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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Still more on: 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, and it is big

Updating this ILB entry from Nov. 9th, Sean Gallagher of the Catholic News Service had this report yesterday. The story begins:

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) -- A Catholic family in Madison that owns a vehicle lighting manufacturing company won an important religious liberty victory in a Nov. 8 ruling handed down by a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Judge Diane Sykes, writing the majority opinion in the 2-1 decision, said that members of the Grote family and Grote Industries, which they own, cannot be compelled to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives to their employees in their company health plan as required under the Affordable Care Act.

The suit challenged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate in the health care law that requires most employers to provide such coverage even if they have moral objections to it.

"We hold that the plaintiffs -- the business owners and their companies -- may challenge the mandate," Sykes wrote. "We further hold that compelling them to cover these services substantially burdens their religious exercise rights."

More from the story:
Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, has helped represent the Grote family in their suit. * * *

Currently before the high court are four petitions asking it to review lower court rulings related to the HHS mandate.

Bowman said that the fact that the ruling in the Grote case was handed down during the Supreme Court's considering of the petitions might persuade the justices to take up one or more of the cases, perhaps including the Grote case.

"The timing of this case adds importance to the issue, and shows that the government is trying to deny religious freedom to people in businesses all over the country," Bowman said. "The U.S. Courts of Appeals are, by and large, not letting the government do that."

Whether the Supreme Court chooses to hear the Grote case in particular, though, Bowman is confident that it will take up one or more cases related to the HHS mandate.

"The same issue is in front of the court in those other three cases," he said. "So the Supreme Court is most likely going to decide by June whether to deny religious freedom to people in most of their daily working lives."

Here is a long list of earlier ILB entries on the Grote Industries case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 13, 2013 10:43 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions