A federal appeals court panel decided to block the HHS mandate from taking effect against a Missouri business owner, a ruling that represents the first win in an appeals court for opponents of the mandate.
CNSNews.com is reporting that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted a motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of Frank O’Brien and O’Brien Industrial Holdings of St. Louis, which runs four businesses and employs 87.
O’Brien, a Roman Catholic, was the first private business owner to sue the Administration over the mandate that would force him to provide contraceptive coverage to his employees. The company’s website clearly states that its mission “is to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society.”
“By granting our motion, the appeals court blocks the implementation of the HHS mandate and clears the way for our lawsuit to continue – a significant victory for our client,” said Francis Manion, Senior Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which sued on O’Brien’s behalf.
“The order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government,” said Francis Manion, Senior Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which sued on O’Brien’s behalf.
“We have argued from the beginning that employers like Frank O’Brien must be able to operate their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, not the values of the government. We look forward to this case moving forward and securing the constitutional rights of our client.”
The appeals court panel overturned a lower court ruling issued in October in which a federal district court judge dismissed O’Brien’s suit. An immediate appeal was filed on O’Brien’s behalf, which led to the temporary order issued on Wednesday of this week.
In a similar case, a judge ruled earlier this week to dismiss a suit filed by the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh because the diocese had not yet incurred any damages from the law which will take effect for religious employers in January, 2014. However, the court did not rule on the merits of the case, leaving a determination of the constitutionality of the law for another day.
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