Federal court says law school can opt out of controversial Obamacare mandates
Religious employers in higher education won a victory Tuesday in Florida after a law school emerged victorious in a federal lawsuit over a controversial Affordable Care Act mandate.
Ave Maria School of Law filed a federal lawsuit last November with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys to challenge the Obama administration’s mandate concerning health care coverage, which would force religious employers to provide contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization regardless of their religious objections.
The decision reached by the court on Tuesday granted the injunction requested by the law school on the grounds that the mandate it not only violated the First Amendment of the Constitution, but also the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Administrative Procedure Act. This decision comes months after the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. decision by the Supreme Court.
“Nearly all state-based schools that have challenged this have received protection of these courts. We hope this will help with other impending cases, even those at the Supreme Court”, Matt Bowman, Senior Legal Counsel for ADF, told Campus Reform.
Cases such as Ave Maria School of Law v. Sebelius, are popping up all over the nation, as individuals and employers fight to protect the First Amendment in institutions of higher education. ADF has represented a multitude of schools in their fight against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, including Louisiana College, Colorado Christian University, Cornerstone College, and Dordt College.
“We cannot have free exchange of ideas if the government limits them by violating their deeply held ideas, especially the sanctity of human life,” Bowman told Campus Reform Tuesday evening. “Faith-based educational institutions should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse. The court was right to uphold the religious freedom of institutions that value the sanctity of life. If the government can force Ave Maria School of Law to violate its faith in order to exist, then the government can do the same or worse to others. ”
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that there are currently 53 non-profit lawsuits and 49 for-profit lawsuits in progress against the current administration’s healthcare mandate. Many of these organizations have either received temporary or permanent injunctions against the mandate.
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