The Thomas More Law Center announced that Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the Eastern District of Michigan, today, granted a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction against enforcement of the HHS Mandate filed by TMLC on behalf of Plaintiffs Tom Monaghan and his property management company, Domino’s Farm Corporation. Judge Zatkoff previously ruled in favor of granting an emergency temporary restraining order. The preliminary injunction extends the previous ruling to protect the plaintiffs for the entire pendency of the case.
Judge Zatkoff’s ruling halts enforcement of the HHS mandate against Monaghan and his property management company, Domino’s Farms Corporation of which he is the owner and sole shareholder. Domino’s Farms Corporation manages an Office Complex owned by Monaghan and is not to be confused with Domino’s Pizza. Monaghan sold the Pizza company in 1998 and has no active affiliation with it at this time. The HHS mandate refers to regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
Judge Zatkoff’s decision protects our freedoms granted under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Government argued against the preliminary injunction by claiming that once a business owner chooses to enter into the marketplace, he surrenders his right to exercise his religious beliefs. Erin Mersino, TMLC’s lead counsel on the case, provided for the Court in briefing the quotation from President Ronald Reagan, “To those who cite the First Amendment as reason for excluding God from more and more of our institutions and everyday life, may I just say: The First Amendment of the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this countryfrom religious values;it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny.”
For purposes of the preliminary injunction, Judge Zatkoff focused only on the unconstitutional nature of the HHS Mandate due its infringement on Mr. Monaghan’s exercise of religion. Judge Zatkoff held that he did not need to engage in a separate discussion of Plaintiffs’ Constitutional right to the Free Exercise of Religion since both theories seek to protect the same liberty interest—the free practice of one’s religion.
TMLC’s attorney Erin Mersino, commented, “The HHS Mandate forces our clients to provide abortion causing drugs to their employees when doing so is a direct violation of the teachings of the Catholic Church and our clients’ sincerely held religious beliefs. The Court’s decision today upholds everyone’s freedom of religion and rights protected by the Constitution.”
The Government is expected to appeal Judge Zatkoff’s ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.