Catholics 1, Obama 0 – Ct exempts company from contraceptive regs (copy of opinion)
Via Fox News:
The Catholic family that owns a Colorado-based company won a court victory in their battle to stop the Obama administration from requiring them to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception, a mandate they say violates their religious beliefs and First Amendment rights.
Hercules Industries, a Denver-based heating ventilation and air conditioning manufacturer that employs nearly 300 full-time workers, got an injunction in federal court which stops enforcement of the controversial ObamaCare mandate. The company’s lawyers said they needed the injunction immediately because if the mandate is enforced, it must begin immediately making changes to its health plan, which renews on Nov. 1.
The case is similar to ones brought by Catholic-based colleges that have refused to provide employee insurance with such coverage, except this time, it is a secular corporation.
In his order, Colorado District Judge John Kane said that the government’s arguments “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.”
The Order is on a preliminary injunction, so it is not permanent yet.
The balance of the equities tip strongly in favor of injunctive relief in this case. Because this case presents “questions going to the merits . . . so serious, substantial, difficult, and doubtful as to make the issue ripe for litigation and deserving of more deliberate investigation,” I find it appropriate to enjoin the implementation of the preventive care coverage mandate as applied to Plaintiffs.
Accordingly, Defendants, their agents, officers, and employees, and their requirements that Plaintiffs provide FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity, are ENJOINED from any application or enforcement thereof against Plaintiffs, including the substantive requirement imposed in 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-13(a)(4), the application of the penalties found in 26 U.S.C. §§ 4980D & 4980H and 29 U.S.C. § 1132, and any determination that the requirements are applicable to Plaintiffs….
Such injunction shall expire three months from entry of an order on the merits of Plaintiffs’ challenge.
Also, at the end of the opinion the judge made clear that the injunction was only as to this company, signaling that a challenge to the regulations may have to be made on a case-by-case basis.
Newland _Hercules Industries_ v Sebelius – Order Granting Preliminary Injunction
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Professor or any of you legal sorts out there, can you answer some questions for me?
It looks like the judge 1) pretty much shut the government down until the hearing, 2) squashed the governments arguments based on their own actions to date such as all the exceptions and waivers and 3) the judged dodged rather adroitly the most substantial (and reversable) questions.
Did I get most of it or am I missing something?
Won’t the United States of Chicago appeal this to the Nutty Ninth?
While I would defer to Professor Jacobson, whose expertise eclipses my own, there are a few notes even a dusty, old CA lawyer can make:
1. Hercules Industries, Inc. was CAREFULLY POSITIONED TO ADVANCE THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE ATTACK–a “for profit” manufacturing company whose articles of incorporation were recently amended to state its operations were based in part on “religious [specifically CATHOLIC], ethical or moral standards”. [I humbly recognize genius when I see it.]
2. Judge Kane conducted an intricate analysis of the LEGAL BURDEN to be imposed and concluded: (a) Hercules would suffer “irreparable harm” absent injunctive relief; (b) as to “balancing harms”, Hercules has the stronger position; (c) the “public interest” in the free exercise of religion TRUMPED Congresses’ alleged goals. He “held” or “ruled” that a “relaxed burden” would apply here. This is not a powerful prediction that Hercules will win–just that the issue is SO IMPORTANT that it must be preserved by an injunction.
3. Judge Kane DECLINED TO ADDRESS HERCULES’ FIRST AMENDMENT ATTACK based on “free speech”. That issue is left for a future hearing/trial.
4. BUT, he DID address, the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993” (“RFRA”)which says the government may not ““substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability”. He then explored exceptions advocated by the government attorneys–and found them flawed. [SOLID PREPARATION BY THE PLAINTIFFS! DAMN YOU’RE GOOD!!]
5. Judge Kane’s discussion is COMPLEX AND ADMITS THAT NEW QUESTIONS OF LAW ARE RAISED BY THIS CASE. This is not a “last word” decision. The ultimate Supreme Court opinion could go on for 100-200 pages.
6. He seems to favor Hercules’ suggestion that the feds have a “less restrictive alternative” by providing FREE CONTRACEPTION FOR EVERYONE. [Clever argument; and the Feddies reply SUCKED BIG TIME.]
7. YES, the $100 BOND WAS A “TRIFLE”.
8. The injunction will expire in 3 months.
9. The parties must agree upon a “Case Management Plan” in 30 days. [Briefing schedule/hearings/discovery/etc. I do not know these aspects of Colorado law.]
10. JUDGE KANE’S RULING ONLY IMPACTS HERCULES
I believe Hercules’ attorneys were well prepared to refute the government’s arguments. Also, HERCULES WAS CAREFULLY STRUCTURED TO ADVANCE CERTAIN DEFENSES. Hercules’ position WILL NOT LIKELY BE SHARED BY TOO MANY SUCH “PLAINTIFFS”–but, it’s just too early to read too much into this “first blood”.
I am personally heartened by the decision, BUT, SO MUCH MORE REMAINS TO BE ANALYZED; BRIEFED; ARGUED; ETC.
I forgot to note above my admiration for Judge Kane’s Opinion. He was operating under an intense deadline. He knew he was dealing with an important case. I am not skillful or experienced enough to opine as to the sophistication of his analysis, but I saw an honorable jurist exercising caution and prudence and supporting his (tentative) conclusions with sound reasoning and precedent. The Plaintiffs’ counsel, I feel, should be heartened to appear before a judge who appears to listen carefully, think deeply, and only address the most pressing issues of a complex case. I would be honored to see him in action. I feel he would rule wisely and well.
this sounds good, our (Obama) government is at war against we the people.
also, Greta having a good conversation tonight … business people describing how impossible our regulations are. Seems significant … but I’m too tired to try to expound … 🙂
What a world where Catholics need lawyers…
Obama hands out mandates and regulations like Reagan handed out Jelly beans
Look at the bond required.
$100.00. Which is like saying, “Nothing”.
Temporary injunctions are what the judge said here…extraordinary. The burdens on the applicant are quite high, as recited in the order.
One is the likelihood of prevailing on the underlying controversy. The judge thought that was pretty likely, indeed!
As more of these are hopefully found down the road for affected companys I would love to see a class action suit filed by those companys against the dem party to recover their legal costs. I’m sure that can’t be done but itshould be.
kind of a side step issues here but wonder how many new businesses will refuse to incorporate after all this, and how legal system will deal with inability to sue the corporation for perceived wrong doings.
think people will like having to sue every single employee of a business instead of just one entity?
wonder how the corporations are evil meme would morph after that…
The government wouldn’t have to sue individual employees. They would simply sue the owners of the business for running a non-compliant business for not offering contraceptive coverage.
[…] not the mandate as a whole, and it’s only temporary, as William Jacobson points out at Legal Insurrection. However, the usual paradigms for issuing temporary injunctions are that the judge believes the […]
I’ve fixed the first part of your title for you:
Religious Freedom 1, Obama’s Dictatorship 0
Not really about Catholicism at all; it’s about our religious freedoms. They just chose to go after the Catholics first.
“…signaling that a challenge to the regulations may have to be made on a case-by-case basis.”
Which, of course, will be another burden on private business and cause an necessary increase to the cost of goods and services.
The poor and children are always hardest hit by ‘liberal compassion.’