Hobby Lobby asks Supreme Court for exemption to Obamacare mandate

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Hobby Lobby filed a briefing Monday asking the U.S. Supreme Court for an exemption to the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that certain for-profit corporations provide contraception coverage to their workers.

Ahead of oral arguments next month, the craft store giant is seeking exclusion on religious grounds from the healthcare law’s requirements, maintaining that some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion.

Oral arguments for the case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, begin March 25. The issue is whether secular, private corporations can claim religious exemption from federal laws.

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., nationwide chain of about 500 arts and crafts stores with about 13,000 employees, was started by David and Barbara Green, devoted Christians, who maintain that the stores, which are closed on Sundays, remain consistent with their biblical practices.

The Greens’ object to contraceptives like the morning after pill, which they say amounts to abortion and, therefore, violates their faith, but are not opposed to all forms of contraception – such as condoms and diaphragms.

The store estimated that they would face $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the healthcare law after failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court last year.

Lead attorney for Hobby Lobby Kyle Duncan, of the non-profit Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, announced a press briefing discussing the case after filing with the Supreme Court.

“Hobby Lobby’s latest brief brings into even sharper focus the issue at the heart of this landmark case: No one should be forced to give up their constitutionally protected civil rights just to go into business,” Duncan said in a statement.

“The filing demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the government’s efforts to strip this family business of its religious rights represent a gross violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the Tenth Circuit’s strong affirmation of the Greens’ rights to live out their deeply held beliefs in every aspect of their business.”

The Becket Fund also represents the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity for the elderly run by nuns, which also filed an appeal to the contraception portion of the law.

While churches and houses of worship are exempt from the mandate, other non-profit, religious-affiliate groups, like church-run hospitals and parochial schools, are still required to either themselves provide contraception coverage or have a third part insurer provide the benefits without the employer’s involvement.

Companies like Hobby Lobby are not exempt under the law.

President Barack Obama’s sweeping healthcare law has been the subject of political and religious controversy, specifically the contraception requirements. Nearly 50 pending lawsuits have been filed in federal court from various corporations challenging the birth control coverage under Obamacare.

CNN’s Bill Mears and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

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12 comments

  • LaRon

    What makes Hobby Lobby think they are so special to deserve an exemption? Maybe the rick ultra-conservative owner wants an exemption but perhaps he isn’t thinking of what is best for his employees. I will never go in a Hobby Lobby again.

  • Liberalism is a mental illness

    I’m sure they’re sorry to see you go, LaRon….NOT
    Funny how liberals always want to talk about “rich conservatives” as if all liberals are poor….what a pathetic mental illness.

  • Joe Dirt

    I have been and will continue to boycott Hobby Lobby on this premise. Conservatives want to preach for less government unless it has to do with a woman’s body, then they want to dictate and govern how she lives her life. If she wants to use the morning after pill, that is her business and hers alone and the views of an owner should not be forced upon employees who may or may not employ the same beliefs.

  • Zarah

    Even though I love Hobby Lobby, I find it ridiculous that they are taking it this far. I am angered that they don’t think birth control should be covered. Considering that the majority of their employees are minimum wage or close to that, do they really think it is a great idea to make family planning more expensive/difficult on salaries like that? The amount of children a person has is up to them.

    To be honest, I think it is more about cost to the company than beliefs. In the long run, they should just comply because right now they are wasting their money and the tax payers with all of the legal mumbo jumbo…Please Hobby Lobby, come to your senses. WWJD?

  • Hobby Lobby shopper

    WWJD? That is a good question. Rather than condone abortion pills I think He would encourage abstinence and self control. We like to think of Him as nothing but passive and loving but in fact He showed his anger toward sin and corruption by running the evil ones out of the temple. I wish He would do the same thing in Washington! (starting with the satanic dictator obama)

    • Joe Dirt

      Speaking like a true Christian. You know not everybody believes in the goodbook so WWJD probably doesn’t apply. I know Jesus wouldn’t call Obama a satanic dictator. If you are going to be a Christian then be a Christian and love thy neighbor and don’t judge Obama (not your job remember).