Mixed judgement in Pennsylvania HHS mandate lawsuits

Geneva College and the Seneca Hardwood Company vs Sebelius is a complicated case: two for-profit businesses and a non-profit religious college sued the HHS over the mandate.  The Federal District Court judge ruled that the college’s case was not yet ripe–they can show no harm and must wait to pursue their case.  The judge allowed Seneca Hardwood’s case to proceed, though.  In this part of the case, examining the case in light of the RFRA, the judge ruled that the extensive exemptions given by the administration prevent the mandate from being a “generally applicable” law. The court ruled also that the owners had put forward a plausible claim that the HHS mandate will impose a substantial burden on their religious liberty, and that the government has failed to show a compelling interest in enforcing the mandate against these defendants. The company made claims under the Establishment Clause, free speech and due process; these were rejected by the court..

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