Supreme Court to hear Hobby Lobby case against ObamaCare
Big news on the religious liberty and Constitutional fronts, and probably bad news for ObamaCare, as reported by LifeNews:
Hobby Lobby’s battle against the HHS mandate is headed to the Supreme Court, as the high court today agreed to hear its lawsuit against the controversial provision in Obamacare. The Obama administration is attempting to make it comply with the HHS mandate that compels religious companies to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs for their employees.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to take up 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. This is good news to the Green family, who own the store.
“This is a major step for the Greens and their family businesses in an important fight for Americans’ religious liberty,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead lawyer for Hobby Lobby. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that religious freedom in our country should be protected for family business owners like the Greens.”
“My family and I are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide our case,” said Mr. Green, Hobby Lobby’s founder and CEO. “This legal challenge has always remained about one thing and one thing only: the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions as guaranteed by the law and the Constitution. Business owners should not have to choose between violating their faith and violating the law.”
This case will provide the Supreme Court with an opportunity to hammer out a number of conflicting lower-court rulings, which boil down to confusion over whether the ObamaCare commissars get to decide who is qualified to exercise their religious conscience. Hobby Lobby is not a religious operation per se; it’s a craft superstore owned by devout Christians. They’ll be joined at the Supreme Court by a Pennsylvania company called Conestoga Wood Specialties. Hobby Lobby won their case in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which predicted they would also prevail before the Supremes. Conestoga lost their comparable suit at the lower-court level.
“The United States government is taking the remarkable position that private individuals lose their religious freedom when they make a living,” said Hobby Lobby’s lead lawyer, Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “We’re confident that the Supreme Court will reject the government’s extreme position and hold that religious liberty is for everyone – including people who run a business.”
The Obama Administration is still flogging its “War on Women” narrative and defending its assault on religious liberty as crucial to preserving women’s health, even though asking people to pay for a few dollars’ worth of birth control supplies has not previously been seen as homicidal. However, fashionable new Leftist theories holds that expecting individuals to cover the cost of a politically-approved “necessity” is tantamount to denying them “access” to it. That’s going to cause all sorts of chaos when someone realizes that food is more vitally and universally necessary than any form of medical care. From Fox News:
“The health care law puts women and families in control of their health care by covering vital preventive care, like cancer screenings and birth control, free of charge,” the statement said. “We believe this requirement is lawful and essential to women’s health and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.”
The statement noted that the administration already tried to accommodate religious organizations, with a change last year that would have insurers sell those policies directly to their employees. But some groups said the change doesn’t go far enough. And non-religious organizations were also left out of the arrangement.
Why can’t you miserable peasants be happy with the ration of religious liberty the commissars have given you?
What does this case portend for the future of ObamaCare? It should be possible to remove the offending mandates entirely… but wasn’t the Affordable Care Act deliberately written to block efforts to strike it down piecemeal in the courts? It’s supposed to be an all-or-nothing proposition, which was supposed to intimidate the Supreme Court out of ruling against any portion of it. (Barack Obama, on the other hand, can ignore any parts of it he finds politically inconvenient at a given moment, and can even invite Americans to violate the law by ignoring select mandates for a year, with promises that they will not be pursued or prosecuted.)
Even if the Supreme Court avoids a ruling that strikes down the entire Affordable Care Act, it certainly won’t help the unpopular law to lose a high-profile court challenge. This is not a good time for ObamaCare defenders to find themselves arguing a high-profile court case, which is bound to generate some unpleasant sound bites.