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December 11, 2012

US District Court Rules Obama's HHS Mandate Doesn't Protect Religious Liberty

Topics: Political News and commentaries

religious freedom matters.pngLife News offers up some rare positive news for conservatives in the battle to protect religious liberty from the Obama administration:

In what a pro-life legal group describes as a "landmark ruling against the HHS Mandate," a federal judge late yesterday ruled against the Obama administration's assertion that the government's supposed "safe harbor" was inadequate to protect religious organizations from suffering imminent harm.

"We are pleased the court recognized the significant harm that the mandate is causing right now," said Eric Baxter, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

He told LifeNews today, "Religious organizations that object to the mandate are subject to private lawsuits, as well as being faced with critical budgeting, and health insurance decisions in the face of millions of dollars in fines. Truly the "safe harbor" is neither a harbor nor safe."

The U.S. District Court ruling allows the Archdiocese of New York to proceed with its lawsuit against the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate.

In it, the concluded that "There is no 'Trust us changes are coming' clause in the Constitution." The court further stated that "ignoring the speeding train that is coming toward plaintiffs in the hope that it will stop might well be inconsistent with the fiduciary duties that plaintiffs' directors or officers owe to their members."

Judge Cogan's said "the First Amendment does not require citizens to accept assurances from the government that, if the government later determines it has made a misstep, it will take ameliorative action. There is no 'Trust us, changes are coming' clause in the Constitution. To the contrary, the Bill of Rights itself, and the First Amendment in particular, reflect a degree of skepticism towards government self-restraint and self-correction."

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League also commented on the decision, in a statement to LifeNews.

"Not only did the Obama administration lose, it got a well deserved lecture from the bench: it was taken to task for misrepresenting the current burdens that the HHS mandate has placed on the New York Archdiocese" he said. "The Obama team tried to have it both ways, and it failed. On the one hand, it ordered Catholic entities to get ready to implement the mandate, and on the other hand it said that because some modifications may yet be made, complaints that the mandate has already burdened the archdiocese are baseless. But U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan wasn't buying it."

Cogan said the Obama administration's arguments "ring hollow" and quoted the HHS Interim Final Rules back to the Obama lawyers.

There's more at Life News.

Posted by Hyscience at December 11, 2012 10:30 AM

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