Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Notre Dame Alums Object To University's Contraceptive Mandate Position

As previously reported, Notre Dame University is allowing its its health insurance providers to continue to furnish contraceptive coverage for university employees and students, even though Trump Administration rules now allow the university to opt out on religious grounds. Life Site News yesterday reported that 66 lawyers who are Notre Dame alumni have signed a letter (full text) to Notre Dame president Father William Jenkins strongly objecting to the University's decision. The letter objects that the university "now doing voluntarily precisely what it said it could not do in good conscience...." The letter goes on to charge that the school's assertions "now appears to be a collection of flat-out misrepresentations" in what amounts to "a pretend lawsuit."  The letter continues in part:
If, then, there is some explanation that will absolve the University from the charge of playing fast and loose with the courts or mitigate to some degree its blame, we urge you to provide it.
If there is not, then the matter seems to us to be quite serious enough to demand the attention of the Fellows and the Board of Trustees. It will be bought to their attention in due course. Remedial action should be taken, an accounting given to the Notre Dame community, and thoughtful consideration given to how amends might be made to the courts. ...
Finally, though we hope it does not come to it, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does provide a means for federal courts to determine if there have been misrepresentations by litigants and, if so, what to do about it. A court can invoke the procedure on its own initiative. Given the wide publicity accorded the university's turnabout, Court of Appeals judges ... might think a Rule 11 hearing appropriate.