U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan struck down the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate. If you read the actual decision, it’s a smackdown of both the mandate itself and the Obama Administration’s position on same;
As for the self-certification requirement, the Court rejects the Government’s position that plaintiffs may be compelled to perform affirmative acts precluded by their religion if a court deems those acts merely “de minimis.” This argument – which essentially reduces to the claim that completing the self-certification places no burden on plaintiffs’ religion because “it’s just a form” – finds no support in the case law. As discussed, where a law places substantial pressure on a plaintiff to perform affirmative acts contrary to his religion, the Supreme Court has found a substantial burden without analyzing whether those acts are de minimis.”
Cogan ruled against some of the plantiff’s arguments on other technical issues, but on the central issues of the case he ruled “the Mandate burdens plaintiffs’ religion by coercing them into authorizing third parties to provide this coverage through the self-certification requirement, an act forbidden by plaintiffs’ religion.”
On his Facebook page, Ted Cruz hailed the ruling as a “Major victory for religious liberty.”
Gabriel Malor of Ace of Spades has analyzed the ruling in more detail.
Cogan’s ruling deals specifically with religious non-profits covered by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and as such does not directly affect the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court will be taking up (“none of these cases bear directly on the issue at hand”). However, his overall reasoning, if applied to that case, could very well lead to ruling that the contraceptive mandate is an unconstitutional burden on freedom of religious conscious as well.
Remember, the fervor with which Nancy Pelosi refused to remove the contraceptive mandate and taxpayer-funded abortion from ObamaCare, even when it cost most of Bart Stupak ostensibly “pro-life” Democrats their seats, indicated that liberals regarded those sections as one of act’s most important features. If Cogan’s ruling is upheld, this is not only a major victory for religious liberty, but also a huge blow to ongoing Democratic attempts to marginalize religion in American life.
Also remember that ObamaCare has no severability clause. If Judge Cogan’s ruling is upheld, there’s still a chance (though by no means a guarantee) that the rest of the act can be found unconstitutional as well.