- Nik Nikas, Bioethics Defense Fund
- Professor Denise Hill, Drake Law
On March 25, 2014, the contraceptive mandate case was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby Stores’ owners have no moral or other objection to the use of 16 of 20 contraceptives required by the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but cite their deeply held religious beliefs in objecting to providing or paying for four others they see as possibly life-threatening. How will the Supreme Court rule? Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), allow Hobby Lobby a way around the ACA ‘s contraceptive mandate? Our experts reviewed the oral arguments and took questions from the audience in this Courthouse Steps Teleforum.
There is a split among appellate courts in the United States over medical monitoring – court-ordered payments to plaintiffs who have been exposed to some potentially harmful product or situation but have no symptoms. Is a present injury a fundamental prerequisite to any award? Should the person or entity that created the product or situation be required to pay plaintiffs for periodic medical testing? Most, but not all, courts say no. Mark Behrens discussed medical monitoring, when and where it might be required, and the latest trends.
In a variety of contexts, from the HHS preventive services mandate to same-sex marriage, differing moral visions are in increasing conflict in the public square. How will this conflict affect the American understanding of religious liberty?
The Religious Liberties Practice Group hosted this panel on "Religious Liberty & Conflicting Moral Visions" on Thursday, November 14, during the 2013 National Lawyers Convention.
Religious Liberties: Religious Liberty & Conflicting Moral Visions
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
The controversy over the HHS contraceptive mandate has generated over 50 lawsuits, on behalf of more than 160 different plaintiffs. Most of the litigation on behalf of non-profit entities (universities, hospitals, etc.) has been on hold, awaiting the administration's planned issuance of a new final rule with an "accommodation" for non-profits with religious objections. Litigation on behalf of for-profit businesses and their owners, however, is moving through the courts of appeals, with several courts hearing arguments in May and June. To date, the for-profit businesses have won 17 preliminary injunctions, and been denied relief in 6 cases.
Mark Rienzi, who is Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and an associate professor at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, discussed the current status of the cases during this teleforum. Our Religious Liberties Practice Group Chairman, William L. Saunders, introduced Prof. Rienzi and provided his commentary to Professor Rienzi’s remarks.