Appeals court rebukes administration's 'narrow' religious liberty view [CNA]


#1

Chicago, Ill., Nov 15, 2013 / 04:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Obama administration’s defense of the HHS mandate is “unsound and extraordinary” for contending that business owners cannot have religious freedom protections.

“The government’s argument is premised on a far-too-narrow view of religious freedom: Religious exercise is protected in the home and the house of worship but not beyond,” the court’s Nov. 12 decision in Grote Industries v. Sebelius said.

“Religious people do not practice their faith in that compartmentalized way; free-exercise rights are not so circumscribed.”

Compelling businesses owners and their companies to provide services such as abortion-causing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception “substantially burdens their religious exercise rights,” the court wrote.

The government’s argument that religious exercise claims are irrelevant to commercial activity would “leave religious exercise wholly unprotected in the commercial sphere.”

“On the government’s understanding of religious liberty, a Jewish restaurant operating for profit could be denied the right to observe Kosher dietary restrictions.”

“That cannot be right. There is nothing inherently incompatible between religious exercise and profit-seeking.”

The case concerned Indiana-based Grote Industries, a manufacturer and marketer of vehicle lighting and safety systems. The company’s Catholic owners object to the federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, argued before the court on behalf of the company.

“The decision rightly foresees the dangers of allowing government to have this kind of power,” he stated Nov. 12. “If the government can force family business owners to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.”

Bowman said a majority of other rulings on the mandate have found it to “excessively conflict with our nation’s guarantee of religious freedom to all Americans.”

“All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their faith.”

The decision suspends the HHS mandate for the Grote family and Grote Industries. It also suspends the mandate for the Kortes family and their construction company, Illinois-based K & L Contractors.

The appeals court ruled that corporations qualify as legal persons under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and may invoke its protections.

The HHS mandate is the subject of dozens of cases across the country, involving nearly 200 plaintiffs. Several courts, including appellate courts, have ruled in favor of those seeking injunctions against the mandate's enforcement upon them.

On Nov. 1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the appellants in Gilardi v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The court found that the mandate places a “substantial burden” on the religious freedom of Francis and Philip Gilardi, two brothers who are Catholic and who own of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, granting the Gilardis a preliminary injunction against the mandate's enforcement.

The court said the Gilardi brothers are “trying to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs,” though it did not rule that the companies themselves have free exercise rights.

Circuit Judge Brown, writing the court's opinion, said, “we conclude (the Affordable Care Act) does … trammel the right of free exercise – a right that lies at the core of our constitutional liberties.”

Moreover, that decision noted that some of the contraceptives are classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization and indicate an increased risk for breast, cervical and liver cancers, saying that “the science is debatable and may actually undermine the government's cause.”

The International Agency for Research on Cancer – part of the World Health Organization – lists estrogen-progestogen oral contraception as a Group 1 known carcinogen, the same category as asbestos, tobacco products and ultraviolet radiation.

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#2

[quote="CNA_News, post:1, topic:345276"]
Chicago, Ill., Nov 15, 2013 / 04:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Obama administration’s defense of the HHS mandate is “unsound and extraordinary” for contending that business owners cannot have religious freedom protections.

“The government’s argument is premised on a far-too-narrow view of religious freedom: Religious exercise is protected in the home and the house of worship but not beyond,” the court’s Nov. 12 decision in Grote Industries v. Sebelius said.

“Religious people do not practice their faith in that compartmentalized way; free-exercise rights are not so circumscribed.”

Compelling businesses owners and their companies to provide services such as abortion-causing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception “substantially burdens their religious exercise rights,” the court wrote.

The government’s argument that religious exercise claims are irrelevant to commercial activity would “leave religious exercise wholly unprotected in the commercial sphere.”

“On the government’s understanding of religious liberty, a Jewish restaurant operating for profit could be denied the right to observe Kosher dietary restrictions.”

“That cannot be right. There is nothing inherently incompatible between religious exercise and profit-seeking.”

The case concerned Indiana-based Grote Industries, a manufacturer and marketer of vehicle lighting and safety systems. The company’s Catholic owners object to the federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, argued before the court on behalf of the company.

“The decision rightly foresees the dangers of allowing government to have this kind of power,” he stated Nov. 12. “If the government can force family business owners to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.”

Bowman said a majority of other rulings on the mandate have found it to “excessively conflict with our nation’s guarantee of religious freedom to all Americans.”

“All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their faith.”

The decision suspends the HHS mandate for the Grote family and Grote Industries. It also suspends the mandate for the Kortes family and their construction company, Illinois-based K & L Contractors.

The appeals court ruled that corporations qualify as legal persons under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and may invoke its protections.

The HHS mandate is the subject of dozens of cases across the country, involving nearly 200 plaintiffs. Several courts, including appellate courts, have ruled in favor of those seeking injunctions against the mandate's enforcement upon them.

On Nov. 1 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the appellants in Gilardi v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The court found that the mandate places a “substantial burden” on the religious freedom of Francis and Philip Gilardi, two brothers who are Catholic and who own of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, granting the Gilardis a preliminary injunction against the mandate's enforcement.

The court said the Gilardi brothers are “trying to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs,” though it did not rule that the companies themselves have free exercise rights.

Circuit Judge Brown, writing the court's opinion, said, “we conclude (the Affordable Care Act) does … trammel the right of free exercise – a right that lies at the core of our constitutional liberties.”

Moreover, that decision noted that some of the contraceptives are classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization and indicate an increased risk for breast, cervical and liver cancers, saying that “the science is debatable and may actually undermine the government's cause.”

The International Agency for Research on Cancer – part of the World Health Organization – lists estrogen-progestogen oral contraception as a Group 1 known carcinogen, the same category as asbestos, tobacco products and ultraviolet radiation.

feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/catholicnewsagency/dailynews?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/catholicnewsagency/dailynews/~4/TwhmKOh6GWg

Full article...

[/quote]

I heard about this decision on Catholic radio on Tuesday, but internet searches gave me no relevant results. I thought I must have dreamed it. It does show how little mainstream media cares about the freedom of religion.

It is great that at least a few judges still possess the common sense to read what the first amendment actually says. I expect the Obama administration to appeal it until they can pack the SCOTUS with enough like minded secularists to have the free exercise clause entirely negated.


#3

[quote="Trader, post:2, topic:345276"]
*I heard about this decision on Catholic radio on Tuesday, but internet searches gave me no relevant results. I thought I must have dreamed it. It does show how little mainstream media cares about the freedom of religion.
*

It is great that at least a few judges still possess the common sense to read what the first amendment actually says. I expect the Obama administration to appeal it until they can pack the SCOTUS with enough like minded secularists to have the free exercise clause entirely negated.

[/quote]

With you on that. I listen to the Son Rise Morning Show.


#4

Good news.


#5

Moreover, that decision noted that some of the contraceptives are classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization and indicate an increased risk for breast, cervical and liver cancers, saying that “the science is debatable and may actually undermine the government’s cause.”
The International Agency for Research on Cancer – part of the World Health Organization – lists estrogen-progestogen oral contraception as a Group 1 known carcinogen, the same category as asbestos, tobacco products and ultraviolet radiation.

Wow, you could refuse to pay for that on purely medical grounds!


#6

[quote="Trader, post:2, topic:345276"]
I heard about this decision on Catholic radio on Tuesday, but internet searches gave me no relevant results. I thought I must have dreamed it. It does show how little mainstream media cares about the freedom of religion.

It is great that at least a few judges still possess the common sense to read what the first amendment actually says. I expect the Obama administration to appeal it until they can pack the SCOTUS with enough like minded secularists to have the free exercise clause entirely negated.

[/quote]

There are already 3 cases (Autocam, Hobby Lobby & Conestoga) being considered by SCOTUS. It's on the calendar for this month (Nov 26th) to decide whether they will take up the issue or not. If they take up the issue we could have a decision by next summer.


#7

One of the surest ways to get SCOTUS to consider a case is to have conflicting decisions in different appeals courts. If the appeals courts are unanimous on an issue, they can just let those decisions stand without taking up the issue. Either way would work for me, but you never know for sure how any court will rule.

I know the Catholic Church not going to change either way, but I think that both businesses and individuals need conscience protection clearly spelled out by SCOTUS. Our president continues to throw the contraception coverage mandate in our faces even after losing the Hosanna Tabor case 9-0. It will take at least one more crushing defeat before he stops trying to reduce freedom of religion to mere freedom of worship.


#8

[quote="Trader, post:7, topic:345276"]
One of the surest ways to get SCOTUS to consider a case is to have conflicting decisions in different appeals courts. If the appeals courts are unanimous on an issue, they can just let those decisions stand without taking up the issue. Either way would work for me, but you never know for sure how any court will rule.

I know the Catholic Church not going to change either way, but I think that both businesses and individuals need conscience protection clearly spelled out by SCOTUS. Our president continues to throw the contraception coverage mandate in our faces even after losing the Hosanna Tabor case 9-0. It will take at least one more crushing defeat before he stops trying to reduce freedom of religion to mere freedom of worship.

[/quote]

It is likely that they will take the cases because the appellate courts are divided. My guess is that SCOTUS will shoot the mandate down. To me they hinted at it during oral arguments in the individual mandate oral arguments. Ginsberg flatly stated the government couldn't compel someone to purchase something that violates their faith. And this particular bunch of judges seem to be strong backers of religious rights. I've got my fingers and toes crossed just in case. There is always the chance that they could go the other way.

O has been shot down multiple times since Hosanna Tabor and he just keeps coming back for more. Nothing seems to convince him that he's wrong. :shrug:


#9

[quote="Dawnia, post:8, topic:345276"]
It is likely that they will take the cases because the appellate courts are divided. My guess is that SCOTUS will shoot the mandate down. To me they hinted at it during oral arguments in the individual mandate oral arguments. Ginsberg flatly stated the government couldn't compel someone to purchase something that violates their faith. And this particular bunch of judges seem to be strong backers of religious rights. I've got my fingers and toes crossed just in case. There is always the chance that they could go the other way.

O has been shot down multiple times since Hosanna Tabor and he just keeps coming back for more. Nothing seems to convince him that he's wrong. :shrug:

[/quote]

They may not be a law to shoot down


#10

May religious liberty, our first and most precious freedom be always protected! May those who fought for this freedom not have fought in vain!


#11

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