If your favorite law school class was Con Law (excepting the Commerce Clause cases), and your favorite provision of the Bill of Rights is the Janus-like establishment/free exercise pairing in the First Amendment, these are fun times. Opposition to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is focusing on the requirement that employer health care plans cover contraceptives, and the first judicial responses to challenges on that front are beginning to trickle in. The latest is Michigan federal judge Lawrence Zatkoff's order granting a temporary restraining order permitting Tom Monaghan's Ann Arbor Domino’s Farms property management company to exclude contraceptive coverage for its employees. The Free Press story is here. Similar challenges in other jurisdictions have had mixed results so far. In November, federal judge Joe Heaton of the Western District of Oklahoma rejected Hobby Lobby's request for a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the Hobby Lobby retailers were "secular, for-profit corporations" and didn't have free-exercise rights under the First Amendment. Last week Justice Sotomayor denied Hobby Lobby's emergency appeal. Hobby Lobby said in a press release issued this week that it will defy the requirement. Spicing up the tastiness of this constitutional stew, LawPrawfs Blog points out in "The Citizens United Link to the Affordable Care Act Litigation" that the question of whether corporate persons have religious liberty rights remains unresolved.
Meanwhile, National Law Journal reports that Stanford Law School is opening a Religious Liberty Law Clinic, established with $1.6 million in seed funding from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which supports the free expression of religious beliefs regardless of the faith. The story says that Dean Matt Staver of the Christian-affiliated Liberty University School of Law said that the clinic's representation of Muslim clients "could be of concern if it advances an Islamic political ideology."
If all this is not enough religious liberty law for you, you might want to check out Religion Clause, for daily activity. And for some perspective, get a taste for how these issues look in the absence of the First Amendment at the British Religion Law Blog.