The US Supreme Court agreed today to hear two of the many cases challenging the federal government’s mandate that employers must provide insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraception, known as the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate.
The court announced today that it will here Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (10th Circuit Court of Appeals) and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius (3rd Circuit Court of Appeals).
The two circuit courts reached different conclusions on the question of whether for-profit secular corporations possess free exercise rights. The family owning and running Hobby Lobby are devout Evangelical Christians while the family behind Conestoga Wood Specialties are Mennonites. Both object to the potential abortifacient effects of “emergency contraception.”
The court is set to hear arguments in the spring.
In the words of the Becket Fund litigator on the Hobby Lobby suit, these cases are essentially about “who gets to practice religion.” The companies’ owners hold that Americans should not be commanded to leave their beliefs at home when they go to work. But the Obama administration is pressing hard the argument that for-profit corporations have no constitutionally recognized conscience rights.
The Supreme Court did not announce whether it would take up any of the additional HHS Mandate cases also seeking certiorari (a hearing before the court). (K.N.)
On the Net:
An overview of the 84 cases that have been filed against the HHS mandate can be found here: