Cutting through the politicized hype about the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga case (“Corporations have no rights!” “War on Women!”) the Justices during oral argument focused on four serious legal questions, which deserve a serious answer. Stanford law professor Michael McConnell examines each.
The questioning got ugly, fast, when Solicitor General Donald Verrilli began his arguments in favor of the mandate requiring employers to provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act returned to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as the Justices heard a major challenge to the law’s birth-control mandate. Five and maybe even six Justices across ideological lines seemed discomfited by the Administration’s cramped conception of religious liberty.
In a long and lively argument that touched on medical science and moral philosophy, the Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed ready to accept that at least some for-profit corporations may advance claims based on religious freedom.
Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green: “Our family started Hobby Lobby built on our faith and together as a family. We’ve kept that tradition for more than forty years and we want to continue to live out our faith in the way we do business.”
Does our Constitution guarantee the freedom of religion, or does it merely allow a more limited freedom to worship? The difference is profound. Worship is an event. Religion is a way of life.
The greatest misconception about the Green family and this case, Steve Green says, “is that we are trying to impose our religion on these workers or others. Not at all! That would violate our religion to do that.” Yet through that religion, he said, they can face any court ruling with peace of mind.
Hobby Lobby’s founder objects to the health law, but the government says for-profit companies aren’t entitled to religious-freedom protections.
In one of the most religiously diverse nations on earth, religious exemptions protect people in situations where legislative or executive acts might otherwise unnecessarily force them to violate their consciences.
We may long for the day when people become more accepting of one another, but achieving that end by forcing people to violate their own conscience tears at the already frayed cords that bind us together as a nation.