Advocacy

Hobby Lobby vs. Obamacare

By Stephanie Vogel

The Supreme Court is scheduled to begin oral arguments this week for what is arguably the biggest case of its term – as Hobby Lobby, Inc. looks to tackle the ObamaCare contraception mandate head-on. The Oklahoma-based craft store giant, with over 600 branches nationwide, filed suit against the Health and Human Services (HHS) department, indicating that the firm’s First Amendment right of religious freedom has been violated by the contraception mandate. Naturally, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has stirred up a media frenzy because the decision will have significant implications for ObamaCare and the future of Corporate America.

The Green family is a devoutly Christian family, who founded Hobby Lobby and to this day retains complete ownership. They pay their workers 90% over the federal minimum wage, provide on-site health clinics to their employees at their headquarters, and provide all of their full-time employees with a comprehensive health care plan that includes access to contraceptives. When ObamaCare was enacted in 2010, it required that all employers provide health care that covers all forms of contraception at no cost to the employee in its contraception mandate. There are a total of twenty forms of contraception included in this mandate, including abortifacients like the morning after pill and three other forms of contraceptives that are intended for use after conception. As an organization modeled on Christian values and the right to life, however, Hobby Lobby and the Green family argue that they should not have to comply with an invasive mandate that infringes upon their religious beliefs based on the protections guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).

Hobby Lobby filed for an exemption from the mandate in September 2012, which was originally denied in a western Oklahoma district court. In November of that year, the firm then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for emergency relief from the mandate, which was also denied. After gaining increased attention from Capitol Hill and the media, though, the decision was overturned in July 2013, granting Hobby Lobby the temporary protection it sought from the mandate. Then in September 2013, the federal government appealed the case, and Hobby Lobby brought it before the Supreme Court, where oral arguments began Tuesday morning.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was implemented to protect the religious liberties of “persons,” a word typically defined by the courts as individuals, non-profit firms, and for-profit firms. Historically, the RFRA has been applied strictly to non-profit firms such as church-funded hospitals and charitable organizations. However, the statute does not exclude for-profit firms from protection. Hobby Lobby will argue this week before the Supreme Court that their status as a for-profit firm does not exclude them from protection from mandates that conflict with their religious beliefs.

Primarily, the federal government will focus its argument on the effect on the employee and the employee’s right to choose his or her own health care coverage. If the Court rules that for-profit firms are protected by the RFRA, then the government is prepared to argue what constitutes a “substantial religious burden,” which is required for the RFRA to apply. It is their argument that mandating the coverage of all forms of contraception does not pose a sufficient burden on Hobby Lobby or its owners because they are so far removed from an employee’s decision to choose their form of contraception.

What will ultimately fuel this debate debate will undoubtedly be Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision. Roberts has been notoriously criticized by conservatives for upholding the constitutionality of ObamaCare in 2012, and he faces the risk of further alienating himself from fellow conservatives. However, if Roberts upholds Hobby Lobby’s exemption from the contraception mandate, it opens the door for other companies to use religious affiliation as a means to evade federal law. A pro-Hobby Lobby decision would create the standard that corporations have the same basic rights as individuals – a standard that could potentially cause problems in the future. The ultimate challenge for Roberts will be the fight between staying on a traditional conservative path and potentially adopting a new legal standard for Corporate America.

Providing the backdrop for this monumental court case is, appropriately, the four-year anniversary of the enactment of ObamaCare. It could have been assumed in 2010 that four years was time enough to work out all potential kinks in the legislation, but that is clearly not what Americans see today. The decision in this case will not repeal ObamaCare, but it will have a tremendous impact on the health care law, the understanding of the First Amendment, and the structure of the legal system when applied to Corporate America. Does the government have the right to infringe upon the religious beliefs of for-profit firms? Do firms have the same rights as individuals? These crucial decisions will be made by the end of the Court’s term in June, and AMAC will be closely monitoring the latest Court developments as oral arguments take place this week in Washington.


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jerry taylor
8 years ago

l like King Solomon’s saying, When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked (Chief Justice John Roberts) beareth rule the people mourn – Prov. 29:2. Mr Robers should understand that righteousness exalts a nation but sin (stupidity) is a reproach to any people – Prov 13:24.

David Carr
8 years ago
Reply to  jerry taylor

Lets hope Chief Justice Roberts does the right thing this time. He will possibly be the deciding vote. Calling him wicked at this point won’t help, and you will probably be surprised at his vote on this point.

Lynn M
8 years ago

Forcing a ‘one size fits all’ law onto a Country is IE: Communism, Marxist, Authoritarian government.

Forcing anything onto citizens is un-Constitutional.

Wake up America.

Paul R
8 years ago

This is all pretty bizarre that your neighbors would be involved in buying your birth control. This government is so screwed up I’m not sure it can be fixed? Support politicians that aren’t afraid to shake things up. Vote for term limits. We need to disperse those career politicians that have created this mess. When possible support state rights. This centralized government thing isn’t working out so great! Watch what your politician does not what they say. Look towards history to learn what works. This is the mistake all liberals make. Often there heart is in the right place, but they haven’t checked there history books to see what works. Use your knowledge of history to fact check things like you use Snopes to truth check things.

Concerned Citizen
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul R

Paul – you wrote: “Support politicians that aren’t afraid to shake things up.” – I agree.

” We need to disperse those career politicians that have created this mess.” – I agree.

” Vote for term limits.” – I DISAGREE! We already have a term-limit – it’s called Election Day! Hire/re-hire the ones who do a good job; FIRE the ones who don’t! But let us KEEP the ones who have served us well! Playing musical chairs every election and getting a bunch of inexperienced newbies who don’t know each other and don’t “know the ropes” will just create a different kind of mess – just look at California (which has term limits on state offices) as proof!

We need to keep experienced conservatives who are knowledgeable about national security issues and strong military supporters in office. The federal government’s first and most important duty is to keep our nation safe, and to keep our citizens and interests abroad as secure as possible.

PRAY PRAY PRAY for our Supreme Court justices – miracles can still happen!

Peggy
8 years ago

Praying that Hobby Lobby will prevail. Sadly, Chief Justice John Roberts, supposedly a “conservative” , sold us out on Obamacare. Wonder what his opinion will be on this issue.

Robert Qualls
8 years ago

Here’s the thing. No one, even Hobby Lobby, is arguing that if you work for Hobby Lobby then you cannot have any form of legal birth control which you choose to use. All they are saying that there are certain forms that, if you choose to utilize them, they don’t want their health insurance plan (which I understand that they provide the bulk of the premiums toward for their employees and the employees pay relatively little) to pay for, so you would have to buy them yourself. How is this “denying” anyone anything? When we have employee luncheons at work, they NEVER have filet mignon. Is my employer denying me my “right” to eat filet mignon? No, they’re just saying that if I choose to consume it, then I have to pay for it with my own money.

I want to go back to the Georgetown graduate student a few months ago. Did this young woman really expect a student health plan at a Catholic university to cover birth control pills? How is she being “denied” anything if it does not? None of the birth control plans contemplated not being covered by that plan, or potentially not covered by Hobby Lobby’s, are even particularly expensive. What these people are saying is that if they have health insurance, then it should cover whatever they want in regard to health care at no further charge. Nothing else works like this. I have “full coverage” car insurance, but it doesn’t cover new spark plugs, oil changes, antifreeze, nor tires. Nor should it, because it would then cost hundreds of dollars a month and I could not afford it. (Maybe since car insurance is a necessity and required by law, I should receive a subsidy to buy it — from a govt. that is already $18 trillion in debt!) My homeowners insurance doesn’t cover any landscape plants or grass that the past (?) winter killed. That’s not wrong or unfair. Not everything is, or should be, “free”.

SilverLady Wyoming
8 years ago
Reply to  Robert Qualls

You said it correctly, Robert. It was what I intended to write, but you did it perfectly.

Kim
8 years ago

And, if you didn’t want to get pregnant, then you should keep your pants on and your legs crossed. Why is it always the woman’s responsibility to provide protect anyways? No, contraceptive is fool proof except: JUST DON”T DO IT:. If you do then you should pay for your own problems not us. Get a job and support your child. That’s the adult thing to do.

demarree1
8 years ago

Good Luck to Hobby Lobby, and I will pray for your success in court. I do not want to pay for the mu rder of an unborn child. God bless Hobby Lobby and they have my support.

Pauleene
8 years ago

There are alot of great points made in these comments.
Thank God for a Company like Hobby Lobby, modeled on Christian values. Thank you for having the courage to follow your beliefs and move forward on this ~ We should not have to compromise our values.
Blessings to you.

LYNETTE J SMITH & GENE A SMITH
8 years ago

This man & his cohorts( Pelosie & Reed) need to be tarred & feathered! From the time Obama,ran for the Office of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Obama had one goal in mind” to destroy this country and its people! How long, and how much are ” WE THE PEOPLE ” going to continue to sit on our behinds,and do nothing ?
Obama care is just one way to control the people and gain more power over the people, when have you had enough /and are ready to take back control of this country? We all sent people to congress to look out for our interest and the betterment of our country. Lets all contact our people in Washington and let them know how we feel, and what we feel needs to be done.HOBBY LOBBY HAS OUR SUPPORT AND THAT OF MANY MORE1

insantim
8 years ago

why is it that Muslims get an exemption for their religious beliefs but Christians don’t

Marilyn
8 years ago
Reply to  insantim

Perhaps because Obama is the thug in chief and he has little regard for Christians.

Jim Browning
8 years ago

This is all B.S. !!!
You want us to pay for YOUR Birth Control ??
…. then YOU pay my Truck payment !!

You LIBS want Everything handed to you by the Workers ……. L O S E R S !!

KarenFaye
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Browning

From what I saw of the crowd in front of the Justice Center — their faces would be great forms of birth control.

Elaine
8 years ago

The problem began with the widespread acceptance of the use of contraceptives which are an affront to the dignity of the human person and an affront to God, the creator and giver of life. It is simply a rejection of God and an attempt to make man his own god.

This naturally led to legalizing abortion. Since human life no longer is either a gift from God but like a commodity, either wanted or not, and can be somewhat controlled by the whim and wish of a woman, the right to life has absolutely no meaning whatsoever. When the right to life is thwarted by the government, that same government will find no problem in legislating away all other rights. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights become meaningless and only the political and judicial classes determine what rights, if any, the people have. Religious freedom will be abridged, denied, and soon eradicated because it conflicts with the government’s idea that only the political and judicial classes have the right and authority to determine the validity and lawfulness of every human act.

DrJCA1
8 years ago
Reply to  Elaine

Sadly, it’s people like you with your holier-than-thou attitude that messes up the conservative movement. Yea, lets dump contraception and have all these fools dump 10-15 babies on the Earth. Keep your religious beliefs out of my life.

bob c
8 years ago

God does not want babies murdered. If women are so unattractive a man will not spend .50 for birth control and a
women is to unconcerned protect herself why should others pay for there sex. Any man or women that aborts a baby should be charged murder.

Pete
8 years ago

Hobby Lobby provides birth control medications in their health care plans. This issue centers around the morning after pill, which Hobby Lobby believes impacts a human life.

Sandy
8 years ago
Reply to  Pete

This is the point that is obvious to me. With today’s contraceptives, there are plenty of options that can be put into place to avoid getting pregnant to start with. So much better for the woman than ending the life of her unborn child and the emotional trauma that can accompany that decision in many cases. Why should anyone else have to pay for her lack of taking responsibility? Certainly she knows the possible consequences of having sex.

KarenFaye
8 years ago
Reply to  Pete

You are so correct! Unfortunately, the ugly he-she’s out protesting and holding their signs are trying to convince the uninformed (or uncaring) that their “rights to birth control” are being taken away. Hobby Lobby is open to 16 forms of B.C. and will cover it — just not the abortive drugs. They can have all the birth control they want – they will just have to pay for the ones called the “morning after” pills. Sadly, it’s nothing to most of these women to use abortion as a means of retro active birth control. If they are so concerned, let them pay to have themselves sterilized and save the rest of us the grief of looking at them or hearing their shrieks about their “rights”. This country in the past few years has deteriorated so badly — nobody gets married anymore – just has babies that the working class pays for; abortion is now a “right” that has nothing to do with conscience or going against God; daring to speak against Obama labels us racist and worse ——- yet, the race Hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are allowed to say anything and everything about the rest of us. People who thought electing the first black President was going to “cement race relations” need to go back to the drawing board. This administration has torn this country apart and pitted white against black more than pre- 1960. Black unemployment is more than double than that of the white population yet they support this man to the death. I just don’t get it.

Marilyn
8 years ago
Reply to  KarenFaye

Excellent post; you’ve said it for me.
My retort, when “folks” say I don’t like obamma because he’s black, is that I don’t like or respect his white half either.
God forgive me.

Linda K Bidwell
8 years ago

Don’t be too caught off guard, read your Bible. There it is, in black and white.
I joined AMAC because they are representing what is right. I am not a politician but am happy they take a stand and are willing to uphold the constitution to those who have gotten “off track” to the original beliefs, our forefathers must be looking over the balcony of heaven going “IF MY PEOPE PRAY”. Come on people, God is still listening, bending an ear. Lets do our part.
We may think, what is the use? 1 man, Jesus loved you and didn’t give up on you nor ever will.
Things look bad but look up He said. Don’t mean to preach but He doesn’t want to us to be afraid and just crab about it.
Think it is hopeless? Our prayers are like shooting stars entering the very throne of Father GOD – what have you got to lose?
Thank YOU AMAC for helping us save our country and it’s awesome winning-spirited people before it is too late.

Charlotte Andersen
8 years ago

I say amen to that comment

Rik
8 years ago

Hobby Lobby is being force to spend how many thousands of $$$ needlessly … We all know this … They shouldn’t be in any court of law having to defend their religious freedom rights … They are being forced to defend and expend their monies on an unconstitutional law … The only winners are the Brotherhood of Attorneys … They get Hobby Lobby’s money to defend an ambiguous unconstitutional law that was written by a bunch of Brotherhood of Attorney legislators!

Read my comments in the article “about the Supreme Court” above. We wouldn’t have half the problems we have in this country if we, the people, would just stop electing attorneys as legislators … shouldn’t this be a conflict of interest … Making laws they could someday be arguing a case against in their real occupation as an attorney in a court of law???

VOTE ALL THE PRACTITIONERS OF REASONABLE DOUBT LAWYERS OUT OF POLITICS … ONLY THEN, WILL AMERICA BE FREE AGAIN AND A CHECK AND BALANCE SYSTEM VIABLE IN OUR GOVERNMENT AGAIN AS IT WAS SET UP TO BE BY OUR AMERICAN FOREFATHERS!!!

Marydee
8 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Kudos to Elaine…bob c….Clara Schoppe!!! Well said!!

Paul Terry Stone
8 years ago

If Hobby Lobby will have to pay Obama’s fines, they”ll have to cut wages to a great degree and this may not be enough to pay the fine. Then Obama will have something else to complain about.

Junk Bin
8 years ago

our society has now devolved to the point where part of the population wants the other part to pay for their sexual conduct.
Obamacare does not ban birth control products, devices, or procedures. It demands I pay for your pregnancy prevention or killing the unborn.
If you want to have sex, be responsible and pay for your own actions I am not your father, brother, cousin, the one having sex with you so keep your needy vigina out of my wallet and convictions

Chuck B.
8 years ago

1st off – I am NOT religious so this comment is coming from someone not tied to any church or religious affiliation.
2nd – I am all for abortion because I don’t think any “higher being” gave me the right to force a man a woman to have to go through 9 months of pain, morning sickness and final childbirth only to be faced with 2 very difficult decisions – 20 years of their lives given to raising the child or having to give the baby to someone else. You may not agree. that’s your Constitutional right.

The United States was founded on the principal that the PEOPLE are in charge of this great country – not the gov’t. That basic principal has been illegally overridden in every facet of our lives. The gov’t has no constitutional right to tell us how to live our lives as long as we do no harm to others while living our own beliefs.

Forcing a company, in this case, Hobby Lobby, Inc., to go against their principals and have to pay for all forms of contraception for their employees is so against our freedom that the Constitution writers would be smoldering and rolling over in their graves if they were following these past four years. The employees are well paid and have great benefits at this company. If they want to have contraception (in this case – ALL 20 forms including fertilized egg-aborting types – there is absolutely nothing stopping them from going to any drug store and buying what they want. My employer didn’t believe in furnishing tools and boots for me – both of which I used during my tenure with his company. Guess what….. we bought our own tools and boots. We were paid for our TIME not for personal items which we would take with us when we left his employment. Employers work extremely hard to start a business. Employees merely work for that employer. If you don’t like the employer’s work ethics, style or anything else (as long as the employers adheres to safe and established ethical conditions) then find other employment.

John DeVries
8 years ago
Reply to  Chuck B.

Much appreciate your stated and correct truth presentation. All have the right to be and believe as they personally decide.
Q. Would you allow me to present to you the reason why I am a Bible believing Christian? I will be accountable to respectfully respond to you.
Have a super day

Clara Schoppe
8 years ago

This has been and still is a time for prayer, and, as Jesus prayed, in His Agony in the Garden, let our prayer be, “not my will, but Thine be done.”. It’s easy to think we know just what to pray for, but we don’t know what’s in the Mind of God. Perhaps it will take our nation falling into the most abysmal kind of totalitarianism for many of its people to wake up, return to God, and be saved. I don’t want to suffer (who does?) but maybe Christians and Jews will have to suffer and continue to pray for our persecutors, so that those very persecutors (who themselves are children of God and loved by Him) and all those who think they are fine without God (but whom God also loves) will turn to Him, and go to Heaven, bringing us with them.

Linda
8 years ago
Reply to  Clara Schoppe

So true, God is sovereign over all thing good and bad, his will will prevail, but it still mandates that we pray for his guidance in all we do. Amen.

Joy
8 years ago

Why would you expect the Judicial Branch of a Triad government to uphold its responsibility to only interpret the constitutionality of laws, in other words – to check the Congress, when the Congress has ran and hidden from the responsibility given to it to hold the Executive Branch accountable to the Constitution, and the Executive Branch is running the greatest nation in the world like a king holding court complete with jesters (Pelosi and Reid) and fools (mainstream media) to do his bidding?

How can you trust a man or a woman who is more concerned with their political alliances and whom they will be vacationing with, than executing the job entrusted to them by protecting the citizens and safeguarding the laws of the nation they swore to serve with integrity?

BETTER QUESTION – IF HOBBY LOBBY WAS OWNED BY MUSLIMS AND THE OWNERS FELT THAT IT VIOLATED THEIR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, HOW MIGHT THE SUPREME COURT DECISION BE SWAYED?

I am not sure many people realize this but our current “King” is not a Christian – and the majority of news organizations, print, radio, and television, are anti anything to do with Jesus Christ and his teachings.

D.A.
8 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Your better Q is exactly that. It would be a slam dunk. The commies on the court, even tho they don’t like religion, will do anything to weaken our country and strengthen their movement. Plus, they would be afraid. As to the religious affiliation of the pres., whether he is a secret Muslim, or a leftist Christian, it doesn’t matter. Both are diametrically opposed to traditional Christianity. One is open about it,( you can’t carry a bible into Saudi Arabia for instance, the other is an organism that has entered many of the churches and taken them over from within, using the churches own policies of tolerance and inclusion to accomplish their mission. There are species of wasps who capture spiders, they paralyze them and lay their eggs on them. The young wasp larvae consumes the still living spider as it grows into adulthood. This is happening all over owing to laziness, lack of discernment and the desire to please. Of course, it’s not just the churches. Our generation has allowed this to happen to our country. We were busy. We were indifferent. We thought voting was the end of our responsibility. We laughed at commie ideas and thought ‘ who could ever believe that tripe’ . But they had our kids. They spent six hours a day with them. They were fresh out of indoctrination camps better known as colleges of education. We assumed the kids would grow out of it. Just a phase. I know it’s tough to be an activist when one is both comfortable and busy. They used that and have remade our world. Now we have to do the best we can for future generations to preserve the truth so it isn’t utterly extinguished.

Chuck
8 years ago
Reply to  D.A.

I LOVE that analogy of the spider-capturing wasp species! That is the best description ever of what has happened to our American institutions at the hands of the commie Prof. Alinsky disciples who appear to be in charge of everything (or think they will continue to be).

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