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More to come: Lawsuits over HHS mandate keep health reform law in court


NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN

Source:
Catholic News Service
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
6/29/2012

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ABSTRACTCNS STORY: More to come: Lawsuits over HHS mandate keep health reform law in court Home    |    About Us    |    Contacts    |    Products        News Items   Top Stories   News Briefs   Vatican   Origins   Africa   Headlines   Also Featuring   Movie Reviews   Sunday Scripture   CNS Blog   Links to Clients   Major Events   2008 papal visit   World Youth Day   John Paul II   For Clients   Client Login   CNS Insider   We're also on ...   Facebook   Twitter   RSS Feeds   Top Stories   Vatican   Movie Reviews   CNS Blog .   For More Info  If you would like  more information  about Catholic  News Service,  please contact  CNS at one of  the following:  cns@  catholicnews.com  or  (202) 541-3250 .   Copyright  This material  may not  be published,  broadcast,  rewritten or  otherwise  distributed,  except by  linking to  a page on  this site. .   CNS Story: WASHINGTON LETTER Jun-29-2012 (950 words) Backgrounder. With photos posted June 28. xxxn More to come: Lawsuits over HHS mandate keep health reform law in court Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, uses a bullhorn in a demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington June 28. (CNS/Bob Roller) By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Although legal scholars and political observers will likely spend days parsing each line of the 193 pages of U.S. Supreme Court opinions and dissents on the health reform law, the court's June 28 decision is not likely to be its final word on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "It seems to me the (Obama) administration has won one legal challenge and there are 23 others waiting in the wings," said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and a professor of constitutional law at The Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law. The Becket Fund represents Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, Colorado Christian University in Denver, Eternal Word Television Network in Birmingham, Ala., and Ave Maria University in Florida in lawsuits challenging the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate requiring most religious employers to provide contraceptives and sterilization to their employees free of charge. Another 12 lawsuits involving 43 Catholic dioceses, schools, hospitals, social service agencies and other institutions were filed simultaneously in May; several private employers, Catholic organizations such as Priests for Life and Legatus and some non-Catholic colleges also are challenging the mandate in court. The June 28 decision dealt with the individual mandate -- the requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service -- but the lawsuits against the HHS mandate relate to the law's employer mandate, which punishes employers who do not provide health insurance to their employees. "The court's opinion today did not decide the issues in our cases," said Hannah Smith, another Becket Fund senior counsel. "We are challenging the HHS mandate on religious liberty grounds which are not part of today's decision. We will move forward seeking vindication of our client's First Amendment rights." Legal scholars did not see a lot of new constitutional ground broken by the decision, which found that although the individual mandate does not pass constitutional muster under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, it can be upheld as an acceptable exercise of Congress' taxing powers. The decision also limited the federal gover.......