President Obama dodged a lawsuit against the Health and Human Services’ (HHS) contraception mandate, authorized by Obamacare, by telling Wheaton College that it has a year to comply with the rule after previously saying that it must comply immediately.
A federal judge dismissed Wheaton’s lawsuit after it received that one-year “safe harbor,” concluding that “Wheaton has not alleged a concrete and imminent injury and that its claims are not fit for judicial review.”
“The government has now re-written the ‘safe harbor’ guidelines three times in seven months, and is evidently in no hurry to defend the HHS mandate in open court,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Wheaton in the case. “By moving the goalposts yet again, the government managed to get Wheaton’s lawsuit dismissed on purely technical grounds. This leaves unresolved the question of religious liberty at the heart of the lawsuit.”
There are still 24 other lawsuits pending against the HHS mandate.
Wheaton fears that the safe harbor won’t protect it from injury, even during this next year. “Despite qualifying for the “safe harbor,” not complying with the mandate during that safe harbor period technically places the college in violation of federal law, and thus exposed to lawsuits authorized by the Affordable Care Act to enforce the HHS mandate,” the Becket Fund explained. “Wheaton therefore is carefully considering an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.”