Wednesday, September 18, 2013

6th Circuit Rejects Closely-Held Business Challenge To Contraceptive Mandate

In Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius, (6th Cir., Sept. 17, 2013), the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied  a preliminary injunction in an Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate challenge.  The suit was brought by two related closely-held businesses (a corporation and an LLC) and by their Catholic owners.  The shareholder-owners describe the companies as "the business form through which [they] endeavor to live their vocation as Christians in the world." The court held, however, that the coverage mandate falls on the corporations, not their owners, so owners cannot bring a free exercise claim in their individual capacities. As to the claim by the businesses themselves, the court held that a for-profit secular corporation "is not a 'person' capable of 'religious exercise' as intended by RFRA." Christian Science Monitor reports on the decision.