Following the news that The Catholic Benefits Association and its hundreds of employers were exempted from the HHS mandate last week, a federal judge decided to delay ruling on the Media Research Center's (MRC) request for a preliminary injunction against the mandate, according to CNS News.
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a Clinton appointee, reportedly said he would examine the case further and “would issue a written ruling in the coming weeks.”
L. Brent Bozell III, founder and president of MRC and a member of The Cardinal Newman Society board of directors, reportedly said that the mandate continues to hang over the head of the organization, adding, "We are confident that we educated the court about the ruinous fines the MRC faces in the event that the injunction is denied, and are optimistic moving forward."
"As a self-certified organization, MRC’s leadership and employees practice and live by sincerely held Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, and we believe abortion, whether through the actions of an abortionist or a drug, is the taking of innocent human life," Bozell continued. "While awaiting a ruling, the MRC and its employees will continue to exercise our First Amendment rights by practicing and abiding by our faith in our everyday lives including in the operation of our mission-oriented non-profit organization.”
The issue of “self-certification,” which was at the heart of MRC's arguments last week, makes the case unique. The Cardinal Newman Society reported in May that MRC is the first organization to affirm its self-certification as an exempt organization based on Judeo-Christian beliefs.
The attorney representing the federal government, Benjamin Berwick, reportedly asserted that the federal government has not acted to question the self-certification.
MRC attorney Lauren Mills, according to the report, argued that the rule is so vague it is impossible to know if the current administration or any future administration could suddenly declare its self-certification null and void.
MRC faces fines of more than $4,562,500 a year if it refuses to comply in that case. "They are not just fines,” Mills reportedly said, “they are ruinous fines."
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