Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Court Rejects Standing-Ripeness Defenses To Diocese's Contraceptive Coverage Challenge

In Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth v. Sebelius, (ND TX, Jan. 31, 2013). a Texas federal district court rejected both standing and ripeness challenges to a lawsuit challenging the application of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate to the Fort Worth Diocese. The government argued that a temporary enforcement safe harbor for religious non-profits and the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing amendments to the Mandate make the case unripe for review and remove plaintiff's standing.  The court concluded however:
The Mandate ... is a final rule with a definite effective date, and neither the ANPRM nor Defendants’ related announcements change this. And because the Mandate is “on the books,” there is nothing improper about subjecting it to the limitations of the United States Constitution and other applicable laws.
The American Center for Law and Justice reports on the decision. [Thanks to Hillary Byrnes for the lead.]

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