A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Hobby Lobby, and its sister company, Mardel bookstores should be allowed to seek exception from the part of the ObamaCare mandate that violates their religious beliefs.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said the companies can proceed with their lawsuit and can probably win, great news for Hobby Lobby, Mardel,and for the dozens of lesser known businesses with similar lawsuits in various states.
Hobby Lobby was facing fines of up to $475 million for failing to comply with the law, or pay $26 million to the government if it dropped its health care plan altogether.
The judges indicated that the Oklahoma court should have granted the companies an injunction with such serious financial penalties on the line.
The judges unanimously sent the case back to a lower court in Oklahoma, which had rejected the companies’ request for an injunction to prevent full enforcement of the new law.
“Hobby Lobby and Mardel have drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable,” the judges wrote. “The question here is not whether the reasonable observer would consider the plaintiffs complicit in an immoral act, but rather how the plaintiffs themselves measure their degree of complicity.”
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., Mardel Inc. and their owners, the Green family, argue for-profit businesses — not just religious groups — should be allowed to seek an exception if the law violates their religious beliefs. The owners approve of most forms of artificial birth control, but not those that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg — such as an IUD or the morning-after pill.
The appeals court slapped down the DOJ’s obnoxious argument that allowing for-profit corporations the option to exempt themselves from regulations that violate their religious beliefs, was somehow allowing the businesses to force their religious beliefs on their employees.
The 10th Circuit cited a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that for-profit corporations have rights to political expression.
Judge Harris Hartz wrote, “no one suggests that organizations, in contrast to their members, have souls. But it does not follow that people must sacrifice their souls to engage in group activities through an organization.”
Emily Hardman, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Hobby Lobby, called the ruling a “resounding victory for religious freedom.”But Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the judges were wrong.
“This isn’t religious freedom; it’s the worst kind of religious oppression,” executive director Barry Lynn said in a statement.
On Friday – one day after the court ruled that their regulation was probably a violation of religious liberties, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a finalized version of the contraception mandate in Obamacare that provides an “accommodation” for non-profit organizations that have a religious objection to the mandate…
The Washington Examiner reported:
HHS said that the final rule includes an “accommodation” for non-profit religious institutions that oppose the use of contraception. “Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost,” HHS said.
Somebody remind me what that whole “Republican War on Women” thing was about, last year, ’cause if I remember right, it had something to do with Republicans objecting to the grotesque, unconstitutional overreach of the federal government that just got unanimously slapped down by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Conversation: HHS Accommodation Is No Accommodation At All:
the final rule only includes an accommodation for non-profit institutions that oppose the use of contraception. “Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost,” HHS said.
A more careful reading on my part would have seen that the final regulation issued yesterday provides no accommodations at all for individual Christians or private for-profit employers who morally object to the mandate.
Catholic and other Christian individuals in the United States will now be forced by the Obama administration to buy insurance coverage that pays for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs–whether they want that coverage or not and even though it forces them to act against their faith.What these final adjustments to the regulation do is provide what the administration calls “accommodations” to religious non-profit organizations only–or what the regulation calls “eligible organizations.”