Print Article

DC Court Tells Catholic Groups: Submit to HHS Mandate or Pay Massive Fines

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

May 22, 2015, National Catholic Register

Concurring with the opinion of the dissenting judges, Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is not involved in this particular case, explained that the D.C. Court’s decision to let the lower court’s ruling stand means the archdiocese and Priests for Life face the choice of violating their faith or paying huge fines.

“What some of these plaintiffs are being asked to do is to authorize, obligate and incentivize their own insurance provider, their own health-care [provider], to provide something that they see as wrong,” he said. “At the end of the day, they see it as wrong to request and require someone else to do for [them] something that [they] think is wrong for [them] to do.”

Blomberg said that the plaintiffs will likely wish to pursue protections at the U.S. Supreme Court, which could resolve the issue by either taking one case or a mixture of the cases winding their way up through the federal appellate courts in order to hit all the points of law they want to address.

Blomberg said these rulings are not good for religious liberty. “It’s not good for religious liberty because the federal government is interpreting their religious beliefs for them,” he said, adding that the federal government takes an even further step by telling the plaintiffs that it gets to be the sole authority on “when their religious beliefs can be protected and when they can’t.”

He added that there is evidence the Supreme Court would affirm that the HHS mandate conflicted with the RFRA.

“Every time the U.S. Supreme Court has heard one of these cases, every time someone has come asking for relief, they have been protected, and the government has lost.”