Court overturns contraceptive mandate as violation of free exercise of religion

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. on Friday gutted ObamaCare’s mandate that all insurers provide free contraceptive coverage.

In a case involving two Ohio grocers who operate Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, the court ruled that the mandate violates the right to free exercise of religion in the First Amendment and as reinforced by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Grocer owners/brothers Francis and Philip M. Gilardi are Catholics. They sued to challenge the contraceptive coverage mandate.

The Obama Justice Department made a feeble argument about corporations not being people.  

The court ruled:

The contraceptive mandate demands that owners like the Gilardis meaningfully approve and endorse the inclusion of contraceptive coverage in their companies’ employer provided plans, over whatever objections they may have. Such an endorsement — procured exclusively by regulatory ukase — is a “compel[led] affirmation of a repugnant belief.” That, standing alone, is a cognizable burden on free exercise. And the burden becomes substantial because the government commands compliance by giving the Gilardis a Hobson’s choice. They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong. If that is not “substantial pressure on an adherent to modify his behavior and to violate his beliefs,” we fail to see how the standard could be met.

The ruling reverses a lower court refusal to grant the brothers a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the law against them.

The ruling was not significant enough to warrant so much as a mention in today’s Las Vegas newspaper.

Nor was the news from Friday that the Bureau of Land Management has opened the comment period for land use plans to protect sage grouse in 16 Nevada counties — an action that could jeopardize mining, oil and gas exploration, grazing, farming, power transmission lines, wind and solar farms and the economic prosperity of Nevada.

77 comments on “Court overturns contraceptive mandate as violation of free exercise of religion

  1. Bruce Feher says:

    Does this mean I’ll have to pay for my own Viagra?

  2. Vernon Clayson says:

    The Ohio case is one precedent, it amounts to one snowflake in this Obamacare avalanche. As for the LVRJ, it’s like all newspapers in this electronic age, it’s too little, too late, all news has been on TV or radio. Makes one wonder whether, despite self-imposeddeadlines, if newspaper editors run articles involving politics past politicians. There’s instant communication and big brother agents of politicians are on around the clock.

  3. I suspect the Sun runs stories past Harry Reid. Ralston says Greenspun spiked one of his columns about Harry.


  4. Nyp says:

    Good thing my employer isn’t a Jehovah’s witness — my insurance wouldn’t have covered blood transfusions.

  5. Then buy supplemental insurance.

  6. Steve says:

    Another crack in the wall. Wonder if it goes to SCOTUS.
    With dozens more pending and Halbig v Sebelius on the way as of 10/22, ACA may be in for more than a blown website.

  7. Nyp says:

    I’m sure glad my boss isn’t a scientologist. If he were, my insurance wouldn’t cover mental health treatment.

  8. Steve says:

    Great straight line Nyp!

    Note I choose not to use it….

  9. Nyp says:

    I certainly am glad my boss isn’t a Christian Scientist. If he were, my health insurance wouldn’t cover anything.

  10. Nyp says:

    If you really think you can find a wave of people in Massachusetts complaining that they don’t have access to health care, good luck with that.

  11. Steve says:

    I am not alone, Politifact shows it. Doctors not accepting new patients means those newly signed policies are impacted.

    Just another crack in the wall.

    It was premiums a couple years ago forcing them to go back into the law to make corrections trying to halt rapidly rising premium costs.
    If Halbig v Sebelius flies then the whole thing comes apart at the knee unless the Congress can come to an agreement on a way to fix ACA….that might be good for a laugh.

  12. Milty says:

    And what wouldn’t Nyp’s insurance cover if his boss were a Muslim?

  13. Nyp says:

    If you are a politician in Massachusetts, the best way to become a ex-politician is to come out against RomneyCare.

  14. Steve says:

    True, Nyp.

    Also not in any way connected to what Politifact wrote about.

  15. Nyp says:

    If you really think you can find a wave of people in Massachusetts complaining that they don’t have access to health care, good luck with that.

  16. Vernon Clayson says:

    I’m guessing that Harry Reid has little contact with Obama, he mostly assumes what Obama wants and acts on that, I’m also guessing the editor and staff of the LVRJ, and the Sun if they have an editor, have little contact with Harry Reid and assume what he wants and act on that. Will either paper take a call from Heller, aka the other guy, or from any of our representatives?

  17. Steve says:

    “If you really think you can find a wave of people in Massachusetts complaining that they don’t have access to health care, good luck with that.” says nyp….again.

    Repition the other silly go to game libby’s use.

  18. Steve says:

    Repetition….where’s a proof reader when we need one?

  19. Steve says:

    Today’s fun fact.
    Obama stated he wanted every single american to have health insurance. In fact it was the “only way this works” he said many times.
    Tiorns out even after this debacle is fully implemented 30,000,000 Americans WILL NOT have health care coverage.
    Libs love quoting CBO, here some CBO fer ya:

    Click to access 43900_ACAInsuranceCoverageEffects.pdf

  20. nyp says:

    The CBO study to which you link shows that under healthcare reform 92% of all legal residents will have insurance. The
    “30 million uninsured Americans” figure that you cite includes illegal aliens, who are not eligible for insurance under the new law. It also include people who are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t enrolled.

  21. Rincon says:

    The court ruling is for the best. Insurance should be for catastrophe, not routine maintenance. If the government wants free contraceptives for everyone, let them pay for it directly, not just force insurance companies with yet another unfunded mandate. Norplant implants for welfare recipients would make a great start.

  22. Steve says:





    got it.

  23. Steve says:










  24. Milty says:

    “The ’30 million uninsured Americans’ figure that you cite includes illegal aliens, who are not eligible for insurance under the new law. It also include people who are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t enrolled.”

    According to the CBO document, the proportion of nonelderly uninsured people would drop from 10% to 8% if undocumented immigrants are excluded. Of a projected total nonelderly population of 288M in 2023, this would reduce the number of nonelderly uninsured people from 30M to approximately 24M. This is still a pretty high number.

    Is Nyp saying that the remaining 24M nonelderly uninsured people are all eligible for Medicaid but failed to enroll in Medicaid?

  25. Steve says:

    Ya know….that penalty (that’s really a tax so ACA could be declared constitutional)

    Anyway that tax for not obtaining health insurance…those 24,000,000, are they going to pay that tax? Or do they get a free ride at the ER like usual.

    ACA the law with a built in slush fund.

  26. Milty says:

    Interesting story in Saturday’s Washington Post. Basically, the administration was worried that the Republicans would do everything they could to undermine the federal health exchange, so the administration took actions to avoid this that actually ended up facilitating the process of undermining the federal health exchange. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecy.

  27. Nyp says:

    I believe many of them are in states that have refused to expand Medicaid

  28. Athos says:

    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    That’s the start of our 4,440 WORD binding social compact between 308 million people and our government. Easy to read. Easy to understand. Thank you, Gouverneur Morris!

    Compare to the 20,000+ undecipherable Øcare! We don’t know (and is humanly impossible TO know) what’s in this thing, even AFTER we’ve passed it! (And we’ve had 3 1/2 years to peruse).

    Nancy Pelousy lied? Zerø lied? Period.

    There are 15 times more lawyers operating in the US than any other civilized nation.


  29. Athos:

    “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” the Constitution reads.

    It was Gouverneur Morris who plotted to change the comma after the first “excises” to a semicolon, precisely for the purpose of expanding the spending power of Congress.

    He thankfully did not succeed, but subsequent Congresses have acted as though they have unlimited spending power.

  30. Steve says:

    “I believe many of them are in states that have refused to expand Medicaid”

    Feds are not allowed to force states to expand Medicaid. That was one of the things that made ACA constitutional. States aren’t “refusing” they are well within constitutional law.

  31. Athos says:

    Thank you, Tom. With texting and the relaxed English language studies of today, it’s hard to believe there would be a plot to change punctuation!

    But as you stated, they don’t follow the Constitution, anyway. Doesn’t that make them lawless? And what DC is doing would be illegal, wouldn’t it?

  32. It is positively unconstitutional.

  33. nyp says:

    Some res States are refusing to expand Medicare, because they have been permitted to do so by the Supreme Court. The effect is to deny hundreds of thousands of their residents access to medical care 90% financed by the federal government.

  34. The last time I checked, I pay federal taxes as well.


  35. Steve says:

    Not refusing at all. Acting within constitutional law. A thing you guys refuse to accept, nyp.

  36. Nyp says:

    Yes. They were given right to refuse to accept federal Medicaid money — a right which some red States exercised to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of needy people.

  37. Steve says:

    Not a right, constitutional law. That stuff you guys hate to abide.

  38. Athos says:

    It’s still puzzling why the argument is about coverage. Øcare is a TAX. (say it all together now)

    Got nothing to do with being covered or not. Any more than SS is an annuity! Wrong again, Wilbert! It’s a tax, it gives the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in DC more money and power and gives us buttkiss. (just enough to keep from rioting)

    There is a better way. But it doesn’t include giving up 15% of our economy to these pathetic, can’t make money operating a whore house, politicians.

  39. Rincon says:

    I prefer to tax people for their own care over the tax I’ve been paying for 40 years in the form of higher insurance costs and medical bills. which paid for the care of others.

  40. Steve says:

    So ACA costs more makes it better?

  41. Rincon says:

    The cost of providing medical care hasn’t changed with Obamacare. It still takes the same amount of time and effort to remove an appendix as it did a year ago. The difference is that the employers, insurance companies, and medical providers are taking advantage of the confusion to rake in bigger profits. This especially applies to hospitals. Since more people can be covered for preexisting conditions, hospitals will see fewer nonpaying patients. Will they drop their fees in response? Of course not. They are a cartel and can price as they please.

  42. Steve says:

    Not service, insurance. Insurance costs more.

  43. Rincon says:

    So why is insurance more expensive?

  44. Steve says:

    ACA requires more coverage and provides less actuarial control. This raises the premiums. Which makes for another Obama broken promise. Rates are not going down by 2500 dollars a year.

    Due directly to ACA premiums are going up by 41% nationwide. You said it yourself “The cost of providing medical care hasn’t changed with Obamacare.”

  45. Rincon says:

    Was there ever any actuarial control? Although more coverage sounds more expensive, these people have always been treated anyway. The hospitals just made the other partients pay for it. The cost of hospital care for the people who have always had insurance should be reduced because the hospitals won’t have as many nonpaying patients. Have you heard of any hospital price reductions yet? Me neither. For that matter, does anyone even know which hospitals charge the most? I sure don’t.

  46. Steve says:

    You said it yourself “The cost of providing medical care hasn’t changed with Obamacare.”

    Yet premiums are going up by 41% and this is only the beginning. The employer mandate hits next year unless those Democrats running for re election frighten easy and put a stop to it.

    Indeed, ACA has nothing whatsoever to do with service providers. Its only and wholly about insurance and it doesn’t care one whit if you can actually obtain any actual services.

  47. nyp says:

    Premiums are most certainly not “going up by 41%”.

    You are bamboozeling.

  48. Steve says:

    We know you hate all things conservative, nyp. But this one is a study over a long time covering 49 states so far.

    So far, nationally, health care premiums are going up by 41%

  49. nyp says:

    Steve: you appear not to understand that there are two kinds of private health insurance –employer-sponsored group plans and individual insurance plans — and that four-fifths of all Americans who have private insurance belong to a group plan. The “study” you cite pertains only to individual plans. Virtually all group plans are unaffected by healthcare reform.

    So your claim that insurance premiums are going up 41% nationwide is bogus.

    Oh – and even for individual plans that study is absurd, since it ignores the fact that the majority of people shopping for individual insurance plans will qualify for tax credits. So the prices cited have no relationship to the prices people will actually pay.

  50. Steve says:

    C’mon nyp! OF COURSE its all about private plans! We are discussing the effects of ACA! ACA is all about private plans,,,,for now. The employer mandate doesn’t start slamming anyone until next year. As for the subsidy effect….that too is up in the air since many people may well decide to opt out and pay the TAX instead. If that happens then rates will go even higher.

    Meanwhile premiums are going up by 41% nationally and even if the insured is not paying the whole thing, it still means those rates are in effect and they are going to be paid in full. This means everyone will pay. Very much as what has been the case for decades. All ACA does is change the way that money gets “moved”. You guys HOPE it ends up costing less. We suspect it will end up costing more on a national basis as opposed to a state based program like Massachusetts has.

    Next year the “grandfather” clause may not apply as employer plans naturally change, though most large employer plans won’t be effected, small business is in for a big sticker shock.

    NOW, nyp, don’t YOU feel silly for assuming? If you very much should be feeling silly. For assuming we are discussing things were are not!


  51. Athos says:

    We can always count on petey to spew the proper party line, can’t we?

    Real people are having the coverage affected in real time. “Who you going to believe, me ( the smartest president ever) or your own lying eyes?” is not going to work?

    What was originally touted as coverage for …… how many uninsured? Has now got 12 to 14 million in limbo.

    ‘Couse, that’s what you get with socialism, isn’t it?

  52. The prices are what someone will pay, meaning the rest of us taxpayers.

  53. Steve says:

    Athos, its no wonder they hate us. They spend all their time making up stuff so they can make like its us saying what they imagine we are saying. They have really active imaginations. Comes with the territory, idealism and imagination tend to go hand in hand.

    Sadly, it makes them imagine we are saying stuff that we would never say at all. They actually seem to have voices in their heads when it comes to “discussing” stuff with people who are not within their familiar groups.

    😕 smh 🙄

  54. Nyp says:

    You can’t possibly be that obtuse. The “41%” stuff pertains only to the one-fifth of the market that has individual plans. So your contention is bogus.

    Of course the study is wrong about the 41% in the individual market. But that is almost besides the point compared to the profound bogusness of your argument.

  55. Steve says:

    Like I said. You guys think up stuff and pretend we say it.

    Prove your contention, nyp.

    You will not because you cannot. Private premiums are going up. And they may go higher than 41% if people decide to pay the TAX! By opting out.

    Fun fact. Did you know that if you actually do not have a return from the tax season and owe money to the IRS you cannot be charged the extra TAX from ACA for not having health insurance? Al they can do is send you a nasty gram!

    Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha!! The laws of unintended consequences bite again! And they bite hard on you guys….meaning the money is going to come from somewhere but it won’t be from the very thing that made ACA constitutional!
    Of course,,, if this does become the norm,,,, then it WILL be “modified” like so much of ACA.
    I really need to start calling this thing Obamacare…it really does belong to you guys, nyp. It has your markings all the hell over it!

    Have I stated I love Irony? Cause I really do love Irony… Irony is really cool.


  56. Steve says:

    Oh and you guys must really not care about those “one fifth” people….nice.

    I love it! You guys true nature comes to the surface and is very ugly.

  57. Nyp says:

    You specifically said that insurance premiums are going up 41% nationwide. The study you cited clearly states that it’s conclusion only applies to non-group plans — I.e., the plans that only apply to 1/5 of the market.
    Your contention is bogus

  58. Steve says:

    BS Nyp! You say we are talking all premiums where the whole discussion is about ACA and ACA is currently in NO WAY about anything OTHER than PRIVATE insurance!!!

    The voices in your head are lying to you.

    And you guys must really be non caring monsters, hating that 1/5 of the market by making them spend money they don’t really have!

    You haters you!

    Bogus is all you, Nyp.

    Sad, so f’ing sad.

    smh. 🙄

  59. Rincon says:

    If someone doesn’t have a tax return and doesn’t sign up, they would be in the same position as in the old system. Their failure to sign would cost us through the hospitals’ padded bills rather than through insurance companies. They probably would receive a big assistance payment if they did sign up, so they will actually cost Obamacare less by not signing up.

  60. Steve says:

    Rincon, if people don’t sign up then rates go up for those who do sign up. ACA specifically allows this in an effort to ensure the carriers are able to remain in business and pay the bills.

  61. Rincon says:

    Rates should not rise because some people don’t sign up today. We have been paying the bills for those people all along.

  62. Yes, we have been paying all along for those who don’t sign up for health insurance, but indirectly. Now we get the bill directly.


  63. Athos says:

    Excellent article in American Thinker, Tom. Thank you. So the American public is being played again, eh? I’m shocked! SHOCKED!

    The real problem is whether or not the American people will submit to the progressive’s plan.

    At least Ø can claim to have told the truth!

    “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” — Barack Obama, October 30, 2008

  64. nyp says:

    It is all a conspiracy.

  65. Steve says:

    No it isn’t nyp. It’s the feds getting in your face and shouting “screw you!!”. That’s what it is. No conspiracy at all, they aren’t even trying to hide the fact they are giving those 1/5th the biggest middle finger ever.

  66. Rincon says:

    If Conservatives had actively tried to reform the health care system over the past 30 years, Obamacare might never have happened. Ignore half of the electorate at your peril!

  67. Steve says:

    Back at ya, Rincon!

    Perhaps you guy’s should’a listened during the Obamacare run up!

  68. Athos says:

    Dems not only ignored half of the people, the crook Reid had to ignore Scott Brown wining Teddy K’s seat in Mass.

  69. Nyp says:

    He should have realized how deeply conservative Massachusetts is.

  70. Rincon says:

    It’s true. Including legal reform would have helped tremendously, but Obama was pandering to his base. These children don’t know how to play nice together. That’s one of many reasons Obamacare is foundering.

    Clinton had it right when he adopted the Republican plan for welfare reform and was roundly criticized by the Republicans for “stealing” their program. One would have expected praise for coming around to their way of thinking. Bipartisanship is win-win, but the parties aren’t happy unless the other party loses.

  71. Steve says:

    Massachusetts certainly elects a good number of republican governors, Nyp!

  72. Athos says:

    Bipartisanship, hyenas and wolves agreeing to eat the sheep. We ( the people) have a Constitution.

    BTW, how’ Clinton’s Welfare Reform doing, today?

  73. Obama waived that, Athos.

  74. Nyp says:

    That’s absurd.

  75. Athos says:

    The Constitution?

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