Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (U.S.C.A. 1st Circuit, 2018)

Separation of Church & State
Discrimination
Separation of Church & State
Discrimination

At stake in this case are two interim final rules (IFRs) promulgated by the Trump Administration in October 2017 that significantly broadened the religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraception mandate. Prior mandate regulations accommodated houses of worship and religiously affiliated organizations. The new exemption, however, effectively repeals the contraception mandate, broadly allowing employers and universities to invoke religion or morality to block their employees’ and students’ contraceptive coverage that is otherwise guaranteed by the ACA. Similar to the amicus brief ADL joined at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ADL joined ACLU and other national civil rights organizations on an amicus brief in this case, which recounts how the use of religion in America to justify racial and sex discrimination has abated as societal views and norms evolved. The brief argues that religion in the form of the excessively broad exemption in this case should not be used as a vehicle to further sex discrimination in our society.