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Thomas Aquinas College Files Supplemental Brief with Supreme Court in HHS Mandate Case

April 12, 2016
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Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
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Statement of Thomas Aquinas College President on the Death of Justice Antonin Scalia


SANTA PAULA, CA—April 12—Thomas Aquinas College’s attorneys at the Jones Day law firm have today filed a supplemental brief at the United States Supreme Court in the college’s challenge to the HHS contraceptive mandate, complying with a request from the high court less than one week after it heard oral arguments in the case. As instructed by the court, the brief addresses “whether and how contraceptive coverage may be obtained by petitioners’ employees through petitioners’ insurance companies, but in a way that does not require any involvement of petitioners beyond their own decision to provide health insurance without contraceptive coverage to their employees.” (emph. added) (A summary of the college’s brief is available on its website.)

Says Dr. Michael McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College, “While we strongly disagree with the government’s policy on this matter, we are pleased that the court appears to be looking for a way to insure that religious organizations do not have to be complicit in providing objectionable insurance coverage. The key point is that there are alternatives — and none of them require an objecting religious institution to be in any way part of the delivery method.”

The government also filed a brief today, addressing the same request by the high court.

Says Thomas Aquinas College general counsel Quincy Masteller, “Because it so unusual for the Supreme Court to request these supplemental briefings, we are encouraged that the justices see the religious issue involved and the burden that the HHS mandate has put on the religious entities.”

The high court has given plaintiffs and the government until April 20 to file reply briefs. The justices will then make their decision, which should be handed down before the end of the court’s session in June.


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.