President Obama's attorneys asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the contraception mandate, but did not defend the mandate's constitutionality, instead arguing that the plaintiffs have sued too soon given that Obama has promised to change the rule to "accomodate" religious concerns.
"Plaintiff's challenge to the preventive services coverage regulations is not fit for judicial review because defendants [Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] have indicated that they will propose and finalize changes to the regulations that are intended to accomodate plaintiff's religious objections to providing contraception coverage," the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote to the Washington, D.C. District Court. DOJ also argued that the contraception mandate does not pose any "imminent injury" to religious organizations, which have a year to comply.
Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counse of the Becket Fund, which is challenging the rule on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, suggested The Washington Examiner that DOJ's "procedural" argument is "weak and flawed," and will not stand up in court.
"It doesn't argue that the mandate is legal; it doesn't argue that the mandate is constitutional," Goodrich also said in a statement on the DOJ position. "Instead, it begs the court to ignore the lawsuit because the government plans to change the mandate at some unspecified date in the future."