July 23, 2014

Bruning to press religious liberty lawsuit despite motion to dismiss (AUDIO)

Attorney General Jon Bruning says the state will keep pressing its lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s contraception rule, even in the face of the administration’s motion to dismiss it.

“We’re not surprised that they’re fighting back. We disagree. This is about religious liberty. The Obama Administration has tried to make it about contraception and it’s about religious liberty,” Bruning tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Under the Obama Administration’s rules and under the law passed that Nebraskans know as Obamacare you’re going to have many millions of Nebraskans forced to violate their religious beliefs.”

The administration has ruled that insurance companies must provide contraceptive coverage at no cost. Several religious groups, including the Catholic Church, have objected, stating that the rule would force them to violate their religious beliefs. Nebraska and six other states filed suit to block the rule. The administration has requested the courts dismiss the lawsuit.

Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in an attempt to block the rule from going into effect. The suit also includes co-plaintiffs Pius X Catholic High School, Catholic Social Services, The Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America and private citizens Stacy Molai and Sister Mary Catherine, CK. The administration argues in its request for a dismissal that proposed changes to the rule will render the lawsuit moot.

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Bruning sent a letter signed by 13 state attorneys general to United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking that the rule be rescinded. The Administration offered a compromise, stating it would re-shape the rule to require insurance companies to provide the free contraceptive coverage. Critics say that doesn’t address their core complaint.

The State’s original filing can be found here.

The federal motion to dismiss can be found here.

The federal motion to dismiss brief can be found here.

AUDIO: Attorney General Jon Bruning reacts to motion to dismiss religious liberty lawsuit. [:45]