Contraceptive Mandate and Hobby Lobby Decision

The Supreme Court decided the case known as “Hobby Lobby”. The direct link to the official opinion follows the Court holding. Page #’s refer to pages in opinion.

Held: As applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the [Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993] RFRA. Pp. 16–49.

(a) RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for-profit corporations like Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and Mardel. Pp. 16–31.

(1) HHS argues that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations, and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies, but that would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations. RFRA’s text shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice. It employed the familiar legal fic- tion of including corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons,” but the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them. Pp. 16–19.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf

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