Says Hannah Smith, Senior Legal Counsel, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:
Yesterday’s decision in the Belmont Abbey College case was on technical grounds: the judge thinks that the case should be delayed for a matter of months to give HHS time to fix the Mandate. The decision says nothing about the merits of Belmont Abbey’s religious freedom claims, and has no effect on any of the 22 other cases currently pending in federal court. It simply delays Belmont Abbey College’s ability to challenge the Mandate for a few months, and the court made clear we have the right to re-file the case if HHS does not fix the problem. We are reviewing the decision and considering our options, but one thing is clear: Belmont Abbey College and the Becket Fund will continue the fight for religious liberty, even if this case is delayed for a few months.The judge's decision (if you've got some time to kill). Sounds like he wants BA to wait until HHS (according to Whelan) finishes
issuing and implementing its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which supposedly will modify the existing HHS mandate by addressing, in some still-to-be-discovered fashion, Belmont Abbey’s religious-liberty concerns. Because that modification will supposedly occur before the expiration of the one-year safe-harbor that Belmont Abbey has received against administration enforcement, the court held that "Belmont [Abbey]’s injury is too speculative to confer standing and that the case is also not ripe for decision."Hmm. Almost sounds like you're not allowed to scream in pain unless you've actually been hurt, but who knows? In any case, the supposed modifications to the mandate will only be promulgated after a period of invited commentary. Yes, that means you can go to the HHS website and offer your input. Do it. They'll probably listen.