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.