Over at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan discusses the latest injunction against the HHS mandate, this time in American Pulverizer Co. v. U.S. Dep’t of HHS (congratulations to my ACLJ colleagues for their outstanding work in the case). I think it’s safe to say that the Obama administration did not anticipate that for-profit companies would deal so many body blows to the mandate, and if the for-profit companies prevail then it’s tough to imagine the mandate would have any viability for religious charities.
If these successes continue (several cases are galloping towards the Supreme Court — with emergency appeals either soon to be filed or already filed before the Court), it would not be the first time the Obama administration misread the judicial temperament on religious-liberty matters. As 2012 winds to a close, let’s not forget the year began with the Supreme Court unanimously rejecting the administration’s efforts to dramatically expand the reach of federal anti-discrimination laws into church hiring decisions.
It goes without saying that elections have consequences, but one of the many beauties of our constitutional system is that core civil liberties should endure regardless of electoral outcome — with religious liberty the first of those enumerated liberties. Our constitutional commitment to that liberty faces an imminent and grave test. The new year will be very interesting indeed.