US Supreme Court to hear challenges to contraceptive mandate
CWN - November 26, 2013
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases challenging to the contraceptive mandate in the "Obamacare" health policy.
In a conference on November 26, the justices decided to hear two cases in which employers have challenged the HHS mandate. The High Court chose to hear a case brought by Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma firm; and another brought by Conestoga Wood Specialties of Pennsylvania. A federal appeals court had sustained the Hobby Lobby challenge, while a different court rejected a similar challenge by Conestoga.
The split opinions in federal appeals courts, the dozens of challenges to the contraceptive mandate, and the need for a clear-cut decision on the federal health-care policy all weighed in favor of a Supreme Court hearing on the arguments.
The key question to be resolved is whether the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 by requiring business owners to pay for services they consider morally objectionable. The High Court has already ruled that corporations should be treated as persons for purposes of their political activity. The Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases will revolve around the issue of whether corporations should be free to operate according to the religious principles of the individuals who control them. If the Supreme Court finds that corporations can have religious principles, the Obama administration will be forced to show that the federal government’s interest in providing contraceptive coverage is sufficiently urgent to outweigh the ordinary demands of religious freedom.
The Supreme Court will probably schedule arguments in the cases for the spring of 2014, with a decision likely by June.
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