Legatus executive director John Hunt updates on the Legatus v. Sebelius lawsuit . . .
On Aug. 1, 2012, the effective date of the HHS mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptive services and abortifacients to their employees, I memorialized that unfortunate requirement with an e-mail message of hope and unified commitment to our Legatus family — and to bring a sense of urgency to this critical issue of our day.
The secular media and certain segments within the Church have sought to minimize the gravity of this mandate — and even the legitimacy of our position. When combined with the ever-growing judicial and electoral attacks on traditional marriage, it’s clear that we faithful Catholics are called to be not only defenders of the faith, but also to declare joyfully and courageously the timeless relevance of traditional Christian values.
Election Day 2012 is a scant two months away. The years and decades of spiritual decline in our country seem to be converging into this — the election of our lifetime! No longer can we simply lament the ethical and moral equivalencies that routinely insert themselves into our lives; no longer can we rely on the hierarchy and the clergy to be the line of defense against the culture. The time for us is now!
Legatus v. Sebelius update. Federal District Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan has set Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. to hear oral arguments on whether the federal government should be enjoined from enforcing the HHS mandate on plaintiffs Legatus, Weingartz Supply Co., and its president Daniel Weingartz, a member of Legatus’ Detroit Northeast Chapter.
Judge Cleland also ordered an expedited briefing schedule directing the plaintiffs to file their opening brief by Aug. 15, and the government to file a response by Aug. 29. The court also required the plaintiffs to file a separate motion for a preliminary injunction.
Legatus’ counsel, Erin Mersino of the Thomas More Law Center, has observed, “Judge Cleland’s decision to expedite the briefing schedule and set a quick hearing date for oral arguments on our motion for a preliminary injunction against the government was crucial. It best serves our goal of protecting the religious freedoms of our clients. Without the court’s timely intervention, the HHS mandate effectively penalizes their free exercise of religion.”
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS mandate under the First Amendment’s rights to the free exercise of religion and free speech, and the Establishment Clause. It also claims that the mandate violates the Religious Restoration Act of 1993 and the Administrative Procedure Act.
John Hunt is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.