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Thomas Aquinas College Optimistic About Supreme Court’s Order in HHS Mandate Case

March 30, 2016
10,000 Ojai Road
Santa Paula CA 93060
Contact: Anne Forsyth, Director of College Relations
(805) 525-4417      

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thomas Aquinas College Optimistic About Supreme Court’s Order in HHS Mandate Case

 

SANTA PAULA, CA—March 30—Thomas Aquinas College officials have responded with optimism to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order — less than a week after hearing oral arguments in the case of Zubik v. Burwell — that both sides file supplemental briefs to aid the justices in their decision. “This is encouraging news,” says President Michael F. McLean. “It suggests that the justices are looking for a solution that satisfies the government’s policy aims without getting religious organizations, such as the college, involved in furnishing access to morally objectionable coverage.”

Under the existing terms of the Affordable Care Act — which the college and its 34 co-plaintiffs have challenged in a series of lawsuits now culminating in the one before the high court — religious organizations are required to facilitate the provision of contraceptive, abortifacient, and sterilization coverage to their employees. On Tuesday, however, the Court instructed the litigants’ attorneys “to address 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.”

This development, observes college General Counsel Quincy Masteller, is unusual. “It is irregular for the Court to make such requests of the parties to a case, but it shows that the justices are really wrestling with the issues at stake,” says Mr. Masteller. “I think they see the religious issue involved and the burden that the government scheme has put on the religious entities that object on moral grounds, and they are trying to find a way to protect the religious entities’ interest while meeting the government’s interest in providing the coverage.”

 

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.