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Thomas Aquinas College Granted Stay against HHS Mandate by Federal Appeals Court

June 12, 2015
10,000 Ojai Road
Santa Paula CA 93060
Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
(805) 525-4417      


Thomas Aquinas College Granted Stay against HHS Mandate by Federal Appeals Court


SANTA PAULA, CA—June 12—On June 10, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted a stay to Thomas Aquinas College against the HHS mandate that would otherwise require the Catholic school to facilitate the availability of free contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization services to its employees. The school’s attorneys at the Jones Day firm will next submit a writ of certiori to the United States Supreme Court asking it to take up the case. The stay will remain in place pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

The 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 on November 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the Government’s appeal, removing the injunction. At that time, Thomas Aquinas College filed a motion for an en banc hearing of the case. Last month, a majority of the court denied the motion, though two strong dissents were filed. The College quickly requested and has now received an emergency stay in the matter.

In reacting to these developments, college president Michael F. McLean said, “With the D.C. Court of Appeals granting us this stay against the HHS contraceptive mandate, the College is shielded for the time being from exorbitant financial penalties for not complying with the mandate. Our attorneys at Jones Day will file a request shortly, asking that the U.S. Supreme Court hear our case. We very much look forward to the possibility that the Supreme Court will indeed take it up and that our religious liberty rights will be vindicated.”  

Co-plaintiffs in the college’s lawsuit include The Catholic University of America, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and Priests for Life.


About Thomas Aquinas College

Now in its 45th year, 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.