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ACLJ & 79 Members of Congress Back Catholic Legal Challenges to HHS Mandate

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is representing 79 Members of Congress in submitting amicus briefs in 12 separate lawsuits brought by more than 40 Catholic organizations challenging a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that violates the religious beliefs of the organizations.

The Catholic organizations, including the Archdiocese of New York, the University of Notre Dame, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, are challenging the HHS mandate. The mandate requires employers to cover sterilization, prescription contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs, and related patient education and counseling services in their health insurance plans regardless of the employers’ religious opposition to such activities and services.

"It is essential to defeat the HHS mandate," said Edward White, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. "The mandate devastates the religious freedom of all employers seeking to comply with their religious beliefs. This is not just an issue negatively impacting Catholics. This is an issue negatively impacting employers of all faiths."

In the briefs submitted in the cases backing the Catholic organizations, the ACLJ opposes the federal government's motions to dismiss the 12 lawsuits. The briefs were submitted with requests that the courts accept them for filing.

Joining the ACLJ on the briefs are the following 79 Members of the United States House of Representatives: Jeff Landry (LA), Robert Aderholt (AL), Todd Akin (MO), Mark Amodei (NV), Michele Bachmann (MN), Spencer Bachus (AL), Lou Barletta (PA), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Dan Benishek (MI), Gus Bilirakis (FL), Diane Black (TN), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Charles Boustany (LA), Kevin Brady (TX), Paul Broun (GA), Dan Burton (IN), Francisco “Quico” Canseco (TX), Bill Cassidy (LA), Steve Chabot (OH), Michael Conaway (TX), Chip Cravaack (MN), Jeff Duncan (SC), Renee Ellmers (NC), Stephen Fincher (TN), John Fleming (LA), Bill Flores (TX), J. Randy Forbes (VA), Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Virginia Foxx (NC), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Gregg Harper (MS), Andy Harris (MD), Vicky Hartzler (MO), Wally Herger (CA), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Bill Huizenga (MI), Bill Johnson (OH), Walter Jones (NC), Jim Jordan (OH), Mike Kelly (PA), Steve King (IA), John Kline (MN), Raul Labrador (ID), Doug Lamborn (CO), James Lankford (OK), Bob Latta (OH), Dan Lipinski (IL), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO), Dan Lungren (CA), Don Manzullo (IL), Jeff Miller (FL), Mick Mulvaney (SC), Tim Murphy (PA), Randy Neugebauer (TX), Alan Nunnelee (MS), Pete Olson (TX), Steven Palazzo (MS), Ron Paul (TX), Steve Pearce (NM), Joe Pitts (PA), Ted Poe (TX), Mike Pompeo (KS), Ben Quayle (AZ), Reid Ribble (WI), Phil Roe (TN), Todd Rokita (IN), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Dennis Ross (FL), Steve Scalise (LA), Bobby Schilling (IL), Jean Schmidt (OH), David Schweikert (AZ), Adrian Smith (NE), Chris Smith (NJ), Lamar Smith (TX), Glenn Thompson (PA), Tim Walberg (MI), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), and Joe Wilson (SC).

The ACLJ and the Members of Congress explain in their "friend of the court" briefs that the mandate runs counter to America's long and proud tradition of accommodating the religious beliefs and practices of all its citizens. The briefs contend that the mandate imposes an unconstitutional burden on individuals and organizations, who firmly oppose having to subsidize, provide, and/or facilitate activities and services that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

You can view the 12 "friend of the court" briefs here: http://aclj.org/obamacare/aclj-79-members-congress-back-religious-organizations-lawsuits-challenging-hhs-mandate

The ACLJ’s own federal lawsuit challenging the HHS mandate is proceeding in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri.

This was the first lawsuit filed on behalf of a private business, contending the mandate violates constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. The ACLJ just filed a motion urging the court to block the HHS mandate for O'Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC.

Led by ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ is based in Washington, D.C.


SOURCE from ACLJ

ACLJ Adds New Legal Challenge: Federal Suit Filed to Block HHS Mandate for Missouri Companies

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life legal organization that focuses on constitutional law, today filed its third direct challenge to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the basis that the mandate violates the religious beliefs of business owners. The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Missouri and contends that the HHS mandate violates constitutional and statutory rights by requiring four Missouri companies to purchase health insurance for employees that includes coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

The ACLJ represents Paul and Henry Griesedieck, who own and control four companies that are involved, generally, in the business of wholesale scrap metal recycling and manufacturing of recycling machines. The four companies are: Springfield Iron and Metal located in Springfield, Missouri; American Pulverizer and City Welding – both located in St. Louis, Missouri; and Hustler Conveyor, which is located in O’Fallon, Missouri. The companies employ approximately 175 people who are covered by three separate health insurance policies. The owners, who are Evangelical Christians, contend that the HHS mandate requiring coverage for abortion-inducing drugs – including the “morning-after pill” – violates their religious beliefs.

“The HHS mandate is an unprecedented violation of religious liberty,” said Francis Manion, ACLJ Senior Counsel. “Coercing Americans into paying for services that violate their religious beliefs goes against our nation’s best traditions of respect for the religious diversity of our people. It’s also against the law.”

The lawsuit, posted here, argues that the HHS mandate violates the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The lawsuit contends that Paul and Henry Griesedieck, the owners of the companies, “are confronted with choosing between complying with its requirements in violation of their religious beliefs, or paying ruinous fines that would have a crippling impact on their ability to survive economically.” The suit argues the mandate forces them to “provide their employees with coverage of those services that Plaintiffs consider immoral on religious grounds.”

Manion added: “Our clients simply want to run their business in a way that doesn't force them to violate their religious beliefs. For the government to require them to choose between abandoning their beliefs or abandoning their business is both unfair and unconstitutional. We will ask the court in this case to uphold our clients' right of religious liberty in the face of this unwarranted abuse of governmental power.”

In the suit, the ACLJ is requesting that the court block implementation of the mandate to prevent it from being enforced when the company renews its health insurance policies in December.

Today’s suit represents the third direct challenge in federal court by the ACLJ to the HHS mandate.

Last week, the ACLJ filed suit on behalf of Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., a family owned, full-service construction contractor located in Highland, Illinois. The suit contends that the HHS mandate violates the Catholic faith of the company’s owners. And in March, the ACLJ filed a federal suit on behalf of O'Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC (OIH) - a holding company based in St. Louis, Missouri. That case is now before a federal appeals court after a lower court dismissed the suit.

In addition to the direct challenges, the ACLJ has filed numerous amicus briefs backing other legal challenges to the HHS mandate.

Led by ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ is based in Washington, D.C.

Source ACLJ

Jay Sekulow holds unrivaled legal expertise!

The American law expert and the chief counsel of ACLJ, Jay Sekulow made selfless contributions to bring freedom of speech and religious liberties for the people across the globe.

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in Strasbourg, the East African Centre for Law and Justice in Kenya, The African Centre for Law and Justice in Zimbabwe, The Slavic Centre of Law and Justice (SCLJ) in Moscow, and American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) are the various law firms through which he offers his services in different parts of the world.

Besides all this, he also hosts a talk show Jay Sekulow Live that is broadcasted on XM and Sirius satellite radios and terrestrial radio as well. In addition to this, Mr. Sekulow also hosts a TV show, ACLJ This Week, broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar.

ACLJ & More Than 108,000 Americans Urged Federal Appeals Court to Declare Two Maryland Laws Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers Unconstitutional

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is fighting ordinances that target crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in cities across America, today urged a federal appeals court to invalidate two Maryland laws in their entirety. The ACLJ today filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit arguing that a federal district court decision issued last year was correct in declaring the Baltimore ordinance unconstitutional. It also urges the invalidation of a similar Montgomery County ordinance.

"What's become clear is the fact that pro-abortion organizations continue to systematically target and punish crisis pregnancy centers across the nation by violating their First Amendment rights," said CeCe Heil, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. "We have seen a concerted effort by pro-abortion groups to marginalize and distort the message of crisis pregnancy centers. We are asking the full appeals court to protect the First Amendment rights of these centers, and declare the Baltimore and Montgomery County statutes unconstitutional and unenforceable."

A federal district court in 2011 declared the Baltimore law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs stating they do not refer for abortions or birth-control violates the Freedom of Speech Clause of the First Amendment. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld that decision in June 2012. Now, the full appeals court has decided to rehear the case. In today's friend-of-the-court brief representing more than 108,000 Americans, the ACLJ urges the full appeals court to declare the Baltimore and Montgomery County ordinances unconstitutional.

The ACLJ argues the Baltimore law is not only unconstitutional, but was part of an organized plan by pro-abortion organizations to target crisis pregnancy centers across the country. The brief, posted here, argues: "The various laws imposing disclaimer mandates upon CPCs are not based upon actual evidence of a concrete, non-hypothetical problem necessitating government intervention, but rather are based upon a self-reinforcing echo chamber of pro-abortion advocates’ rhetoric and accusations passed from city to city for the purpose of hampering the efforts of CPCs." The Fourth Circuit will also be reviewing a Montgomery County, Maryland resolution that imposes similar restrictions upon crisis pregnancy centers.

The Baltimore appeal comes as the ACLJ continues to litigate its case against New York City’s law targeting crisis pregnancy centers. The ACLJ recently argued before a federal appeals court in the New York City case that the ordinance violates the constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech, and due process of law, guaranteed to Plaintiffs by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.

Source ACLJ

ACLJ Files Second Lawsuit Asking Federal Court to Block HHS Mandate for Illinois Company

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life legal organization that focuses on constitutional law, has filed a second federal lawsuit challenging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that violates the religious beliefs of Illinois business owners.  The new lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, argues that the HHS mandate violates constitutional and statutory rights by requiring the company to purchase health insurance for employees that includes coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

The ACLJ represents Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., a family owned, full-service construction contractor serving Central and Southern Illinois for over 50 years. The company is located in Highland, Illinois and has about 90 full time employees. The company provides a group health insurance plan for only its non-union employees, which number about 20. Cyril B. Korte and Jane E. Korte own a controlling interest in the company and contend the HHS mandate violates their Catholic faith.

According to ACLJ Senior Counsel Edward White, “The HHS mandate violates America’s longstanding history of protecting conscience rights. The mandate is unlawfully compelling employers such as our clients to do the following: abandon their faith to comply with the law, or follow their faith and pay significant annual penalties to the federal government. The mandate must be invalidated.”

The suit, posted here, contends that the HHS mandate violates the Free Exercise Clause, the Establishment Clause, and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. It also argues the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The ACLJ also filed a motion for preliminary injunction and a motion for partial summary judgment, requesting that the court block implementation of the mandate to prevent it from being enforced when the company renews its health insurance coverage on January 1, 2013.  The supporting legal briefs are posted here and here.

This is the second lawsuit of its kind filed by the ACLJ.

In March, the ACLJ filed a federal suit on behalf of O'Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC (OIH) - a holding company based in St. Louis, Missouri. The legal challenge is similar: the HHS mandate violates the deeply held religious beliefs of the company and its owner. The case is now before a federal appeals court after a lower court dismissed the suit.

White further commented, “Several cases challenging the HHS mandate, including our case on behalf of OIH, are already in the federal courts of appeal. We are confident that we will succeed at that level. There is little doubt, however, that these cases will ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court for final resolution. The legal challenge to the mandate is among the most important religious civil liberties causes ever waged.”

Led by ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the ACLJ is based in Washington, D.C.

Source ACLJ

Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ has been the undefeated warrior of Liberty and Justice for people

‘As a highly acclaimed attorney, Jay Sekulow has been fighting for many years the legal battle for people’s religious beliefs, bringing them peace and justice.’

As a special guest on many television networks, voicing out programs on major radio stations, making people aware about their religious rights, and fighting the authorities in order to bring justice for the people, is how Jay Sekulow has become an accomplished attorney throughout his career.

Jay Allan Sekulow, one of the most highly acclaimed litigators of present times, is someone who has always stood up for justice. A cum laude graduate from the Mercer University, Jay began his career as a tax trial attorney at the office of the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service, and soon established himself as a successful lawyer.

His success as an attorney led him to become the Chief Counsel of ACLJ, (American Center for Law and Justice), one of the most respected law firms in the United States of America. His political interests led him to endorse Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the year 2007. Jay also played an important part in the nomination of Chief Justice John G. Roberts in the Supreme Court.

Since 1987, Jay has argued numerous times in front of the Supreme Court many critical issues regarding the ‘First Amendment’.

Not limiting his abilities to just a litigator, Jay has emerged as the most influential legal speaker in the country. Jay voices out a popular radio program, ‘Jay Sekulow Live!’ and ACLJ This Week, broadcasted throughout the nation on major radio networks that include Sirius and XM, to name a few.

As one of the National Law Journal’s 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America, Dr. Jay Sekulow is definitely someone you can look up to as a man, who has had the courage to stand for people’s rights!

Contact us
ACLJ - Jay Sekulow
201 Maryland Ave NE
Washington, DC 20090
800-296-4529

More Than 80 Members Of Congress Call On Sec. Of State Kerry To Seek Release Of American Pastor Imprisoned In Iran

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional and human rights law, today applauded a bi-partisan Congressional call for Secretary of State John Kerry to "exhaust every option" in seeking the release of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is facing a lengthy prison sentence in Iran because of his Christian faith.

More than 80 U.S. Senators and Representatives have sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging him "to exhaust every possible option to secure Mr. Abedini's immediate release."

"This is a significant bi-partisan effort to secure the freedom of a U.S. citizen who faces incredible torture and life-threatening punishment in one of Iran's most brutal prisons – simply because of his Christian beliefs," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the ACLJ. "This letter from a politically broad spectrum of members of Congress underscores the real issue here: the U.S. government must protect its citizens and exercise every diplomatic tool available to secure the freedom of Pastor Saeed. We are very grateful for this Congressional support and urge Secretary Kerry to act without delay. Pastor Saeed's life hangs in the balance. Secretary Kerry's personal involvement in this case is critical to securing the freedom of this American."

The ACLJ represents Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, and their two children who live in the United States.

The letter, which is posted here, calls on Secretary of State Kerry to engage this case directly and without delay.

"As an American citizen, Mr. Abedini deserves nothing less than the exercising of every diplomatic tool of the U.S. government to defend his basic human rights," the letter states.

"Every American citizen traveling or living abroad should have the assurance that the U.S. government will come vigorously to his or her defense if they are unjustly detained or imprisoned. We respectfully request that you continue to use every diplomatic avenue possible, in cooperation with our allies and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, to secure Mr. Abedini's unconditional release and personally and publically condemn his arbitrary detention in a statement."

Taking the lead in this Congressional request is Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Co-Chairman of the International Religious Freedom Caucus, Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with over 80 members of the House and Senate, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Congresswoman Shea-Porter (D-NH).

The letter urges Secretary of State Kerry to exhaust every possible option to secure Pastor Saeed's release.

This Congressional push comes just days after the ACLJ and its European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), filed a document urging the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva to call on Iran to immediately release Pastor Saeed.

Pastor Saeed remains imprisoned in Iran and continues to be tortured, beaten and psychologically abused.

The ACLJ continues to work with the U.S. government, the United Nations, and the European Union to secure Pastor Saeed's freedom.

The ACLJ's #SaveSaeed campaign continues to gather momentum – as thousands upon thousands of people all over the world are tweeting, Facebooking, and signing our petition which focuses on bringing additional international pressure on the Iranian government.

Led by ECLJ and ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has affiliated offices in Israel, Russia, Kenya, France, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. The ACLJ is online at aclj.org.

MEDIA  CONTACTS:  For Print: Gene Kapp  (757) 575-9520 For Broadcast:  Chandler Epp or Alison Geist (770) 813-0000

SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice

Jay Sekulow the exuberant legal expert

In a career spanning across more than three and a half decades, Mr. Sekulow has achieved immense success as an attorney.

Receiving doctorate of philosophy from the Regent University, Jay began his career at the office of Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Services working as a Tax Trial Attorney. Jay has succeeded in presenting in front of the United States Supreme Court on multiple occasions, which has won him huge critical acclaim.

Jay was listed in the National Law Journal’s highly sought-after ‘100 Most Influential Lawyers in America’ list as well as the Power List (1994).

Over the years, Jay has cemented his place as an attorney with unsurpassed expertise in religious litigation, making him one of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 years (profiled by Legal times).

Jay Sekulow is currently the Chief Counsel of ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice), one of the most powerful law firms in the country.

ACLJ Urges Senate to Reject Nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law, said today former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense would put our closest Middle East ally, Israel, at greater risk by creating instability and weakening our military effectiveness in one of the most dangerous regions in the world.

“The fact is former Senator Hagel is the wrong person for this job,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which has an office in Jerusalem. “His record is deeply troubling. Instead of backing Israel, Hagel refused to sign a letter of support for Israel. He opposed labeling Hezbollah a ‘terrorist organization.’ And, he supported direct dialogue with the terrorist group Hamas. He even voted against labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which has a long history of terrorist activity, a ‘terrorist organization.’ We need a Defense Secretary who understands the critical U.S.-Israel relationship and will work to strengthen it – not weaken it. The country deserves a sound and capable leader who directs our Armed Forces through strength, not appeasement. We urge the Senate to reject the nomination of Hagel.”

The ACLJ has launched a national petition urging members of the Senate to defeat the Hagel nomination.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.

ACLJ Files Lawsuit Against CA School District on Behalf of Christian Youth Club

The fate of after-school Bible clubs in California may rest on the outcome of a lawsuit filed today in United States District Court. The suit filed by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) argues that Orange County’s Buena Park School District unconstitutionally rejected a Christian youth club’s request to meet in District facilities on equal grounds with similar, nonprofit, nonreligious youth organizations.

The “Good News Club,” a local affiliate of the international, Bible-centered organization Child Evangelism Fellowship, provides school kids with extracurricular educational programming and recreational activities that teach about life from a biblical perspective. Child Evangelism Fellowship’s West Orange County chapter was denied a request to use district facilities free of charge, despite California Education Code allowing nonprofit, youth-oriented groups to use public school facilities at no cost. Similar nonprofit groups have historically been permitted to meet after hours without charge at Buena Park schools.

“This selective application of policy speaks ill of the Buena Park School District’s respect for and understanding of the Constitution,” said David French, ACLJ Senior Counsel. “Freedom doesn’t stop at the schoolhouse door. Child Evangelism Fellowship has every right to equal treatment and access to public school facilities for its after-school events.”

The ACLJ’s lawsuit, posted here, contends Buena Park School District stands in violation of the First Amendment on free speech, free exercise of religion and establishment of religion grounds. It also asserts that Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law has been impacted by the district’s selective application of its own facility usage policies.

"Ultimately, this case is about legal equality. Religious speech is entitled to the same access as any other kind of speech, and religious students deserve the same treatment as all other students," said French.

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington.


SOURCE ACLJ

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