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Judge blocks ‘contraception mandate’ for Catholic diocese plaintiffs

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A federal judge in Fort Wayne has blocked enforcement of the “contraception mandate” for numerous health care providers in a lawsuit brought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The ruling could impact more than 10,000 people eligible for benefits through a number of diocese-related organizations.

District Court Judge Jon DeGuilio of the Northern District of Indiana granted a temporary injunction blocking the mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The litigation is Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., 1:12-CV-159.

The diocese and its affiliated plaintiffs – Catholic Charities; Saint Anne Home & Retirement Community; Franciscan Alliance, Inc.; Specialized Physicians of Illinois, LLC; University of Saint Francis; and Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. – claim the mandate violates their religious liberties under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The order notes Franciscan employs about 8,700 benefits-eligible workers; the diocese employs about 1,000 who participate in a health plan; Specialty Physicians, Saint Francis and Our Sunday Visitor each have more than 300 benefits-eligible employees; Saint Anne Home has 220 insurance-eligible workers; and Catholic Charities has a few dozen.

In granting the injunction, DeGuilio ruled, “plaintiffs have shown that their RFRA claim stands a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, that irreparable harm will result without adequate remedy absent an injunction, and that the balance of harms favors protecting the religious-liberty rights of the plaintiffs.”

The ruling Friday came just days after another judge in the Northern District rejected a suit refiled by the University of Notre Dame that sought to block third-party providers who would provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The mandate has divided federal circuit courts and currently is before the Supreme Court of the United States.

DeGuilio’s order noted the injunction was granted ahead of motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions “in an effort to prevent the possibility of any unjust enforcement of the contraception mandate against plaintiffs come the first of the year.”

The ruling states, “there are certainly other ways to promote public health and gender equality less burdensome on religious liberty, and the government has not carried its burden of demonstrating that it cannot achieve its policy goals in ways less damaging to religious-exercise rights.”

Employees might not share the diocese’s views on contraception and abortion, the ruling notes. “(T)he plaintiffs’ employees and the public are best served if the plaintiffs can continue to provide needed (and expected) religiously based community services, and the needed (and expected) insurance coverage to its employees, without the threat of substantial fines and the risk of layoffs for noncompliance with the contraception mandate and its accommodation,” DeGuilio wrote.

 

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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