In the latest challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, an appellate court has ruled that the embattled provision infringes on the religious liberty of employers who oppose the use of birth control, abortion, and sterilization.

In a 70-page decision, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the Obamacare provision whereby companies must provide free coverage for contraception goes against the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) in cases where an employer’s faith prohibits such practices. “We are not confronted with a question of constitutional authority,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote. “Instead, we must determine whether the contraceptive mandate imposed by the [Patient Protection and Afforable Care] Act trammels the right of free exercise…as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. We conclude it does.”

The lawsuit, Gilardi v. the Department of Health and Human Services, successfully sought to suspend the contraception mandate for business owners Francis A. Gilardi Jr. and Philip M. Gilardi, who own and operate Freshway Food and Freshway Logistics. According to court documents, the two brothers alleged that the provision conflicts with their Catholic faith. They argued that for this reason, contraception has no place in their companies’ health insurance plans.

The case is the latest in a series of high-profile lawsuits against the health care law’s mandate. According to The New York Times, only a handful of verdicts have rejected these challenges. As the provision is set to garner even more criticism once the Affordable Care Act becomes law, some commentators predict that the matter will end up in the Supreme Court.

Still, many believe that the provision is a legitimate and necessary part of the employer mandate. In a dissent, Judge Harry T. Brown argued that a suspension of the mandate could not be granted pursuant to the RFRA, as the act does not automatically exempt citizens from legislature. “It has been well understood since the founding of our nation that legislative restrictions may trump religious exercise…were it otherwise, ‘professed doctrines of religious belief [would be] superior to the law of the land, and in effect…permit every citizen to become a law unto himself,’” Brown wrote, citing Braunfeld v. Brown from 1861.

In his minority opinion, Brown also called the Gilardi brothers’ religious objection to the mandate “specious,” as neither of them would be forced to use or buy birth control, abortion, or sterilization for themselves.