Hobby Lobby 1, Obamacare 0
The Supreme Court upheld the religious freedom rights of Hobby Lobby, the closely-held corporation owned by believing Christians who objected to being required to supply the abortion pill to their employees. Steve Ertelt of Life News reports:
…the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a favorable ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions.
Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito handed down the decision for the high court, saying, “The Supreme Court holds government can’t require closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage.”
“HHS’s contraception mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion,” the decision reads, adding that the “decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion saying that government itself could provide the coverage for contraception and the abortion-causing drugs if a company declines to do so.
The Hobby Lobby decision only applies to companies. Non-profit groups like Priests for Life and Little Sisters are still waiting for a ruling about their right to opt out of the mandate.
Note that this ruling only applies to closely-held corporations, but does not rule out applying the same religious freedom reasoning to publicly-held firms and nonprofits.
Ed Lasky points out:
The fact that both these decisions [Hobby Lobby and the forced union dues case] were 5-4 points out the danger of Obama picking the next SC Justice with Reid in control of the Senate. If the opportunity present itself, he will abolish the filibuster for SC nominees, too.