• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Hercules Halts Obamacare in Round One of Anti-Conscience Mandate Fight

    In Colorado on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge John Kane, a Carter appointee, granted a preliminary injunction on behalf of Hercules Industries, halting the government’s ability to enforce its anti-conscience mandate against the company while the lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.

    Hercules is a family-owned, for-profit company whose self-insured health plan for its 265 employees does not cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. It sued the Obama Administration to protect its right to continue to administer its health plan in a way that comports with the family’s religious faith. The injunction is the first-ever ordered against the mandate.

    Judge Kane’s decision identified two key portions of the company’s articles of incorporation reflecting the role of religion in its corporate governance—a statement that its primary purposes were to be achieved by “following appropriate religious, ethical or moral standards” and another that directed its board to prioritize those “religious, ethical or moral standards” at the expense of profitability.

    Hercules’s health insurance plan was not “grandfathered” from the conscience-crushing requirements of the mandate. Judge Kane noted that unless the injunction was issued, Hercules would be required to include no-cost coverage for contraception in its plan by November 1 or face monetary penalties.

    As Judge Kane acknowledged, granting a preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy,” concluding that the harm to the government of non-enforcement “pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights” to operate their business consistent with their convictions. Judge Kane concluded that the government’s interests in enforcing the mandate were undercut by the numerous exceptions to the mandate that the Administration created for other entities. “These interests are countered, and indeed, outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion,” he stated.

    Judge Kane concluded that the company’s claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) provided adequate grounds for ruling in favor of their requested injunction. Under RFRA, the government may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless it can demonstrate that doing so “(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

    The Administration, according to Judge Kane, argued that “as a for-profit, secular employer, Hercules cannot engage in an exercise of religion.” In other words, the company owners forfeited their right to religious liberty as soon as they sought to earn a living by running a corporation. Under that logic, if the government decided to require any business that served or prepared food to offer pork, kosher or halal butchers would be forced to forgo their most deeply held religious convictions in order to stay in business. Accepting the government’s position would effectively push religion out of every sphere of public life and restrict the free exercise rights of adherents to live out their faiths in their day-to-day lives. The plaintiffs presented a strong argument that RFRA’s religious liberty guarantee is not limited to individuals alone acting within their houses of worship.

    Judge Kane concluded that the case presented novel issues of first impression and that the question of whether a corporation can exercise religion merited “more deliberate investigation.”

    The court held that the government had failed to establish, at least at this preliminary stage of the proceedings, that it had a compelling interest in applying the mandate to these plaintiffs (since it had granted exemptions to so many other, non-religiously affiliated employers) and that there were no feasible less-restrictive alternatives. (The government could provide free birth control directly, as it has through other programs.)

    It is worth noting that while the court concluded that the “balance of equities tip strongly in favor of injunctive relief in this case,” the case is in its early stages and will proceed to a trial on the merits. Nonetheless, religious liberty has prevailed in round one of the fight against the conscience-crushing mandate.

    Posted in Featured, Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Hercules Halts Obamacare in Round One of Anti-Conscience Mandate Fight

    1. Bobbie says:

      The good Judge Kane concluded that the case presented novel issues of first impression and that the question of whether a corporation can exercise religion merited “more deliberate investigation.” the part where it says "whether a corporation can exercise religion merited more deliberate investigation?" How about the owners exercise their freedom to conduct their business through their policies offering benefits of their choosing and the applicant to hire free to choose? Abortion terminates life that causes medical treatment by choice. Government mandating every insurance company provide it, influences personal choice adding wrongful government provisions on societal conscience. No insurance should cover abortions. It's a personal choice no matter how the life is conceived. Unless it's rape but then you have the rapist or the people of the culture he's from, pay. If it's mutual consent the man can provide, if it's choice of the woman she can find the means to pay. Abortion and pregnancy is a personal choice I don't choose my money involved in or with. Personal responsibility is taught in America that government forces who aren't America's own, are destroying for money, control, an American take over,.

      The government of America that doesn't represent people would like to thank you for your personal information and efforts in depleting the population and keeping government services ahead of your self respect and out of your self control!

    2. Big Daddy says:

      HERCULES….HERCULES….HERCULES….!!!!! Do you believe that CLOWN thinking he can force anybody to purchase something, be it an individual or a business, and being against their religious beliefs and totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL…. His High Potentate Obama is gonna get a rude awakening in November when the people of this country send him and his ilk packing!! Hey, Obama!!! IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!!!

    3. One thing is forgotten, Don't the minions that put the pen to the paper have to go also or do they stay entrenched until another Idiot comes into power? Are these people that wrote this get to stay in a job that pays $180,000. a year until they decide to quit? Some one please expalin this to me? Thank You and have a wonderful day if you are working.

    4. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Ever since Justice O'Connor joined the high court, lower federal courts have said that any laws placing limits on abortion are said to cause an "undue burden" on women. Here is the first federal court to recognize that Obamacare, and its legion of mandates, places an undue burden on religious employers. However, while the former has no Constitutional basis, the latter does.

    5. Herb Pedersen says:

      As a Christian and citizen of America, I cannot believe that we have come to this. God hellp us. It is a time for all God fearing Americans to take a stand on moral issues.

    6. Sadtomatoz says:

      I can't wait for the day when the first Scientologist employer purchases coverage that denies mental health treatment to their employees; or the first Witness employer purchases coverage that denies life-saving blood transfusion or organ donation. The current "religious liberty" crowd will rush to arms, and it certainly won't be in defense of the religious liberty of these (as of yet) hypothetical employers. The insanity of theism!

      • FredFrosty says:

        If one chooses to work for such an employer, then that is their choice, not yours to make for them. Secondly, the individual can get insurance elsewhere andor find another way to get the service they want–they have recourse whereas the payor does not under the proposed mandate. The HHS mandate is doomed. Only political loyalty that causes an emotional tainting of one's ability to think logically would make some argue to the contrary. Simply put, to force people to go against thier conscience is bad law and unenforcable: i.e. people have more than one child in China even though the government murders the unborn that they can catch. The bloody forced abortions are well documented on the new media. (The old media lacks the fortitude to cover it except for USA Today.) Barack Obortion may get re-elected but this Mandate will die. Obortion will continue with the mendacity and mechanations and have the courts beat him down again and again as well as the people who will just ignore him.

    7. robertwm123 says:

      Hurray…… If the SCOTUS won’t strike the whole thing in one fell swoop, maybe they will dismantle it one small piece at a time.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×