CASEGeneva College v. Burwell

Client Story
Geneva College

Founded in 1848 by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, Geneva College is no stranger to ­­taking big risks for the sake of Christ. In its earliest years, under the guidance of the school’s motto, “Pro Christo et Patria” (“For Christ and Country”), and believing that the Bible rightly condemns slavery, Geneva College played a role in helping slaves escape to the north through the Underground Railroad. Students smuggled slaves in their covered wagons on their way to freedom in Canada. Even the president of the college hid slaves on his property to help them escape.

 

After the end of the Civil War in 1865, Geneva College opened its doors to freed southern slaves and became one of the first colleges to admit women to a full degree program. Now, more than 150 years later, it is once again standing strong on its motto and facing a new, modern-day Goliath.

In August 2011, the Obama administration rolled out a new mandate requiring employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide coverage for, among other things, 20 abortion-inducing and contraceptive drugs and devices as well as sterilization under threat of heavy financial penalties through the IRS.

Because the college was founded on the Christian faith and believes life begins at conception, Geneva College knew it could not provide the mandated coverage of abortion-inducing drugs. In February 2012, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of Geneva College. In June 2013, the district court suspended the enforcement of the abortion-pill mandate against the college’s student plan, and then, in December, the employee plan.

By the time of its loss at the U.S. Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in 2014, the Obama administration had created an alternative method of complying with the mandate (an “accommodation”) for non-profit religious organizations that objected to providing contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as part of their employee healthcare coverage.

But this still wasn’t enough.

The so-called “accommodation” still gives access to the objectionable drugs and devices through the college’s insurer and health plan – the very thing the college objects to.

In November 2014, the administration appealed the district court decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which ruled for the government. 

Undeterred, the college asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their case. On November 6, 2015 the Court agreed to hear its case and six others challenging the mandate. The case was argued in March of 2016. 

In May 2016, the Supreme Court decided to send the consolidated abortion-pill mandate cases back to the lower courts for reconsideration.


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Summary
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of Geneva College and the Seneca Hardwood Lumber Co. The lawsuit challenges the administration’s unconstitutional mandate that religious employers provide abortifacients (along with sterilization and contraception) at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.
News Releases

US Supreme Court sends nonprofit abortion-pill mandate cases back to lower courts

Sanctity of Life

US Supreme Court sends nonprofit abortion-pill mandate cases back to lower courts

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman.

May 16, 2016 Read More

Non-profits to High Court: Yes, coverage without violating religious liberty is possible

Sanctity of Life

Non-profits to High Court: Yes, coverage without violating religious liberty is possible

"The Supreme Court asked if any way exists to offer contraceptive and abortifacient coverage without making Christian schools, nuns, and priests complicit in providing them. The answer we gave the court today is yes."

Apr 13, 2016 Read More

US Supreme Court completes oral arguments in non-profit abortion-pill mandate cases

Sanctity of Life

US Supreme Court completes oral arguments in non-profit abortion-pill mandate cases

“The government shouldn’t be allowed to force religious organizations to choose between providing life-destroying drugs and devices or paying massive, unsustainable penalties."

Mar 23, 2016 Read More

Christian colleges to Supreme Court Wednesday: Govt can’t mandate abortion pill coverage

Sanctity of Life

Christian colleges to Supreme Court Wednesday: Govt can’t mandate abortion pill coverage

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and representatives of ADF clients will participate in a press conference following oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in several consolidated cases concerning the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate as applied to religious non-profit organizations.

Mar 22, 2016 Read More

Christian colleges to Supreme Court: Govt can’t mandate abortion pill coverage

Sanctity of Life

Christian colleges to Supreme Court: Govt can’t mandate abortion pill coverage

Several religious non-profit organizations filed an opening brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in consolidated lawsuits against the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate and its religious non-profit options, all of which force the groups to violate their faith. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent a Christian college and four Christian universities that asked the high court to review appeals court decisions that upheld the mandate in Geneva College v. Burwell and Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell, two of seven cases that the Supreme Courtagreed in November of last year to take up.

Jan 05, 2016 Read More

ADF to 3rd Circuit: US Supreme Court decision protects Geneva College from violating its beliefs

Sanctity of Life

ADF to 3rd Circuit: US Supreme Court decision protects Geneva College from violating its beliefs

ADF asks court to reconsider decision in abortion-pill mandate case

Mar 31, 2015 Read More

ADF attorneys may appeal ruling forcing Christian college to provide access to abortion pills

3rd Circuit to hear Christian college’s case against abortion-pill mandate

Sanctity of Life

3rd Circuit to hear Christian college’s case against abortion-pill mandate

ADF attorney available to media following oral arguments Wednesday

Nov 18, 2014 Read More

Obama admin. throws in the towel in multiple abortion-pill mandate appeals

Sanctity of Life

Obama admin. throws in the towel in multiple abortion-pill mandate appeals

ADF also asks court to suspend mandate for March for Life

Sep 04, 2014 Read More

Abortion pill mandate suspended for Pa. college's employee health plan

Abortion pill mandate suspended for Pa. college's student plan

Sanctity of Life

Abortion pill mandate suspended for Pa. college's student plan

ADF official comment

Jun 18, 2013 Read More

Court reinstates Christian college’s suit against abortion pill mandate

Court blocks abortion pill mandate against Pa. family business

Sanctity of Life

Court blocks abortion pill mandate against Pa. family business

ADF official comment

Apr 19, 2013 Read More

Court says abortion pill mandate challenge in Pa. can proceed under First Amendment

Obama lawyers to hack away at freedom of Pa. college, lumber co. Wednesday

Sanctity of Life

Obama lawyers to hack away at freedom of Pa. college, lumber co. Wednesday

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney available to media following hearing in lawsuit against abortion pill mandate

Oct 30, 2012 Read More

ADF, Geneva College challenge abortion-drug mandate

Sanctity of Life

ADF, Geneva College challenge abortion-drug mandate

Federal lawsuit challenges Obama administration’s latest attack on religious freedom

Feb 21, 2012 Read More

ADF, Geneva College to reveal lawsuit against Obama mandate Tuesday

Sanctity of Life

ADF, Geneva College to reveal lawsuit against Obama mandate Tuesday

Media invited to attend press conference in Pa.

Feb 20, 2012 Read More
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Documents
https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-and-southern-nazarene-university---per-curiam-opinion.pdf?sfvrsn=6https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-and-southern-nazarene-university---supplemental-brief-submitted-to-u-s-supreme-court.pdf?sfvrsn=6https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-and-southern-nazarene-university---u-s-supreme-court-order-for-supplemental-briefing.pdf?sfvrsn=6https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva---opening-brief-filed-with-u-s-supreme-court.pdf?sfvrsn=8https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-petitioners-reply-brief-filed-with-u-s-supreme-court.pdf?sfvrsn=6https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-respondents-brief-filed-with-u-s-supreme-court.pdf?sfvrsn=8https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-petition-for-writ-of-certiorari.pdf?sfvrsn=10https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-en-banc-petition.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-3rd-circuit-opinion.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---seneca-permanent-injunction-order-and-judgment.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---seneca-dismissal-order.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---seneca-motion-to-voluntarily-dismiss-appeal.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-preliminary-injunction-order-for-geneva-college-39-s-employee-health-plan.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-order-upholding-injunctions.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v-burwell---geneva-preliminary-injunction-order-for-geneva-college-s-student-health-plan.pdf?sfvrsn=10https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-findings-and-conclusions.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-opinion-and-order-granting-motion-for-reconsideration.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---findings-of-fact-and-conclusions-of-law.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---seneca-preliminary-injunction-order.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-order-on-motion-to-dismiss.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-source/documents/case-documents/geneva-college-and-seneca-hardwood-v.-burwell/geneva-college-v-burwell---geneva-brief-in-opposition-to-doj-s-motion-to-dismiss.pdf?sfvrsn=12https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/web-content-dev/docs/default-sour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Court Title Date
U.S. Supreme Court
Per Curiam Opinion May 16 2016
U.S. Supreme Court
Supplemental brief submitted to U.S. Supreme Court Apr 12 2016
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court order for supplemental briefing Mar 29 2016
U.S. Supreme Court
Opening brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court Jan 04 2016
U.S. Supreme Court
Geneva-Petitioners reply brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court Sep 04 2015
U.S. Supreme Court
Geneva-Respondents brief filed with U.S. Supreme Court Aug 20 2015
U.S. Supreme Court
Geneva-Petition for writ of certiorari Aug 11 2015
Appellate Court
Geneva-En Banc Petition Mar 03 2015
Appellate Court
Geneva-3rd Circuit opinion Feb 11 2015
Trial Court
Permanent injunction order and judgment Oct 10 2014
Appellate Court
Seneca-Dismissal order Sep 04 2014
Appellate Court
Seneca-Motion to voluntarily dismiss appeal Sep 03 2014
Trial Court
Geneva-Preliminary injunction order for Geneva College's employee health plan Dec 23 2013
Trial Court
Geneva-Order upholding injunctions Oct 18 2013
Trial Court
Geneva-Preliminary injunction order for Geneva College's student health plan Jun 18 2013
Trial Court
Geneva-Findings and conclusions Jun 18 2013
Trial Court
Geneva-Opinion and order granting motion for reconsideration May 08 2013
Trial Court
Findings of fact and conclusions of law Apr 19 2013
Trial Court
Seneca-Preliminary injunction order Apr 19 2013
Trial Court
Geneva-Order on motion to dismiss Mar 06 2013
Trial Court
Geneva-Brief in opposition to DOJ’s motion to dismiss Sep 13 2012
Trial Court
Geneva-DOJ brief in support of motion to dismiss Aug 02 2012
Trial Court
Geneva-Complaint May 31 2012

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