On June 10 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted a stay (PDF) against the HHS Mandate that would otherwise require Thomas Aquinas College to facilitate the availability of free contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization services to its employees. The College’s attorneys at the Jones Day firm will next submit a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court asking it to take up the case. The stay will remain in place pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

The College originally filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 20, 2013, and prevailed, receiving a permanent injunction from the HHS mandate. The U.S. Government, however, appealed that decision, and on November 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the Government’s appeal, removing the injunction. At that time, the College filed a motion for an en banc hearing of the case. Last month a majority of the court denied the motion (PDF), though two judges filed strong dissents. The College quickly requested and has now received an emergency stay in the matter.

In reacting to these developments, President Michael F. McLean said, “With the D.C. Court of Appeals granting us this stay against the HHS contraceptive mandate, the College is shielded for the time being from exorbitant financial penalties for not complying with the mandate. Our attorneys at Jones Day will file a request shortly, asking that the U.S. Supreme Court hear our case. We very much look forward to the possibility that the Supreme Court will indeed take it up and that our religious liberty rights will be vindicated.”

Co-plaintiffs in the college’s lawsuit include The Catholic University of America, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and Priests for Life.