Catholic lawmaker seeks colleagues’ support for HHS mandate suits
A Catholic congressman from Louisiana is organizing an effort to have lawmakers file legal briefs in favor of lawsuits against the Obama administration’s controversial contraception mandate.
“It’s one way that members of Congress can get involved,” said Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.).
He told CNA on June 6 that as a lawyer, he understands the effect of amicus briefs filed by members of Congress. While such legal briefs are not binding, they “show the support” of U.S. legislators, he said.
The D.C.-based American Center for Law and Justice is helping draft the briefs, which should be finalized in the coming weeks.
Congress members will be able to sign on to the briefs arguing against a federal mandate that will require employers and colleges to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences.
The regulation has drawn strong criticism for violating the religious freedom of those who object to it. Although it includes an exemption, it is so narrow that most religious organizations – including hospitals, schools and charitable agencies – would not qualify for it.
A legislative attempt to secure a broader exemption for those with religious or moral objections was narrowly defeated in the Senate this past March.
Concerned Americans are now increasingly turning to the courts to uphold their First Amendment freedoms. So far, the mandate has prompted a total of 23 lawsuits, filed by 56 plaintiffs in jurisdictions across the country. [More]