ANN ARBOR, MI/December 24, 2012 --
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, late Friday, December 21, 2012, filed an Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on behalf of Tom Monaghan to stop enforcement of the HHS Mandate in order to prevent immediate irreparable injury to his fundamental rights.
The HHS Mandate requires employers to pay for health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization under threat of draconian fines. It also requires employers to educate their employees about use of those drugs. Tom Monaghan is a staunch pro-life advocate and Catholic philanthropist. His religious beliefs prohibit him from paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization.
TMLC attorney, Erin Mersino, asked Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff to hear the Motion "at the earliest possible time" because the HHS Mandate takes effect against Monaghan and his Domino's Farms Corporation on January 1, 2013. If granted, the TRO would permit Monaghan to continue to provide insurance for his employees that does not violate his constitutionally and statutorily granted rights to free exercise of religion, free speech, and free association.
In a strongly worded brief, Mersino accuses the Government of blatant violations of Mr. Monaghan's constitutional rights to the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech guaranteed by the Constitution as well as a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The TRO motion is part of a lawsuit TMLC filed a week ago, December 14, 2012, in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, on behalf of Monaghan and his Company. This is the second lawsuit challenging the HHS Mandate filed by the Thomas More Law Center.
Earlier in the year, the Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Michigan-businessman Daniel Weingartz and his Weingartz Supply Company, as well as the staff of Legatus, an organization of top Catholic business owners and CEOs. TMLC was successful in obtaining a Preliminary Injunction banning the Government from enforcing the Mandate against Weingartz and his company. Legatus also remains free of the Mandate's requirements under the Mandate's safe harbor provision.
Both lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion, Free Speech and the Establishment Clause. Both lawsuits also claim that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.