The HHS Mandate In The Courts Of Appeals By Circuit
The earliest cases against the Mandate were filed by religious nonprofits, such as Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College. When the for-profit corporations began filing cases, the government adopted a litigation strategy to move the challenges by religious business owners and their family-held corporations to a faster litigation track. The government achieved this by promising, for nearly 18 months, an “accommodation” through new federal rulemaking that would purportedly allow religious nonprofits to opt-out of the required contraceptives coverage, while insurers would be compelled to provide contraceptives coverage for their employees without cost-sharing.
Most courts, therefore, either stayed or dismissed on ripeness grounds the numerous nonprofit cases. Once the “accommodation” was in place in July 2013, most of the religious nonprofits filed new lawsuits in the district courts. The for-profit cases, however, remained on the faster track to the Supreme Court, as the government had wanted. The first two cases to make it to the Supreme Court involved three family-held businesses and their religious owners.
As of March 2014, in 18 of the nonprofit cases, a court issued an injunction against enforcement of the Mandate. A court denied preliminary injunctive relief in only two cases. In 33 of the for-profit cases, injunctive relief was granted, while preliminary injunctions were denied in only 6 for-profit cases.