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Federal Judge Strikes Down Contraceptive Mandate with Terse Comments
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Judge Brian Cogan of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York struck down the contraception mandate of the President Obama’s signature Healthcare law. This by itself was not so interesting, as it was bound to happen in one or another court. But what really drew attention was the pointed logic of Cogan’s comment on the Healthcare law, and their flair.

For example, one comment that Cogan made in the 41-page decision is catchy enough to become a rallying slogan: “A law that is totally ineffective cannot serve a compelling interest.” Debates aside the comment is good enough to apply for a majority of obsolete laws.


Cogan took the stance that according to 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1(b) that because plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial burden on their religious beliefs, the Government bears the onus of demonstrating, that the Mandate “is the least restrictive means of furthering [a] compelling government interest.” During the course of the lawsuit, the question of using alternative means to ensure contraceptive services rather than using the mandate was considered. The government argued that the alternatives were infeasible, because it lacked statutory authority to enact some of those alternatives.

Cogan demolished that argument by saying, “It would set a dangerous precedent to hold that if the Executive Branch cannot act unilaterally, then there is no alternative solution. If defendants lack the required statutory authority, Congress may pass appropriate legislation.”

Such logic is again, applicable to all similar situations, and not only to the Healthcare law’s contraceptive mandate.

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While rejecting the government’s arguments on the “compelling interest” for the mandate, Cogan observed: “Tens of millions of people are exempt from the Mandate, under exemptions for grandfathered health plans, small businesses, and “religious employers” like the Diocesan plaintiffs here. Millions of women thus will not receive contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing through the mandate. Having granted so many exemptions, the Government cannot show a compelling interest in denying one to these plaintiffs.”



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