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In Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. et al. v. Sebelius, et al., an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Mardel Inc., two for-profit corporations owned and operated by a religious Christian family, had standing to challenge certain birth control mandates under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and also (1) had shown that complying with the mandates would cause irreparable harm to their religious beliefs; and (2) were likely to succeed in defeating the mandates themselves.
However, rather than issue a preliminary injunction declaring that the mandates were unenforceable, the court of appeals remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to resolve two other legal issues involved in the test for whether to issue a preliminary injunction. The lower court is directed to examine: (1) the balancing of the equities between the parties; and (2) whether an injunction is in the public’s interest. That decision (whether to issue a preliminary injunction) will determine whether the birth control mandates may be applied to Hobby Lobby and Mardel going forward, though that decision, too, will likely be appealed, regardless of the outcome.
Almost immediately after the Tenth Circuit opinion was issued, the district court entered a temporary restraining order precluding the government from enforcing the mandates while it considers whether to issue an injunction on a more permanent basis, and announced it will hold a hearing in the case on July 19, 2013. Continue reading this article here.
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