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SCOTUS to Hear Thomas Aquinas College’s Case Against the HHS Mandate

November 6, 2015
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SCOTUS to Hear  Thomas Aquinas College’s Case  Against the HHS Mandate


SANTA PAULA, CA—November 6—November 6—Today the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision to grant a petition for a writ of certiorari filed this past June by Thomas Aquinas College and its co-plaintiffs in their lawsuit against the HHS mandate that requires employers to facilitate the delivery of contraceptives, abortifacients, and other related services to their employees. Thomas Aquinas College’s deeply held objection to compliance with the mandate prompted it to engage in a two-year legal effort, led by attorneys at the law firm of Jones Day, to secure its right of religious liberty in the matter.

The Supreme Court has consolidated the college’s case with six additional cases against the HHS mandate, including that filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Thomas Aquinas College president Dr. Michael F. Mclean reacted to the news saying, "This decision by the Supreme Court is a sign of the importance of these cases and their implications for religious freedom and freedom of conscience all across the country — freedoms which we believe are guaranteed both by statute and the United States Constitution.” Dr. McLean continued, “We are hopeful that the Court will uphold these freedoms and allow religious institutions to provide health insurance for their employees in a way consistent with the tenets of their faith."

The four-year, Catholic college originally filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 20, 2013, and prevailed, receiving a permanent injunction from the HHS mandate. The U.S. Government, however, appealed that decision, and in November 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the Government’s appeal, removing the injunction. At that time, the college filed a motion (PDF) for an en banc hearing of the case before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Earlier this year a majority of the court denied the motion (PDF). The college quickly requested and received an emergency stay in the matter, which effectively shields it from the HHS mandate until the Supreme Court rules on the merits of the case.

Says the school’s general counsel Mr. Quincy Masteller, “The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the most important religious liberty case in a decade. We are pleased that it will have the opportunity to hear all of the arguments which the lower courts have not satisfactorily addressed.” Mr. Masteller adds, “We very much hope that the Court will uphold the religious liberty of Thomas Aquinas College, our co-plaintiffs, including The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and all the plaintiffs in the seven cases which have now been consolidated for review. This is a hopeful day for the cause of religious liberty in the United States.”


About Thomas Aquinas College

Thomas Aquinas College has developed a solid reputation for academic excellence in the United States and abroad. At Thomas Aquinas College, there are no majors, no minors, or electives because all students acquire a broad and fully integrated liberal education. The College offers one 4-year, classical curriculum that spans the major arts and sciences. Instead of reading textbooks, students read the original works of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization — the Great Books — in all the major disciplines: mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, and theology. Rather than listening to lectures, they engage in rigorous Socratic discussions about these works in classes of 15-18 students. The academic life of the college is conducted under the light of the Catholic faith and flourishes within a close-knit community, supported by a vibrant spiritual life. Genuinely committed to upholding civic virtue and leading lives dedicated to the good of others, Thomas Aquinas College graduates enter a wide array of fields where they are a powerful force for good in the Church and in the culture. Well-versed in rational discourse, they become leaders in education, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, military service, and business. In addition, a steady 10% of alumni go on to the priesthood or religious life.