Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard […]
It was an extraordinary exchange. Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) asking Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius to explain the constitutional implications involved in the HHS mandate, which is under attack for violating the religious beliefs of millions of Americans. The mandate requires employers to purchase health insurance for their employees that includes coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.
We filed a federal lawsuit challenging this mandate in March on behalf of a Missouri business owner.
And, we first reported on this startling exchange between Rep. Gowdy and Secretary Sebelius in a blog post on the ACLJ website yesterday.
Today, on FOX News, I told Megyn Kelly this exchange was entirely appropriate and illuminated important information about this mandate. What is clear and very troubling is that Secretary Sebelius was totally unfamiliar with the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding religious freedom. Further, she relied on no legal memorandum in putting the mandate together, and didn’t seek advice of the Justice Department regarding the legality of the mandate.
It’s difficult to believe that Secretary Sebelius was clueless when it came to the Constitution and to the religious liberty protections guaranteed to Americans by the First Amendment.
The exchange between Rep. Gowdy and Secretary Sebelius was quite remarkable. You can watch it here.
Clearly, no one expects the HHS Secretary to be a constitutional scholar. But is it too much to ask that she turn to legal experts when it comes to crafting and implementing a mandate that tramples on the First Amendment protections afforded Americans?