Written by Don Byrd
A nationwide injunction issued by a district judge, halting the Trump Administration’s efforts to expand religious exemptions from the contraception coverage mandate to all nonprofits and nonpublic corporations with a religious or moral objection, may be removed if last week’s arguments in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are any indication. Two of the three judges on the panel expressed concern over whether a nationwide injunction is appropriate, according to an Courthouse News Service report.
Here is an excerpt:
Senior U.S. Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace, a Richard Nixon appointee, said during Thursday’s hearing he initially supported blocking two rules issued by the Trump administration in October 2017 while five state attorneys general lead by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra challenge them in Oakland federal court.
But the parties’ March agreement to stay the case pending an appeal of the injunction changed that, Wallace said, because it meant “at least a year delay before people all over the United States find out what their rights are under the First Amendment.”
Meanwhile, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld, a George H.W. Bush appointee, indicated he would toss the injunction primarily based on standing. He said individual women, not the states in which they live, have standing because the women are “the ones directly affected.”
The lower court ordered the injunction after finding that the Trump Administration likely violated administrative procedure laws by issuing the rules without advance notice. The government, however, claims the regulations fall under an exception from the notice requirement for “good cause” because of the religious liberty burden involved.