Federal Appeals Court Slaps HHS, rules in favor of religious colleges

Yesterday, in Washington, DC, a Federal Appeals Court ruled in favor of Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College in their lawsuit against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.   The ruling of the appeals court is here.  

In mid-July, Evangelical Wheaton College joined Belmont Abbey and other Catholic colleges in their lawsuit against the HHS mandate’s violation of religious freedom.  In August, a Washington DC Federal Circuit Court judge ruled against the colleges, stating that they were protected under the one-year “safe harbor” and could show no harm by the mandate.  

Significantly, in court arguments, government lawyers argued that the government would never enforce the mandate as written against religious employers.  In yesterday’s ruling, the court noted that the government had promised to change the mandate to accommodate religious employers, and had not, and the court directed the government to report back to the court every 60 days with status reports.  

This is a significant victory for religious freedom!



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