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Korte Opinion Nov. 8 2013

Korte Opinion Nov. 8 2013

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Published by Francis Manion

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Published by: Francis Manion on Nov 09, 2013
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11/09/2013

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In the
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
No. 12-3841C
YRIL
B.
 
K
ORTE
 ,
 
 J
ANE
E.
 
K
ORTE
 ,and
 
K
ORTE
&
 
L
UITJOHAN
C
ONTRACTORS
 ,
 
I
NC
.,
Plaintiffs-Appellants
 ,
v.
K
ATHLEEN
S
EBELIUS
 ,
 
Secretary ofHealth & Human Services,
et al.
 ,
Defendants-Appellees
.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.No. 3:12-CV-01072-MJR —
Michael J. Reagan,
 
 Judge
.
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2Nos. 12-3841 & 13-1077 No. 13-1077W
ILLIAM
D.
 
G
ROTE
 ,
 
III;
 
W
ILLIAM
D
OMINIC
G
ROTE
 ,
 
IV;
 
W
ALTER
F.G
ROTE
 ,
 
 J
R
.;
 
M
ICHAEL
R.
 
G
ROTE
;
 
W.
 
F
REDERICK
G
ROTE
 ,
 
III;
 
 J
OHN
R.
 
G
ROTE
;G
ROTE
I
NDUSTRIES
 ,
 
LLC;
 
and
 
G
ROTE
I
NDUSTRIES
 ,
 
I
NC
.,
Plaintiffs-Appellants
 ,
v.
K
ATHLEEN
S
EBELIUS
 ,
 
Secretary ofHealth & Human Services,
et al.
 ,
Defendants-Appellees
.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division.No. 4:12-cv-00134-SEB-DML —
 Sarah Evans Barker,
 
 Judge
.
A
RGUED
M
AY
22,
 
2013
 
 
D
ECIDED
N
OVEMBER
8,
 
2013Before F
LAUM
 , R
OVNER
 , and S
YKES
 ,
Circuit Judges
.S
YKES
 ,
Circuit Judge
. These consolidated appeals challengethe federal government’s “contraception mandate,” a regula-tory requirement imposed by the Department of Health andHuman Services (“HHS”) to implement the terms of the 2010
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Nos. 12-3841 & 13-1077 3Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The mandaterequires employers to provide coverage for contraception andsterilization procedures in their employee health-care plans ona no-cost-sharing basis. Noncompliance carries heavy financialpenalties and the risk of enforcement actions.The plaintiffs are two Catholic families and their closelyheld corporations—one a construction company in Illinois andthe other a manufacturing firm in Indiana. The businesses aresecular and for profit, but they operate in conformity with thefaith commitments of the families that own and manage them.The plaintiffs object for religious reasons to providing themandated coverage. They sued for an exemption on constitu-tional and statutory grounds.Center stage at this juncture is the Religious FreedomRestoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb
et seq
.,which prohibits the federal government from placing substan-tial burdens on “a person’s exercise of religion,”
id.
§ 2000bb-1(a), unless it can demonstrate that applying the burden is the “least restrictive means of furthering [a]compelling governmental interest,”
id.
 § 2000bb-1(b).
 
Focusingprimarily on their RFRA claims, the plaintiffs in each casemoved for a preliminary injunction. The district judges deniedrelief, holding that the claims were not likely to succeed. Weprovisionally disagreed and enjoined enforcement of themandate pending appeal.The appeals have now been briefed and argued and areready for decision. Plenary review has confirmed our earlier judgment. These cases—two among many currently pendingin courts around the country—raise important questions about
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