Domino's founder scores victory against Obamacare

Tom Monaghan sued the government to avoid the law's mandatory contraception coverage. Hobby Lobby, meanwhile, waits for fines.

By Jason Notte Jan 2, 2013 4:14PM

Image: Medical doctor ( tetra images/Getty Images/Getty Images)Will companies be fined upwards of $1.3 million a day for not providing the emergency contraception coverage mandated by the new health care law? Yes and no.

Domino's Pizza (DPZ) founder Tom Monaghan sued the federal government in December on behalf of his Michigan office park, Domino's Farms, to avoid providing the mandatory contraception coverage in the nation's health care law -- also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. On Sunday, a district court judge in Michigan granted an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order that allows Monaghan to avoid providing contraception as part of his property management firm's health care plan until the case is resolved.

The law went into effect on Tuesday and is already getting costly for some companies fighting its contraception provision. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied a similar injunction request for Oklahoma City arts-and-crafts store chain Hobby Lobby, which also has a contraception-based suit working its way through the lower courts and risks potential fines of $1.3 million a day for not offering the required coverage.

The heads of both companies have protested the law vociferously on religious grounds. Monaghan -- who has used his Domino's fortune to bankroll Catholic charities, support conservative political candidates and found Ave Maria University in Florida -- argues that contraception isn't health care, but "gravely immoral." When Hobby Lobby launched its suit back in September, founder David Green wrote an opinion piece for USA Today blasting the mandate requiring the chain's health insurance to provide "what I believe are abortion-causing drugs" because "we believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception."

While Monaghan's suit covers all contraception -- keeping him in line with the Roman Catholic church's stance against it -- Hobby Lobby singles out "Plan B" and Levonelle, which are classified as emergency contraceptives by the Food and Drug Administration. There's a bit of a difference in scale between the two companies as well. Monaghan sold much of his controlling stake in Domino's to Bain Capital back in 1998 and his Domino's Farms property outside of Ann Arbor is a small holding not affiliated with the company.

Hobby Lobby, meanwhile, has 500 stores in 41 states and employs more than 13,000 workers. The company is still contributing to the $4.5 billion fortune of David Green, who is ranked 79th on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans, but has a culture inextricably tied to the Green family's beliefs. Hobby Lobby plays Christian music throughout its stores, closes early during the week "so our employees can see their families at night" and on Sundays "so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest."

A district court judge in Oklahoma ruled last month that Hobby Lobby and Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain also owned by the Green family, "are not religious organizations" and are not subject to the same constitutional protections as churches and other religious employers. Despite lacking an injunction similar to Monaghan's, Hobby Lobby still refuses to offer the disputed contraceptives as part of its health plans.

Kyle Duncan, who is representing Hobby Lobby on behalf of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement posted on the group's website Thursday that Hobby Lobby doesn't intend to offer its employees insurance that would cover the drug while its lawsuit is pending.

"The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees," said Kyle Duncan, who is representing Hobby Lobby on behalf of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, in a statement posted on the group's website. "To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."

There are still more than a dozen such suits pending across the country, and the Green family has vowed to fight the law all the way to the Supreme Court. Monaghan may do the same, albeit a lot more cheaply.

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Jan 2, 2013 4:56PM
It would not surprise me if Hobby Lobby calls it quits over this.  They started with nothing and built a great company on their religious beliefs.  No one should be able to force them to do anything against their religion.  NOBODY!
Jan 2, 2013 4:41PM

Our entire Country is going to be dragged to destruction over the "OBAMA CLIFF!" Mark my words.

Jan 2, 2013 4:52PM
From the President on down through the house and senate, our "representatives" have failed miserably to represent us. Taxation withourt representation was the catalyst that resulted in the formation of the USA. Have we finally come full circle? Will taxation without representation be the cataylist that results in the undoing of the USA? I hope we can Out the Socialists without a new revolution. 
Jan 2, 2013 4:49PM
If the Government can control you to do something that goes against your religion, what is next? Government required pork consumption for Muslims and Jews? Forcing Amish to turn on their electricity and use computers? Forcing Morons to drink coffee and alcohol? My point is religious freedom should not be compromised for any reason for any religion.PERIOD! 
Jan 2, 2013 5:44PM

Health Care is a benefit offered through your employer.  It should not be a mandate from the government.  You negotiate your pay and benefits when seeking a job.  If the job offered to you does not have the benefits you want, don't take the job.


Mandated Health Care is not in the constitution. 



Jan 2, 2013 5:46PM
Thanks to Chief Justice Roberts (who did more than a disservice to this country with his Obamacare decision) the government CAN make individuals do and/or buy whatever the government thinks is necessary by just imposing a tax on you if you don't comply.  So yes, Katie, they CAN make the Jews buy pork, or any of us Fords, or Chryslers or GM (government motors) cars and if we don't......just impose a tax on us.  Why Robert's couldn't see th3 folly of his decision and what could eventually happen with the idiots we have in Washington DC escapes me.  He actually BETRAYED this country.  When he said it wasn't his job to protect us from bad legislation, who did he think that job belonged to?
Jan 2, 2013 5:07PM

It's unconstitutional and will not prevail. They should be given exemptions like Obama has done for his buddies in unions and lapdog companies.



Jan 2, 2013 4:59PM

re-tog, something to consider is that the religious right founded this great country. All you have to do is read the federalist papers and constitution and it will become clear to you. It has allowed America to become the most free  and greatest country in the world. Once freedom is lost in America, it will be lost to the entire world.

Jan 2, 2013 4:52PM
More and more our Federal Court System seems to emulate the German Court System during the thirties and forties.  Wha'ts next? Possibly Concentration camps for religious dissenters'.
Jan 2, 2013 5:46PM

Amendment 1 of our Bill of Rights:


  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor needs to read the part about prohibiting the free exercise there of.  This is not just for religious institutions, but for each person.  This is the Rights of the Citizen to prohibit the government from getting involved with our individual Rights.  This has obviously been forgotten by the left and the leftist judges/justices.

Jan 2, 2013 5:02PM

How would it feel if the non-religious were required to give me 100 a month because I'm religious??????????? Oh how they would scream, but that is what Obamacare is doing to a religious

company owner////////////////  Show me in the Constitution that I have to provide health care for an employee/////////////  Next I'll have to provide food and then transportation and then child-care and

then entertainment and then every other day off with pay and then every day with pay///////////////////////////

Jan 2, 2013 6:08PM

...Birth control is not health care.......


Obama should not force companies to pay for birth control under the guise of healthcare. It's a personal choice and should be paid for by the individual.


American citizens should not be forced to pay for someone else's birth control pills....when does this nonsense end??

Jan 2, 2013 5:24PM
This is just short of communism-goverment telling you what to do-against any principles. But then don't be surprised-socialism is just another word for communism.
Jan 2, 2013 5:41PM
Hobby Lobby should close its doors if it has to. Let Obama brag on that.
Jan 2, 2013 5:11PM

Obamacare is stupid . The other day I was talking to my son and he ask me how the homeless people are going to pay for there healthcare fine if they don't have a job or home.

My answer good question. Build another jail for debtors prison, That is what is next !!!!!!!!

Jan 2, 2013 5:19PM
Because Socialism ALWAYS results in providing intensives to do "C" work or provide "C" products because their is no reason to do your best. It is the government version of the everyone gets a trophy for sports system. Why work hard if you get paid the same. Work late to get the job way. That is why you see very few successful products coming from Socialist countries.
Jan 2, 2013 5:13PM
Making full time employees into part time employees would take care of the problem of Obummercare.
Jan 2, 2013 5:43PM

The easy way to deal with this is to make all employees part-timers so the welfare healthcare laws doesn’t apply.

Jan 2, 2013 5:01PM
Is one district court judge's temporary restraining order really a "setback for Obamacare?"
People are Nutts, This not Russia, this is the USA, This isnt Germany in the 30s this is the USA, try reading the Declaration, the Bill or Rights, and figure out where this is all Going. America is loosing ground quick, and all because people want Freebees, its shameful.
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