Yesterday, in Michigan, a federal judge issued an order blocking the Department of Health and Human Services from implementing what has become known as the “HHS Mandate” against Weingartz, a Michigan company.
The case: Legatus v. Kathleen Sebelius (Case no. 12-12061) now will proceed to discovery, and the mandate will be enjoined (temporarily blocked via injunction) pending the outcome of the case. This means that the owners of Weingartz will not be forced to violate their religious beliefs by providing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and other morally conflicting services in their health care plans until the conclusion of the court case at the earliest.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland, of the Eastern District of Michigan, ordered the injunction pending final outcome of the case. He said the his decision was based on the “risk presented here of [the federal gov’t] substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs.”
Michigan State Attorney General, Bill Schuette, filed an Amicus brief on behalf of Weingartz in September. Today he issued a press release explaining the court’s ruling and the the order.
This is a great first step in this case, and there are a few more lingering out there that will hopefully receive the same treatment. While an injunction like this doesn’t affect any of the other lawsuits out there, it does start to show a pattern of what the courts will most likely do. Currently the scorecard of the major cases sits at about 2-1 in favor of religious freedom. Hopefully as the cases proceed we will see other injunctions, and eventually we will start to see courts determining that the mandate is unconstitutional.
A small side note, but I am happy to say that the attorney litigating the case on behalf of Weingartz is an Ave Maria Law grad. Also, the Thomas More Law Center, which is heading up the legal defense, has strong ties to Ave Maria as well. Several of the other big cases have big Ave ties.