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Friday, September 04, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides combined Indiana case today, re ACA accomodations for religious organizations

In a 74-page, combined, 2-1 opinion in Grace Schools v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell (ND Ind., DeGuilio), Judge Rovner writes:

The district court entered a preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs, a number of religious, not-for-profit organizations, preventing the defendants from applying or enforcing the so-called “contraceptive mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“ACA”) to the plaintiffs. See 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-13(a)(4); Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119 (2010). The plaintiffs contend that the ACA’s accommodations for religious organizations impose a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion, and that the ACA and accompanying regulations are not the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest, in violation of the plaintiffs’ rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”). See 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb et seq. The defendants, several agencies of the United States government, appeal. We conclude that ACA does not impose a substantial burden on the plaintiffs’ free exercise rights and so we reverse and remand. However, we will maintain the injunction for a period of sixty days in order to allow the district court adequate time to address additional arguments made by the parties but not addressed prior to this appeal. * * *

[A dissent by Judge Manion begins on p. 39]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2015 05:35 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions