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ACLJ and 79 members of Congress back Catholic legal challenges to HHS mandate

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is representing 79 members of Congress in submitting amicus briefs in 12 separate lawsuits brought by more than 40 Catholic organizations challenging a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that violates the religious beliefs of the organizations.

The Catholic organizations, including the Archdiocese of New York, the University of Notre Dame, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, are challenging the HHS mandate. The mandate requires employers to cover sterilization, prescription contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and related patient education and counseling services in their health insurance plans regardless of the employers' religious opposition to such activities and services.

"It is essential to defeat the HHS mandate," said Edward White, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ.  "The mandate devastates the religious freedom of all employers seeking to comply with their religious beliefs.  This is not just an issue negatively impacting Catholics. This is an issue negatively impacting employers of all faiths."

In the briefs submitted in the cases backing the Catholic organizations, the ACLJ opposes the federal government's motions to dismiss the 12 lawsuits. The briefs were submitted with requests that the courts accept them for filing.

Joining the ACLJ on the briefs are the following 79 Members of the United States House of Representatives:  Jeff Landry (LA), Robert Aderholt (AL), Todd Akin (MO), Mark Amodei (NV), Michele Bachmann (MN), Spencer Bachus (AL), Lou Barletta (PA), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Dan Benishek (MI), Gus Bilirakis (FL), Diane Black (TN), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Charles Boustany (LA), Kevin Brady (TX), Paul Broun (GA), Dan Burton (IN), Francisco "Quico" Canseco (TX), Bill Cassidy (LA), Steve Chabot (OH), Michael Conaway (TX), Chip Cravaack (MN), Jeff Duncan (SC), Renee Ellmers (NC), Stephen Fincher (TN), John Fleming (LA), Bill Flores (TX), J. Randy Forbes (VA), Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Virginia Foxx (NC), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Gregg Harper (MS), Andy Harris (MD), Vicky Hartzler (MO), Wally Herger (CA), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Bill Huizenga (MI), Bill Johnson (OH), Walter Jones (NC), Jim Jordan (OH), Mike Kelly (PA), Steve King (IA), John Kline (MN), Raul Labrador (ID), Doug Lamborn (CO), James Lankford (OK), Bob Latta (OH), Dan Lipinski (IL), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO), Dan Lungren (CA), Don Manzullo (IL), Jeff Miller (FL), Mick Mulvaney (SC), Tim Murphy (PA), Randy Neugebauer (TX), Alan Nunnelee (MS), Pete Olson (TX), Steven Palazzo (MS), Ron Paul (TX), Steve Pearce (NM), Joe Pitts (PA), Ted Poe (TX), Mike Pompeo (KS), Ben Quayle (AZ), Reid Ribble (WI), Phil Roe (TN), Todd Rokita (IN), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Dennis Ross (FL), Steve Scalise (LA), Bobby Schilling (IL), Jean Schmidt (OH), David Schweikert (AZ), Adrian Smith (NE), Chris Smith (NJ), Lamar Smith (TX), Glenn Thompson (PA), Tim Walberg (MI), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), and Joe Wilson (SC).

The ACLJ and the Members of Congress explain in their "friend of the court" briefs that the mandate runs counter to America's long and proud tradition of accommodating the religious beliefs and practices of all its citizens. The briefs contend that the mandate imposes an unconstitutional burden on individuals and organizations, who firmly oppose having to subsidize, provide, and/or facilitate activities and services that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

You can view the 12 "friend of the court" briefs here.

The ACLJ's own federal lawsuit challenging the HHS mandate is proceeding in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri.
This was the first lawsuit filed on behalf of a private business, contending the mandate violates constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. The ACLJ just filed a motion urging the court to block the HHS mandate for O'Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC.

Led by ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ is based in Washington, D.C. and is online at www.aclj.org.


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