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Federal Court Aborts Contraception Mandate


"Outweighed by the public interest in the free exercise of religion."

Obamacare's individual mandate may have been upheld as a tax, but it looks like another mandate could be well on its way to creating a headache for the Obama administration. LifeNews reports that a Federal court has upheld a lawsuit against the controversial contraception mandate, following a lawsuit by Catholic-owned employer Hercules Industries:

A federal court issued an order Friday that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado family-owned business while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.

The mandate has generated massive opposition from pro-life groups because it forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever order against the mandate on behalf of Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. The administration opposed the order, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business.[...]

In his order, Senior Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado said that the government’s arguments “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion. As the Tenth Circuit has noted, ‘there is a strong public interest in the free exercise of religion even where that interest may conflict with [another statutory scheme]….’ Accordingly, the public interest favors entry of an injunction in this case.”

This comes after two Federal District Courts had dismissed earlier lawsuits, citing lack of harm. With one Federal court willing to block the mandate, this decision all but forces the supporters of the mandate to take their case to an Appeals court - in this case, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Colorado. The Tenth Circuit's 19 Judges skew slightly Republican, 12 of them being nominated by Republicans, and 7 being nominated by Democrats, though two nominations by President Obama are pending. If this case is upheld at the 10th Circuit, the Obama administration will almost certainly appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. And if the case is struck down by the 10th Circuit, the law's opponents will definitely appeal the decision. Either way, in the event that the Court grants certioari, this case would raise yet another drag-out fight over the law.

H/T Weaselzippers

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