Mandate challenges by Peoria diocese, Notre Dame University, dismissed on ripeness grounds

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Two courts have handed down decisions dismissing as nonjusticiable suits by non-profit Catholic insitutions challenging the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate.  In University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, (ND IN, Dec. 31, 2012), an Inidiana federal district court dismissed a challenge brought by the University of Notre Dame, saying:

Notre Dame’s claims aren’t ripe, and they don’t have standing to bring them. Both conclusions flow from the government’s creation of a safe harbor for certain employers (including Notre Dame) while it re-works the regulation. As a result, Notre Dame faces no penalty or restriction based on the existing regulatory requirement.

LifeNews reports on the decision.

In Catholic Diocese of Peoria v. Sebelius, (CD IL, Jan. 4, 2012), an Illinois federal district court similarly dismissed a challenge by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, saying:

The Government has stated that it will not enforce the preventive services provisions in their current form and will issue a new rule that addresses concerns like those of the Diocese prior to August 2013. This Court joins other district courts and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in taking these representations to be a binding commitment. The Court therefore finds that as the Government is in the process of amending the preventive service regulations, those regulations are not fit for judicial review at this time.