Friday, September 04, 2015

10th Circuit Denies En Banc Review, Over 5 Dissents, In Contraceptive Mandate Case

As previously reported, in July, without seeking en banc review, a petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court for review of the 10th Circuit's panel decision upholding application of the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act accommodation for religious non-profits to Little Sisters of the Poor. Nevertheless, 10th Circuit judges sua sponte called for a vote on whether the panel decision should be reviewed en banc. In Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, (10th Cir., Sept. 3, 2015), a majority of the judges voted to deny a rehearing, but 5 judges filed a dissent to the denial. Judge Hartz's dissent, joined by Judges Kelly, Tymkovich, Gorsuch and Holmes, calls the 3-judge panel's decision "clearly and gravely wrong." The dissenters say in part:
the panel majority may be saying that it is the court’s prerogative to determine whether requiring the plaintiffs to execute the documents substantially burdens their core religious belief, regardless of whether the plaintiffs have a “derivative” religious belief that executing the documents is sinful. This is a dangerous approach to religious liberty.
Christian Post reports on the court's decision.