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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/26/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hobby Lobby, among others, say stipulation violates their religious freedoms

Supreme Court Justices Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg are now questioning the corporate challengers who want exemptions from providing contraception under Obamacare, or health care reform. Both Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties say that this violates their rights to freedom of religion.

Supreme Court Justices Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg are now questioning the corporate challengers who want exemptions from providing contraception under Obamacare, or health care reform

Supreme Court Justices Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg are now questioning the corporate challengers who want exemptions from providing contraception under Obamacare, or health care reform

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/26/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Contraception mandate, Supreme Court


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The three women of the Supreme Court dominated questioning during this week's oral arguments. The case will determine whether Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft store chain, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet company, can be exempted.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg pressed the corporate challengers. Justice Sotomayor started by asking that if corporations can object on religious grounds to providing contraception coverage, could they also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions?

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The lawyer representing the challengers, Paul Clement said that contraception is different as the government has already given an exemption to religious nonprofits. Kagan then said that there are several medical treatments to which some religious groups object. If corporations could object to providing coverage for those treatments, she argued, "Everything would be piecemeal. Nothing would be uniform."

Arguments for the challengers say the issue is centered on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which is aimed at preventing laws that substantially limit a person's religious freedom. That ruling grew out of a conflict over whether two Native Americans could be dismissed from their jobs as drug counselors for using drugs in a religious ritual.

The authors of that law said they intended it to be a protection of religious rights, not an excuse to foist religious principles on others.

In response, Justice Ginsberg said it "seems strange" that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was passed by both parties, could have generated such support if lawmakers thought corporations would use it to enforce their own religious beliefs.

Justice Kagan then added that the corporate challengers are taking an "uncontroversial law" like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and making it into something that would upend "the entire U.S. code."  This would allow companies to object to employees on religious grounds to laws on sex discrimination, minimum wage, family leave and child labor.

"How can courts know whether a corporation holds a religious belief? And what if it's just the beliefs of the leadership, not the entire company? What happens to a non-religious minority in a corporation?" Justice Sotomayor said.
 
Both Sotomayor and Justice Kagan then noted that since nobody is forcing Hobby Lobby or Conestoga to provide health insurance, they can simply pay the tax penalty instead.

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