Friday, February 01, 2013

Mandate Challenge By St. Louis Archdiocese Dismissed on Ripeness and Standing Grounds

Echoing the holdings in a number of other cases in which non-profit religious entities have filed suit to challenge the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate, a Missouri federal district court on Tuesday dismissed for lack of ripeness and standing the complaint filed by the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese and its Catholic Charities affiliate. In Archdiocese of St. Louis v. Sebelius, (ED MA, Jan. 29, 2013), the court held:
Because the preventive services coverage regulations are currently undergoing a process of amendment to accommodate Plaintiffs’ religious objections, and because Plaintiffs are protected from enforcement by the safe harbor, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs’ claims are not ripe for judicial review.
The court also concluded that plaintiffs lack standing because promised amendments may result in the mandate never applying to them. St. Louis Review reports on the decision.