State of California v. Azar (U.S.C.A. 9th Circuit, 2018)

Separation of Church & State
Civil Liberties
Discrimination

9th Circuit Court of Appeals ,

Separation of Church & State
Civil Liberties
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. On appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ADL joined ACLU and other civil rights organizations on an amicus brief, which recounts how the use of religion in America to justify racial and sex discrimination abated as societal views and norms evolved. The brief asserts that the contraceptive mandate remedies a vestige of sex discrimination and is a means of ending discrimination against women in the workplace. Religion in the form of the excessively broad exemption in this case should not be used as a vehicle to discriminate.