Where Does Brett Kavanaugh Stand on Religious Liberty?

Priests for Life v. HHS (2015)

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell speaks at a news conference to announce the results of a national Medicare fraud takedown at the Justice Department in Washington June 18, 2015. The U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday that 243 people have been arrested across the country, charged with submitting fake billing for Medicare, a government healthcare programme, that totaled 2 million. | (Photo: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

The case of Priests for Life et al. v. United States Department of Health and Human Services centered on a pro-life group suing the Obama administration over its controversial preventive services mandate that required religious organizations to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

When Priests for Life filed a petition to get a full court hearing for their appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court rejected their request when a majority did not vote in favor of it.

Kavanaugh authored one of the dissents, arguing that the refusal to grant the petition contradicted the results of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College v. Burwell.

"We are a lower court in a hierarchical judicial system headed by 'one supreme Court.' U.S. Const. art. III, § 1. It is not our job to re-litigate or trim or expand Supreme Court decisions. Our job is to follow them as closely and carefully and dispassionately as we can," wrote Kavanaugh.

"Doing so here, in my respectful view, leads to the conclusion that the plaintiff religious organizations should ultimately prevail on their RFRA claim, but not to the full extent that they seek."

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