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. Mike

    As this will be the trend among all minimum wage paying, fast food companies in the nation- We can all hope the boycott sentiment takes off and helps with our obesity problem.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • AndyMax71

      It will work as well as the attack on Chik Fil A. AKA... an abject failure.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Domino's plays well above minimum wage.. I delivered pizza for them all through college and paid my own tuition.. Dont even try to bad mouth this guy, he made his fortune the hard, honest way. He earned it. The managers at the Domino's franchises in Washington DC make about 150k a year, so your comment makes you STOOPID!!

      December 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  2. David

    Is it just me or did everyone who is complaining about the pizza (which is horrible) miss the part about this having nothing to do with the pizza company? He owns a michigan based real estate holding company and sold his controlling interest in the pizza chain in 1998.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Mike

      You utilized a skill known as 'Reading Comprehension'.

      These articles are designed to blow over most people, anger them at nothing and give them something to talk about over punch at the next PTA meeting.

      Keep your fancy skills to yourself and leave the forums to the everyday moron. This is a place to get angry, not educated.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • AndyMax71

      Yeah.... that pizza is so bad that it is a multi-billion dollar business that the vast majority of Americans eat often. You're just a jealous trailer park dweller that is angry because he is successful and you're nothing but a high school drop out and proven failure.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Just because he sold his controlling interest doesn't mean he doesn't still have a filthy finger in the pie.

      I'm sure he's still sucking at the profits of the company with non-voting stock and a minority position in voting stock or whatever mix of financial instruments he has up his butt.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • carpe diem


      December 31, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @carpe diem
      What weak stance? I am not claiming total knowledge about anything so get a grip, son.
      Give us good links to these facts of yours. 100percent? I seriously doubt that very much.
      Prove it or shut up.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Helwoman

      Thank you David for reminding the ignorant people about Dominos isn't owned by him any more. I work for Dominos and I need my job. If they boycott Dominos, it's not hurting Tom at all, it's hurting the rest of us trying to make a living. And yes I do have medicl insurance through Dominos.

      January 1, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Coleman Cooper

      lol @ Mike. This was a brilliant comment. I agree. Skim the article and make an uneducated and opinionated response based on your political affiliation like the rest of us.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  3. Bob Hope's Ghost

    I will show my support for this company as they are standing up to the obamcare bullying.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  4. Obeezy

    Oh Puhlease. This has nothing to do with religion, just scoring points against a black man in charge. Funny how these "religious" folks have no problem with their own like Limbaugh and Gingrich who have committed adultery or all the hate filled racist in their party. If they were TRUE "Christians" they would love everybody and not just pick and chose which sin they want to whine about.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • AndyMax71

      You tell em crackhead.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • lololo obeezy

      Any complaint against anything obeezy does makes you a racist. It's the perfect defense.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      yeah boo, you be down wit dat homey in da white hishouse... word...

      December 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Alice Bowie

      I think this actually IS a PROBLEM OF RELIGION.

      The real problem that most non-religious people have, the one that makes them respond to religious dogma, is that the VAST MAJORITY of the religious do not present their ideas and beliefs as opinions. They call them TRUTH. And they go out of their way to get religious values passed into LAWS which everybody must follow or be punished by the STATE. You see, that's the problem.

      Address any atheist or other non-religious person with an IDEA or BELIEF presented as an OPINION and you will see that they are not hateful. All the ones I know are kind and reasonable people.

      But, on the other hand:
      Address any atheist or other non-religious person with an IDEA or BELIEF presented as a FACT, TRUTH, INFALLIBLE WORD of GOD, or legislated into LAW (which disbelieving, disobeying, or disagreeing with results in ETERNAL DAMNATION and TORTURE in a PLACE called HELL or possible IMPRISONMENT by the STATE) ...

      That's when the non-religious become testy and begin to resist your ideas and beliefs.

      It's not really complicated.

      I will say this: I LOVE YOU until you begin to HURT ME or TAKE AWAY MY RIGHTS.

      Best Wishes to you all,
      Alice Bowie

      December 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Common Sense

      That's a mighty broad brush your painting with.
      You come off like another one of those liberals who staunchly believes in tolerance and inclusiveness unless you don't like a person's political or religious persuasion.
      You also sound racist (against white folks).
      Alot of white folks don't like Obama's belief system, but that doesn't mean they are racist. Alot of white folks don't like Pelosi, Clinton, Biden, Reid, Sotomayer, etc., and it's obviously not because they're black.
      The race card is usually played by racists and racism is a disease that a lot of different colors of folks can be afflicted with, if you get my drift..

      January 1, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Scott

      You said it perfectly. It's PARTLY about that. It's also very much about being against WOMEN. Another group that has no control over how they are born, but apparantly should be maligned and legislated against for.

      January 1, 2013 at 7:34 am |
  5. Frank in Valparaiso

    Great, Papa John's doesn't want to spent pennies per pizza for health care for his employees,. chuck that crap. Domnino's you have seen me buy your last pizza. Never will I spend another dime at your store. And by the way, your Valparaiso location sucks at doing an on line order. But hey, there are better pizzas in town.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Obeezy

      I buy pizza from the store and make it myself.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • AndyMax71


      December 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      Liberals hate freedom. Case in point.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:28 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 9:04 pm |
  6. jms4177

    I will not purchase this pizza again as well as Papa Johns. Maybe if enough people did the same these clowns would shut up and enjoy their billions.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      the more silent you become, the more intelligent this world sounds. Please keep your Liberal views muted. We do not care.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  7. Ken

    There are religions that don't believe in medicines or blood transfusions. Should business owners that subscribe to those religions be allowed to opt out of providing insurance coverage for medications or blood transfusions? If business owners object to contraceptions, they should simply not use them.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • John

      Don't forget, that healthcare coverage is a benefit. All companies offer differing levels of benefits. If you don't like the benefits, change jobs.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  8. Sigh

    Deceitful article. You should make it apparent in the FIRST paragraph that this is pertaining to a different company he owns, NOT Domino's Pizza, that he no longer has active affiliation with, not half way down the page.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      You can bet he still has connections and a financial interest in the pizza company, so it doesn't matter about the other stuff.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • carpe diem


      December 31, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  9. Rick1948

    Big businesses latest excuse to not do the right thing – "It's against my religion".

    December 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • AndyMax71

      Enjoy hell babykiller.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Paying for drugs that end the life of an innocent unborn child is NOT doing the right thing.. the employees still have every right to go buy those products with their own money, they just are not free.. Birth control is not a right, it is a product.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Alice Bowie

      To AndyMax71...

      So you're saying it's immoral to kill a baby before it develops and actually becomes a baby...

      But to kill babies through war that have fully developed, been born, and become a part of the human race ... that's not only moral but also patriotic?

      Preventing a birth that's unwanted and/or can't be properly cared for is WRONG and secures one a place in HELL.
      Killing people whose government officials have offended your government officials is RIGHT and makes one a HERO.

      Your brain must be as clean as distilled water - from all of the of brainwashing.

      There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      ======= ======= =======
      I LOVE YOU until you begin to HURT ME or TAKE AWAY MY RIGHTS.

      Best Wishes to you all,
      Alice Bowie

      December 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      Socialized medicine is the "right thing"? Your stupidity can be felt all the way here in Colorado. Moron!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      Alice. Go suck on Obama's teat for the rest of your life if you'd like. And take your athiesm with you along with as many liberal leftist friends you can muster. What an idiot!!!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  10. charlie

    typical elitist owner spouting personal views that are nowhere in lockstep with the majority of Americans. Not to mention his young workforce he could most use it at an important stage of their lives. .

    December 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • John

      Sorry Charlie but on this one it is split pretty much down the middle. Your statement is factually incorrect.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      Yeah Charlie. A majority of Americans believe in God – thats over 50 percent ( liberals need this kind of clarification )

      January 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  11. Bill

    What this clown doesn't get is that it's not about him. Yes, he could argue that forcing him to provide insurance coverage that includes birth control is a violation of his archaic religious beliefs. However, I believe the counter-argument would be much stronger – that, by not providing his employees an insurance plan that includes birth control is a violation not only of the religious values of the majority of them who do not share his belief that contraception is against God's will, but also breaking the law. I think the employees being denied birth control coverage because their boss doesn't believe in are having their religious freedoms violated and should sue.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Birth control is a product, not a right.. if you want it, pay for it.. its so easy, what is your intellectual malfunction.. can you not comprehend this simple issue? take some money from your paycheck and GO BUY IT.. you have that right.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • JustAnotherVoter

      So Bill, how many unions and companies (many of whom are in Pelosi's turf) asked for and received Obamacare exemptions? Also, why are the President and Congress exempt from Obamacae if it's such a good deal? Let me guess, you also support abortion, but you're against the death penalty. Go figure.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:58 am |
  12. mama k

    This is obviously only part of the story. Now that companies are people too, who knows how much cash this fundiot contributed to fundiot causes while his minimum wage employees are scraping by.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • mama k

      And regardless if from him personally or from the Dominos corp., I'll bet the contributions record would make most people sick to their stomachs.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      we are 17 trillion dollars in debt due to leftist liberal views like you hold. Please for the sake of humanity use contraception.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  13. Andrew

    I had no idea that Dominos was catholic pizza. I am not catholic. So I will stop buying Dominos pizza.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      well, you can be atheist for all i care, plan B is still killing an unborn child. simple.. Birth control is a product, not a right.. take some of your pennies and go buy some.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  14. Moby Schtick

    I wonder if this guy realizes that his huge virgin mary statue on his desk is basically an image of a v a gina/vulva?

    December 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • charlie

      LOL, LOL I about fell out of my chair taking another look. The reality is religious zealots are really pervs!!!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Obeezy

      What is funny is these folks portray Mary and Jesus as "white". How do they know what they looked like. They were in the Middle East over 2000 years ago. I highly doubt they were of fair skin and long flowing blonde hair. Most likely they looked like the "Mooslims" these far right nuts hate so much.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      yeah, once you see it, you realize it's everywhere. The big colorful ga udy ones with the scrollwork/robes around the virgin are the best. Maybe that's why his pan ics are so h o r ny all the time?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick


      December 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Well, considering the guy is a massive cunt who loves himself more than anyone else, it is understandable that he would sublimate his narcissistic, sociopathic self-identity with a statue of some rape victim shaped like a vagina.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  15. Free Citizen

    Some of you socialists are completely nuts! I generally didn't eat a lot of Domino's pizza, but I will now.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It's almost as good coming out fifteen minutes later as it was going in: disgusting. Enjoy.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • dude

      you need to look up socialism, obamacare isn't it. It is more fascism than anything.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      I am with you. I will always value Christian businesses. I refuse to purchase from Liberal owned anything.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  16. TM

    And if his position starts to affect his business, which will he change?

    December 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      It will affect his business, in a positive way.. dont you think that he follows God's will in his life? why do you think he is a billionaire? This man is blessed, and will continue to be blessed even more and more BECAUSE he is faithful to God.. Get a clue. Please, keep stomping your feet, the people taking notice are supporting him, not you.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  17. johnny

    This is good to know. As someone who purchased a Dominos pizza almost every Friday night, I will no longer support them. The same for Papa John's who outwardly said he would have to cut employees paychecks or raise the cost of his pizza's, even though the guy owns a half dozen mansions and the majority of his staff earn minimum wage.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • AndyMax71

      Funny how you're ignorant enough to think your refusal to get a pizza delivered to your trailer on Friday night means ANYTHING. Loser.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Hey Johnny SToopid... guess what, nobody cares what you do on Friday night.. I ate at Chik Fil A this week, shopped at Hobby Lobby, ordered a Papa Johns and now a dominos pizza this week.. I am supporting companies that live their values.. And BECAUSE you and your beloved CNN have brought this to our attention, 10s of Millions of Americans are doing the same.. I didnt know until after the election, Sonic Supported Democrats with 85% of the donations.. I havent been back there. I wont be going back there, nor to Arby's. I dont support people who support the criminal Obama.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • John

      Get ready Johnny, you are going to be giving up buying products from a lot of companies. Also, you should learn to read. He was the founder of Domino's pizza and sold the business. The company in question is a management company.

      December 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      I will, moving forward, only eat Domino's pizza for the same reason. We as a country HAVE to do something about this constant indoctrination coming from the left. It is dangerous and spreading.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:37 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 9:05 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Carpe, Are you being paid to defend Monaghan?

      January 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  18. Sue

    They hire mostly young kids who NEED birth control. Never buy their crap anyway but those kids need to go find other jobs. Arrogant control freaks need to avoided and not rewarded!

    December 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • AndyMax71

      How did your attack on Chik Fil A turn out? Feel that pain that Americans unleashed on your posterior still?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • crimsoninok

      Then let those kids go BUY birth control. Its a PRODUCT... NOT A RIGHT!!!

      December 31, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  19. Josh

    I am sorry any working organization should have to supply it.. It should be up to the individual to choose or not choose it. This is why I don't hate god but I HATE organized religions because they push the belief. They should be there to advise their followers not to use it not tell them no.

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

    This is what's wrong with our country – when any smarmy control-freak can control legislation using nothing but money.

    He has no facts on his side. Legislation should be enacted ENTIRELY ON THE MERITS and not on who bribes who!!

    This is why people like the sleazeball pictured above should be put in prison along with every single legislator he bribed.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • mama k

      I agree – in the mean time, get your pizza somewhere else.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      mama k, I haven't bothered with Dominos for over ten years. No pressure. lol

      December 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • mama k

      Maybe more of us need to periodically publish a list to this blog of companies that should be avoided. At least ones with extremists at the helm such as this one.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • carpe diem


      December 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      From the Wiki article on Dominos Pizza:
      Sale of company
      In 1998, after 38 years of ownership, Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan announced his retirement, sold 93 percent of the company to Bain Capital, Inc. for about $1 billion and ceased being involved in day-to-day operations of the company.[15] A year later, the company named David A. Brandon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

      93 percent is NOT 100 percent.
      Time to learn how to read, fool.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • mama k

      Bain Capital – the same I guess as the investment firm that squandered so much money from other smaller companies by the infamous Mr. Romney.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      you my friend, are obviously your villages idiot. Please do not pro-create!!!!

      January 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Coleman Cooper

      Your comments paint you as a liberal, and I am not trying to be mean, but there is a good chance that you are seriously retarted. I hope this gets better for you, and beyond that, please do not have kids for the sake of humanity.

      January 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
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About this blog

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.