Students Notre Dame Univ and the trump-pence admin ~Issues: Birth ControlHealth Care & Reproductive Rights — Updates needed

Image result for birth control devicesHannah Finnie, Senior Manager of Campaign and Digital Strategies, Michelle Banker, Senior Counsel, Mara Gandal-Powers, Director of Birth Control Access and Senior CounselPosted on May 9, 2019

Issues: Birth ControlHealth Care & Reproductive Rights

In June 2018, we filed a lawsuit against the University of Notre Dame and the Trump-Pence administration for illegally teaming up in order to deny Notre Dame students and staff their birth control coverage. As we write this, students, staff, and their dependents at the University of Notre Dame are still being denied the birth control coverage they’re guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. We haven’t—and will never—stop fighting until everyone has access to the birth control they need. But until then, we figured we’d make it just a little bit easier to keep track of how this case is moving along. Here’s a timeline of how this case (and other similar cases) is proceeding:

October 2017: The Trump-Pence administration announces interim final rules allowing virtually any employer or university to deny birth control coverage required by the ACA. (The Administrative Procedure Act governs how executive agencies create rules—the “interim final rules” cut a lot of corners laid out in the APA to get these birth control restrictions out). The rules are blocked by 2 separate courts in Pennsylvania and California after lawsuits filed by state attorney generals both because of how they were enacted and the substance of the rules themselves (you can read more about just how bad the rules are here). This leaves the ACA’s birth control benefit in effect, meaning that students and employees across the country should be getting no-cost birth control coverage, no matter where they work.
February 2018: Notre Dame announces that it will not comply with the birth control benefit, because it has teamed up with the Trump-Pence Administration, signing a settlement agreement that gives Notre Dame a free pass. Notre Dame says it will drop students’ and staff’s coverage for some birth control methods and charge copays and deductibles for others (all in violation of the ACA birth control benefit).

June 2018: NWLC, along with its partners Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Center for Reproductive Rights, sue Notre Dame and the Trump-Pence administration on behalf of student group Irish 4 Reproductive Health and other women covered by Notre Dame’s health plans.
July and August 2018: Changes to Notre Dame’s health insurance plans go into effect—students and staff no longer receive the coverage guaranteed by the ACA birth control benefit.
November 2018: The Trump-Pence administration finalizes its birth control rules.
January 2019: These final rules are once again blocked by 2 separate courts in Pennsylvania and California, right before they were scheduled to go into effect.
February 2019: The Trump-Pence administration and Notre Dame try to get the court to throw out the lawsuit NWLC and its partners filed on behalf of Irish 4 Reproductive Health.
March 2019: NWLC and its partners file a brief supporting the students at Notre Dame. The brief counters the Administration’s and Notre Dame’s baseless legal arguments and supports the students’ fight for birth control coverage.
June 2019: On June 10, oral arguments are scheduled. Which means we’ll finally get our day in court to tell the University of Notre Dame and the Trump-Pence administration: Hands. Off. Our. Birth Control.As we wait to hear from the court in our case, we know this: As long as this administration continues threatening birth control access and coverage, we’ll keep doing everything we can to protect it.

1916 – Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Wilson to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.

Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United StatesLouis Brandeis

With the recent appointment of the first Latina to the American Supreme Court, it is worth remembering the first Jewish Justice, Louis D. Brandeis, who was appointed by President Wilson in 1916. Like with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Brandeis’ appointment was a great symbol of “arrival.” It brought more pride to the Jewish community than did the election of Jews to high public office. Elections are decided by votes, and there were many Jewish voters. But an appointment to the Supreme Court was a matter of presidential nomination and senatorial confirmation, an acknowledgment by non-Jewish society of the value of the Jewish contribution to America.

Louis Brandeis’ family arrived in America with the first wave of Jewish immigrants in the year 1850. Like most Jewish immigrants of the period, they originated from Germany and did not observe Judaism, though the family never denied its Jewish ethnicity. However, Brandeis had an uncle named Lewis Dembitz who was an observant Jew and a powerful role model in his life. He was a lawyer with a sterling reputation and was also an ardent abolitionist. Brandeis’ decision to pursue a career in law came from the direct influence of this uncle. He so admired him that he even changed his middle name from David to Dembitz.

Though Brandeis himself was never an observant Jew, he described the impression that his uncle’s religious behavior made upon him:

“. . . I recall vividly the joy and awe with which my uncle, Lewis Dembitz, welcomed the arrival of the [Sabbath] day and the piety with which he observed it. I remember the extra delicacies, lighting of the candles, prayers over a cup of wine, quaint chants and Uncle Lewis poring over books most of the day. I remember more particularly an elusive something about him, which was spoken of as the ‘Sabbath peace,’ and which years later brought to my mind a passage from Addison in which he speaks of stealing a day out of life to live. That elusive something prevailed in many a home in Boston on Sunday and was not wanting at Harvard on that same day. Uncle Lewis used to say that he was enjoying a foretaste of heaven. I used to think, and do so now, that we need on earth the Jewish-Puritan Sabbath without its oppressive restrictions.” (Strum, Phillipa. Louis D. Brandeis: Justice for the People. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984, page 11.)

What he failed to appreciate is that the very presence of the “oppressive restrictions” is what makes the Jewish Sabbath “a foretaste of heaven.”

Naturally, Brandeis’ appointment to the Supreme Court did not happen without bitter opposition. Anti-Semitism was rife at that time, and Brandeis’ Jewishness was an issue in the Senate confirmation hearings. Even when he was finally appointed, his colleague Justice McReynolds refused to say one word to him in his entire 23 years on the Court. Nine people in one room, deciding on the most important cases on the country, and one wouldn’t speak to the other.

Because of this, Brandeis identified with the outsiders of society. A forerunner of the Warren Supreme Court, he was the first to articulate the solicitude a democracy should show to the disadvantaged and the individual, as opposed to protecting the rights of the insiders and the Establishment. In this, he was truly a Jewish justice, in the tradition taught by the great Hillel: “One should not judge someone else unless he is capable of standing in his place.” (Ethics of the Fathers 2:4) His utopian dream resonates with the vision of the Hebrew Prophets and the Talmudic heritage of justice. He was an heir to it, albeit unknowingly so.


1915 – The Coast Guard was created by an act of the U.S. Congress to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.

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By Major Dan

On January 28, 1915, an Act of Congress created the United States Coast Guard out of the combination of The Revenue Cutter Service and the US Life-Saving Service. This new branch of the military was placed under the Treasury Department, to be used by the Department of Defense in time of war. Today, this law enforcing and life saving maritime force is under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security, and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy as seen necessary by the President.

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