By Dave Andrusko
health insurance for their employees that includes coverage for items and procedures that they have moral or religious objections to.
Yesterday a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted a motion for a preliminary injunction which has the effect of temporarily blocking the implementation of the HHS mandate against a private business owner, O’Brien Industrial Holdings LLC. The company maintained that the mandate violates the owner’s constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.
“The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2012, marked the first legal challenge to the HHS mandate from a private business owner and his company,” according to The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represented the company. “Until the suit was filed, only religious organizations or institutions brought lawsuits challenging the mandate.”
A federal district court judge granted the Obama Administration’s Motion to dismiss the lawsuit in October, but the ACLJ immediately appealed to the eighth circuit.
The preliminary injunction by the three-judge panel came one day after U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Pittsburgh Catholic diocese against the Obama administration mandate and two days after the United States Supreme Court ordered the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear arguments brought by Liberty University against the mandate.
“By granting our motion, the appeals court blocks the implementation of the HHS mandate and clears the way for our lawsuit to continue – a significant victory for our client,” said Francis Manion, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. “The order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government. We have argued from the beginning that employers like Frank O’Brien must be able to operate their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, not the values of the government. We look forward to this case moving forward and securing the constitutional rights of our client.”
There are dozens of other lawsuits against the mandate working their way through the legal system.