November 11, 2013

Press Virtually Ignores Appeals Court Ruling Blocking Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate

The press has been obsessed with the fate of Obamacare’s contraception mandate ever since religious, corporate, and other litigants began challenging it in the courts.

So what explains the fact that a search on “Korte” at the Associated Press’s national site and at the New York Times return nothing and nothing relevant, respectively? Or that there are only nine stories at Google News in a search on “Korte contraception court” (not in quotes), only two of them from establishment press outlets, on the Friday Appeals Court ruling in Chicago in Korte vs. Sebelius? That’s easy. It didn’t go the “right” way, and the ruling appears to have been significant. Excerpts from the coverage at the Wall Street Journal, one of those two establishment press outlets, follow the jump:

Appeals Court Blocks Health Law’s Contraception Requirement

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked a provision of the Obama administration’s health-care law requiring employers to provide birth-control coverage in employee insurance, ruling that it imposed a “substantial burden” on religious rights of two Midwestern companies.

The move by the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago marked the first time a federal appeals court has issued a ruling preventing the federal government from enforcing the provision. Federal appeals courts in Washington, D.C., and Denver have sided with plaintiffs challenging the provision on religious grounds but stopped short of issuing injunctions. Federal appeals courts in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, meanwhile, have sided with the Obama administration.

The Supreme Court could decide as soon as this month whether to review some of the cases.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the latest ruling.

“Things are lining up very well as the cases head to the Supreme Court,” said Edward White, who represents one of the companies, Illinois-based Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc., and its owners Cyril and Jane Korte, who are Roman Catholic and oppose contraception. The other plaintiffs were Grote Industries LLC and Grote Industries Inc., based in Madison, Ind., which make vehicle safety systems.

The plaintiffs sued the federal government over the so-called contraceptive mandate in 2012, arguing that it placed a burden on their practice of religion in violation of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the free-exercise and free-speech clauses of the First Amendment. The Justice Department, which is charged with defending the mandate in court, has argued that for-profit companies have no religious rights.

So I guess when you go into business and form a corporation to protect your family from unlimited liability, something thousands of company founders do every year, the Department of Justice believes you also forfeit the right to practice your religious beliefs in third-most important aspect of your life (after religion and family). DOJ may even believe that self-employed people who run unincorporated business must do the same. Really? Is that what the Founders imagined would occur when they drafted the First Amendment?

The only other establishment press outlet to even touch the story was the Politico, in a four-sentence blurb which failed to note the first-of-its-kind nature of the ruling:

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois granted two for-profit companies a preliminary injunction on Friday, releasing them for now from the requirement to offer their workers contraception coverage. Two judges wrote that the mandate violates the religious rights of Korte Contractors and Grote Industries and said their claims are “very likely to succeed.” A third judge dissented. The Justice Department could decide to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, but four similar lawsuits are further ahead.

The ACLJ is pleased, noting that the ruling is “the first appellate court decision in which a court has determined that both the owners and their company have religious liberty rights that are burdened by the Mandate.”

The ACLU is upset, believing the employers don’t have a right to “impose” their beliefs on others by not paying for abortifacient drugs. This explains why the vast majority of the establishment press is pretending the ruling didn’t happen.

Cross-posted at


UPDATE, 5:45 P.M.: Further review indicates that Bloomberg/BusinessWeek also had a story, which hardly affects the “virtually no coverage” contention of this post.


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