Federal District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan, issued an opinion yesterday evening granting a motion for Preliminary Injunction that effectively halts enforcement of the HHS mandate against Plaintiffs Weingartz Supply Company and its owner and president, Daniel Weingartz. The motion was brought by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Erin Mersino, TMLC’s lead counsel on the case who presented the oral argument in support of Plaintiffs, commented, ”The federal court has found that our clients have a likelihood of success and would be irreparably harmed by the unconstitutional overreaching of the HHS mandate. This is not only a victory for our clients, but for religious freedom.”
The HHS mandate refers to regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
In ruling for the Weingartz Plaintiffs, Judge Cleland emphasized that “[t]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.” He concluded, “The harm in delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional must yield to the risk presented here of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs. The balance of harms tips strongly in Plaintiffs’ favor. A preliminary injunction is warranted.”