Skip to comments.Federal Appeals Court Hands Victory to Religious Colleges, Commands HHS to Act Quickly
Posted on 01/01/2013 5:34:02 AM PST by kindred
Washington, D.C. Today, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. handed Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College a major victory in their challenges to the HHS mandate. Last summer, two lower courts had dismissed the Colleges cases as premature. Today, the appellate court reinstated those cases, and ordered the Obama Administration to report back every 60 daysstarting in mid-Februaryuntil the Administration makes good on its promise to issue a new rule that protects the Colleges religious freedom. The new rule must be issued by March 31, 2013.
The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom, said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who argued the case. The court is not going to let the government slide by on non-binding promises to fix the problem down the road.
The court based its decision on two concessions that government lawyers made in open court. First, the government promised it would never enforce [the mandate] in its current form against Wheaton, Belmont Abbey or other similarly situated religious groups. Second, the government promised it would publish a proposed new rule in the first quarter of 2013 and would finalize it by next August. The administration made both concessions under intense questioning by the appellate judges. The court deemed the concessions a binding commitment and has retained jurisdiction over the case to ensure the government follows through.
This is a win not just for Belmont Abbey and Wheaton, but for all religious non-profits challenging the mandate, said Duncan. The government has now been forced to promise that it will never enforce the current mandate against religious employers like Wheaton and Belmont Abbey and a federal appellate court will hold the government to its word.
While the government had previously announced plans to create a new rule, it has not yet taken the steps necessary to make that promise legally binding. Lower courts dismissed the colleges cases while the government contemplated a new rule, but the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided the cases should stay alive while it scrutinizes whether the government will meet its promised deadlines. The court acted quickly, issuing Tuesdays order just days after hearing lengthy arguments.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditionsfrom Anglicans to Zoroastrians. For 18 years its attorneys have been recognized as experts in the field of church-state law. The Becket Fund recently won a 9-0 victory in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.
How stupid does this particular lawyer think we are?
Apparently the lawyer didn't get the memo that his highness, Ogumbo, is the final authority in the matter using executive fiat.
Cases in the D.C. Circuit are given special deference by the SCOTUS, because it is seen as the recruiting ground, far beyond its size, for the SCOTUS. Four current associate justice came from there.
Their holding the government’s feet to the fire on this is a very good sign that the judiciary is losing patience with their bureaucratic antics.
You're kidding, right? Libtards give no deference to anything or anyone, unless it is aligned with their vile, perverted and purposely destructive world view.
No paradox here. There are libtards in the D.C. Circuit as well as real judges. That Circuit produced both justice Ginsburg and Thomas, Roberts and Scalia. So the libtards listen to what the libtard justices say, the conservatives to what the conservative justices say.
Uh huh... and which camp do you place John Roberts in?
On reflection of his decision, he is a strategist.
Justice Kennedy has a bad habit of voting with the conservatives only when it doesn’t matter. When it is liberal agenda stuff, like Obamacare, he votes with the left. But importantly, *only* when he is the deciding vote.
That is, had Roberts voted against Obamacare, Kennedy would have voted to approve it in its entirety, and that would have given the left a majority. And his snatching Kennedy’s deciding vote allegedly enraged Kennedy, who wanted to go into the books as the justice who approved socialized medicine.
However, one of the few unique powers the Chief Justice has that other justices do not, is when they vote with the majority, they can *choose* who will write the majority opinion.
In this case, he voted with the majority, but then assigned the majority opinion composition to *himself*. This meant that he, within some limits, could sabotage Obamacare from within. And he did so in two ways.
And he did so far beyond Obamacare, even creating an opportunity to sabotage both New Deal laws like Social Security, *and* LBJ’s Great Society laws that created the welfare state.
The unconstitutional New Deal laws were justified with the Interstate Commerce clause in the constitution; and the Great Society laws were justified with the General Welfare clause. And Roberts successfully undermined both of these.
In brief, he said that while the feds might mandate some law that the states must obey, they can only do so if *they* pay for it. They cannot compel states to grow such programs with state money.
The immediate result of this is a bunch of the states now refusing to enlarge Medicaid, as Obama had demanded. But it may eventually imperil many other overreaching federal programs as well.
Big conservative victory there.
The other thing the Roberts decision did was to kill the individual mandate. He did this by saying that the federal government cannot order citizens to buy insurance as such; but they *can* *tax* citizens to that effect.
And this was crafty, because constitutionally, taxation comes under some very strict rules, and congress has great flexibility to both *make* and *break* taxes. So now to kill a big chunk of Obamacare, instead of needing 2/3rds majorities in both houses of congress, only 51% of each house is needed.
Which almost guarantees that Obamacare will be destroyed sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately for Roberts, very few people grasp the finesse with which he did this. But he in effect played the left wing of the court, and created a whole lot of opportunity in the future to set back the progressive agenda by the better part of a century.