Bench Memos

Victory Against HHS Mandate “Accommodation”

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.

Most Popular


Thursday Links

It's William Shatner's birthday: Here he is in 1978 'singing' Rocket Man, plus a Star Trek/Monty Python mashup. Sold: Isaac Newton’s Notes on the Philosopher’s Stone. It was a long time before anyone admitted that he was interested in alchemy. High-tech forgery: Computer-generated 'Rembrandt' ... Read More

Korea: A Deadly Question

Olympic Games often have political significance, as in 1936 and as in the Olympics just past -- the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Those Games seemed as much political as athletic. I talk about this with Michael Breen on my latest Q&A. Breen is one of our best Korea-watchers, one of our soundest ... Read More
Film & TV

Superannuated ‘Idol’

In the pilot episode of Fox’s American Idol, Simon Cowell defined the show’s thesis: “We are going to tell people who cannot sing and have no talent that they have no talent. And that never makes you popular.” The show’s producers and its three judges -- Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson -- kept ... Read More