On Tuesday, the Obama administration appealed the injunction issued against the Department of Health and Human Services in July, filing with the 10th Circuit Court.
In late July, a Federal judge issued an injunction against the HHS, ordering it to not enforce the mandate against Hercules Industries of Colorado. In that case, the Obama administration Department of Justice argued that the Newland family (a devout Catholic family who owns Hercules Industries) lost their religious freedom when they entered business.
Hercules Industries is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not practice religion.
Plaintiffs’ challenge rests largely on the theory that a for-profit, secular corporation … can claim to exercise a religion and thereby avoid the reach of laws designed to regulate commercial activity. This cannot be. …“[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”
Plaintiffs’ free exercise claim fails at the outset because for-profit, secular employers generally do not engage in any exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Newland family. You will read about this case as Newland v. Sebelius.