Bench Memos

Victory Against HHS Mandate in Missouri

Yesterday a federal district judge in Missouri entered a preliminary injunction against the HHS mandate on behalf of Paul Griesedieck, Henry Griesedieck, and the businesses they own and run (which are engaged in wholesale scrap metal recycling and the manufacturing of related machines). In the wonderfully named American Pulverizer Co. v. U.S. Dep’t of HHS, federal district judge Richard E. Dorr soundly ruled that all the relevant factors favored the entry of injunctive relief.

In particular, on the question of probability of success on the merits, Judge Dorr, unlike the confused Tenth Circuit panel, properly recognized that the “substantial burden” component of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act claim was simple: “Plaintiffs must either pay for a health care plan that includes drugs and services to which they religiously object or incur fines.” Dorr explained that the ACLU’s claim that the insured “individual’s own decision to use the contraceptive services” somehow negated the substantiality of the burden was contrary to Supreme Court precedent.

By my count, that makes five of seven cases in which for-profit business owners have obtained injunctive relief. (Besides the Hobby Lobby case, I’ve learned of a sloppy ruling last Friday in Illinois. I hope to write about it later today.)

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