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Pizza magnate wins temporary ruling on contraception coverage dispute
Thomas Monaghan, the multimillionaire founder of Domino's Pizza, pictured at the University of Ava Maria, which he founded September 27, 2007.
December 31st, 2012
05:35 PM ET

Pizza magnate wins temporary ruling on contraception coverage dispute

By Bill Mears, CNN

(CNN)– The billionaire founder of Domino's Pizza has won a temporary court victory, with a federal judge blocking enforcement of part of the health care reform bill requiring most employers to provide a range of contraception and reproductive health services.

Some business owners and their staff see that as a violation of their religious rights.

Federal Judge Lawrence Zatkoff issued his order late Sunday, saying Thomas Monaghan had "shown that abiding by the mandate will substantially burden his exercise of religion."

"The (federal) government has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that its actions were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest," said Zatkoff, a 1986 Reagan appointee. "Therefore, the court finds that plaintiffs have established at least some likelihood of succeeding on the merits" of their claim.

Monaghan filed the emergency petition this month, on behalf of himself and Domino's Farms Corp., a Michigan property management firm he operates, not directly related to the pizza-chain empire. Monaghan sold his majority interest in the pizza company in 1998.

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The case will continue to be heard in the federal courts while the stay remains in effect. The Obama administration has the option of appealing the order.

The judge's opinion comes just days after two federal appeals courts in Chicago and St. Louis became the first to rule against enforcement for businesses of the contraceptives mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The policy was set to go into effect Tuesday for many companies whose new insurance year begins on January 1st.

At issue is whether secular, for-profit enterprises– owned and operated by those of a strong religious or personal faith– are exempt from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The separate health care law - dubbed Obamacare - provides such exceptions for religious institutions such as the Catholic Church, of which Monaghan is a member. He argues individually that contraception or abortion does not constitute "health care" and involves immoral practices that destroy "innocent human life."

"Causing death can never be considered a form of medical treatment," said Monaghan in court papers.
Other religious-affiliated groups like parochial schools and church-run hospitals are also temporarily exempted until new final rules are written in coming months.

That followed complaints from a variety of entities over who exactly was covered under the mandates, and who could bring legal objections in court.

The Justice Department, on behalf of the Obama administration, said the 2010 law - upheld this year by the Supreme Court - was designed to provide a range of preventive health services through expanded coverage and lower costs.

Federal lawyers - backed by a range of medical and abortion-rights groups - said economically disadvantaged women in particular need affordable access to reproductive health services contained in the law, which it said was a "compelling governmental interest."

Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

Under the law, companies with at least 50 employees must provide their female employees of child-bearing age insurance coverage for pregnancy-prevention care, including doctor visits and medicine.

Those firms face daily fines and tax penalties for failure to comply.

Other federal courts - including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor last week– have allowed the new mandates to go into effect. Sotomayor in an order December 26 said the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether individuals or companies can rightfully claim federal mandates under their constitutional rights of religious freedom.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

That case involved Hobby Lobby Inc., and Mardel, Inc. and five family members involved in ownership and control of the corporations, who had protested the requirement.

Those separate companies said they would be required "to provide insurance coverage for certain drugs and devices that the applicants believe can cause abortions," which would be against their religious beliefs.
The petitioners said they would face irreparable harm if forced to choose between paying fines and complying with the requirement.

But Sotomayor - who handles emergency appeals from the 10th Circuit - said the applicants failed to meet "the demanding standard for the extraordinary relief," and that they could continue to pursue their challenge in lower courts and return to the higher court, if necessary, following a final judgment.

There was no indication when or if the high court would ultimately decide the religious freedom question. Several dozen separate lawsuits are pending in various lower federal courts.

The Michigan case is Monaghan v. Sebelius (12-15488).

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith & Health

soundoff (1,866 Responses)
  1. Moby Schtick

    Domino's pizza is disgusting; who eats that crap? What is it with all these "christian" companies making a stand-–but they all svck donkey ba lls?

    December 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Talk about being bitter.. get used to it.. Every company that fights this will be winning. All they have to do is file in the correct courts. Hobby Lobby will likely go find a friendly court now.. By not paying, the employee still has the right to go buy these products, they just wont be covered by insurance.. What is your problem with that? there is no discrimination here..

      December 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Info

      From the article:

      "Monaghan filed the emergency pet-ition this month, on behalf of himself and Domino's Farms Corp., a Michigan property management firm he operates, not directly related to the pizza-chain empire. Monaghan sold his majority interest in the pizza company in 1998."

      NOT the pizza company...

      December 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  2. cb

    Shouldn't the headline read "Pizza Maggot wins temporary ruling"?

    December 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • mama k

      I always wondered what that stuff was they call cheese on their "pizzas".

      December 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Yes, it should, but this is CNN. They won't risk a lawsuit in the name of accuracy if some rich POS might get offended.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  3. Wm

    Sense money IS their religion, I guess it is a "violation".

    December 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  4. Robert Havecker

    It is time for everyone to Boycott Domino's Pizza. This shouldn't be very hard to do since Domino's makes the worst pizza that I have ever had the misfortune of tasting.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      I'm way ahead of you, Robert.
      I stopped eating their disgusting crud ten years ago.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      I will only buy Domino's moving forward. Please do not have kids and teach them how to be a complete idiot like you. I am being so serious.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Sam Yaza

    so this foolishness will continue,.. well because im my strong religious beliefs i will not provided in medication coverage to my employees, suck it up and get back to work pain is jut weakness living the body.

    ok back to something serious lets compromise if you a religious person cannot go against your strongly held beliefs you can no longer be a for prophet business,.. that's right you have to pay your workers allot more now, your company has to be a charity or your not following scripture. other wise i call bullshit,...you ether follow the bible or you don't no halfsys

    December 31, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  6. rkd

    Since I prefer to support companies that do support their workers, I won't be buying Domino's Pizzas.
    Their decision to exercise their right to protest this part of the law would be reasonable if were actually about contraception and religious belief.
    I think it is certainly less about a moral stand than it is about not having to pay for health care in any form.
    It is even more difficult for them to accept if it means they cannot control the health care decisions that women make.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Doug

      Dominoes is garbage. Don't eat it. Don't patronize that store. Boycott.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      why cant liberals admit that birth control can be bought for just a few bucks and utilized acxcordingly? I need you two to never have kids and indoctrinate any child with your Liberal ideology. It is dangerous and frankly, disgusting.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  7. Angel Moronic

    Pizza guys ( Tommy and Herman ) should be concentrating on pies, not pills.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Scott

      Costco, huh? I'll check it out! As for Domino's, I've already deleted their app from my phone and have thrown out their coupons.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      Scott. It will not matter. I am going to do the opposite and purchase pizza from them faithfully. And they have an App? Sweet, Ill go download it now. Thanks for the info!!!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  8. Scott

    I will no longer be spending my money on this pizza magnate's product. Shame, I liked it too.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      I had Dominatrix pizzas a couple times, the were not very good. Try Costco pizza. You get better quality for less money.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      shop locally that's the best pizza

      December 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Hamruniz

      I, on the other hand, will spend more money on Dominos Pizza.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • brian

      I deleted the Papa John's app also, and by the way it really doesn't matter, my son worked for a food services company and could not afford their so called health insurance because of the cost, and the fact that they pay low wages .............bye bye dumbinos

      January 1, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • nah carpuss

      Nah – he still owns like 7% of Dominos. They most certainlty are in bed together.

      January 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
  9. sam

    'Those separate companies said they would be required "to provide insurance coverage for certain drugs and devices that the applicants believe can cause abortions," which would be against their religious beliefs.'

    The key words here are THEY BELIEVE. They believe incorrectly, but that doesn't seem to matter. You can't tell me they don't know this is bullshit game playing.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  10. Biff T

    My personal opinion of Domino's pizza aside, these folks need to broaden their minds. Birth Control IS used for medical treatments, ever heard of endometriosis? My wife takes birth control to keep it at bay, because without it - her menstrual cycles are excruciatingly painful. I know its hard for some religious people to understand that a woman's "business" down there and how it works – but why does it need to be a political wedge?

    December 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      liberals need to be castrated. please do not have kids. seriously

      January 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  11. realbuckyball

    Oh good. Another old Catholic man, obsessed with young women's reproductive cycles. Really really creepy.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That slob has been like this all along. He is a huge contributor to anti-choice organizations, and has been for years. I wouldn't buy anything from him if I had nothing else to eat.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Hamruniz

      What's really creepy is a President who is obsessed with young women's reproductive cycles

      December 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  12. livingston

    The last domino's pizza I ordered was the last domino's I will ever order. I'll go with the local shop. They make a better pizza anyway!

    December 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Me too. It was so fvcking loaded with DMSO preservative that I ended up in the ER. It was frightfully awful. Never ever again.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Carpe, Are you being paid to defend Monaghan?

      January 1, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  13. Mr Chihuahua

    Hey Mr Monaghan! Your pizza is fucking garbage lol!

    December 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  14. Space Horse, Course to Course

    Doesn't it also say in the bible that greed is wrong? Funny and convenient how conservative christards skip that.

    December 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  15. Akira

    I find it hilarious that. Most of these people who are bucking this a smarmy, smug, MEN.
    Why don't they get that the morning after pill isn't an abortion? Are they really that dim?
    Why don't they get that the bc pill provides other medical uses besides preventing conception?
    These men like to bareback. We get it.
    They aren't the ones taking the pill; they should seriously ask the women employees their opinion...oh, but that's right...women don't get a say. They're women, and goodness knows the good womenfolk know to keep their good little mouths shut, right?
    Christ.

    December 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • sam

      The womenfolk are supposed to keep everything shut unless they're married, at which point they should be happily popping out good little christians.

      Only whores would need contraception!

      December 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I know. Just look at the smirk on that puss. Why should some fat cat man be able to dictate what any woman can or cannot do with her own body? And why should he and his empire get a free pass to flout the law?

      December 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      I, for one, would appreciate it if you would take off your shoes, get back into the kitchen and let me keep you impregnated. It would be best if you were quiet at all times.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      But what about sammiches?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Akira

      ER, and I would like it if you made enough money for me to stay home, in the kitchen, barefoot and preggers.
      Alas.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • mama k

      Now Akira – is there a sushi pizza?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • wjmccartan

      It will be a while coming but in time most of these dinosaurs will go back to the dust from which they came. Then rational thinking could be the rule of the day. I know I won't live to see it, but I take comfort in knowing that its going to happen. As for the individual who felt the need to put up their filth, time will catch up to you as well, faster then most though because the hatred you carry with you is ever so heavy and takes it toll.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Akira, as usual I agree with you, but did you know that the most opposition to prostitution comes from women?
      How does that happen? They want a monopoly so they can hook a man with some hope of marriage? Explain, pls.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  16. Rafael

    Dominos is required to operate according to the law. If I were to work for Dominos then my responsibility is to do my job and not be subjected to their religious convictions. Dominos will lose this one because they are not a church.

    December 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • carpe diem

      Earlier this week, news stories came out that Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had filed suit against the federal government regarding healthcare. Since that time, the story has been widely misreported to indicate Domino’s was involved in this action, which is completely untrue. Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998 and today has NO active affiliation with our company. The media often neglect to note this fact. His views are not our views, nor are his actions in any way related to our actions. Domino's Pizza has made no public statements about health care, as we are still waiting to see how the final rules will affect our network of small business owners. Domino's is not a political company; it is not a religious company – we are a pizza company........From Dominos Pizzas Facebook page

      January 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Carpe, Are you being paid to defend Monaghan?

      January 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  17. Equuslover

    But I bet he wants them to pay for his viagra.

    December 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • RZ70

      Easy there, Hamsterman. There are actually A LOT of Christians (and yes, some of them are Catholics) who agree that there should be more birthcontrol, but statements like that will not win you any friends among them.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  18. sam

    Yeah, Domino's is crap. Won't be hard to avoid it. This jackhole doesn't care about religious freedom – he wants his way. Look at this smug douche.

    December 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That is why I NEVER buy their crappy pizza.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • sam

      Never again. Even if this nut wasn't a grandstanding tool.

      December 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  19. mama k

    I just had for the first time a delicious Amy's low-sodium spinach personal size pizza for lunch. (I added a little garlic powder and light oil on top, and heated it in the toaster oven.) Not bad. Who needs that Domino's junk anyway.

    December 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  20. Bostontola

    It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in the courts. It's nice to handle controversial issues in a civil manner.

    December 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.