Supreme Court: Obama Can’t Make Notre Dame Obey Pro-Abortion Mandate

3/9/2015 – The Supreme Court has weighed in on the lawsuit Notre Dame filed against the HHS mandate compelling religious groups and businesses to pay for drugs for their employees that may cause abortions.

After a lower court dismissed the lawsuit, today the Supreme Court ordered the lower court to reconsider its ruling that denied a Catholic university the freedom to follow its faith.

Previously, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. dismissed the suit, claiming that Notre Dame is sufficiently protected by a very narrowly-drawn religious exemption in the mandate — that pro-life legal groups say does not apply to every religious entity. Then, a three-judge panel from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision on a 2-1 vote.

In appealing that decision, the University of Notre Dame brought its request to the Supreme Court — saying the lower court decision made it the only nonprofit religious ministry in the nation without protection from the HHS mandate. The Supreme Court’s ruling today vacates the entire lower court decision forcing Notre Dame to comply and the 7th Circuit must now review its decision taking into consideration the entire Hobby Lobby case upholding that company’s right to not be forced into compliance.

The Obama administration has relied heavily on that lower court decision in other courts around the country, arguing that it should be able to impose similar burdens on religious ministries like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

By Steven Ertelt – Life News –

Supreme Court appears split in Obamacare arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed bitterly divided during heated arguments over the fate of President Obama’s health care law.
As expected, the court’s four liberal members voiced strong support for the administration’s position. But the administration must almost certainly capture the vote of either Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. or Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to prevail.
The chief justice said almost nothing.
Justice Kennedy asked questions suggesting that he was uncomfortable with the administration’s reading of the statute. But he added that the challengers’ reading posed problems, too. “Your argument raises a serious constitutional question,” he told their lawyer.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued for the Obama administration, facing Michael A. Carvin, who represented the plaintiffs in another challenge to the law that reached the Supreme Court in 2012.

Michael A. Carvin, who was hired to argue in front of the Supreme Court against the subsidies of the Affordable Care Act, represented the plaintiffs in the 2012 challenge to the law’s individual mandate.

The court’s decision, expected by late June, will determine whether roughly seven million low- and middle-income people in some three dozen states will continue to receive subsidies to help them buy health insurance.

Should the court rule that the subsidies were not authorized by the health care law, most of those people would no longer be able to afford insurance. And insurance markets in those states could collapse, imperiling the health care law itself….

By ADAM LIPTAK – New York Times –

Apostate State Churches: “The Body is a Temple and it Must Be Insured”

In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as “talking points.” These materials are part of the “Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action Toolkit,” which is available on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

From the beginning, HHS has sought to develop partnerships with faith-based organizations to promote the Obamacare. This “toolkit” has been available since 2013. However, the details of these partnerships have largely escaped the attention of the national media. The Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action program encourages churches to use the second Sunday of each month during open enrollment to hold informational meetings and sign-up events.

The suggested announcement includes insertion points for the name of the church promoting the event:

The materials also include two full pages of “talking points,” which end with an admonition to churches that “[y]ou are trusted messengers in this community. We hope you share this information with those around you so they can be connected with the care they need.”

Non-profits such as Community Health Connectors have also brought togeather churches and faith-based organizations with government officials for information regarding the ACA, recently even hosting an “off the record” conference call with First Lady Michelle Obama “to discuss how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the lives of your congregation members.”

HHS also offers to make officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) available to speak at church events. The CMS “2nd Sunday HIM [Health Insurance Marketplace] Enrollment for Faith and Community Event” form asks for contact information, desired topics and dates, and an audience profile, including if any “other CMS, HHS, Congressional Members or any other VIP officials expected to attend.”

In at least one case, a marketplace even invoked scripture as part of the enrollment push. In March 2014, D.C. HealthLink, the insurance marketplace for the nation’s capital assigned a theme to their Weekend of Action, “The Body is a Temple and it Must Be Insured,” drawing on I Corinthians 6:19, which says that “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.”

According to a recent blog post on the HHS website, more than 5,500 faith leaders have “promoted health insurance enrollment within their communities through efforts like the Second Sunday program.” The deadline for open enrollment for 2015 coverage is Sunday, February 15.

– The Trumpet –

House votes 239-186 to repeal Obamacare

The GOP-House voted Tuesday evening to fully repeal Obamacare, sending the bill to a Republican Senate that seems likely to at least try to pass it in the coming weeks.

There was little doubt the bill could pass in a House with a stronger Republican majority, and it passed easily 239-186.

Republicans have held full Obamacare repeal votes in every session of Congress, and have won the support of just a few Democrats. This time around, no Democrats voted with Republicans, and three Republicans voted against the bill: Reps. Bob Dold (Ill.), John Katko (N.Y.), and Bruce Poliquin (Maine).

The debate and vote gave both parties a chance to run through their usual arguments for and against the law. Republicans said said the law is leading to higher healthcare costs and less choice for Americans who have seen many of their insurance plans canceled because they don’t meet new standards under the law.

Republicans also said a repeal is needed so Congress can start over and build a new reform plan that gives people more choice.

“We need a new system,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “We need a system that puts the patients first, one that controls costs through competition, and expands coverage by choice, not coercion.”

But Democrats said Republicans have so far fallen short of their claim to bring up new health care ideas. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said Republicans asked committees a few years ago to come up with alternatives, but came up with no comprehensive plan….

By Pete Kasperowicz – The Blaze –