explicitly stated in the first amendment. Furthermore, it applies to the states also under the constitution, which is not the case for other features. And to some of us, it is way more important.

Or to rephrase your question, is this a Conservative site or a Libertarian site? It is a Conservative site with Libertarian leanings.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Glad to hear some good news for a change!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
No matter what these courts do, though I AM glad to see these two last-minute decisions come out. They are temporary restraints, however, and their now proscribed terms may well be ended soon.
No, where the REAL court of appeal is will be found with WE THE PEOPLE. When millions simply don't bother to sign up, what will they do? Send billions round to collect us and herd us into the rail cars and have us off to the concentratioin camps? Seventy precet of us told our elected "representatives' we do NOT want this law, don't pass it. They did, against our expressed will. Knowingly, they did so. The best way to get rid of this law is to simply nullify it.... one citizen at a time. Our declaration of Independence declares that the government rules by the consent of the governed. They did this without our consent, let us prevent them from applying it by continuing to withdraw our consent. If no one buys this rotten fish, what CAN they do?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's be fair to the left.

They are merely pro choice. You can choose to be for aborting. All other "choices" are not on the selection menu. And, if you don't agree...the compassionate, tolerant, animal rights, tree huggers will sic the IRS, DOJ and Propaganda Machine on you.

Because nothing says loving like snuffing one in the oven, and Killsbury says it best.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
And don't forget that Free Speech is for people who agree with them.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
A very welcome bit of news to end/begin our year!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"At least for now . . . The loony left will never stop propagating the deceit of a living constitution and moral relativism. America is at a crossroads, no, it's more like a fork in the road, either a left or right as neither side desires a straight ahead compromised approach.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
2013: HOW ALTERNATIVE MEDIA INFLUENCED THE YEAR OF AWAKENING by Mikael Thalen December 31st, 2013

http://www.storyleak.com/2013-year-awakening/
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
These piecemeal delays and exemptions are doing more harm than good. The whole bill is bad law and needs to be struck down in its entirety. It was passed fraudulently, against the wishes of the majority of the citizens of this country and our 'Representatives' need to get their asps in gear and do something about it.
"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." -Abraham Lincoln
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Um, except to the people whose liberty is currently being affected. Maybe they don't want to be human sacrifices? But I do agree that if I were President, I would immediately cancel all exemptions.

Plus, this is a much larger issue. Religious liberty is a lot more important than a single law, no matter how bad.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed. I'd propose that the fact that there are piecemeal delays and exemptions- particularly for congress and staff amounts to backhanded admissions that the law is bad- bolstering the fact that it wasn't actually intended to accomplish what it was sold as. It is not only a bad law, it's a piece of progressive weaponry aimed directly at the economy and the middle class- using the premise of health care reform to justify confiscating through taxes and fees what the working people have earned- and redistributing that loot- mostly back to government but a few crumbs to those depending on handouts.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
And (from FoxNews.com):

QUOTE

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor late Tuesday halted a birth control mandate in ObamaCare for a Catholic group, one day before parts of the health care law are set to go into effect.

In her order, Sotomayor said the government is temporarily prevented from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements against the Denver-based group, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, and must respond by 10 a.m. Friday.

END QUOTE

Happy 2014 !





42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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