| WASHINGTON, April 5
WASHINGTON, April 5 The Obama administration has
gone to court to try to block a subpoena from the Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of New York seeking White House documents about the
government's requirement of insurance coverage for birth
The subpoena requesting documents from President Barack
Obama and his senior advisers would be burdensome to fulfill,
the administration said in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District
Court for the District of Columbia.
Citing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the suit also argues
that civil subpoenas of the president's executive office are
inappropriate except in extraordinary circumstances.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday and released on a court
website on Friday.
Religious organizations, individuals and corporations have
filed scores of suits to block a planned mandate that employers
generally include coverage of contraception in health insurance
plans they offer workers.
Though the mandate has some exceptions for religious
employers, the New York archdiocese, one of the largest in the
United States, said it expected to incur nearly $200 million
each year in penalties if it refuses to comply.
The Catholic Church teaches that artificial birth control is
sinful because it violates natural law.
A judge in Brooklyn federal court allowed an archdiocese
lawsuit over the mandate to move forward in December, over the
administration's argument that it was premature.
A lawyer for the archdiocese declined to comment on Friday
on the administration's court action.
Obama has been trying to negotiate a settlement of the
highly charged dispute, which pits advocates for women's health
against those who say a mandate would violate the religious
freedom of employers who oppose birth control.
A version of the mandate released in February would not
apply to churches and other places of worship even when they
operate schools and social services.
It would apply to others, including religiously affiliated
nonprofit groups. But in those cases, it calls on private
insurers to cover contraceptives through separate plans for
employees, not through the employer's group plan.
The mandate was part of the 2010 healthcare law championed
by Obama and congressional Democrats.
The Justice Department is representing the White House in
the subpoena fight. A department spokeswoman had no immediate
(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Xavier