ANN ARBOR, MI –The Thomas More Law Center, yesterday afternoon, filed its opening brief in support of its motion for a Preliminary Injunction to stop enforcement of the HHS Mandate. Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan has set a hearing on the motion for September 26, 2012 at 10:00am. In accordance with the Judge’s briefing schedule, the Government must file a response by August 29, 2012. The hearing will take place at the U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Michigan.
In order to allow the Law Center’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction to be fully heard and ruled upon by the Court, the Government agreed it would not enforce the HHS regulations against Plaintiffs prior to January 1, 2013.
Thomas More Law Center attorney, Erin Mersino, the lead counsel in the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit, was the principal author of the 29-page opening brief. The Law Center’s brief focused on the Government’s violation of the religious freedom and free speech provisions of First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 enacted by Congress.
Mersino observed in the brief:
“It is not surprising that in our country founded by individuals, who sought refuge from religious persecution, the Supreme Court of our country has succinctly avowed,
'If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.'"
W. Va. State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943) (emphasis added).
“The statement written by Justice Jackson in his majority opinion is considered one of the Court's greatest statements about our fundamental freedoms established by the Bill of Rights. It is upon this backdrop, and resting upon this body of jurisprudence built upon deference to the inalienable freedom of religion, that the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate must be decided.”
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which promotes and defends Judeo-Christian values, represents Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business leaders, and the Ann Arbor-based Weingartz Supply Company, and its president Daniel Weingartz. Joining in the case as co-counsel is Charles LiMandri, the Law Center’s West Coast Regional Director.
The Thomas More Law Center filed its federal lawsuit on May 6, 2012, against Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the of the Department of Health and Human Services; Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Department of the Treasury; and their respective departments.
The purpose of the lawsuit is to permanently block the implementation of the HHS Mandate which requires employers and individuals to obtain insurance coverage for abortions and contraception on the grounds that it imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech and the Establishment Clause. It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Administrative Procedure Act.
“Legatus” is the Latin word for “ambassador”, and its members are called upon to become “ambassadors for Christ” in living and sharing their Catholic Faith in their business, professional and personal lives. It currently has over 4,000 members in 73 chapters located in 31 states. It was founded in 1987 by Tom Monaghan, the former owner of Domino’s Pizza, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business.
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, as well as a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.