Finding common cause with the freedom fighters of the adult film industry, Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan won a big legal victory late last week, ensuring, at least for the time being, that he’d be able to keep his Michigan workplace condom-free.
On Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled in Tom Monaghan’s favor, issuing a temporary court order which would allow the fundamentalist former Ypsilantian, and Domino’s Pizza founder, to avoid providing contraceptive coverage for his employees at Ann Arbor’s Domino’s Farms, in spite of the fact that such coverage is now required under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. The following clip comes by way of the Detroit Free Press.
…”The government will suffer some, but comparatively minimal harm if the injunction is granted,” Zatkoff wrote in Thursday’s decision.
Monaghan’s case is one of about 16 pending nationwide. Detroit-area Weingartz Supply received a similar injunction last fall.
Certain religious employers are exempt from the health care law’s contraception requirement.
Monaghan, a devout Catholic, founded Domino’s Pizza in 1960 and sold it in 1998. He also owned the Detroit Tigers from 1983-92 and founded the Ave Maria School of Law, a Catholic law school that moved from Ann Arbor to Naples, Fla., in 2009.
His Domino’s Farms has 45 full-time and 44 part-time employees. Absent a court order, the business would have had to offer contraception and sterilization services with no co-pay starting Jan. 1 or face about $200,000 in annual penalties under the health care law…
This was, by the way, the second time that Zatkoff had stepped in to help Monaghan avoid compliance, having authored a temporary injunction against the Affordable Care Act mandate, as it pertained to Managhan’s Michigan employees, on December 31, 2012.
If the name Lawrence Zatkoff sounds familiar, it’s because he happens to employ a young relative by the name of Justin Zatkoff, who, as you might remember, had this very website pulled from the internet earlier this winter in an attempt to sanitize the online record he’d amassed as the aggressive and controversial leader of the University of Michigan College Republicans. (There were several allegations of unethical behavior prior to his leaving the University to continue his undergraduate studies elsewhere.)
Not only did Judge Zatkoff, who was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan, take his young relation in, giving him a much-sought-after position in spite of his seemingly checkered past, but it would appear that he likewise may have helped guide him into law school, given that Justin is now enrolled at University of Detroit Mercy, the Catholic law school from which the Judge graduated in the 60s. Speaking of UDM, that’s some good luck for Monaghan that he just happened to have his case heard by a judge who, like him, is a conservative Catholic. At least I find it interesting that the Judge, who is a product of the UDM, is hearing the case of Monaghan, who, among other things, operates a Catholic law school of his own. (I’m not suggesting that there was any collusion. I just find the coincidence worth noting.)
As for Monaghan, as some of you may know, he packed up his budding little Dominionist empire and left Ypsilanti for the swamps of Florida shortly after his attempt to legislate local discrimination was soundly defeated in the polls. Sadly, though, as demonstrated in this story, we’re still not completely free of his fundamentalist grasp.
One last thing… One wonders what Zatkoff will rule when it’s a Scientologist CEO before him, arguing that she shouldn’t have to provide mental health care for her employees, as psychotherapy is the work of evil extraterrestrial entities, or a conservative Muslim arguing that he shouldn’t have to hire women, as they’re unfit for the workplace. Is it only his religion that he feels should be able to traverse the wall of separation between church and state, or all of them?
[Tonight's post is brought to you by the good people of Texas, who, after eliminating funding for family planning activities, found "that the cuts could lead to 24,000 additional 2014-15 births at a cost to taxpayers of $273 million."]
[note: The quote featured above, alongside the image of Tom Monaghan, is a bastardization of a Boogie Down Productions lyric. It comes from their pro-safe sex song, Jimmy.]