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Bench Memos

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Re: Lawsuits Seek to Vindicate Religious Freedom



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I’d like to join in law professor Rick Garnett’s celebration of the University of Notre Dame’s decision to challenge the HHS mandate and in his praise of the excellent statement by Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president. Congratulations also to the 42 other Catholic institutions—various dioceses, hospitals, charitable providers, and other universities (Catholic University and Franciscan University of Steubenville) and schools that likewise filed suit today (in a total of 12 consolidated actions) and thus added to the several challenges already underway.

I’ve explained in the series of posts available here how the HHS mandate blatantly violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act rights of those employers who have religious objections to facilitating the use of contraceptives and/or abortifacients, and in point 3 of the Part 1 post here I outline how it also violates the Free Exercise Clause.

In an NRO essay today (the latest in his excellent series on the mandate), my Ethics and Public Policy Center colleague George Weigel offers a broader view of the mandate war, including why a victory for religious freedom will also be a “victory in defense of the social architecture of American democracy.”



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