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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. Winston5

    Well it's back to Pizza Hut for me...or maybe Papa John's...???

    December 31, 2012 at 10:34 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 8:51 pm |
  2. MysteriaKiito

    Ew. No wonder I never shop at dominoes. Their pizza's awful. Probably because it's made by nutcases that don't believe in birth control.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Mike

      There is a HUGE difference between contraceptives and abortion pills.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • MysteriaKiito

      Exactly Mike. I'm personally against abortion, but birth control? I'd rather people prevent unwanted pregnancy! Anyone who is truly against abortion would realize that! It's nut cases like this and idiots protesting outside of abortion clinics that make all of us(people who don't like the idea of abortion) look bad! Prevention is way better than the alternative!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  3. jordans

    I bet he has no problem providing viagra in his health program

    December 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  4. Lonewolf

    Let's see an ultra conservative millionair and a ultra conservative judge equals terrible pizza! The decision was as bad as the cheap pizzas sold by dominos'.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Domino pizza cheap ?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Meki60

    you people ca not read, Thomas is the head of Dominos Farms, he sold the pizza co in 1998, your commenst are huting the new owner, not Thomas. You liberals need a brain transplant, like Hillary, all clot, no brain.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • sally

      Hey, IDIOT – he didn't sell 100%. Get it, fool!

      December 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Meki60

      sally: selling 'majority' interest means he is no longer a policy maker.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Ok you got me on that one. But the pizzas still bad for my taste ;-)

      December 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      So Monaghan sold out when pizza started turning crappy ?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Mike

      Sally, he sold the majority interest. He sold 93%, which could have been all that he owned. Subsequently, the company went public; so it is owned by the public and is not family owned.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      We need to change the way corporations do things internally. Basing all decisions on how it will affect the stock price is not a long-term, business-friendly type of strategy to have.
      CEOs are rarely working for the company. Once they get their contract in their hot little hands it's "anything goes" including gutting the company and driving them out of business.
      Ethics is not something they want to have if they can't see any profit in it. They can work against the company's business interests in plain sight and no one bats an eye. Pretty disgusting stuff and just insane. The gov't needs to step in on this.

      January 1, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  6. gdaym8

    I have a pizza magnet on my refrigerator. OH! Pizza magnate! That's different..............nevermind!

    December 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  7. DocHollywood

    Yes, it violates his religious beliefs that the dollar is mightier than his god. You think he's really concerned with religious beliefs? He's just opposed to giving his employees health care so he can sell his crappy pies on the cheap. Here's what they should do, they should put a penalty in the AHCA that lets these people opt out of contraception care, and the money from that penalty should go to giving the employees affected a seperate contraception benefit. That way these jerks can say they're true to their so called "religious" beliefs while allowing their employees the same benefits as everyone else.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Mike

      You make no sense. You spew hate and nothing else. Who are you to judge his religious belief and his motivations? He doesn't want to pay for abortion pills. Its as simple as that. God said in the Bible that anyone who hurts a child will be punished greatly and it says that it will better for them to have a millstone tied to their neck and thrown into the sea. Also, he doesn't own Dominos any longer; he sold it 20 years ago.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  8. 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."

    Property management company - NOT the Pizza place.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Does the property taste like cardboard also ?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      It would not surprise me to hear of his properties being used to dump toxic chemicals or something like that.
      (I don't have a very high opinion of this guy, to say the least.)

      January 1, 2013 at 1:03 am |
  9. nachoknigt

    yo meki, wash ur bedsheet...cowhard.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  10. AvdBergism source of filthyRainerBraendleinism©

    Absurdity of Christian Domino pizza filthy mama john pizza filthy Hindi pizza.
    NO PIZZA AND NO DOGS! Path to true light has NOT PIZZA.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Mike

    I don't understand the hate in some of the comments for this story. Dominos does not want to purchase pills that will terminate the lives of babies after conception. I agree with Dominos; no one should be forced to pay for medicines that abort babies. Also, one post indicated that it is unbiblical to run for-profit business. That is incorrect. The bible has several stories about people prospering from hard work.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • sally

      What an idiot! There is no baby the morning after, dipshit!

      December 31, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Meki60

      Sally: specially if you were the mother.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Jessica

      Mike, This guy is suing for his Domino's Property Management Company, Not Domino's Pizza. He doesn't own that anymore and has nothing to do with it. Currently Domino's Pizza pays marriage benefits to everyone that's married and has two gay VP's.

      Domino's used to be a bad company but they have seen the light and evolved.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Mike

      Sally, you are the worst type of debator; you spew hate and insults left and right, but most of what you say is inaccurate and blatent lies. There are actually two types of pills that are part of the lawsuit. One is the morning after pill and the other will terminate life up to a few weeks after conception. Who are you to say that life does not start when the sperm enters the egg? Your deep hatred and lies makes me wonder if you have financial interests in this issue or if you have aborted children. You're far too emotionally invested to be otherwise.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  12. TonyInNYC

    It doesn't seem like contraception destroys innocent human life.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • cronewinter

      No more Dominoes for my family. I also vote with my wallet.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Papa John

      Papa never leaves the pizzeria without the latex glove

      December 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Avenging Angel

      You're right, however, the Obamacare package contains the "morning after" pill. That isn't the same thing.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  13. Papa John

    Ok, ok..two pizzas, two toppings..one dollar! Happy?

    December 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  14. chicagoboyrn

    It's the worst tasting pizza anyways. Too salty!!! Always go to Pappa John!

    December 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Meki60

      Obama does not eat there because no chicken or ribs.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • midwest rail

      "....no chicken or ribs." Freeze dried in the 50's, Meki ?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • sally

      Looks like dumbo Meki60 didn't do enough research. He didn't sell 100%.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  15. Julie

    Guess I know where Im NOT going to buy pizza! When you put your own selfish interest above the lives of women and children, not only are you not worth doing business with, you estabish yourself as a hater. No thank you.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Meki60

      another person that can not read, he sold the pizza co in 1998.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Googleman

      How is saving the life of children your own self interest?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • BM

      I support BC, but is it truly "health care"?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Mike

      what, "above the lives of women and children"? Do you understand that the drugs in question kill the children?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • sally

      Looks like he didn't sell 100% of Dominos though.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • John

      So how does not providing birth control pills or abortion coverage putting women and children at risk? Millions of women have children every day without any major complications. They are not denying access, just denying paying for it. If it that important to you pay for it out of your own pocket.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  16. jenhedeen

    Dominos has just lost a customer.... might not be much, but it is the least I can do for the poor employees that have just lost their choice to control their bodies.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Meki60

      you are only hurting the new owners, did you not read the article.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Mekko: W(haT)F are you talking about. Those owners of pizza joints has the Domino logo on their store. Have they changed their name ? Has Herman Cain took over the chain ?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Rory

      if you took the time to read the article you would know that he sold his stake in Domino's in 1998. A better reason not to be a customer is because Dominos supports gun control, but you probably never read that either.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Googleman

      Well they just gained a costumer fom me.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Mike

      Of course they support gun control; pizza stores get robbed at gun point all the time.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • sally

      Apparently Milky here didn't do enough research. He didn't sell 100%.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:34 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 8:53 pm |
  17. Angel Moronic

    The Dominatrix is the founder of Ave Maria University. In its mission is this " ... the promotion of dialogue between faith and reason ..." . Apparently Tommie Mongahan does not practice what his preaches. Also his pizza tastes crappy

    December 31, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Meki60

      pizza? tell it to the owners, did you not read the article.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      The caption of the picture: Thomas Monaghan, the multimillionaire founder of Domino's Pizza, pictured at the University of Ava Maria, which he founded September 27, 2007.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Meki60

      he sold the pizza co in 1998.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Mike

      Apparently everyone who does not share your world views is without "reason". Insults do little to make valid points.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • sally

      He didn't sell 100% Milky – get your facts straight.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  18. Steve

    Well, there IS a big problem here, & that problem is with ALL of you who feel that a company cannot be run by the OWNER, regardless of his religious convictions. We bend over backwards for people of the Muslim & Jewish faith, but, when it comes to Christians now, it is like they all must be pedophiles or something! What is fair & just, is fair & just for ALL. When the RIGHT to birth control, on the taxpayers dime, is considered law, well, that is discrimination to part of our society & a burden to it all.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So you think that the owner of a company has the right to run it how he sees fit, but you don't think that the highest legal executor in the land has the right to run the country as he sees fit? Kinda hypocritical, aren't you?

      December 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Mike

      Is the "Highest Legal Executor" a dictator? There is a stark difference between a business owner and a government employee. Government employees must abide by the Consitution; "Separation of Church and State". Goverment employees must also not force private citizens who are business owners to purchase abortion pills. Your argument is for dictatorship and ignores the conscience of the private citizen.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • sweetenedtea

      Sure, the owner can run his company as he sees fit...so long as he doesn't violate the law. Obamacare has been passed into law. The owners have no more right to violate that law than they have to violate child labor laws or money laundering laws or minimum wage laws.

      Really? This basic logic didn't occur to you? How puzzling.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  19. Meki60

    good for you, Thomas. Obama thinks he is king.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Terry Melton

      King ? I don't think our president thinks he's a king. He want equal healthcare for all.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • sally

      Stuff it Meki60 – you're an idiot. Also he didn't sell 100% of Dominos. We're boycotting those suckers!

      December 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  20. Yeoomala

    I don't buy dominoes anyway and now glad I don't! Awful pizza.

    December 31, 2012 at 10:03 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.