June 28, 2012

Key Quotes from Today’s Decision that Signal the Court’s Willingness to Strike Down the HHS Mandate

Image: Key Quotes from Today’s Decision that Signal the Court’s Willingness to Strike Down the HHS Mandate

..and from Justice Ginsburg no less

Today’s decision and the Becket Fund’s challenges to the HHS mandate are completely separate and distinct legal issues. But did the Supreme Court say anything that is relevant to the HHS mandate? Yes. Two key quotes signal that the Court may be willing to strike down the HHS mandate as a violation of religious liberty.

The first, from the majority opinion, states: “Even if the taxing power enables Congress to impose a tax on not obtaining health insurance, any tax must still comply with other requirements in the Constitution.” In other words, Congress may have authority to penalize organizations that refuse to comply with its mandates; but any penalty will be struck down if it violates “other requirements in the Constitution,” such as the First Amendment—which is just what the HHS mandate does.  (The Chief’s quote is in his majority op Part III-C which was joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. p 40)

The second quote, from Justice Ginsburg’s opinion, is even more clear: “A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.” Again, that is just what the HHS mandate does: It “interfere[s] with the free exercise of religion” by forcing religious organizations across the country to violate their religious beliefs.(SC Opinion Part II which was joined by Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. p 29)

Thus, today’s Supreme Court decision makes clear that ObamaCare is still subject to legal challenge. Indeed, if anything, it suggests that the Supreme Court is willing to entertain arguments that the HHS mandate violates the right of religious liberty.

  • Laura Davis

    I hear about violating organizations freedom of religion rights, but what about individuals? I am Catholic, and I am sick with the idea of being penalized for following my faith. I cannot comply.

  • Laurel

    It is all well and good that faith based organizations and business owners have their religious freedom protected but I hope you are also considering the individual in your fight. Preventive medicine is against my spiritual beliefs and being forced to pay for Health Insurance is part of that. So as an individual I am unwilling to comply with this health mandate also. I am already forced to pay into medicare and state disability in payroll deductions.
    I don’t want anymore money taken from me to support something I am spititually opposed to.

  • http://mittromney.com patricia

    thank you for we are still praying for the supreme court in respect to this HHS mandate which is truly against our constitutional rights and lets pray that they have the right conscience and not bend to the will of Obama which is insanity and an abuse of his power….what is wrong with this president.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406726464 Sofia

      I would pose the following quentioss. Should any not-for profit institution (especially healthcare) that willingly accepts public funding have the right to discriminate against an individual based on their religous beliefs? Shouldn’t the institution that accepts funding also be required to accept the rules/regulations attached to the funding? The institution fully retains the right to choose as does the government have the right to determine the rules to obtain funding. I am sure your essay was not promoting an environment where individuals and institutions have the right to choose which laws and regulations they want to accept and reject without any ramifications.

  • Tom Holman

    I’m concerned about non-Church employers. It seems that individual, devout business owners ought to have the right to purchase insurance in accordance with their beliefs and have the same protection as the Church seeks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406746058 Radouan

      Catholic Institutions DO NOT get federal money unsels it’d from student loans, and that’s between the student and the place giving the loan, does not require the Catholic institution to partake in assuring it . As a Catholic and a mother of 9, I am totally against any form of interference in my life from the federal goverment, they are already some that are trying to kill off all us elderly, this is not what my ancestors came here in 1620 and 1685 for, and it’s not what my grandfather and Brother in law died for, we need a smaller gov’t. with less control over our lives.

  • preciado

    thank you for this update, the courts decision was very upsetting. I’m glad that there is still hope for the court to do the right thing. thank you for all that you are doing to right this wrong, and unjust treatment of people that have faith

  • http://intellectualoid.wordpress.com Reader John

    Thank you for the Ginsburg quote in particular. I’m a ConLaw fan, but I’ve got a day job, aging parents, and a gig chanting the Liturgy for the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul tonite, so it’s helpful to have someone extract the nuggets.

  • Harlem River Wesley

    I’ve been feeling a lot of dread today regarding the court’s decision. This alleviates that a little bit. Thank you for offering some hope and thank you for all this fund is doing.

  • US Brains

    Thank you for the clarification. It is a matter of good conscience.