The Corner

Michigan Attorney General Backs Religious Freedom of Family Business, Catholic Lawyers vs. HHS Mandate

Arguing the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, sterilization, contraception insurance mandate is both a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an amicus brief in support of the family-owned Weingartz Supply Company lawnmower and snowblower part company and Legatus, a professional association of Catholic lawyers.

Legatus and the Weingartz Supply Company, he argues, “may establish religious principles on which to operate their business even if their mission is secular in nature.”

“It is easy to envision a family-owned business that would not wish to endorse non-Kosher foods, collect interest on debt, or sell pornography,” he writes in the brief. “This misguided effort to circumscribe religious liberty to only religious organizations is similar to confining religious practice to worship, as if religious principles should not animate a corporation – or a person – in public and commercial life,” he continues. “It is akin to the error that suggests that only priests or ministers should express religious views. But this is a misunderstanding of religion and religious freedom. It is the right of the ordinary person. Because Legatus and Weingartz Supply Company have demonstrated such a burden on their religious exercise, this Court should grant their preliminary injunction.”

“In addition to impacting religious schools and hospitals, this unconstitutional mandate will force private sector job-providers across America to violate their conscience,” Schuette says in a release this morning. ”The First Amendment applies to everyone, and I will continue to defend religious liberty for all, not just the chosen few dictated by the federal government.”

The Weingartz/Legatus case for an injunction is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow morning in the U.S. District Court in Detroit. Schuette’s amicus brief can be read in full here.

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