A Michigan federal judge on Wednesday exempted the founder of Domino’s Pizza from implementing the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate at an office complex he owns, saying he has shown that abiding by the health law would “substantially burden” his ability to exercise his religion.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff granted a preliminary injunction on behalf of Thomas Monaghan and his Domino’s Farm Corp. complex located in Ann Arbor, Mich. Monaghan, a Catholic, said providing employees coverage for contraception and abortion is immoral and at odds with his religious beliefs.
Judge Zatkoff’s order prevents the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing the contraception mandate at Domino’s Farm. HHS failed to show that having Monaghan conform to the law served a compelling public interest that outweighed the harm caused by having him violate his religion, the ruling said.
This year the governement has exempted many religious organizations from ACA’s contraception mandate. It will be interesting to see how many other private businesses are able to convince a court that this exemption should also apply to them based on their religious beliefs.
Interesting the judge says “compelling”. Remains to be seen whether strict scrutiny will survive when the Executive branch has the “right answer”. Of course, this question isn’t new. I believe it was Roscoe Pound who wrote it goes back to the early days of equity court when the kings were saying “we are doing the right thing for the people and the law just needs to get on board.”