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Geneva College v. Azar

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Description:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of Geneva College and the Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. The lawsuit challenges the administration’s mandate that religious employers provide abortifacients (along with sterilization and contraception) at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.


Friday, Jul 6, 2018
 

Attorney sound bite:  Gregory S. Baylor

PITTSBURGH – A federal district court issued an order Thursday that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate against Geneva College, a Christian college in Pennsylvania represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Obama-era mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties. The Department of Justice, under the Trump administration, abandoned its defense of the flawed mandate, which the Department of Health and Human Services implemented during the previous administration.

“Religious organizations have the freedom to operate peacefully according to their beliefs without the threat of punishment by the government. Today’s order fully affirms that freedom and provides permanent protection from the mandate,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor.

“Geneva College no longer has to fear being forced to pay fines for simply abiding by the Christian beliefs it teaches and espouses, and it is no longer required to fill out forms authorizing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs,” Baylor explained. “The government has many other ways to ensure access to these drugs without forcing people of faith to violate their deepest convictions.”

In its order in Geneva College v. Azar, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ordered the federal government to cease enforcing the mandate and declared “that defendants—the United States Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, along with their respective Secretaries—violated Geneva College’s rights under RFRA….”

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case, consolidated with several other similar cases, back to the lower courts for potential resolution by the parties. ADF attorneys and allied attorneys continue to litigate numerous other lawsuits against the mandate.

Brad Tupi, one of more than 3,200 attorneys allied with ADF, served as local counsel for Geneva College in the case.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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Commentary


Previous News Releases


Legal Documents

U.S. Supreme Court order for supplemental briefing: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
Per curiam opinion from U.S. Supreme Court: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
Supplemental brief submitted to U.S. Supreme Court: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
U.S. Supreme Court order for supplemental briefing: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
Transcript of oral argument at U.S. Supreme Court: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
Friend-of-the-court briefs filed with U.S. Supreme Court: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
Opening brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court: Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell
Petition for writ of certiorari: Geneva College v. Burwell
En banc petition: Geneva College v. Burwell
3rd Circuit opinion: Geneva College v. Burwell
Permanent injunction order and judgment: The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. v. Burwell
Dismissal order: The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. v. Burwell
Motion to voluntarily dismiss appeal: The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. v. Burwell
Findings and conclusions: Geneva College v. Sebelius
Findings of fact and conclusions of law: Geneva College and The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. v. Sebelius
Order upholding injunctions: Geneva College v. Sebelius
Preliminary injunction order: The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. v. Sebelius
Order on motion to dismiss: Geneva College v. Sebelius
DOJ brief in support of motion to dismiss: Geneva College v. Sebelius
Complaint: Geneva College v. Sebelius

Related Resources

ABOUT Gregory S. Baylor

Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and senior counsel for government affairs. Since joining ADF in 2009, Baylor has focused on defending and advancing the religious freedom of faith-based educational institutions through advice, education, legislative and public advocacy, and representation in disputes. He has testified about religious liberty issues three times before congressional committees. Greg earned his Juris Doctor in 1990 from Duke University School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif, with high honors, and served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal. He received his bachelor’s degree in Honors English in 1987 from Dartmouth College. Following graduation from law school, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Jerry E. Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. He practiced labor and employment law at two large international law firms for three years before joining the staff of Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom, where he served for 15 years prior to joining ADF.