NEW YORK – Priests for Life and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. have filed a letter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit proposing a next step in their ongoing lawsuits challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate.
The letter by the appellants refers to the consolidated cases before the D.C. Circuit, Priests for Life v. HHS and Archbishop of Washington v. Burwell. (These two cases were consolidated by the D.C. Circuit and heard in 2014; the Court ruled against Priests for Life and the Washington Archdiocese in December 2014, after which the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which consolidated these two cases with five others, comprising the case Zubik vs. Burwell. The Supreme Court recently sent the cases back to the four appellate courts from which they came. Hence, now, Priests for Life and the Archdiocese of Washington are together again in the D.C. court.)
The letter proposes that the appellants submit to the Court of Appeals in 30 days a status report on any progress made with the government in resolving the matter. The filing is the appellants’ first court submission since the Supreme Court action less than two weeks ago.
“The Supreme Court noted in its Zubik v. Burwell decision that the administration has confirmed that it could draft a regulation that meets our religious liberty concerns,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “We are hopeful that the government will adhere to that confirmation and end this case quickly.”
Under the Supreme Court’s Zubik ruling, all seven lawsuits that were before the highest court were remanded to their respective appeals courts on May 16. In a move widely interpreted as favorable to Priests for Life and the other religious non-profit groups, the Court noted that the government has stated in a legal brief that its HHS mandate accommodation can be modified to protect the religious concerns of those organizations.
“This particular case to protect religious liberty has gone on for over four years,” added Fr. Pavone. “With the Supreme Court’s recent action that proposes a feasible solution, there’s no reason for the Obama administration to delay. It’s time for a resolution.”
Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.
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