The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced it has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the HHS mandate, on behalf of Legatus, the Nation’s largest organization of top Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders.
Also joining in the lawsuit as Plaintiffs are the Weingartz Supply Company, a Michigan retailer since 1945, and its President who is a member of Legatus. The 42-page Complaint was filed late yesterday afternoon against the Obama administration in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Legatus” is the Latin word for “ambassador”, and its members are called upon to become “ambassadors for Christ” in living and sharing their Catholic Faith in their business, professional and personal lives. It was founded in 1987 by Tom Monaghan, the former owner of Domino’s Pizza, to bring together the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life – Faith, Family and Business. The lawsuit was filed on the 25th Anniversary of its founding. Legatus currently has over 4,000 members in 73 chapters located in 31 states.
The first paragraph of the lawsuit succinctly sets forth the nature of the case:
“This is a case about religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father of our country, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third president, when describing the construct of our Constitution proclaimed, ‘No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.’”
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “Whether you are a Catholic or Protestant or have no religion at all, the free exercise of religion and right of conscience is our most fundamental human right and must be vigorously defended on behalf of all Americans. Or else our constitution becomes nothing more than a piece of paper with nice sounding words. That’s why I believe every American regardless of religious beliefs has a stake in the successful outcome of this lawsuit.”
The purpose of the lawsuit is to seek a court ruling that permanently blocks the implementation of the HHS Mandate requiring employers and individuals to obtain insurance coverage for abortions and contraception on the grounds that it imposes clear violations of conscience on Americans who morally object to abortion and contraception.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech and the Establishment Clause. It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act enacted by Congress.
Thomas More Law Center attorney, Erin Mersino, is the lead counsel in the lawsuit. Joining as co-counsel is the Law Office of Charles LiMandri, the Law Center’s West Coast Regional Director and a member of Legatus.
Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.