Yesterday, in Zubik v. Sebelius, federal district judge Arthur J. Schwab (Western District of Pennsylvania) entered a preliminary injunction in favor of nonprofit Catholic organizations challenging the so-called “accommodation” that the Obama administration has concocted for the HHS contraception mandate.
Until now, all the merits-related rulings on the HHS mandate have come in cases brought by owners of closely held, for-profit companies—the class of plaintiffs that the Obama administration thought undeserving of any religious-liberty protections from the mandate. Now that the accommodation rule has been finalized, the HHS mandate will apply against religious nonprofits beginning January 1. So rulings on other motions for preliminary injunctive relief should be made soon. Judge Schwab’s ruling (which I have yet to study) signals that a new wave of legal problems for the HHS mandate may be arriving.