Catholic University law professor Mark Rienzi says the legal challenges mounted by Catholic and other religious institutions against the requirement that employers provide access to contraceptive care will go forward despite the controversial Supreme Court ruling on June 28 that upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of the Obama Administration.
Rienzi is senior counsel to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is pursuing lawsuits on behalf of four religious institutions that maintain that the HHS mandate is unconstitutional.
Following the high court’s ruling, Rienzi released a statement that was quoted in part by Fox News.
“Today's decision addressed the narrow question of whether Congress had the power to enact the health care law in the first place. It did not address the religious freedom question. In fact, every justice who voted to uphold the law explicitly said that Congress's taxing power remains subject to the other limitations in the Constitution.
In particular, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan jointly wrote that ‘A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.’
Today's decision simply did not address whether the HHS mandate interferes with the free exercise of religion. The twenty-three lawsuits still pending around the country do. And those cases will go forward.”