|By John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer|
After teleconferences with the case lawyers, U.S. District Judge
Goldberg is presiding over the case and wrote the ruling, but it was signed by U.S. District Judge
The act requires employers, or their insurance plans, to offer preventive services, including contraception. Companies who violate its provisions face fines of
In their lawsuit against the U.S. secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and
Violating the act could cost them
In his order, Goldberg wrote that the facts of the case were still being gathered, but that there appeared to be potential for "imminent, irreparable" harm.
"Within a matter of days, Plaintiffs will have to decide between paying substantial fines or committing an act which they have shown to have a likelihood of violating their rights to religious freedom," the order read.
Similar challenges have been filed in other judicial districts, leading to conflicting opinions. The Hahns' claim is the first in
Lawyers for the government have countered that the claim is baseless because the regulations apply to insurers and secular corporations, not their owners, and that the act gives workers options but doesn't force any to use them.
If the Hahns' argument succeeds, "such companies and their owners could claim countless exemptions from an untold number of general commercial laws designed to protect against unfair discrimination in the workplace and to protect the health and well-being of individual employees and their families," the team of assistant attorneys general wrote. "Such a system would not only be unworkable, it would also cripple the government's ability to solve national problems through laws of general application."
Goldberg's order bars the government from enforcing the act against the furniture company for two weeks. He also ordered all sides to appear
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|Source:||McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|