Friday, October 24, 2014

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Hobby Lobby Ruling Supports Challenge to HHS Mandate, Says Thomas Aquinas College

In light of Monday’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, Thomas Aquinas College President Dr. Michael McLean announced in a statement that the College has submitted a letter in a federal court arguing that the recent verdict supports the College’s challenge to the HHS mandate.

As previously reported, on September 20, 2013, Thomas Aquinas College joined The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington in a lawsuit to gain “a permanent injunction against enforcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate.”  Then in December the College won an exemption, but the case was soon appealed by the U.S. government. TAC was then denied an early hearing by the Supreme Court and on May 8 the government’s oral arguments were made before the District of Columbia Circuit Court.

In his statement this week, President McLean stated that TAC attorneys “filed a letter with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit” which asserted “the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. strongly supports [the College’s] RFRA challenge.”

McLean continued, “The letter points out that ‘the decision confirms that the Mandate substantially burdens Appellants’ exercise of religion … and leaves undisturbed this Court’s holding that the Mandate does not advance a compelling governmental interest, and it confirms that the Mandate is not the least-restrictive means of ensuring that women receive free contraception.’”

The statement also noted that while the Supreme Court’s decision provided “immediate relief to Hobby Lobby and the other plaintiffs” it also “contains language which leaves the implications of this decision for Thomas Aquinas College unclear.”

Thomas Aquinas College is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

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