Gains are being made….
In November 2012, the American Center for Law and Justice got an appellate court to block the HHS mandate for a small business in Missouri. The ACLJ is a pro-life legal organization focused on Constitutional law, and the group has been a strong opponent to the mandate, and a voice for the mass of religious employers who do not want their Constitutional rights trampled by the Federal Government. According to Francis Manion, Senior Council of ACLJ, “[t]he order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government.” He could not be more right.
The lawsuit was originally filed in March 2012, and was dismissed in October by a Federal Court when a judge granted the Obama Administration’s Motion to Dismiss. The ACLJ stepped in and filed an appeal on behalf of the employer, the first non-religious organization or institution (i.e. not a church) to file against the mandate. Obviously, the finding in favor of the business demonstrates that the Judicial Branch of the Government believes there is some merit to standing against the HHS mandate, specifically as it applies to any practice of religion – whether it is in formal religious organization or in a business with strong ties to a particular religious set of beliefs.
The legal win of a small business in Missouri, with the help of the ACLJ, demonstrates that the HHS mandate is not as strong as one might believe. The Federal Government is a large entity, and it is difficult to win a lawsuit against it. But when a group is on the right side of a legal battle, it is possible for that group to take on the Government and set things straight – even if it only applies to one small business. Setting things straight for one small business provides legal precedence for other small businesses, and other (in the case of the HHS mandate – religious) groups and organizations.
With this legal win, the ACLJ has provided a rallying point for other legal organizations to gather around to take challenges to the mandate brought forward by religious groups and businesses through the legal system with the hope that one day this mandate will not apply to these groups and businesses. But all parties involved need to be proactive in taking the challenge to the Government and not backing down, just as the ACLJ and the business owner in Missouri did.
The religious groups in America now have legal precedence against the Government mandating that they provide free access to contraceptives, but they need to keep working to win. A win is only a win if things continue until the ultimate goal – freedom from this mandate for religious groups, organizations, businesses, and institutions – is achieved.
Gains are being made….