That is the conclusion inherent in the decisions last week of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in remanding the matter to the U.S. (Western) District (of Oklahoma). In a rare judicial action, Judge Joe Heaton issued an order that temporarily emjoins Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius from “any effort to apply or enforce” those mandates included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that force employers (and private health insurance companies) to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization or abortion-inducing drugs, against the plaintiffs, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., and Mardel, Inc.
Had the 10th Circuit and Western Oklahoma District Courts not concluded that Hobby Lobby (and its sister company Mardel) had met the usually exceedingly high standard of “likelihood of success on the merits at trial and the sufferance of irreparable harm should the government not be so restrained,” for the issuance of a TRO, they and the Green family shareholder-owner-defendants would have faced the assessment of massive fines beginning tomorrow (July 1, 2013).
The courts based their interlocutory decision on the First Amendment’s Free Exercise of Religion clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in 1993 to prevent the application of federal laws that substantially burden an individual’s free exercise of their religious beliefs. President Barack Obama’s administration attempted to remedy the initial sweeping Obamacare employer-mandated coverage that includes abortifacients (including the “Morning-after Pill”, Plan B; a close cousin of the “Abortion Pill”, RU-486) that applied to all religious institutions; first by exempting “houses of worship“, and then by an “accommodation” that requires insurance to provide such “contraceptive” coverage of the employees of non-house-of-worship “exempt religious employers”, for free (As if it were possible to so calculate and apply inherent costs without forcing other customers to subsidize such coverage, but I digress).
The accommodation remains a matter of political concern for many hospitals, colleges and universities run by the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist and other churches; but in any event, the Obama Administration refused to apply the “free-coverage-paid-for-by-insurance-companies” exemption to purely private employers like Hobby Lobby (a retail seller of arts and crafts supplies who operate openly based upon their Christian faith) whose owners object to providing such coverage based upon their religious beliefs.
Their TRO victory in the Tenth Circuit prevents Obama’s HHS from enforcing insurance coverages anathema to pro-life employers in Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The ruling also bodes well for the efforts of Christian and other pro-life private employers in other states wishing to obtain similar temporary relief and in forcing an accelerated ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court should another federal circuit court of appeals issue a contrary ruling; as one of the main reasons for the hearing of an expedited appeal by the nation’s highest court is to resolve conflicting rulings between federal circuit courts.
The ruling is the latest chapter in a battle President Barack Hussein Obama has waged since his inauguration to reduce the historic scope of Free Exercise Clause to the mere freedom of “worship” within the walls of a church or synagogue. More on that battle and the veritable war being waged by the Left (mostly Democrats) against the Jewish and Christian religions and their values on the same-sex marriage, abortion, Plan B Rx for minors and other fronts (and ultimately, if Canada, Europe and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy in the recent DOMA decision are any indication; in classifying speech, whether religiously based or otherwise, contrary to the Left’s ‘progressive’ view as discriminatory, and thus criminal, hate speech) later this week on DeVine’s Right.
Mike DeVine’s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson