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Posted on June 5, 2012

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CATHOLIC GROUPS ATTACK ENACTED LAWS

Roman Catholic groups want a blanket exception from democratically enacted laws and regulations to implement them, and the courts may find this issue troubling.

Even before the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare, 43 Roman Catholic organizations have filed lawsuits challenging a related regulation that requires employers or their health insurers to offer birth control coverage to workers.

The plaintiffs say that complying with the regulation would violate their religious freedom

If this litigation does reach the high court, it could force the justices to choose between too lines of cases. One holds that religious groups must abide by generally applicable laws. The other recognizes religiously based exceptions in some circumstances.

A decision could turn on the meaning of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allows such exceptions unless restricting religious exercise is justified by a compelling government interest.

We think the Obama administration has been sensitive to concerns that the contraceptive mandate might undermine freedom of religion. The concessions aren’t enough for the Catholic organizations that have filed the lawsuits. President Obama signed an order saying that no executive branch agency would mandate federal funding of abortion.

The Catholic groups asking the courts for a blanket exception from democratically enacted laws and regulations to implement them is troubling.

We trust that the Supreme Court will rule that religious groups must abide by Obamacare regulations because of its compelling government interest to see that all citizens have affordable health care.

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