Judge, Notre Dame Attorneys Spar in School’s Health Care Law Appeal
A lawyer representing the University of Notre Dame got into a heated exchange with a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday over the federal health care law’s contraception mandate, which the Roman Catholic university claims violates its religious belief.
Judge Richard Posner threatened a lawyer arguing against the mandate, saying he would not be able to continue his arguments if he continued to interrupt or fail to directly answer the judge’s questions.
“Stop fencing with me,” Posner told attorney Matthew Kairis, a lawyer with the firm representing Notre Dame in a lawsuit that challenges a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, Notre Dame objects to a mandate that religious employers contract with third-party providers to offer contraception as part of their health care coverage.
The courtroom drama came during oral arguments in a case that has largely been presented in written briefs.
Last year, Notre Dame sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, challenging the contraception mandate, despite an accommodation allowing it to meet the requirement by contracting with a third-party provider.