DENVER — A district court judge appointed by Barack Obama has granted the Christian owners of a Colorado-based mortgage company a preliminary injunction against the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare.
Cherry Creek Mortgage Company, an evangelical-owned business headquarted in Greenwood Village, Colorado, had sued the Obama administration in March of this year. It asserted that the requirement in the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage of pills considered abortifacients to its employees violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The district court originally denied the company’s request for a preliminary injunction, but after the popular craft chain Hobby Lobby won an injunction this past July, attorneys for Cherry Creek Mortgage appealed the case to the 10th Circuit.
“There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved,” U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton wrote in the opinion granting Hobby Lobby the reprieve.
Therefore, earlier this month, the 10th Circuit overturned the denial, and remanded the case back to the district court.
“We agree that plaintiff Cherry Creek has established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of its … claim, and that the district court erred in concluding otherwise,” the three-judge panel wrote.
Consequently, on Tuesday, Judge R. Brook Jackson of Denver granted the preliminary injunction to the owners of Cherry Creek Mortgage, citing Heaton’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
“[W]hen I attempt to balance what might be a temporary infringement on the government’s interest (until the merits are ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court) with what on the face of the stipulated facts is a Hobson’s Choice between a continuing infringement of religious freedom or potentially crippling monetary penalties, I join Judge Heaton in concluding that the balance of the harms tips in favor of the plaintiffs for purposes of preliminary injunctive relief,” Jackson wrote.
“There is, long has been, and probably always will be, division within the public on issues relating to abortion,” he continued. “The resolution of the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act such as those presented in this case will not end that division, but those challenges need resolution, and that is why we have courts and the rule of law. There is a general public interest in preserving the status quo while the legal proceedings take their course.”
Following the decision, which grants the company an exemption from the requirement in Obamacare while its case moves forward, attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which had been representing Cherry Creek Mortgage in court, applauded the decision.
“People of faith in this nation, including business owners, have the constitutionally protected freedom to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration should not be attempting to deprive Americans of this cherished liberty,” stated ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “Former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong together with the other members of his family and the May family who own Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. have long desired to honor God in all they do. Today’s court order allows them to continue to do that while this case proceeds so that they are not forced to act contrary to their religious convictions.”