2Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, protects religious entities from such overbearing and oppressive governmental action. NotreDame therefore seeks relief in this Court to protect this most fundamental of American rights.
This country was founded by those searching for religious liberty and freedomfrom religious persecution. And since the founding of this country, religious organizations suchas Notre Dame have been free to fulfill their religious beliefs through service to all, including theunderprivileged and underserved, without regard to the beneficiaries’ religious views.
The U.S. Constitution and federal statutes protect religious organizations fromgovernmental interference with their religious views—particularly minority religious views. Asthe Supreme Court has recognized, “[t]he structure of our government has, for the preservationof civil liberty, rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference. On the other hand,it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of civil authority.” Through this lawsuit, NotreDame does not seek to impose its religious beliefs on others. It simply asks that the governmentnot impose its values and policies on Notre Dame, in direct violation of its religious beliefs.
Under current federal law described below (the “U.S. Government Mandate”), Notre Dame must provide, or facilitate the provision of, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization,and contraceptive services to its employees in violation of the centuries’ old teachings of theCatholic Church. Ignoring broader religious exemptions from other federal laws, theGovernment has crafted a narrow, discretionary exemption to this U.S. Government Mandate for “religious employers.” Group health plans are eligible for the exemption only if they are“established or maintained by religious employers,” and only if the “religious employer” canconvince the Government that it satisfies four criteria:
“The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the organization”;