ANN ARBOR, MI — The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, late last Friday filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Tom Monaghan and his Domino’s Farms Corporation challenging the constitutionality of the HHS mandate promulgated by the Obama Administration. The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The HHS Mandate requires employers to pay for health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization or pay draconian fines.
The purpose of the lawsuit is to seek a court ruling that declares the HHS Mandate violates the Constitution and Federal statutes. In addition, the lawsuit seeks to permanently block Government enforcement of the HHS Mandate because it violates deeply held religious beliefs of employers like Mr. Monaghan.
Tom Monaghan, a staunch pro-life advocate and Catholic philanthropist, argues in the complaint that his religious beliefs and the principles of Christian Stewardship require that he provide health insurance for his employees and their families, which he has always done. But those same beliefs prohibit him from paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization which he has never done. Thus, the lawsuit.
Monaghan has been a successful businessman for more than 50 years, and in 1987 he founded Legatus (Latin word for “ambassador) an organization of Catholic businessmen and CEOs to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business. A little more than a decade later, Monaghan founded Ave Maria University and the Ave Maria School of Law. He has been an unwavering supporter of pro-life efforts and the promulgation of Catholic education at all levels. His pro-life beliefs and the very teachings of the Catholic Church are under direct attack in the HHS Mandate.
Thomas More Law Center attorney, Erin Mersino, the lead counsel in the lawsuit, is an Ave Maria Law School graduate.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion, Free Speech and the Establishment Clause. It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The first paragraph of the lawsuit succinctly sets forth its basis: “This is a case about religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father of our country, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third president, when describing the construct of our Constitution proclaimed, ‘No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.’”
Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.
This is the second lawsuit brought by the Thomas More Law Center that challenges the HHS Mandate. Earlier in the year, the Law Center represented Michigan-businessman Daniel Weingartz and his Weingartz Supply Company, as well as the Legatus executive staff. It was successful in obtaining a Preliminary Injunction banning the Government from enforcing the Mandate against Weingartz and his company. Legatus remained free of the mandate under its safe harbor provision.
The Thomas More Law Center’s mission includes the restoration and defense of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the sanctity of human life and the religious freedom of Christians.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “The Government intentionally declared war on a specific religion using the HHS mandate as its weapon. Through its coercive powers the Government forces Christians to choose between violating their religious beliefs and violating the law. Because Mr. Monaghan believes it is his religious duty to provide insurance coverage for his employees and their families, he will not abandon them. Yet he intends to show his vehement opposition to this unconstitutional mandate which threatens the religious liberties of all Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs. We are honored to represent him in this endeavor.”
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. It supports 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.