Yesterday, a judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit involving the Priests for Life that alleges that the self-certification requirement that Priests for Life must provide to the issuer of their insurance policies violates their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment, and the Firth Amendment.
Priests for Life did not qualify for total exemption under the mandate and is required to certify their objection and send it to insurance companies or plan administrators. Then, the insurer or administrator must provide the services without charge. The motion to dismiss and the denial of summary judgement by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was based upon the fact that the requirement to inform insurance companies of the exemption doesn’t restrict the right of Priests for Life, their members, employees, or donors from expressing their opposition. The judge found that the plaintiffs were not compelled to speak against their beliefs nor did it violate their “rights to expressive association”.
The court noted that every other complaint against the Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Clause and the contraceptive mandate has been rejected. Courts have found that the government has a right to distinguish types of religious organization based upon their purpose and structure without violating the Establishment Clause. The regulation affects all religious organizations equally.
According to Religion Clause, two other federal courts held that the accommodation rules violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.